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Member Vote 2022

Over the past four years, we’ve been working alongside our members to look at ways to modernise our member grades and reform our governance structures.

After in-depth consultation, we’re now at the point where we are asking our members to support these reforms by voting to make some important changes to our charter, statutes and rules.

Because we have a royal charter, these changes have to be approved by the Privy Council.

The Privy Council’s advisors, who include the Charity Commission, have considered and approved the proposed changes to the charter and statutes, and we are now seeking approval of BPS members by holding a vote.

This vote then has to be ratified at a Special General Meeting, which must be held in person, on Thursday 17 February 2022.

Subject to approval by members, we will seek approval from the Privy Council.

Why do we want to amend our charter, statutes, and rules?

There are four resolutions for members to vote on.

You can also read an explanatory document which outlines the recommended proposals, as well as the rationale for them, and also highlights changes from the 2019 proposals to now which reflect further levels of modernisation needed for the society to modernise and to be future-proofed.

The information provided here will help you consider the various changes to ensure you are informed sufficiently to vote.

Relevant documents

The vote will be open for four weeks and will close at noon on Friday 11 February.

The result will be announced on Thursday 17 February 2022 at a physical Special General Meeting, which will take place at the British Psychological Society, 48 Princess Road East, Leicester, LE1 7DR.

The Notice of Special General Meeting has been published in The Psychologist.

The Special General Meeting will be specifically for the announcement of the vote only.

All other business falls under the Annual General Meeting in July 2022.

If the member vote is successful, the final submission of the Charter and Statutes goes before Her Majesty’s Privy Council in March 2022.

Implementation of the changes will come into place in line with the transitional arrangements in a phased way with the proposed governance changes, with member grades starting to be rolled-out from June 2022 onwards.

The online vote opens on Wednesday 12 January and closes at noon on Friday 11 February.

All members who are eligible to vote will receive an individual voting code via email from 10 January onwards.

Our partners Mi-Voice, who also manage our elections’ process, are managing the vote on our behalf.

Ready to vote?

Can’t locate your individual voting code?


Have a question?

  • If you have any questions about the proposals, please get in touch


1. Why are you holding a member vote?

For the past four years, we’ve been working alongside our members to look at ways of modernising our member grades and our governance structures. Through this process, we’ve jointly developed  a range of proposals across these two key areas. To implement these proposals, we will need to make changes to our charter, statutes and rules. Because we have a royal charter, changes to our charter and statutes have to be approved by the Privy Council. Before we can take the step of seeking approval for the changes from the Privy Council, we must first hold a member vote.

2. How can I cast my vote?

Voting is via an online portal that is managed by Mi-Voice, who are supporting the BPS with the member vote. Members who have an email address registered with the BPS will have already received an email from Mi-Voice with their unique voter code. Members can either use the unique link contained in that email or visit www.mi-vote.com and enter your unique voter code. If you can’t locate your unique member code, you can request it again. If you don’t have an email address registered with the BPS, or if we haven’t been able to contact you by email, you will receive a postal voting form.  If you have any problems casting your vote, you can contact Mi-Voice at [email protected]  or by calling +44 (0)23 8076 3987.

3. The resolutions are worded in a very legalistic way – why is this?

Unfortunately, there is an inevitable degree of formality in the wording of the resolutions as they reference our governing documents comprising the Royal Charter and Statutes, which are also written in precise legal terms as is customary for documentation of this nature. This is the case for many organisations like the BPS that hold a royal charter. We fully appreciate that  the language used in the resolutions is sometimes difficult to decipher, which is why we’ve put together a range of supporting documents that explain all the proposals; how we consulted with members and the benefits of making the changes to our Charter and Statutes both for our current and future members.

4. If agreed, when will the changes come into effect?

Implementation of the changes will come into place in line with the transitional arrangements in a phased way with the proposed governance changes, with member grades starting to be rolled-out from June 2022 onwards.

Membership grade proposals - Impact for existing members and their grades

5. Will I have to do anything new to keep my current membership?

No. The new grades will become available for people to apply for, but your current membership status will not be affected.

6. I am a Graduate Member and I have a non-accredited Masters and lots of experience at work. Could I be a Full Member?

The new grade of Full Member is designed for people in your position. We will be developing criteria to be clear about the breadth and depth of psychological knowledge expected, and the context-specific practical competences required for this grade. The standards will be scrutinised by the Partnership and Accreditation Committee (who oversee our accredited programmes). A recognition route to enable people to demonstrate achievement of those competences will be developed under the Education and Training Board, to provide a robust assessment process against these standards.

7. I’m happy being a Graduate Member – can I stick with that?

Yes. Many of our Graduate Members are working in allied fields, and do not wish to pursue their psychology credentials further, but really value being a Graduate Member of the society. There is no time-limit to being a Graduate Member and no requirement to apply for any other grade – it is a personal choice for each member to make.

8. Do I keep my post-nominals?

The post-nominal letters for membership will change for Graduate Members to be GMBPsS. The post-nominal for Chartered Members will remain as C.Psychol. The new grades of Associate Member and Full Member will have new post-nominals (AMBPsS and FMBPsS respectively). Student Members do not have post-nominal letters.

9. I’m already an Associate Fellow – do I lose that when the criteria change?

No. All Associate Fellows and Fellows will keep their award.

10. Will people be able to join without having a psychology degree?

Students, of course, who are on track to attain a BPS-accredited degree, but are not yet qualified, will be eligible for Student Membership.

Associate Members will hold a BPS-accredited degree-level qualification that is appropriate for their healthcare role as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner or similar. These are a combination of theoretical and practice elements that are required to carry out the role and all degrees are accredited against standards approved by the Partnership and Accreditation Committee, just as for the traditional undergraduate degree.

For other membership grades, the requirement for the Graduate Basis for Chartered status (GBC) which depends on a BPS-accredited undergraduate or conversion course, or equivalent, remains the same.

11. Is there any impact on the standards for Chartered status or will they be compromised?

No. Standards have not changed and will not be compromised. The existing routes into Chartership will remain and there will be no changes required of accredited programmes because of this grades review. The robust standards and rigour of the standards will remain the same.  If Divisions wish to develop alternative routes to recognising Chartered Members through evidence of competence as well as through holding qualifications, then they will be able to propose a recognition route. Devising such a competency-based route would not change the standards required. Designing the route would be an exercise that is undertaken with members and which would be subject to full quality assurance and governance procedures overseen by the Education and Training Board. The Division of Coaching Psychology is keen to establish this option, but we don’t expect all other Divisions to think it appropriate.

12. Who can apply for Associate Fellowship and Fellowship?

All members except Student Members will be able to apply for Associate Fellow and Fellow status. The criteria for the award of Associate Fellow and Fellow now focus on the demonstration of a contribution to the work of the society or to the development or application of psychology and, as such, improve the accessibility of the awards across our diverse membership.

The new grade of Associate Member

13. Who is Associate Membership for?

Access to Associate Membership is for holders of a BPS-accredited qualification for working in the wider psychological workforce. This includes the new NHS roles of Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner and Children and Young People’s Mental Health Practitioner and will include others, some of which are still under development.

14. I am a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner – will I be able to be a member?

Yes. The new grade of Associate Member is designed for the wider psychological workforce, and those role-holders who have a BPS-accredited qualification will be eligible for membership. BPS is the standard-setting body for these wider psychological workforce roles and the society becomes the natural home for their professional membership and continuing professional development. As you develop in your career, you may well add additional clinical competencies and perhaps research or managerial skills in your professional capacity. The intention is to make the Full Member grade available to members who can demonstrate those further competencies. At this stage, we are proposing that PWPs have an initial home as Associate Members and that we would need to find ways to enable progression to reflect professional growth.

15. Why are we inviting the wider psychological workforce into the society?

The healthcare needs of the nations are changing and the profession is adapting to provide new and focussed services to support the existing psychological professions. The society is leading on setting the standards for the accreditation of the education and training programmes that these new roles require.

All these roles combine a theoretical understanding of psychology with the practical skills of assessing patients and providing treatment for common disorders, under the supervision of a more qualified and experienced psychological practitioner. As the workforce develops to meet the changing needs of society, the BPS is keen to recognise these new roles and their contribution to psychological wellbeing, and to play a central role in maintaining the standards of education and training for the workforce.

The new grade of Full Member

16. Who is Full Membership for?

This new grade is for holders of GBC (or equivalent) who have qualifications or experience beyond their undergraduate achievement.  Many of our Graduate Members have a career that is informed by psychology, but which does not lead to Chartered status. For these members, Full Member offers a career development path that recognises their growth and development.

17. I have a Masters in a psychology-related subject and I use psychology in my work, but haven’t had a traditional route through BPS-accredited degrees into my current role. Can I now be a member?

The grade of membership that is most likely to be relevant is Full Member. You would need to be able to demonstrate that you have GBC (or equivalent) and sufficient additional knowledge and experience above and beyond undergraduate level to meet the criteria for entry to the grade. By introducing the acceptance of direct evidence of competence (as well as qualifications) we can develop recognition routes to allow you to demonstrate that you have met the criteria in other ways.

Member benefits

18. Will my member benefits change?

Following the member journey initiative, it became clear that our members want benefits relevant to them, within their grade, related to their roles and for those studying, their learning journey.  We are now starting work with the Member Board and will start to develop the detail in the near future.   This exercise gives us the opportunity to make sure the benefits align to the needs and wants of the different groups and be better value for members in the future. Member benefits are likely to change for the better as a result of what we learned through the Member Journey Initiative - as the membership grades will be fit for purpose, so will the benefits and services offered as part of this. It is our intention to deliver tailored and relevant member benefits to enhance the membership experience. Member networks will continue to provide tailored support for the areas they serve.

Governance proposals

19. Why are you proposing to modernise your governance structures?

The society began the process of modernising its governance structures in 2017.  The proposed changes were aimed at ensuring the society has the skills within its board to effectively and efficiently consider all aspects of its business.  Implementation of the changes was put on hold pending completion of the consultation on changes to membership grades.  It is also good practice for charities to review their governance arrangements from time to time.  A number of the proposed changes bring the society in line with modern charity law and good governance as set out by the Charity Commission.

20. Didn’t members already vote on the governance changes?

Yes, members voted in 2017 on the majority of the governance changes that form part of our proposals.  These changes could only take effect once approval has been given by the Privy Council.  Following the member vote in favour of the governance proposals, the trustees agreed to take the changes forward and a governance implementation group was established comprising a number of trustees and staff.  However, this work was paused following the outcome of a review of membership grades that identified the need to make further improvements to our member grades.  The changes to member grades also need the approval of the Privy Council and as a result, we have now been able to combine all the proposed changes to enable an application to the Privy Council combining all the changes needed to our governing documentation.

21. Why are you bringing in trustees from outside membership?

Our proposals are aimed at implementing governance changes that bring the BPS into line with best practice. The BPS is a complex and financially significant charity and it is important that there is the breadth of skills within the Board of Trustees to ensure that it carries out its leadership of the society effectively and efficiently.  To do this, it needs to have trustees with specialist skills who are able to consider the wider implications of the issues the trustees face from the perspective of their specialist knowledge and experience, for example, in finance or human resources.

22. Why are you removing the posts of Honorary General Secretary and Honorary Treasurer?

With the increasing regulatory framework governing charities, the duties within the roles of Honorary General Secretary and Honorary Treasurer have increasingly been undertaken by staff, guided by expert advisors and the work of the relevant sub-committees.  This has left the roles of Honorary General Secretary and Honorary Treasurer with no real substance, which is why we are proposing their removal, but is has also enabled two trustees to be elected by the membership, thereby enabling members who wish to be involved in the governance of the society, an opportunity to do so.

23. How will your proposals ensure more diversity in the Board of Trustees?

The Board of Trustees will have a much wider skill set and the pool from which trustees are selected will be broadened.  Members will have the opportunity to apply directly to become a trustee on the Board whereas previously, they could only do so if they were a member of Senate or wished to apply for an officer role within the board.

24. Are you increasing or reducing member representation on the Board?

We are moving away from a Board of Trustees who are all required to be members in order to introduce trustees who have specialist skills that the Board needs.  However, it is important to say that under the new structure two thirds of the Board will comprise members.  Members will also have the opportunity to be directly elected directly to a trustee role. 

25. Why are you proposing to separate out the role of Chair of the Board of Trustees from the role of President?

The rationale for removing the responsibility of chairing the board of trustee meetings from the role of President is because the President’s role is outward facing and they have an ambassadorial role in the society.  It is important to release the President from their duties as chair so that the President can contribute fully to the discussions at meetings without the distraction of being the chair.  This was considered to be most important to ensure that the President (elected by membership) was able to participate fully in board meetings.

26. Why are you extending the presidential term to two years?

It was widely acknowledged in the governance review that a one-year tenure in the role of President did not serve the interests of the society as it was far too short a period to enable the President to be inducted and effective within the role. 

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