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Role of the BPS as Regulator in the Psychology Sector

By: Roger Cook - Updated: 6 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
Psychology Work Role Regulator Bps

The British Psychological Society (BPS) plays a pivotal role as the regulator of who can work as a psychologist in the UK. In this role, by working through Universities, it determines the approach adopted to the education and training of psychologists. It also supports the practical work and development of the discipline and acts to represent psychology in the course of national consultations.

The BPS can be contacted at: http://www.bps.org.uk


The BPS plays a key role in regulating the education of psychologists in the UK. It mostly does this indirectly by validating certain university courses as leading to key stages - notably the status of Graduate Membership (at the end of undergraduate study that forms the basis of entry to postgraduate study) and of the role of Chartered Psychologist (gained after suitable postgraduate education and work experience).

Not all undergraduate or postgraduate degrees are approved by the BPS. At the undergraduate level this is usually because the individual degree does not have the required breadth of coverage of the subject or sufficient resources. For postgraduate degrees, most are not validated as they do not contribute to one of the formal training routes.

In addition the BPS has a pivotal role in assessing the qualifications of psychologists who originally studied outside the UK.

Finally the BPS, provides opportunities for further professional training once you have gained the status of Chartered Psychologist.


The BPS is organised into a number of divisions such as Clinical or Occupational Psychology. Within these there are a number of special interest groups. Using this structure the BPS supports the practical work and development of the profession allowing the sharing of good practice, new research and the practical implications of government regulation and initiatives.

The BPS also provides practical help such as negotiating benefits such as Professional Indemnity Insurance. It also provides a directory of experts who can provide evidence to Courts or to formal research enquiries.


The BPS also effectively regulates the profession. It does this in part by determining the structure of training and work experience that underpins the status of Chartered Psychologist. However, it also deals with complaints against individual members and has the power to suspend (temporarily or permanently).

In this sense it is worthwhile remembering that anyone can call themselves a psychologist and seek to work on that basis (though without BPS accreditation there are often difficulties in acquiring appropriate Professional Indemnity Insurance). However, the BPS retains a definitive register of who is a Chartered Psychologist and the code of ethics that effectively regulates the profession.


The BPS also sponsors research, organises conferences (including those focused on particular divisions or specific interest areas) and contributes to parliamentary enquiries and the development of psychology within the UK.


The BPS plays a pivotal role in the work of psychologists and the development of psychology in the UK. It regulates almost all undergraduate degrees in the subject and being entitled to join the BPS as a "Graduate Member" is key to further study and work as a psychologist. Many post graduate degrees are not regulated as they do not lead to one of the approved training routes.

The BPS is also critical in regulating the profession, providing opportunities for further training and education and also represents the profession at a national level.

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