Guidelines and documents

We provide important guidelines and policy documents to inform and assist our members in the practical and professional application of psychology, from research and teaching to clinical practice.

Colourful books birds eye view

Guidelines and documents library

BPS documents

All BPS documents have a quinquennial review cycle.

They will have an interim review, which can take place at any time but is usually after 2.5 years, to ensure there have been no major changes in evidence, legislation or practice which would mean they are incorrect. They will then have a full review after 5 years.

The outcome of this review may mean the document is archived, a revision or rewrite is commissioned or it remains live as there have been no significant changes to evidence, legislation or practice. Reviews are usually lead by BPS staff and involve members with expertise in the relevant area. A review may result in no change to the document.

Documents in the our library have an author "by" field and a "type" field to give further information about how they came to be published. A brief explanation of these author and document types is given below.

Document fields


Board of Trustees

Documents by Board of Trustees will have been approved by the Board of Trustees. This is the Society's primary governing body, they retain oversight of strategic direction and delegate the development to the relevant strategic boards. Documents may have been developed by people or groups outside the Board, with specific expertise, but will have received final approval by the Board.

BPS members

Documents produced by BPS members are written by members with expertise in an area but not associated to a particular member network. The members drive the work. These documents will have followed a Society governance process appropriate to the topic and document type.

BPS Team

Documents produced by teams in the BPS have been written by members of BPS staff with particular expertise, to a specific remit. They may have had input from or collaboration with members dependent on the nature of the document. They will have been signed off by a member of the Senior Management Team.

Ethics Committee

Documents by the Ethics Committee have been drafted by the committee which reports into the Research Board. They will have been through the governance process which involves approval by the Ethics Committee and then by the Research Board and Research Board chair.

Member Network

Documents by member networks have originated from the particular member network and the work has been led by them. There may have been collaboration with other member networks and this will be noted within the document. Where the documents are on the Member Network mini-site they will have only gone through the governance of that member network. Where they appear on the main BPS website and have BPS in front of the document type, they will have been through a Society governance process dependent on the document type.

Practice Board

Documents by Practice Board have been drafted by an advisory group or task and finish group commissioned by the Board, which reports into the Board. They will have been through the Practice Board governance process, which includes initial agreement by the Board, Society wide consultation, final edit and audit of how consultation comments have been attended to. Final drafts are usually signed off by the Chair of the Board however documents can be brought back to the Board for final oversight and approval as necessary, this is usually dependent on risk.

Presidential Taskforce

Some BPS presidents in the past had taskforces related to particular interest topics. These were made up of members with expertise in the area. The documents went through the governance appropriate to the topic of the document.

Research Board

Documents by the Research board have been drafted by a task and finish group commissioned by the Board and which reports into the board. They will have been through the Research Board governance process, which involves approval by the Board and sign off by the chair of the Board.



Briefing documents provide a short overview of a topic for a variety of audiences including psychologists, commissioners, MPs and the public. They may contain calls to action or recommendations for their target audience.  Documents noted as BPS Briefing will have been through an appropriate Society governance process and are considered to represent the views of BPS.

Discussion Paper

Discussion papers provide a detailed overview of a particular topic. They will be aimed at a variety of audiences and may be appropriate for a number of these audiences in one document. They usually don't provide recommendations or guidance but set out the evidence available to inform the reader.  They will have been through a Society governance process, usually the Practice Board process.


Guidance documents provide detailed practical advice on a particular area/activity to a variety of audiences, usually psychologists or commissioners. They usually are not mandatory, with members expected to make decisions relevant to their own professional context. However, they are considered best practice and may be used as evidence for the expectation of appropriate conduct in proceedings by BPS and/ or HCPC. Documents noted as BPS guidance will have been through an appropriate Society governance process and are considered to represent the views of BPS.


BPS Policy sets out legislative requirements or the Society's rules governing an area. These are approved by a group or individual within the Society's governance structure.


BPS statements set out the BPS views on a particular topic. They are often aimed at an audience outside the Society such as MPs. They may contain recommendations for the specific audience. They will have been through the governance associated to the author.