Scottish Branch @BPSScot

Welcome to the Scottish Branch of the British Psychological Society.

The Branch exists to promote and advance Psychology as a whole, but with particular relevance to policy and practice in Scotland. 

Message from the chair...

I am delighted and honoured to be elected as the Chair of the Scottish Branch. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Scott Hardie for all his efforts and hard work over the past two years as Chair. Scott will now assume the role of Past Chair until the next AGM. I would also like to express my thanks Niamh Friel for her work on the committee as Honorary Secretary. Niamh will continued as an elected member.

I was recently supplied with information about the history of the Scottish Branch which I thought it would be interesting to share. The Scottish Branch was founded Edinburgh in 1924. Apparently, that makes the Scottish Branch the oldest still extant Branch of the Society. The earliest recorded membership figure in 1925 was 58. The membership has grown substantially over the years and currently stands at around 4000. The first Scottish Office opened in December 1974 at the University of Stirling and by 1983 it had moved to Aberdeen. The idea of a Scottish based office was revived in 2001. We currently have a base at Glasgow Caledonian University. The person who carried out the research into the history of the Scottish Branch said that there was almost no Scottish Branch material and wondered whether we could issue a call for any members with minutes, papers, AGM programmes, and photographs who would be willing to donate this material to the archives.

Looking at our priorities over the coming year, the Scottish Branch will continue to engage with its members in a variety of ways. We are making greater use of social media, including Twitter, to share information on a regular basis. Thanks to Bridget Hanna for helping to take this initiative forward. We would like to encourage members to retweet to keep information live. The provision of HUBS provides an important means of engaging Scottish Branch members and providing networking opportunities especially for those who live in more rural areas and who may not be members of Divisions. We plan to run 3 HUBS events each year. We will also continue to hold at least one scientific meeting per year. I would like to express my thanks to Gellisse Bagnall for her ongoing work in HUBS.

It is important that we support activities which lead to more young people studying psychology at different levels. Looking at students studying psychology in secondary schools and colleges, the working group on pre-tertiary psychology education will continue to focus their efforts on this vital area. It is hoped that an event can be held in June this year to bring together stakeholders with an interest in this area. This would be on the back of a very successful event held last year. At the tertiary education level, the Branch will continue to support the Undergraduate Conference. This conference provides the opportunity to support and promote the excellent research being undertaken by undergraduate psychology students in higher education institutions across Scotland.  Furthermore, over recent years, the Futures Fair has become a key feature of the undergraduate conference. This event provide delegates with the opportunity to find out more about potential career options through talking to potential employers and to psychologists working in a range of fields. The next undergraduate conference is being held on Saturday 24th March at the University of Glasgow. Thanks to Jason Bohan for acting as lead in the organising committee. Looking at postgraduate level, as Scott noted in his report, there are plans to run the first postgraduate student research conference in 2018.

I am keen that we continue to find ways to promote cross-Divisional working and events. It is important that we share our different perspectives and learn from each other. This leads to new ideas and ways of thinking about the challenges facing our society and the potential contribution of psychology. The Scottish Steering Group is an important forum whereby representatives of the Scottish Branch committee, usually the Chair and Chair Elect or Past Chair, meet with the Chairs (or reps) of the Scottish Divisions. They can share key developments in their respective areas of work.  Such discussions have led to cross-divisional events such as the evidenced based practice day held in in March 2017.

We will continue to look for opportunities to influence policy and practice and I plan to work closely with Divisional Chairs, Pagoda, and Nigel Atter, BPS Policy Advisor. Nigel has Scottish policy development/engagement as a part of his portfolio of activities. The Society has been offered a slot to hold an exhibition at the Scottish Parliament from 28 May to 1 June 2018. This provides an excellent opportunity for the Society to have a physical presence in the Parliament in order to raise the profile of psychology and its contribution to issues of relevance to Scottish society. We are keen that the contributions will relate to current Scottish Government priorities. The exhibition will be held in a location where MSPs and other staff pass regularly. We have already had a number of people from different Divisions volunteering to take part in this event. 

The Scottish Branch will continue to contribute to the development of policy in the BPS through representation on a range of Boards and committees. From experience, it is important that we bring a Scottish perspective to the table, given the different legal and policy context within which psychologists operate in Scotland.

Finally, I would like to give notice that the next meeting of the Scottish Branch committee will be held at Glasgow Caledonian University in April. If anyone is interested in becoming involved in the committee then I would encourage you to contact me directly. It is possible to co-opt people for specific roles.  

Elizabeth Hannah


Email: [email protected]