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Grades consultation

The Member Journey initiative, which ran from October 2019 to summer 2020, sought to understand the needs and wants of members, and to make recommendations to the BPS on developing its role in supporting members, advocating for psychology, and providing a community.

Outcomes from the Member Journey include the Member Grades initiative that was approved by the Board of Trustees, alongside other initiatives, in September 2020.

The Member Grades project seeks to redesign the society’s grade structure to improve inclusivity, to address the lack of opportunity for graduates who are not intending on a career as a Chartered Psychologist, to improve flexibility in accessing membership (without impacting on standards) and to open the society to wider membership from professions that make use of psychology.

A Task & Finish Group of Member Board established a set of principles to guide this work, and developed a proposed new grades structure in February 2021.

The first draft of a proposed new grades structure introduced two streams of membership to include both the psychological professions (with the new Wellbeing Practitioner workforce) and professions that make use of psychology (people in other roles whose work benefits from the application of psychology).

The proposal was approved by Member Board and the Board of Trustees for consultation and in February 2021 just under thirteen thousand members were randomly selected for invitation to take part, one hundred and eighty one members accepted the invitation within the deadline, and one hundred and twenty of those attended focus groups.

Having reviewed the feedback from the consultations we have received so far, we would now like to gather your views on the following changes:

  • Retain the category of Graduate Member, with no time limit to eligibility.
  • Include more information on what the competencies would be and how they would be assessed.
  • Continue to use Grades rather than Categories.

Please note: the closing date for submissions is 01 July 2021.

The findings from the first consultation indicated a broad welcoming of the proposals for change, including widening the membership, the inclusion of competencies as well as qualifications, and updating the Awards criteria.

There was confusion around the proposed terminology of categories instead of grades, and some ambivalence about recategorising Graduate membership.

Concerns were expressed on the need to avoid diluting standards and the need to be clear on the distinction between a psychological professional and the professions that make use of psychology.

Recommendations from the first consultation were considered by the Member Grades Task & Finish Group, by Member Board and by the Board of Trustees and a second version of the proposal was approved for consultation.

For the second consultation Six focus groups were convened to collect feedback on the revised proposal. The groups were:

  • 2 Repeat groups from Phase 1 (16 and 18 Attendees)
  • 2 HE groups (8 and 3 Attendees)
  • 2 Resigned/Rejected groups (4 and 3 Attendees)

In total there were 54 attendees. Of the 54 attendees, 52 voted on the proposals in a mock vote during the sessions (2 Members in the Repeat group that ran on 29th March left before the vote due to other commitments).

The four proposed changes that were discussed were:

  1. Widening the membership (introducing Associate Member and Full Member categories)
  2. Making Graduate Membership time-limited
  3. Introducing competencies as well as qualifications
  4. Changing the Awards criteria

A member network consultation was held as a means to facilitate the collection of a greater range of voices from members by making use of the Divisional network communities as a route to reaching members.

A briefing paper was sent to Chairs of Divisions, and to Divisional Committee members, with an invitation to an initial briefing meeting and a request to share the information with their Divisions and to collect Divisional Members views over a 26-day period before attending a second meeting to give their feedback. At the initial meeting on 8th April, the Director of Membership, Professional Development & Standards gave a briefing on the Member Journey initiative and the Member Grades review project, before the facilitator hosted an initial discussion on all five proposed changes. At the follow up meeting on 4th May the group reconvened to give the views collected from their Divisional colleagues and to indicate their own views with a mock vote.

There were 20 attendees at the first meeting and 33 at the second meeting.

Participants were given the opportunity to provide further written feedback until 10th May. Three responses were received. An anonymous survey was made available on the BPS website (https://www.bps.org.uk/member-grades-review) on 22 April. A mini-site, launched on the 21st April, included information on the Member Grades review project, including a description of the changes being considered, why we are considering the changes, information on the process, and a set of FAQs addressing implications for members in a range of situations. The survey closed on 17th May.

The survey addressed the proposed changes. Each change was briefly outlined with two accompanying multiple-choice questions:

How do you think this will affect the BPS going forwards? A: Improve the BPS / Detrimental to the BPS / Make no difference to the BPS

How likely is it that you will vote to support this part of the proposal at the AGM? A: Very Unlikely / Unlikely / Undecided / Likely / Very Likely

To reach as many members as possible, all (opted-in) members were emailed directly on 22nd April inviting them to take part, with reminders published on the BPS Twitter feed (28th April), in Member Update (30th April), on Member Connect (30th April and in various member network newsletters. A ‘last chance’ reminder was published as a news item on the BPS website (13th May). In total over 1,700 votes were received.

The findings from this second consultation, as for the first consultation, indicate a broad welcoming of the proposals for change, including widening the membership, the inclusion of competencies as well as qualifications, and updating the Awards criteria.

The inclusion of Wellbeing Practitioners was welcomed, although there was ambivalence over the need for a specific Associate Member category to accommodate the Wellbeing Practitioners roles.

The proposal to limit Graduate Membership to a five-year period was not well received, and concerns remain about the lack of detail about implementation.

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