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Rolling out change at the British Psychological Society

08 March 2017 | by Peter Kinderman

We are setting out on significant changes to the structure and efficiency of the Society.

The internal machinations of the British Psychological Society are usually very dull. And, to be honest, I prefer outward looking ideas. But we are setting out on significant changes to the structure and efficiency of the Society.

The BPS was established over 100 years ago, and has grown in a rather ill-coordinated manner.

Our network of member organisations – the Divisions, Sections, Faculties and Special Interest Groups – has grown. Some of these (the Divisions) reflect the qualifications and skills of practitioners.

Others represent communities of academic interest, while others address the needs of the clients we serve – for example children and young people, older people or people in mental health services.

And, as the Society has grown over the years, these overlapping remits have led to a somewhat inefficient structure and system.

Our Charter and rules are also growing long in the tooth. Change for change’s sake is unwise, but renewal and reform are generally to be welcomed.

The British Psychological Society has a charitable obligation to make psychology relevant to citizens and the real world. 

Our Members want us to act as a learned society and a professional body;

  • to promote excellence in psychological research, pure and applied, so that everyone can access evidence-based psychology to enhance their lives, communities and wider society
  • to promote excellence in psychology education and training so that students and academics continue to access high-quality education and training now and in the future,
  • to maximise the impact of psychology on public policy, so that policy makers and the public know the value of evidence-based psychology and the role of psychology, and
  • to promote excellence in psychological practice so that everyone can access high quality evidence-based psychological interventions to enhance their lives, organisations, communities and wider society.

We are now engaged in a process of change in the Society to support this work. This will take time… and I am a man who is constitutionally impatient.

Over the next few months, starting from now, we will see changes and improvements. And I’m confident of success.

In two areas – our website and in The Psychologist magazine – we have seen significant changes and consequent demonstrable success.

As we roll out change more widely in the Society, I am fully convinced that we will see improvement in delivery of these strategic aims. Watch this space!


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