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Tony Lavender and Patricia Hind
BPS updates

Meet the new Board Chairs

The British Psychological Society’s Board of Trustees has recently welcomed new members – including incoming Chair of the Practice Board Clinical Psychologist and Emeritus Professor Tony Lavender, and new Chair of the Education and Training Board, Professor Patricia Hind. Ella Rhodes met them.

05 October 2023

By Ella Rhodes

‘They are the practitioner life-blood of the BPS’

Having also worked in senior management as Pro-Vice Chancellor at Canterbury Christ Church University, Tony Lavender says he is looking forward to bringing his experience to the BPS’s Board of Trustees and its finance subcommittee. ‘As a trustee it is important to facilitate good governance and running of the BPS. It is also a time when the BPS is developing a new strategy and we will need to check the Practice Board’s terms of reference are in alignment with the aspirations in that Strategy. We’ve got to promote the highest standards of practice across the discipline, across all the divisions, and incorporate the wider workforce as well – it’s quite an exciting time.’

Tony has been involved in national workforce development with the Department of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, NHS Digital, Health Education England and NHS England over the years. He has also worked with the BPS on many projects including as Chair of the Practice Board’s Health and Care Professions Council Working Group and as a member of the NHS England’s National Psychological Professions Workforce Advisory Group.

The BPS Practice Board works on strategies to promote best practice in psychology through initiating and facilitating the production of good practice guidance and discussion documents in new areas where there is a need to provide greater understanding of the issues across the profession. Ideas and proposals for work come from across the member network as well as Practice Board members.

When guidance is developed it draws on the evidence base and acts as a source of expertise for the BPS. As its new chair Tony said he would be focusing on clarifying for members the processes involved in developing the guidance and thinking with the Practice Board and the practitioner networks what was needed.

‘Ideas for documents and good practice invariably come from the Divisions and Faculties – those members are close to practice, they see what’s going on, they see new legislation or policies which need to be respond to. They are the practitioner “life-blood” of the BPS. We must have our feelers deeply embedded in those networks so we can support them in producing guidelines, documents and position statements that will support their work – we need the process to be clearer and perhaps more streamlined across all divisions.’

Tony also said it may be useful for members to be able to create groups to produce guidelines and documents which can function more autonomously, without as much input from BPS staff, but with the oversight and governance of the Practice Board. ‘Hannah Farndon [BPS Practice Team Manager], Nigel Atter and Sunarika Sahota [BPS Policy Advisors], work so hard but they have a finite amount of time. I feel there is a need for us to be able to create groups with an appointed chair who can lead on projects and use Hannah, Nigel and Sunarika to guide the work.’

He said he would also like to continue the work of former Practice Board Chair Alison Clarke in encouraging a spirit of openness and transparency. ‘We won’t always agree within the board but in the words of Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart we want to be able to disagree agreeably. In a sense there’s nothing worse than sitting around with a group of people who always agree with each other… that’s not how to innovate or improve the depth of thinking about issues. I hope we can continue Alison’s work of fostering a really good spirit of collaboration across divisions.’

Find out more about the BPS Practice Board.

Emeritus Professor Tony Lavender, incoming Chair of the Practice Board Clinical Psychologist.

‘I’m hoping to contribute to an even more connected community’

Occupational Psychologist and Professor of Management Education, Patricia Hind (Ashridge Executive Education, Hult Business School), has joined the BPS Board of Trustees as the new Chair of the Society’s Education and Training Board. The founder of consultancy B2B Insights, a Justice of the Peace and a Freeman of the City of London, Hind began her career in psychology as Chairman and co-founder of the first undergraduate psychology conference at the University of Leeds in the 1970s

During her time as Chair, Hind said she hoped to work with the committee to ensure that the value of psychological training and education are acknowledged and understood more widely. ‘I’ve been involved in education all my life, aside from a very brief foray into the financial services sector. Helping people to develop, to learn and to contribute to the best of their ability is very important to me. I believe psychology can make a real difference in supporting individuals in every situation to experience their lives in the best way possible.’

Hind talked of her particular interest in joining the BPS Education and Training Board (ETB) as it supports the Society in developing education and continuing professional development for psychologists and the wider psychological workforce. Among its many activities the board promotes psychological knowledge through education and public engagement, encourages academic, ethical, and scientific rigour in psychology education, works to influence education-related policies and organisations, and promotes the usefulness of psychology qualifications in various careers – both psychological and non-psychological.

‘I’m keen that we have a proper curriculum review so that what we’re offering in the educational space is fit for purpose for the future and meets the needs of all our members’.

Hind noted that many people have intuitive psychological ability and that one of her passions was helping people to harness that ability and apply it in different contexts. ‘I really enjoy educating people to the value of psychology and helping them to apply that value. In my field of occupational psychology, I’ve seen my role as ensuring that organisations are managed and led more effectively. That has meant creating value for those organisations through fostering leadership, helping people to enjoy higher job satisfaction, and developing people and skills at all levels.’

Hind said she saw a link between her professional experience and the role of a Trustee, which she is very much looking forward to. ‘The role of governance is to bring an independent view and to offer both challenge and support to the executive, whilst monitoring risk and ensuring against complacency. The Board is there to help both members and executive to achieve the objectives of the organisation together.

‘I know there has already been a great deal of work carried out on both the structure, and strategy of the BPS and that this work is intense and ongoing. I very much hope to contribute to ongoing efforts to ensure the Society is run with care and consideration for our members’ money, and their professional aspirations. I am looking forward to promoting closer networks and collaboration – internally between our strategy Boards and externally, particularly between our pre-university educators and our undergraduate providers, and across the wider psychological workforce. I’m hoping to contribute to the building of an even more connected community engaged around our shared purpose of developing and disseminating our psychological expertise.’

Professor Patricia Hind, new Chair of the Education and Training Board.