DCP Leadership & Management Faculty 2015

The Faculty committee has reviewed and revised our strategic objectives in relation to the DCP’s Core Purpose and strategic action plan as follows: 

  • To contribute to development of national, regional and local strategic influence.
  • To facilitate the development of local professional leadership networks.
  • To contribute to leadership development through the provision of training at regional and national levels, supporting succession planning.

The Faculty has continued to work with experts by experience, using a co-production approach wherever possible, in order to ensure that we keep a clear focus on the issues which are most important to the people we serve.

Service redesign fatigue, target-driven culture and compassionate leadership

Concerns have been expressed by clinical psychologists and psychological practitioners from a range of backgrounds about the effect on their own and their colleagues’ wellbeing of the pressures caused by frequent service redesign and the “target-driven culture” which has developed in some areas, particularly services with challenging and highly scrutinised targets such as IAPT. Service Users have also flagged up this issue, sometimes finding themselves in a therapy session with a staff member whose stress is evident in the room. Service Users do not want to and should not have to worry about the people who are there to help them being stressed, under pressure and over-worked. Services need to be centred on the service user not members of staff.  In 2014-15 Faculty committee members Amra Rao, Neelam Dosanjh and Gita Bhutani led on a survey of service redesign fatigue and the impact of the target driven culture which they presented  at the New Savoy Partnership conference Psychological Therapies in the NHS (February 2015). This survey has been repeated in 2015-16, and a report has been produced. Amra Rao and colleagues are leading on developing partnerships with other professional organisations and a staff wellbeing charter has been developed. Amra has also been leading on Compassionate leadership.  This explores ways of working that promote a less pressured workplace so that ultimately the person at the centre of the service is always the service user. Amra led a very successful workshop on Compassionate Leadership at the 2014 DCP Annual Conference, with strong EBE involvement.

The Faculty has greatly appreciated the support and involvement of BPS President Jamie Hacker-Hughes in this workstream.

Clinical psychology workforce project: 'Beyond health to life

The Faculty is co-leading with the DCP Executive on a workstream looking in detail at the existing clinical psychology workforce demographics, numbers and types of provision across the UK. Alison Longwill (Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Woodcote Consulting) was commissioned to gather and analyse data, and this vital information has already proved incredibly useful.  As the project develops we are developing a vision of how we would like the workforce to look in the future - what would enable clinical psychologists alongside their colleagues to meet the needs of service users and the wider population over the coming decades.

The Faculty is endeavouring to engage widely on this very important work, with events in Durham (July 2015), Bristol (September 2015) and London (at the December 2015 annual conference). Our Durham and Bristol events and our session at the DCP Annual Conference in London were introduced and contextualised by DCP UK Chair Richard Pemberton and Expert by Experience (EBE) England lead Joanne Hemmingfield. We had very informative presentations from Alison Longwill re. the workforce survey results, analysis and recommendations, and participants had the opportunity to digest the findings and consider their implications for the present and future workforce.

At our Durham event, Alison Brabban, NHS England National Clinical Advisor gave an excellent over-view and update re. psychological therapies for people with severe and complex mental health difficulties. At our Bristol event, Jenny Taylor, former DCP UK Chair, very helpfully described the HENCEL leadership development and mentorship project for recently qualified clinical psychologists, which provided great examples of the developments to which we would all aspire.

We were also privileged to have co-produced presentations at each event, in which local clinical psychologists and service users/EBEs inspired us with their stories of joint working and life changing empowerment. These presentations and narratives were used to generate reflection and the development of an ambitious vision for your future workforce, looking “beyond health to life” – clinical psychology as a force for good across systems.

Leadership development through mentorship and coaching

Leadership development and succession planning are key issues for the profession and are high on the priority list for our Faculty. A number of different individuals and groups have been looking into the role that mentorship can play in assisting people at any stage in their career both with managing current challenges but also developing their abilities to take on future roles and levels of responsibility. In October 2015 we introduced two mentorship schemes through the Faculty:

  1. A scheme to pilot mentorship and coaching for clinical psychologists who are seeking mentorship and coaching in their leadership roles, are wanting to develop leadership skills and/or are about to embark upon a leadership role, led by Faculty committee member Sarajane Aris, based on a highly successful international leadership mentoring and coaching programme set up and developed by Dr Sam Collins of Aspire Leadership Foundation.
  2. The HENCEL mentoring scheme for junior psychologists, which gives them the opportunity to discuss ideas about career progression and leadership with a senior colleague from outside their immediate management/supervisory structures, led by former DCP UK Chair Jenny Taylor. The aim of this project is to develop a training and mentorship programme which can ensure that the new generations of clinical psychologists are confident, informed, aware clinicians who feel empowered to take on key responsibilities and who will impress their colleagues with their leadership abilities.

Skills for commissioning and commissioning guidance

Following on from our successful and informative Faculty workshop on Commissioning across the Four Nations in December 2014, in 2015 the L&M Faculty joined the Skills for Commissioning project led by Tim Atkin from the DCP Faculty of Children, Young People and their Families. The Faculty collaborated with CYPF on a day event in January 2015 which included commissioners and two groups of young people who informed the project by articulating the kinds of services that they want. Faculty Chair Esther Cohen-Tovée, committee members Claire Maguire and Jo Hemmingfield, EBE lead for England, presented and/or facilitated sessions at this event.

Esther Cohen-Tovée’s BPS publication, “Care Packages & Pathways / Payment by Results for mental health services for adults: Implications for Psychological Services” (2012) has illustrated the role of psychological services in this new model of commissioning services in a way that does not permanently label people, but allows them to receive the care they need at a particular point in time. The care packages model is based on need rather than diagnosis and each care package should include access to evidence based psychological treatments. Thus the model provides an opportunity for commissioners and providers to address gaps in provision and capacity or waiting times issues.

Esther was invited to speak about her experiences of implementing Care Packages & Pathways and Payment by Results at a workshop in Utrecht in April 2015, organised to assist the Dutch Healthcare system leads consider whether to adapt this model for use in the Netherlands.

What can clinical psychologists offer?  What are we telling commissioners?

The Faculty has been considering the ways in which clinical psychologists can describe and evidence their skills and the services they can provide to commissioners.  Building on Tim Prescott & colleagues’ L&M Faculty publication “National Mental Health, Well-being and Psychological Therapies – the role of Clinical Psychology: A briefing paper for NHS Commissioners” (2014), we are working on the production of comprehensive models of psychological service provision and the development of state of the art communications including a new web-based multimedia resource.

The aim is to produce new visual and web-based materials which can enhance the understanding of commissioners, service users and the general public about the breadth and depth of what psychological services (and particularly clinical psychology) can offer. Initial development work on possible models (infographics) has been led by Faculty committee member Gita Bhutani and Faculty Chair Esther Cohen-Tovée with support from psychology assistant Sameia Ali.

A poster was presented at the DCP annual conference in December 2014. An engagement event with an expert reference group of service users took place in October 2015, led by EBE England lead Joanne Hemmingfield, and supported by L&M committee members Gwyneth DeLacey and Gita Bhutani.  A key message from this event was that we should ensure the narratives we use in this work are real lived experience stories. Our next steps are further engagement with commissioners re. this approach, leading to investigating IT options for turning these models into engaging communication tools.

A parallel workstream led by Tim Prescott, Ste Weatherhead and colleagues is working on the development of a new web-based resource for Clinical Psychology which can show-case the excellent work carried out by clinical psychologists and by clinical psychology trainees, using written documents, video reports and other formats. With ever-increasing pressures in public sector services, the value of the work carried out by clinical psychologists needs to be promoted with confidence and communicated in formats that catch the attention of a wide audience that is increasingly informed by the World Wide Web. The website will be built to be easily updated so that new clinical psychology ‘good news’ can be quickly uploaded.

Significant strategic partnerships

The Faculty and the Division more broadly have developed a very productive relationship with Dr Geraldine Strathdee, National Clinical Director for Mental Health.  The Faculty hosted a keynote by Geraldine at the 2014 DCP Annual Conference with comment from Jo Hemmingfield EBE for the committee.

The Faculty has also been increasing its collaboration with Jeremy Clarke, Chair of the New Savoy Partnership and Convenor of the NSP annual conference "Psychological therapies in the NHS".  We have contributed to the conference planning and the programme itself as well as providing sponsorship for this key strategic conference at which government ministers and politicians of all main parties are held to account in relation to mental health policy and funding.

APPTS (Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapies Services) is a key strategic partnership between RCPsych’s CCQI and the BPS. This program aims to recognise good practice and improve standards in psychological therapy services by providing support, CPD opportunities and accreditation to services that take part and meet the standards.

APPTS was launched in August 2014 and the first cohort of services received accreditation in June 2015. Esther Cohen-Tovée was appointed in October 2014 as the BPS co-chair of the APPTS Project Board which oversees the programme. The other BPS members of the Project Board are Gail Thornton (Service User representative) Alex Stirzaker (National SMI IAPT (PD) Lead) and Jane Smith (BPS Director of Qualifications & Standards) (Jane stood down in December 2015).  An update on APPTS was presented at the New Savoy Partnership Conference in February 2015, and featured in a symposium on leadership and quality improvement convened by the Faculty at the 2015 DCP annual conference.

Plans for the next 12 months

The Faculty aims to continue to develop strategic influence and leadership training in order to deliver the safe and effective services that the people who use their services require. Current workstreams include developing a vision of the future workforce of clinical psychology and multidisciplinary psychological services, together with information and guidance for employers and commissioners and service users about the high quality and effective services we can offer, and our track record and potential role in innovation for the future. We hope to develop new ways of communicating with the general public, current & potential service users, commissioners and each other, using technology in creative and engaging ways. We also intend to launch a new workstream drawing together and further developing guidance re. the governance of clinical psychology and  psychological services, and to take forward the mentorship schemes and staff wellbeing work, and staff wellbeing charter. These are challenging times, but we need to be pro-active and work in partnership with experts by experience, service users and carers to promote the services that people want in order to improve their wellbeing, and to develop our future together.

Dr Esther Cohen-Tovée, Chair