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