Riven by poor governance and outright corruption, the British Psychological Society (BPS) may now be in terminal decline. Individual members have left it in despair and some groups (for example clinical, educational and organisational psychologists) have already organised themselves outside of the Society, in protest against its mismanagement and distorted priorities. Onlookers are bemused by a simple fact: a psychological organisation has demonstrated total incompetence at understanding itself. Accordingly, today, the BPS is neither a learned nor a learning organisation.
This book describes this organisational crisis. It offers a critical account of the Society’s recent history, which has mostly been hidden from public view, due to a lack of suitable democratic structures to ensure proper public scrutiny. Though it has charitable status, its governance has lacked independent trustees. Instead, priorities in the organisation have been compromised repeatedly by conflicts of interest, with an oligarchy of recycled names losing sight of the Society’s shortcomings. In more recent times, these problems have been amplified by a managerial culture with little respect for academic integrity. These weak governance arrangements have led to policy capture by some interest groups which have led to public safety being threatened by the production of poor psychological advice to those on the outside. Those ordinary members opposing this skewed and risky advice have been suppressed by those at the top of the organisation.
This important book aims to provide a platform for ordinary members whose criticisms have thus far been suppressed. By promoting the voices of these objectors and exposing the cracks within the organisation, it attempts to bring truth to power.