Division of Occupational Psychology

DOP Chairs Blog September 2017

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