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BPS announces membership grades review

02 November 2020

The British Psychological Society has launched a review of its member grades to make sure that they are an accurate reflection of our members’ careers and providing relevant benefits.

We are commencing this review now, and entering into a consultation phase with members that will run until March 2021.

Proposed changes will be put to a membership vote at our 2021 AGM and submitted to the Privy Council, with changes likely to come into force in January 2022.

Karen Beamish, our Director of Membership, published blogs in August and September explaining the reasons behind the review, and why we need to make sure that BPS membership and the associated benefits are fit for purpose and an accurate reflection of our members’ careers.

We’ve also put together a list of 10 frequently asked questions about the review, how you can get involved in the consultation, the likely impact on membership and the review timeline. You can read this below.

To find out more about the review or to get involved, please contact us

Why are you reviewing BPS membership grades and why now?

The society’s membership structure has remained static for more than 30 years. In this time we’ve seen the development of several applied areas, such as forensic psychology, and the evolution of the wider psychological workforce. Despite this, only minor amendments have been made to the membership grades. The current grades assume a linear path to qualification as a psychologist when, in reality, a member’s career journey may not follow such a traditional pathway. 

Psychology, more than ever, is within the public consciousness and as a result a robust and relevant membership structure is vital to carry us through the current climate and in to the future. It’s the logical next step to ensure that our members are equipped with the skills they need to influence and drive change, to be relevant and in demand within their organisations and careers.

How will this review impact me?

The review will highlight gaps and deficiencies in the current grade structure and enable us to align the membership grades as a more accurate reflection of where members are in terms of interest, training or professional development and competence within psychology. For example, members who can’t attain chartered membership have told us they feel that, after many years of experience, the graduate grade is inappropriate for them.

Additionally, the insight we gain from the consultation process, particularly the member survey, will help the BPS to provide its members with differentiated products and services, according to grade, thereby adding value to membership.

Is this going to affect my current progression to chartered status?

Any members on a current path to chartered status won’t be adversely affected by this review and existing routes will continue.

Will the changes to membership grades result in a change to my member benefits or access to my member networks?

Member benefits are likely to change - 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.

Will the cost of membership change?

The consultation process is primarily aimed at ensuring we have fit for purpose membership grades that reflect the skills and experience of our membership.

Once we know the likely impact of any potential changes to the membership structure resulting from the consultation process, we will look at our pricing strategy to see if changes need to be made.

Our main concern is to ensure that our membership fees are simple and fair and provide value for money, no matter what type of member you are. We will therefore be reviewing the member benefits available to each grade so that they are relevant and beneficial to members.

How can I, as a member, get involved in the consultation?

As an international membership organisation with approximately 62,000 members, we’re committed to ensuring that the consultation process is inclusive. It is a phased programme, using surveys, focus groups and telephone consultations between now and March 2021.  Please watch out for updates in the BPS monthly member update, as it will have information on progress and opportunities to participate in the various consultation activities.

How long will the consultation process last?

The period of consultation is between now and the end of March 2021. Feedback will then be analysed and submitted to the Privy Council prior to recommendations being tabled for a vote at the AGM in 2021. The timeline will be published in the monthly member update, so it will be clear to see when the consultation phases are.

When will any changes be introduced?

Any changes resulting from this review will be subject to approval by the membership at our AGM in 2021 and subsequently submitted for approval by the Privy Council. That process takes time and so we do not expect changes to be implemented until January 2022.

I am a fellow or an associate fellow, what does this mean for me?

Fellowship (i.e. fellow and associate fellow) are currently titles identified within the BPS member rules.  However, it is our intent to include within the consultation process whether or not fellowship should be formally recognised as a grade.  Should the outcome be that a grade is appropriate then transition arrangements will be made.

Will this impact how much I pay for my membership?

The society has recently announced that for the third year running there will be no increase in subscriptions for the year of 2021. This position will remain unchanged.


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