Division of Occupational Psychology

DOP Chairs blog November 2017

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/