Division of Clinical Psychology

Blog

Dr Julia Bower, Clinical Psychologist
Having received a bursary to attend the recent Division of Clinical Psychology Conference in Cardiff, I was asked to share some of my highlights from the day.

There were so many informative and passionate talks showcasing psychologists work from around the country that choosing which talks to go to was difficult in itself.

I particularly enjoyed hearing about the work by the editorial group who have recently produced new guidelines on 'Understanding Psychosis', a comprehensive and accessible document providing information in a matter of fact way, myth busting, and challenging media stigma.  Research from Newcastle University focussing on the experiences of visual hallucinations show cased the determination of clinicians to understand individual experiences to continue to develop innovative and person centred interventions.

The second half of the morning was spent with the Positive Behaviour Support Academy in Wales looking at service based research applying the principles of PBS across a range of inpatient services.  Promoting and teaching the model to multidisciplinary teams and working collaboratively with service users highlighted the versatility and collaborative nature of the approach.

Lunch was an opportunity to network, before the highly anticipated keynote speaker, Susie  Orbach, linking into the overarching theme of the conference, and how psychologists can be heard in society, using professional skills outside of the consulting room to affect social policy.

Ending the day in a reflective discussion was the perfect way to think about the great examples of leadership seen during the conference and how to take this forward.  Reflecting on perhaps an uncertain landscape, but sharing the core skills good leadership should embody.

Victoria Russ, Trainee Clinical Psychologist, University of Southampton
The Division of Clinical Psychology's 2018 Annual Conference was held in Cardiff and debuted its new two-day format. With the theme of 'Being Bold in Changing Times', the conference aimed to celebrate the innovative, creative and courageous endeavours across Clinical Psychology research and practice in the face of growing financial pressures and social inequalities. The conference consisted of talks, workshops, and poster presentations from researchers, clinicians and Experts by Experience, with wide representation from NHS, independent, third sector, and international organisations.

Having been able to attend just one of the two days, I am sure I missed out on some great talks and thought-provoking debates, however this is an overview of the first day of the conference.

The conference opened with a series of workshops. The first of which I attended was entitled: 'Understanding Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)'.

Dr Mike Lloyd (Clinical Psychologist - Cheshire & Wirral NHS) presented the therapeutic journey of a client with DID who had been accessing NHS community and inpatient mental health services for much of her adult life with limited success in reducing her distress.

Within the context of the client's distressing trauma background, Dr Lloyd described dissociation as a deliberate act within the brain to self-soothe in the face of intolerable stress and anxiety - a survival method.

Through sharing excerpts from videoed therapy sessions, an interactive session was facilitated whereby audience members were invited to hypothesise about the function and characteristics of her alters, and what their experience had been at the time of the trauma.
Dr Lloyd explained how understanding what had, and had not, happened to the alters enabled him to identify the focus for therapy, for example, teaching his client to play was fundamental in her therapeutic journey. Dr Lloyd concluded by presenting the impressive impact of therapy on the overall reduced cost to services, as evidenced by a reduction in inpatient admissions and contact with community services for this client.

The international keynote speech was delivered by Dr Susan McDaniel (Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Director of the Institute for the Family in Psychiatry, Associate Chair of the Department of Family Medicine, and Director of the Physician Faculty Communication Coaching Program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine). The talk focused on psychologists' opportunities to tackle some of the world's most pressing global health problems including; radicalisation, racism and political divide. Dr McDaniel reminded us of where psychologists can play a key role at community and societal levels in creating constructive and disruptive change.

Psychologists' knowledge of theories and science, for example, and our understanding of psychological mechanisms that activate moral concerns can be applied to a variety of community problems. Dr McDaniel spoke of the danger of not speaking to others with different opinions whereby we might lose the opportunity to challenge our own thinking. She encouraged psychologists to be involved in debates and to facilitate others to have open and respectful discussions with people with differing views.

Dr McDaniel then shared the work of clinical psychologists who are applying their psychological knowledge and skills to address societal issues. Dr Abdulrehman, for example, whose work includes preventative and proactive approaches to recognise mental health problems, builds police and community relationships and addresses divisiveness.

Dr McDaniel ended with a poignant message to reassure those of us who perhaps felt overwhelmed at the prospect of changing the world! "See your work as one piece of a larger puzzle".

Isobel Clark (Consultant Clinical Psychologist), Lucy Johnstone (Independent Trainer) and Simon Mudie (Expert by Experience and DCP Wales Lead) presented a workshop exploring the challenge of 'Working in Diagnostically-Based Systems'. In light of the recently published Power Threat Meaning framework document and the Beyond Diagnosis movement, the workshop centered around how to practically and sensitively challenge diagnosis-based thinking and incorporate a trauma-informed formulation driven approach in our working lives.

Lucy Johnstone offered encouragement in being calm and confident in our position as psychologists to use formulation-driven approaches as opposed to diagnostic labels. We were invited to encourage staff to exercise their curiosity, develop hypotheses and offer their own views to explore meaning behind a client's diagnosis and symptoms. In particular, suggest using "I" language, for example, "When he/she does....., I feel...." and then relate this to what this tells us about the client, their relationships and their experiences.

It was highlighted that the formulation can be used as a discussion point with teams to facilitate flexibility in thinking and encourage staff to consider the meaning of events for their respective clients. We were also reminded to be mindful that the client's experience of trauma can be missed or overlooked in teams, and to ensure that these experiences are appropriately considered. After a few members of the audience expressed their frustration and subsequent discouragement of working in diagnostically-based systems, Isobel Clark used the metaphor of building a sandcastle where we work hard to build something great, but sometimes the tide will come in and wash away our sandcastle. We were encouraged to remain persistent, embrace the challenges and, if necessary, re-build our sandcastles.

The keynote speaker was Expert by Experience and independent health and social care consultant Jacqui Dyer whose talk was titled, 'From Surviving to Thriving.' Jacqui emphasised that psychologists have a key role to play as leaders in tackling the complexity of discrimination within services.

We were reminded of the challenges in accessing appropriate mental health services for black and minority ethnic communities. Jacqui argued for the need to take a cooperative approach, i.e. where co-production is present at every level of service design in order to ensure parity of esteem for vulnerable communities. Jacqui emphasised that by creating ongoing dialogue and taking a systemic approach, communities have the opportunity to be on a level where their voices are heard. Jacqui brought our attention to the ways in which these approaches have already proved successful in ensuring service users and Experts by Experience have a voice that is heard, for example,  the Mental Health Taskforce, Lambeth's Black Thrive partnership.

Jacqui argued that the development and implementation of local and national policies that operate within the political and policy landscape enables services to move from surviving to thriving.

Overall the conference was filled with thought-provoking debates concerning current international issues in Clinical Psychology with an engaged audience keen to offer their experience from clinical practice and spark enthused-discussions.

 

Thu, 22/02/2018 - 15:36

Dr Julia Bower, Clinical Psychologist
Having received a bursary to attend the recent Division of Clinical Psychology Conference in Cardiff, I was asked to share some of my highlights from the day.

There were so many informative and passionate talks showcasing psychologists work from around the country that choosing which talks to go to was difficult in itself.

I particularly enjoyed hearing about the work by the editorial group who have recently produced new guidelines on 'Understanding Psychosis', a comprehensive and accessible document providing information in a matter of fact way, myth busting, and challenging media stigma.  Research from Newcastle University focussing on the experiences of visual hallucinations show cased the determination of clinicians to understand individual experiences to continue to develop innovative and person centred interventions.

The second half of the morning was spent with the Positive Behaviour Support Academy in Wales looking at service based research applying the principles of PBS across a range of inpatient services.  Promoting and teaching the model to multidisciplinary teams and working collaboratively with service users highlighted the versatility and collaborative nature of the approach.

Lunch was an opportunity to network, before the highly anticipated keynote speaker, Susie  Orbach, linking into the overarching theme of the conference, and how psychologists can be heard in society, using professional skills outside of the consulting room to affect social policy.

Ending the day in a reflective discussion was the perfect way to think about the great examples of leadership seen during the conference and how to take this forward.  Reflecting on perhaps an uncertain landscape, but sharing the core skills good leadership should embody.

Victoria Russ, Trainee Clinical Psychologist, University of Southampton
The Division of Clinical Psychology's 2018 Annual Conference was held in Cardiff and debuted its new two-day format. With the theme of 'Being Bold in Changing Times', the conference aimed to celebrate the innovative, creative and courageous endeavours across Clinical Psychology research and practice in the face of growing financial pressures and social inequalities. The conference consisted of talks, workshops, and poster presentations from researchers, clinicians and Experts by Experience, with wide representation from NHS, independent, third sector, and international organisations.

Having been able to attend just one of the two days, I am sure I missed out on some great talks and thought-provoking debates, however this is an overview of the first day of the conference.

The conference opened with a series of workshops. The first of which I attended was entitled: 'Understanding Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)'.

Dr Mike Lloyd (Clinical Psychologist - Cheshire & Wirral NHS) presented the therapeutic journey of a client with DID who had been accessing NHS community and inpatient mental health services for much of her adult life with limited success in reducing her distress.

Within the context of the client's distressing trauma background, Dr Lloyd described dissociation as a deliberate act within the brain to self-soothe in the face of intolerable stress and anxiety - a survival method.

Through sharing excerpts from videoed therapy sessions, an interactive session was facilitated whereby audience members were invited to hypothesise about the function and characteristics of her alters, and what their experience had been at the time of the trauma.
Dr Lloyd explained how understanding what had, and had not, happened to the alters enabled him to identify the focus for therapy, for example, teaching his client to play was fundamental in her therapeutic journey. Dr Lloyd concluded by presenting the impressive impact of therapy on the overall reduced cost to services, as evidenced by a reduction in inpatient admissions and contact with community services for this client.

The international keynote speech was delivered by Dr Susan McDaniel (Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Director of the Institute for the Family in Psychiatry, Associate Chair of the Department of Family Medicine, and Director of the Physician Faculty Communication Coaching Program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine). The talk focused on psychologists' opportunities to tackle some of the world's most pressing global health problems including; radicalisation, racism and political divide. Dr McDaniel reminded us of where psychologists can play a key role at community and societal levels in creating constructive and disruptive change.

Psychologists' knowledge of theories and science, for example, and our understanding of psychological mechanisms that activate moral concerns can be applied to a variety of community problems. Dr McDaniel spoke of the danger of not speaking to others with different opinions whereby we might lose the opportunity to challenge our own thinking. She encouraged psychologists to be involved in debates and to facilitate others to have open and respectful discussions with people with differing views.

Dr McDaniel then shared the work of clinical psychologists who are applying their psychological knowledge and skills to address societal issues. Dr Abdulrehman, for example, whose work includes preventative and proactive approaches to recognise mental health problems, builds police and community relationships and addresses divisiveness.

Dr McDaniel ended with a poignant message to reassure those of us who perhaps felt overwhelmed at the prospect of changing the world! "See your work as one piece of a larger puzzle".

Isobel Clark (Consultant Clinical Psychologist), Lucy Johnstone (Independent Trainer) and Simon Mudie (Expert by Experience and DCP Wales Lead) presented a workshop exploring the challenge of 'Working in Diagnostically-Based Systems'. In light of the recently published Power Threat Meaning framework document and the Beyond Diagnosis movement, the workshop centered around how to practically and sensitively challenge diagnosis-based thinking and incorporate a trauma-informed formulation driven approach in our working lives.

Lucy Johnstone offered encouragement in being calm and confident in our position as psychologists to use formulation-driven approaches as opposed to diagnostic labels. We were invited to encourage staff to exercise their curiosity, develop hypotheses and offer their own views to explore meaning behind a client's diagnosis and symptoms. In particular, suggest using "I" language, for example, "When he/she does....., I feel...." and then relate this to what this tells us about the client, their relationships and their experiences.

It was highlighted that the formulation can be used as a discussion point with teams to facilitate flexibility in thinking and encourage staff to consider the meaning of events for their respective clients. We were also reminded to be mindful that the client's experience of trauma can be missed or overlooked in teams, and to ensure that these experiences are appropriately considered. After a few members of the audience expressed their frustration and subsequent discouragement of working in diagnostically-based systems, Isobel Clark used the metaphor of building a sandcastle where we work hard to build something great, but sometimes the tide will come in and wash away our sandcastle. We were encouraged to remain persistent, embrace the challenges and, if necessary, re-build our sandcastles.

The keynote speaker was Expert by Experience and independent health and social care consultant Jacqui Dyer whose talk was titled, 'From Surviving to Thriving.' Jacqui emphasised that psychologists have a key role to play as leaders in tackling the complexity of discrimination within services.

We were reminded of the challenges in accessing appropriate mental health services for black and minority ethnic communities. Jacqui argued for the need to take a cooperative approach, i.e. where co-production is present at every level of service design in order to ensure parity of esteem for vulnerable communities. Jacqui emphasised that by creating ongoing dialogue and taking a systemic approach, communities have the opportunity to be on a level where their voices are heard. Jacqui brought our attention to the ways in which these approaches have already proved successful in ensuring service users and Experts by Experience have a voice that is heard, for example,  the Mental Health Taskforce, Lambeth's Black Thrive partnership.

Jacqui argued that the development and implementation of local and national policies that operate within the political and policy landscape enables services to move from surviving to thriving.

Overall the conference was filled with thought-provoking debates concerning current international issues in Clinical Psychology with an engaged audience keen to offer their experience from clinical practice and spark enthused-discussions.

 

Thu, 22/02/2018 - 15:36

Dr Julia Bower, Clinical Psychologist
Having received a bursary to attend the recent Division of Clinical Psychology Conference in Cardiff, I was asked to share some of my highlights from the day.

There were so many informative and passionate talks showcasing psychologists work from around the country that choosing which talks to go to was difficult in itself.

I particularly enjoyed hearing about the work by the editorial group who have recently produced new guidelines on 'Understanding Psychosis', a comprehensive and accessible document providing information in a matter of fact way, myth busting, and challenging media stigma.  Research from Newcastle University focussing on the experiences of visual hallucinations show cased the determination of clinicians to understand individual experiences to continue to develop innovative and person centred interventions.

The second half of the morning was spent with the Positive Behaviour Support Academy in Wales looking at service based research applying the principles of PBS across a range of inpatient services.  Promoting and teaching the model to multidisciplinary teams and working collaboratively with service users highlighted the versatility and collaborative nature of the approach.

Lunch was an opportunity to network, before the highly anticipated keynote speaker, Susie  Orbach, linking into the overarching theme of the conference, and how psychologists can be heard in society, using professional skills outside of the consulting room to affect social policy.

Ending the day in a reflective discussion was the perfect way to think about the great examples of leadership seen during the conference and how to take this forward.  Reflecting on perhaps an uncertain landscape, but sharing the core skills good leadership should embody.

Victoria Russ, Trainee Clinical Psychologist, University of Southampton
The Division of Clinical Psychology's 2018 Annual Conference was held in Cardiff and debuted its new two-day format. With the theme of 'Being Bold in Changing Times', the conference aimed to celebrate the innovative, creative and courageous endeavours across Clinical Psychology research and practice in the face of growing financial pressures and social inequalities. The conference consisted of talks, workshops, and poster presentations from researchers, clinicians and Experts by Experience, with wide representation from NHS, independent, third sector, and international organisations.

Having been able to attend just one of the two days, I am sure I missed out on some great talks and thought-provoking debates, however this is an overview of the first day of the conference.

The conference opened with a series of workshops. The first of which I attended was entitled: 'Understanding Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)'.

Dr Mike Lloyd (Clinical Psychologist - Cheshire & Wirral NHS) presented the therapeutic journey of a client with DID who had been accessing NHS community and inpatient mental health services for much of her adult life with limited success in reducing her distress.

Within the context of the client's distressing trauma background, Dr Lloyd described dissociation as a deliberate act within the brain to self-soothe in the face of intolerable stress and anxiety - a survival method.

Through sharing excerpts from videoed therapy sessions, an interactive session was facilitated whereby audience members were invited to hypothesise about the function and characteristics of her alters, and what their experience had been at the time of the trauma.
Dr Lloyd explained how understanding what had, and had not, happened to the alters enabled him to identify the focus for therapy, for example, teaching his client to play was fundamental in her therapeutic journey. Dr Lloyd concluded by presenting the impressive impact of therapy on the overall reduced cost to services, as evidenced by a reduction in inpatient admissions and contact with community services for this client.

The international keynote speech was delivered by Dr Susan McDaniel (Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Director of the Institute for the Family in Psychiatry, Associate Chair of the Department of Family Medicine, and Director of the Physician Faculty Communication Coaching Program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine). The talk focused on psychologists' opportunities to tackle some of the world's most pressing global health problems including; radicalisation, racism and political divide. Dr McDaniel reminded us of where psychologists can play a key role at community and societal levels in creating constructive and disruptive change.

Psychologists' knowledge of theories and science, for example, and our understanding of psychological mechanisms that activate moral concerns can be applied to a variety of community problems. Dr McDaniel spoke of the danger of not speaking to others with different opinions whereby we might lose the opportunity to challenge our own thinking. She encouraged psychologists to be involved in debates and to facilitate others to have open and respectful discussions with people with differing views.

Dr McDaniel then shared the work of clinical psychologists who are applying their psychological knowledge and skills to address societal issues. Dr Abdulrehman, for example, whose work includes preventative and proactive approaches to recognise mental health problems, builds police and community relationships and addresses divisiveness.

Dr McDaniel ended with a poignant message to reassure those of us who perhaps felt overwhelmed at the prospect of changing the world! "See your work as one piece of a larger puzzle".

Isobel Clark (Consultant Clinical Psychologist), Lucy Johnstone (Independent Trainer) and Simon Mudie (Expert by Experience and DCP Wales Lead) presented a workshop exploring the challenge of 'Working in Diagnostically-Based Systems'. In light of the recently published Power Threat Meaning framework document and the Beyond Diagnosis movement, the workshop centered around how to practically and sensitively challenge diagnosis-based thinking and incorporate a trauma-informed formulation driven approach in our working lives.

Lucy Johnstone offered encouragement in being calm and confident in our position as psychologists to use formulation-driven approaches as opposed to diagnostic labels. We were invited to encourage staff to exercise their curiosity, develop hypotheses and offer their own views to explore meaning behind a client's diagnosis and symptoms. In particular, suggest using "I" language, for example, "When he/she does....., I feel...." and then relate this to what this tells us about the client, their relationships and their experiences.

It was highlighted that the formulation can be used as a discussion point with teams to facilitate flexibility in thinking and encourage staff to consider the meaning of events for their respective clients. We were also reminded to be mindful that the client's experience of trauma can be missed or overlooked in teams, and to ensure that these experiences are appropriately considered. After a few members of the audience expressed their frustration and subsequent discouragement of working in diagnostically-based systems, Isobel Clark used the metaphor of building a sandcastle where we work hard to build something great, but sometimes the tide will come in and wash away our sandcastle. We were encouraged to remain persistent, embrace the challenges and, if necessary, re-build our sandcastles.

The keynote speaker was Expert by Experience and independent health and social care consultant Jacqui Dyer whose talk was titled, 'From Surviving to Thriving.' Jacqui emphasised that psychologists have a key role to play as leaders in tackling the complexity of discrimination within services.

We were reminded of the challenges in accessing appropriate mental health services for black and minority ethnic communities. Jacqui argued for the need to take a cooperative approach, i.e. where co-production is present at every level of service design in order to ensure parity of esteem for vulnerable communities. Jacqui emphasised that by creating ongoing dialogue and taking a systemic approach, communities have the opportunity to be on a level where their voices are heard. Jacqui brought our attention to the ways in which these approaches have already proved successful in ensuring service users and Experts by Experience have a voice that is heard, for example,  the Mental Health Taskforce, Lambeth's Black Thrive partnership.

Jacqui argued that the development and implementation of local and national policies that operate within the political and policy landscape enables services to move from surviving to thriving.

Overall the conference was filled with thought-provoking debates concerning current international issues in Clinical Psychology with an engaged audience keen to offer their experience from clinical practice and spark enthused-discussions.

 

Thu, 22/02/2018 - 15:36

Despite the fact that there is a great deal of uncertainty at the moment, lots of good work is still happening throughout the DCP – in Branches, Nations, Faculties and other groups. For example:

  • On 13 October the second edition of Understanding Psychosis was launched, and the BPS have arranged access to this document both now and for the future through a Creative Commons License.
  • The Faculty for Older People (FPOP) have launched guidelines on psychologically informed older people's inpatient settings, with launch events in the 4 nations taking place in 2017 and a joint event planned with the RCPsych for March 2018.
  • The “CSR” (comprehensive spending review) Group chaired by Prof Tony Lavender continues to work together and with stakeholders to try to preserve the funding model for Clinical Psychology training.
  • We have established a grant scheme through which we can now fund projects which are in line with DCP & BPS Objectives. We are redirecting “stuck” projects through this route initially and will then open the scheme to new applications.
  • A new DCP publication Understanding Eating Disorders is nearly ready for publication.
  • The Power Threat Meaning framework will be launched by Lucy Johnstone & Mary Boyle and colleagues on 12 January 2018.
  • We have a great Conference programme and conference fringe organised for 17-18 January 2018 in Cardiff.
  • Alison Clarke (Chair of the BPS Professional Practice Board) and I, along with 8 other panellists representing a wide range of perspectives, participated in an event organised by the Psychological Professions Network in the North West about the future professional representation of Clinical Psychology in October in Manchester. The event was live-streamed and can still be viewed at :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOtfRNDt8T0
  • Linked to our work on staff wellbeing, we are contributing to an APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) meeting re. Healthy Workplaces on 14 November at the Houses of Parliament.
  • We have organised a two day lifespan EbE network event in York on 21-22 November 2017 in partnership with DCP Faculty for Children, Young People & their Families (CYPF), Faculty for Older People (FPOP), Experts by Experience and Young Minds.
  • Following on from the SGM in July, the DCP Exec in partnership with Branches, Nations and Courses is co-leading engagement events throughout the UK in October 2017 – January 2018.

But we also face significant problems:

  • Our professional training funding model remains at risk.
  • We have been unable to progress our Inclusivity Strategy and many other important initiatives.
  • Our Executive committee is dwindling as the “recompense” issues drags on and we have no solution as yet.
  • We have significant gaps in the Exec; we have no PSU Director, no England Chair, no lead for policy, media or comms, no Adult area lead, no Physical Health area lead, and the new FPOP Chair has been unable to join the Exec as Older Peoples’ area lead so that role is also vacant.
  • Many DCP members have concerns about the Member Network Review proposals and what these could mean for the DCP.

The DCP Executive made a formal complaint to the BPS Board of Trustees (BoT) in March about the lack of progress on the “recompense” issue and a number of other proposed roles and initiatives that were stuck in the system. In late April, BPS Chief Executive Prof Ann Colley informed all the Division Chairs that no further recompense of any kind could be paid going forwards (due to BPS understanding of Charity Commission guidance re the legal position), but that the BPS would consider additional employed roles to support the Divisions. Prof Colley retired at the end of September.

We received what we felt to be an unsatisfactory response in May to our complaint, which we therefore rejected, and we put forward a request for mediation. We have been informed that our request for mediation has been rejected, but that members of the BoT would like to meet with us to try to find ways to move forwards. A date for this meeting has now been set for 16 January.

In August Simon Gelsthorpe (DCP Treasurer) and I met with Helen Clark, BPS Membership Services Director (shortly before she left the BPS to take up another post) to put together a proposal for 4 new employed / contracted roles to support the Division. Two of these have been proposed over a year ago but not actioned, viz. a project officer and a policy, media & comms officer. Neither of these posts would need to be filled by a psychologist. However we also proposed two roles that would; a part time CPF editor & publications lead and a “DCP officer” who could take on other functions previously delivered by the PSU & MSU Directors, Treasurer and some elements of Chair’s role such as attending certain meetings on behalf of the Division. I have had a further meeting with BPS colleagues in October to try to move these proposals forward.

The question of the DCP subscription has also been raised by members, given that subs were raised to cover costs of recompense but no more recompense is being paid. In fact some recompense has been paid during 2016 and 2017 while some pre-existing arrangements were still in place, and while back-payment was made in one instance. However, since August 2017, no recompense arrangements are in place for any DCP officer bar one branch chair.

The DCP Exec has explored whether the DCP subscription can be reduced, however we have been informed that we would need to have this agreed before April 2018 to take effect in 2019. Meanwhile we hope to get agreement to fund our proposed employed roles, and if this is agreed we need to budget for this. We also do not know how many members may choose to discontinue their membership from January 2018 now that they have the opportunity to join the ACP. We will therefore aim to produce a new proposed budget for 2018 and 2019, to propose a subscription fee to support this, and to put this to a vote of the membership in the New Year.

At the BPS General Assembly in October, the members of the BPS Senior Management Team all participated as well as most of the Trustees, and there was a sense of an emerging culture change. We tested out new ways of working together to agree priorities, in preparation for the transition to a “Senate” in 2018 as part of the BPS Structural Review. We heard that 2018 will also be a year of further engagement and co-production of the Member Network proposals, and new ideas were encouraged.

I am pleased to see signs of change and I really hope that a new model of support for the DCP can be agreed and put into action. However, time has run out for me personally. My NHS post changed at the beginning of October and my significantly increased responsibilities coupled with no backfill for the role of DCP Chair since I started in May 2016 make it impossible for me to continue. I will therefore be standing down at the January 2018 AGM. We have already put out a call for nominations for a Chair Elect in line with the expected cycle; I am very pleased that Julia Faulconbridge, who has served on the DCP Exec Committee as Child Area Lead and is also a former Chair of the CYPF Faculty has agreed to take on the role of interim DCP UK Chair with the support of the Exec committee.

Dr Esther Cohen-Tovée
DCP UK Chair                             

Wed, 15/11/2017 - 17:37

The system

As BPS members, your Society subscription goes towards the whole  infrastructure which includes the BPS offices in Leicester and London, office staff which includes the Senior Management Team, devolved nation support, Member Network Services, Professional Development Centre etc , plus the costs associated with the website. Your additional membership fee for the DCP comes into our budget as “income”. It is Simon’s responsibility as Treasurer to oversee the “budget” (our plans to spend it) and report the financial position to the DCP Executive Committee every month.

Simon does not make decisions about spending, as these are by the Executive Committee as a group, not by the Treasurer alone. The Exec is usually advised by the DCP Finance Sub-Committee (chaired by the Treasurer) which exists to give more time to consider grant applications, business cases and spending plans. Some of the budget is committed in advance to fund Office Services to the Division, our Annual Conference, and production of Clinical Psychology Forum (CPF). We have up until now allocated funds to backfill key leadership roles including Exec committee roles and the Editor of CPF. We allocate funding for travel and accommodation to enable the Exec to have meetings including the wider bi-annual Representative Assembly. All DCP Network chairs & Exec members are centrally funded to attend the Representative Assembly meetings and we also traditionally fund places for them and the CPF Editorial team at the DCP conference. This is a modest benefit to those undertaking these roles.

The Treasurer and other Exec members cannot actually implement spending money; this can only be done by BPS employees. To put this in everyday terms – the DCP does not have a bank account; nor a cheque book or cash card. Essentially the BPS holds our money and we ask them to make payments for us. For example, when a travel expenses claim form arrives at the BPS office, someone has to decide which part of the BPS should pay it (so that the BPS office staff know which treasurer to send it to for approval – remember that at any given point in time there will be approximately 110 treasurers in the BPS as there is one for most subgroups – the DCP alone has about 50. Remember too that this group of Treasurers is constantly changing as people come into and leave the role. ). It is then scanned with the Member’s bank account details removed (data protection) and the scan is emailed to the relevant treasurer. The treasurer has to say yes or no to payment and email the response back to the BPS accounts team who then actually implement/effect the payment. Each payment is given a numerical code to describe which budget/cost centre it is to come from and a separate code to describe what the payment is for. This coding means that during the year we can know how much money we have spent and on what, more of which later.  All decisions about spending need to be recorded in a way that renders them auditable by an external accountant.

We are very ably assisted in this process by Phil Kelsey (BPS Accounts) and Helen Barnett (BPS Member Networks).

There are several key points you need to understand in relation to financial management of your Membership fees.

  • First of all, the DCP only exists as a part of the BPS – it does not exist as a ”legal entity” on its own. This is important because it means that ultimate responsibility for our spending lies with the BPS Board of Trustees and the money is ultimately BPS money.
  • The BPS is a Charity and is therefore compelled to follow Charity laws and is governed by the Charity Commission. There are strict rules about how, and on what, charities can spend money. Their accounting systems have to be able to show how they spent their money.
  • Following recent very public charity disasters like Kidscape, the Charity Commission is being much more rigorous in examining Charity finances
  • Charities are expected to make high use of volunteers and to spend their money for the public benefit
  • Many other professional bodies are charities

 

What do we normally buy with your Membership fees?

And how much does it cost?

If we look at the years 2015 and 2016 we see a relatively stable pattern of spending.

At the beginning of every year we immediately give a proportion of your fees directly to the DCP Faculties, Nations and regional branches. Each group gets an amount which is a set figure per member; last year it was £3 per head.

This leaves the Exec Committee with “income available to spend”. In the past couple of years this has amounted to somewhere around £480K p.a.

Every year we tend to have two big one-off payments to take out of this amount and they tend to be paid in the first three months. We pay the BPS to provide “Office Services” and we pay for the DCP Conference. The Office services bill is made up mostly of costs relating to the production of Clinical Psychology Forum and in particular its preparation for printing (for which we use the BPS P4P team). Along with postage and printing costs our annual office services charge is between £40 - £50k. The annual conference is slightly different. We usually set the conference fees at a level to break even on an estimated number of paying attendees. If the conference does not get that number of paying attendees, it loses money. In addition we usually pay the attendance and accommodation fees of the Members of the DCP Executive Committee and the DCP Conference Committee, and we pay for bursaries to enable Experts by Experience to attend. In short, the Conference usually costs us money rather than making a profit. The 2015 conference made a large loss, the 2017 conference also made a loss but a much smaller one. For 2018 we have decided to reduce the fees and allocate more central funding to the Conference in order to try to make it  accessible to more members. It goes without saying that the Annual Conference and CPF are valuable resources to Members in terms of ensuring we are all able to practice to the highest standards through their dissemination of up to date research and discussion of professional issues.

Our biggest category of spending over the last two years has been “Recompense”. This is the word used to describe paying for the time of DCP elected officers. It takes two principal forms: the main one is paying “backfill” to the organisations that employ people (for example Simon as Treasurer is employed by Bradford District Care Foundation Trust) and the second type is directly paying those officers who could be described as “self –employed”. Although the Board of Trustees instigated a freeze on any new recompense arrangements, we have had a number of elected officials whose recompense arrangements predated this and which have therefore been paid until the end of their term of office. Over the last two years we have generally spent about £200K per annum on this, covering approximately 10-15 people’s roles each year. The recompense that was paid for the CPF Editor is included in this figure. This tends to be spent throughout the year as and when organisations send us their invoices, and can trickle out steadily or go out in big chunks. This makes it difficult for the Treasurer to predict the “run rate” (i.e. the expected monthly amount). Furthermore, because the BPS financial year runs January to December whereas the NHS runs on an April to March financial year, accurate annual figures are difficult to produce, as we tend to get last minute invoices in March that cover the (to the BPS) previous financial year.

Following the Board of Trustees’ decision, no new recompense arrangements have been put in place, and nearly all historical arrangements have now come to an end. Esther has written elsewhere about the impact this is having and the situation of crisis. To replace the recompense system, the Exec are discussing with the BPS the possibility of new roles (to be BPS employees) to take on as much as possible of the functions which cannot be delivered on a voluntary basis. These include a Policy, Communications & Media Liaison role (to help influence policy and promote a public awareness of Clinical Psychology) and a Project Officer (to help co-ordinate the work of the Division and ensure projects are well managed and deliver the intended outputs).

Next in terms of annual spend is usually travel costs (approximately 30-40k) which is spent on getting your elected officers from all over the UK to meetings. Many of these meetings are with external national bodies and are key to promoting the role and voice of clinical psychology on your behalf. For example attending meetings with NHS England, national projects such as IAPT, APPTS, The New Savoy Conference, the new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Applied Psychology, and the Mental Health Taskforce. Of course there are also internal meetings within the DCP where our work is coordinated and planned. Recent examples include meetings to produce the revised “Understanding Psychosis”, and the DCP also funded the production of hard copies and the costs of the launch event – all of which help raise the profile and publicise the relevance of our profession. There are other costs associated with these meetings which are coded separately as “catering and venues” (£10-20k) which cover the fees we pay to the places where we have our meetings/conferences as they move round the country – they are normally hotels. In terms of travel and accommodation we do not exceed the BPS maximum allowable amounts.

We already use telephone conferencing for a lot of our meetings, and as we increase our use of teleconferencing/video conferencing we anticipate that travel and venue costs will reduce, thereby getting you better value for money. The DCP Exec committee now has six face to face meetings and six teleconferences per year.  The costs of teleconference are met centrally by the BPS and there is no direct cost to the DCP. In recent years the BPS has also paid individuals or organisations directly to provide us with services where this has been approved through business cases. This is called “Contracts for Services” and some of the work needed to produce DCP documents has been hired in and paid for in this way. This has amounted to £15-20K in recent years, resulting in documents such as “Understanding Psychosis” and “What good looks like in Children & Young Peoples’ Psychological Services”. The Charity Commission has strict guidance about how charities should undertake “contracts for services” including a process of tendering for contracts to ensure contracts are awarded on a fair and equitable basis and in a transparent manner (in other words, not just asking your mates to do it). This has enabled us to produce many documents that ensure our profession has an outward facing profile and can raise public awareness of the value of Clinical Psychologists. However, in the future we plan to make more use of the DCP “Grant scheme” where we can award grants to other institutions/organisations to undertake work on our behalf. We have already awarded several of these grants to help our work on mentoring, looking after the wellbeing of clinical psychologists, overcoming cultural bias in services, and producing supportive resources for people with neurodegenerative diseases. So far we have mostly awarded these to Universities but we can award them to NHS Trusts and other bodies – they must however be a “legal entity”. For more information on how you can access these grants, please contact Simon at the email address below.

In recent years we have also set aside money to spend on paying Experts by Experience (service users) for the time they spend working with us in coproduction of DCP projects and Membership of committees including the DCP Exec, covering their travel and accommodation where required, and a hourly / day rate fee for their time. We now have a flourishing EbE network and have organised some very engaging and creative events, including the EbE network events in Birmingham in 2016 and York in November 2017, and the Conference Fringe in Liverpool in 2017 (there will also be a Conference Fringe in Cardiff in January 2018). We believe that this spending demonstrates our commitment to our values.

Lastly, if at the end of the year (December) we have money left over from our income, it is automatically added to our reserves. Conversely, if we spend more than our available income and have run up a deficit/overspend it is met by taking money out of our reserves. The Charity Commission frowns upon charities building up large reserves. However currently we have accrued reserves of £852,000. We hope to be able to use these funds for the benefit of both our members and the public through our Grant Scheme and through future initiatives.

We hope this goes some way to explaining what your membership fees are spent on. Any further queries can be addressed to the Treasurer at [email protected]

Simon Gelsthorpe - DCP Treasurer
Esther Cohen-Tovée - DCP UK Chair

 

Thu, 09/11/2017 - 09:39

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