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Why the blog and why now?

Charity Commission to Blog Author: “We are currently engaging with the society over a number of issues and have found deficiencies in some areas of operation”

The editors of this new blog, who are identified in the About Section above intend to try to inform members of the BPS about the issues of concern and generate a forum for discussion and disagreement. It is our contention that in this culture of a failing bureaucracy and resistance to scrutiny, the British Psychological Society had been subject to institutional capture by psychologists who are activists within frameworks of identity politics and by the cronyism of an in-group of psychologists. 

The results of this are serious and betray the Royal Charter and the fundamental purpose for which the Society was founded.

The current President Elect’s  election statement began with proposing that whilst the comment “For far too long it appears that the BPS has been run by paid staff for paid staff at the expense of members”…is  “…not the case, but it feels true because members’ and volunteers’ experience is that the service they pay for is not as it should be”. It is believed by the editors of this blog that the President Elect has received specific resistance from staff and trustees of the Society in the process of his taking up elected office.

Psychologists who complain to the Society find their communications are at worst repeatedly ignored or, if they get a response, their complaints are not properly investigated. A recent complainant who identified what they considered to be a serious breach of the Society’s Code of Conduct was merely told “we are a broad church”. The Society’s own complaints procedure is patently not followed by the anonymous “Complaints Team”. There have been instances where the mechanism for investigating a complaint against the CEO or senior staff has seemingly been for their juniors to deal with the complaint!

Psychologists with recognised professional and academic standing who have attempted to debate controversial areas of applied psychological practice have been censored and there has been interference with editorial decisions.

A recent letter signed by over 100 practicing psychologists disputing the conduct of a consultation process supposedly advising the NHS about prescribing rights has been completely ignored.

Guidelines relating to practice in complex and controversial areas have been produced which are totally unfit for purpose in that they are a polemic for one assessment and treatment approach and ignore serious ethical considerations. A clarification has been issued, not via a revision of the guidelines but by an unattributed BPS statement in The Psychologist. A group which had been reconvened to revisit another controversial issue has been wound up by the BPS on the grounds that “due to the high level of debate…. It hasn’t been possible to reach the consensus needed… after careful consideration the BPS Research Board has made the difficult decision to bring the work of the Memory Based Evidence Task and Finish Group to a close”. We believe shutting down is the opposite of what the members, the courts and the public have a right to expect from a Learned Society.

There will follow a series of posts looking in detail at serious problems surrounding the functioning of the British Psychological Society.

Sign up to receive notification of further information and debates. Follow our Twitter account @psychsocwatchuk for bulletins.

Pat Harvey (Guinan)

BPS member No. 4810

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