Division of Occupational Psychology


This week saw the launch of the Psychology at Work document, which is a long-awaited review of the research into health and well-being at work, neurodiversity and touches on relevant issues in the changing economy, for example gig workers and so on.

Report authors, Dr Ashley Weinberg and Dr Nancy Doyle (both members of the Division) took part in a panel event in the Thames Pavilion in the seat of our government at Westminster in front of MPs, Peers and leading members of a variety of organisations conducting work in this area. This was the first meeting of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in Psychology, chaired by Dr Lisa Cameron MP, who emphasised the importance of this report. The British Psychological Society provides the secretariat for this group. This is a really exciting developing for psychology, and members of the DOP and issues at work have been front and centre in the issues discussed. This demonstrates the importance of the work we do as Occupational Psychologists and academics in contributing to real world issues in a meaningful way.

We walked through a number of historic halls and corridors to get to our place, surrounded by statues of (male) politicians and a few Kings and Queens of the past. We thought we saw one female statue but it turned out to be William Pitt the Younger. While statues such as these are unlikely to change in the near future, we have a more diverse Parliament now, and psychology has some influence here – for example Professor Jo Silvester’s work into selecting MPs. See here for an interview in The Psychologist in 2010: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-23/edition-5/what-makes-good-p...

Dr Cameron is MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow and currently sits on the Health Select Committee and Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion. She is the Shadow SNP Spokesperson for Mental Health and previously sat on committees in relation to international development. In addition to chairing the Psychology APPG, she also chairs one on Disability, for which the secretariat is provided by Disability Rights UK. She trained as a clinical psychologist and specialised in clinical and forensic psychology. (See her Parliamentary page here https://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/dr-lisa-cameron/4412/election-results)

This new APPG is a great vehicle for providing psychological evidence to MPs and highlighting the importance of research in making policy. Health and Well-being at work is an area of priority for the BPS and work has also been presented on the impact of sanctioning job seekers, which the BPS argues is ineffective in achieving its aims and can lead to further poverty and other negative outcomes for those affected.

There were a number of DOP representatives present at the event, including myself as Chair. Christine Hamilton of OPiPP, Joanna Wilde, Karen Royle of the Work and Health Group and others. Several trustees including our president, Nicola Gale and Daryl O’Connor, Chair of the Research Board were also present. There were a great number of questions and the discussion could have gone on but for the limited time. New directions were proposed on how we can further promote psychological research to those who influence policy.

You can download your copy of the Psychology and Work report here: https://beta.bps.org.uk/sites/beta.bps.org.uk/files/Policy%20-%20Files/Psychology%20at%20Work%20-%20improving%20wellbeing%20and%20productivity%20in%20the%20workplace.pdf

If you would like to find out more about All-Party-Parliamentary Groups, click here: https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-financial-interests/parliamentary-commissioner-for-standards/registers-of-interests/register-of-all-party-party-parliamentary-groups/

Wed, 22/11/2017 - 10:25

What we have been doing in the DOP in 2017

I’ve now been in the role of Chair for 9 months and it has certainly been a busy time with lots to do. I would like to use this blog to update you about what the committee have been doing since January and hope to provide updates here in the future.

Reviewing Full Membership

What it means to be a Full Member of the Division has changed, particularly since HCPC registration. While traditionally there has been a split between the practitioner focus of Divisions and academic focus of Sections, our Division is the result of a merger of Division and Section. Full membership does not confer a license to practice, so what does it mean?

For Full membership, Members must currently have gained Chartership through a Master’s degree followed by supervised practice. This means Chartered members of the Society who are academics cannot become Full Members. We also have a group of Members who are Chartered with a non-adjectival title. Currently, they are also not permitted to be full members.

In discussing this, the committee felt that those with relevant qualifications and experience should be eligible for Full Membership. We are therefore in discussions with the BPS about the possibility of this.

The Division of Health Psychology have followed this process and thus have shown us the way. This means the Membership Standards Board will have prior experience of changing the rules in this way. I will be working with them to make sure we follow the process correctly.

Developing an Influencing Strategy

We have been working on an influencing policy which will focus our efforts to influence externally with government and organisations and also internally with the Society and our Members.  So far we have established the general areas for our priorities for each. These are as follows:


  1. Health, Well-being, Resilience and Stress Management

  2. Diversity and Inclusion

  3. Organisational Development


  4. Health, Well-being, Resilience and Stress Management

  5. Diversity and Inclusion

  6. Responding to Brexit and wide economic changes

    Christine Hamilton from OPIPP and I have been working with the BPS Policy Team and committee to drill these down further. Carole Watling has also agreed to be our consultations liaison, ensuring that the DOP voice is heard in BPS responses to government consultations. Carole is a long-standing member of the DOP’s Psychology of Health and Well-being Working Group and we look forward to her making this role her own.

    You may also be aware that the BPS has a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Psychology, for which the Society will be providing the Secretariat function. This has been initiated alongside our psychologist MP, Dr Lisa Cameron of East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow.

    You can find out more about APPGs here: http://www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/apg/

    Clarifying the DOP Position on Supervision

    The new Generic Professional Practice Guidelines have now been released, with contributions from five DOP members. During discussions in the Professional Practice Board meeting, the issue of supervision was an interesting discussion and many felt that supervision should be required by all psychologists regardless of specific title. It was apparent that a stronger position statement by the DOP was required to understand how supervision relates to our profession.

    We are pursuing options with the BPS on how this work can be carried out.

    Updating OP Matters

    Our Editor, Robert Goate, has been doing remarkable work with OP Matters. It has been suggested to me that we should consider having an Editorial Board of six, however Robert consistently delivers four times a year with only one supporting editor.

    We have now discussed changing the format of OP Matters to take advantage of electronic technology and Robert has published information about this in the publication. As time moves on, it is right that we review some of our standard practice and I’m looking forward to being able to see new features and possible content, including colour features and video.

    Introducing Video Abstracting

    Descartes said that “The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.” With video technology, imagine having seeing the finest minds tell you about their ideas.

    I have submitted a paper to the Board of Trustees to request that BPS Journals include video formatting so that we can enrich the content of our journals, become accessible to a wider audience, and more easily present ideas to the media for mass consumption.

    Having worked with a range of people who have difficulty accessing information in journals as they have a level of reading which falls outside of the style of journal articles, consideration of the way we communicate is of particular interest to me. Not all of those I see are dyslexic - with widening participation in higher education, there is a wider range of reading ability meaning accessibility is more important than ever. I would like to see people able to access psychological research regardless of their reading level.

    This will require an implementation plan if accepted but I think it is well worth it.

    Revising our Awards

    Our awards are currently open for nominations, and I would encourage you to visit our awards page for further information.


    The awards are highly valued and a great way to recognise excellence in practice and research. However, as time moves forward, it has been time to make sure they are achieving what we would like them too. We have now completed this task and this will be the last year in their current format. Our review has covered the whole process of the awards from start to finish. We will be announcing changes at our next conference.

    Responding to changes to the Society

    You are all likely to be aware of the Member Network Review. This was undertaken following a development of the BPS Strategies and Priorities, and it was felt time to rationalise whether the BPS was structured well to meet the aims and objectives. It is therefore a good time to consider the Division too.

    The committee are discussing how we will need to manage the changes in the DOP in the context of these wider developments. We would like to make sure the DOP voice is heard during implementation and that we work alongside the BPS in making this work effectively. We had a very productive discussion earlier in September where a number of ideas were floated which we would like to explore further. How we go about this will be discussed at our next committee meeting and we will communicate the outcomes in due course.

    These include how to use volunteer time effectively, how to ensure our structure and functions meet member needs and DOP aims, and the process.

    If you would like to contribute, please do let me know, but it is our intention to reach out to as many people as possible.

Julie Freeborn
Chair 2017-2019, Division of Occupational Psychology


Thu, 21/09/2017 - 14:48


Outward looking and making friends

As I prepare this first (and last) blog as the Chair of the Division of Occupational Psychology, I aim to provide some insights over the past year.

The DOP is not an island. It is a Division that is best served by having friends. We have been working more closely with other Member Networks, including Divisions and Branches. Since 2014, the President and Chairs from other Divisions and Special Groups have contributed to stimulating discussions at our annual conference and this will continue. If you attend conference and have not attended these sessions previously, you may wish to consider adding it to your conference schedule. In 2016, the discussion focused on Psychology: Is the public aware of its contribution to society? In 2017, the BPS President and Divisions & Special Groups Chairs will take part in a session Social Justice in the United Kingdom: The role of psychologists in supporting a ‘just’ perspective.

The conference serves also to invite our international colleagues to our discussions. For example, in 2016, the President of our own Society, Professor Jamie Hacker-Hughes, along with the Presidents of EAWOP, Professor Gudela Grote, and of SIOP, Professor Steve Kozlowski contributed to a discussion on having impact, Increasing the impact of psychology in public policy: An international perspective. In 2017, our Professional Leaders Panel Discussion: Psychology: One message or many? will include contributions from Nancy Tippins, SIOP’s representative, Steve Apps, ABP’s representative, Peter Kinderman, BPS President and Roxane L. Gervais, Chair, Division of Occupational Psychology.

As part of our Leadership Development Programme since 2015, the cadre has included DOP members, as well as those from the Division of Counselling Psychology. This miscellany has generated quite a lot of energy and synergy and has shown the benefits that diversity brings to any group.

The past Chairs of the Occupational Section and DOP met on 22nd April 2016 in London. This was a very productive meeting and progressed a history page for the Division. You will hear more about this at the conference, when the Division launches the page. This meeting was also to discuss the publication of a book on the history and achievements of occupational psychology, ‘looking back and moving forward’ a key theme in what we do and what we wish to accomplish. The past chairs were very interested in the project and the Division will move this forward in 2017. If you wish to contribute to this worthwhile publication, please get in touch.

The Division’s Working Groups are diligent in organising events for you the members and we hope that you find these useful. The DOP’s committee appreciate all feedback on what we do to progress the profession and the discipline. An overview of the Division is available in one of its most recent publications, Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP). Structure & Groups.

The Division contributes to those internal and external consultations to which the Society desires to have an input. The Division wishes to increase its contributions to these and thereby positively influence what happens in the workplace. If you wish to add your expertise to these consultations, please get in touch as you can make a difference.

You the members are the Division and the Division will only be stronger and more influential when we work together.

Roxane L. Gervais

Chair 2015-2017, Division of Occupational Psychology, British Psychological Society

Fri, 23/12/2016 - 10:37


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