The use of "consultant" as a professional title

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miriam
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The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by miriam » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:13 am

The BPS has a consultation out about the use of the title "consultant" and the child faculty, myself and a few of my peers are writing quite a robust response. I wondered if there would be any support for something similar to also be submitted on behalf of the forum?

My own views:
1) Consultant should only be used before an HCPC regulated title (counselling, clinical, educational, forensic etc psychologist)
2) Consultant requires passing the requirements of the national assessors, whether you are in the NHS or not - it cannot be self-adopted and private companies should not be permitted to bypass the assessors just to save a few hundred quid
3) The HCPC need to be much more robust about regulating the use of all job titles within psychology, so that bad/fraudulent/struck-off practitioners can be prevented from using titles that mislead employers and the public, placing clients at risk.

Are you with me? Should I write it from the forum membership or just from me?
If you have comments you want to submit directly and you are a BPS member, you can send them ASAP to catherinedooley@carrhome.plus.com
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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by Borrowed Cone » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:37 am

I'd like to know more about how the BPS assesses this in order to come to a decision. Is there any information on this?

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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by lakeland » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:51 am

I agree with the points Miriam, and certainly feel concerned that someone could call themselves a consultant psychologist and have zero professional qualifications. However, I do think some of the private companies out there are fairly savvy and just use other convoluted titles to suggest seniority and experience for someone who has just graduated (e.g. Behaviour Specialist, Lead Clinical Practitioner), so there's a lot of misdirection out there. (Please note I say this as someone who was a 'Social Therapist' in the NHS, which was a Band 3 Nursing Assistant post on an inpatient ward, so I know the NHS can be guilty too).

I must admit than in my (indirect) experience of people being appointed to consultant posts, I've never heard about national assessors being involved. I seem to remember reading (possibly on here) that someone from the BPS is supposed to be on the panel for consultant posts, but this was a while ago and I could be making it up.

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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by alexh » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:58 pm

Miriam, I have a question regarding point 1. What power would prevent the use of consultant before non protected titles? A new law or hcpc power? If anyone may call themselves a psychologist how would they be stopped from adding whatever prefix they like before it, consultant, consulting, senior, highly specialist, band 8/9, etc. I do not see how this can be achieved without further regulation of the psychologist title itself.

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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by miriam » Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:19 pm

Well, I'd want proper regulation of all therapists, but I'd start with any job title that mentions psychology or psychologist and bring them all under the HCPC remit. I'd then ensure that Consultant was only used where the 2 BPS assessors have been on the interview panel and determined that a) the job requires a psychologist of that level of seniority, and they will be given sufficient influence to be effective and b) that the candidate has the skills, experience and character that would fulfil this role effectively.
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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by Gilly » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:03 pm

miriam wrote:The BPS has a consultation out about the use of the title "consultant" and the child faculty, myself and a few of my peers are writing quite a robust response. I wondered if there would be any support for something similar to also be submitted on behalf of the forum?

My own views:
1) Consultant should only be used before an HCPC regulated title (counselling, clinical, educational, forensic etc psychologist)
2) Consultant requires passing the requirements of the national assessors, whether you are in the NHS or not - it cannot be self-adopted and private companies should not be permitted to bypass the assessors just to save a few hundred quid
3) The HCPC need to be much more robust about regulating the use of all job titles within psychology, so that bad/fraudulent/struck-off practitioners can be prevented from using titles that mislead employers and the public, placing clients at risk.

Are you with me? Should I write it from the forum membership or just from me?
If you have comments you want to submit directly and you are a BPS member, you can send them ASAP to catherinedooley@carrhome.plus.com
completely support all of this, and happy for it to be from the forum or just adding my name to any documentation around this.
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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by BlueCat » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:12 pm

I totally support this. However, "consultant" is such a generic term used by so many professionals! I work with several consultant social workers, and my husband is an IT consultant. Might something more manageable be to ask the HCPC to regulate the use of "consultant" for people on their register? So for clinical psychologist, HCPC could govern whether or not they were able to use the term "consultant"?
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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by Borrowed Cone » Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:26 pm

miriam wrote:Well, I'd want proper regulation of all therapists, but I'd start with any job title that mentions psychology or psychologist and bring them all under the HCPC remit. I'd then ensure that Consultant was only used where the 2 BPS assessors have been on the interview panel and determined that a) the job requires a psychologist of that level of seniority, and they will be given sufficient influence to be effective and b) that the candidate has the skills, experience and character that would fulfil this role effectively.
This all sounds great, but I'd like to see transparent criteria against which the BPS assessors will assess all this. Do you have access to such criteria Miriam?
cheers,
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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by miriam » Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:53 pm

The BPS have been assessing B-grades against specific criteria for many many years. I think the criteria are now enshrined in the KSF and standard job descriptions for each grade under AfC. This was the old document about the process.

The difference between a an "IT consultant" and a consultant psychologist is that the former doesn't sound like a formally awarded medical grading. Sure, loads of people consult to organisations, but nobody could just adopt the title "consultant psychiatrist" if they were an SHO or a GP because medical titles are properly regulated because their professions are properly regulated. Social workers adopting the title is not something I've seen, but I'd stamp that out as well unless it is properly defined and regulated. A social work consultant, fine. But anyone putting "consultant" before a regulated title or a facsimile of one to imply seniority risks misleading the public.
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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by alexh » Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:17 pm

I'm in favour of control of the term consultant as applied to protected titles, with good clear assessment.

I'm interested in further regulation of titles that imply psychotherapist, counsellor or practitioner psychologist. I'm not sure total control of psychologist is possible. I don't see how you prevent consultant psychologist without regulating the term psychologist.
Last edited by alexh on Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by BlueCat » Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:18 pm

Borrowed Cone wrote:
miriam wrote:Well, I'd want proper regulation of all therapists, but I'd start with any job title that mentions psychology or psychologist and bring them all under the HCPC remit. I'd then ensure that Consultant was only used where the 2 BPS assessors have been on the interview panel and determined that a) the job requires a psychologist of that level of seniority, and they will be given sufficient influence to be effective and b) that the candidate has the skills, experience and character that would fulfil this role effectively.
This all sounds great, but I'd like to see transparent criteria against which the BPS assessors will assess all this. Do you have access to such criteria Miriam?
cheers,
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It's all in the public domain. It's not new. It's been around for ages. Used to be compulsory, until hcpc.
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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by miriam » Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:34 pm

I'm in favour of anyone offering psychological services to the public falling under the auspices of regulation.
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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by astra » Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:36 am

I agree with better regulation of these things, but I do feel as job roles are changing and more people are working privately, it would be appropriate for the BPS/HCPC to think about how to accredit experience in people not working within the NHS. I had been stuck on 8a forever and left the NHS without ever progressing past that point. I had been working well beyond 8a in terms of service development and leadership within the NHS and now do so in my private work. I would like to be able to use the title Consultant but have no means to officially adopt it.
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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by Geishawife » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:07 pm

miriam wrote: Consultant should only be used before an HCPC regulated title (counselling, clinical, educational, forensic etc psychologist)
2) Consultant requires passing the requirements of the national assessors, whether you are in the NHS or not - it cannot be self-adopted and private companies should not be permitted to bypass the assessors just to save a few hundred quid
3) The HCPC need to be much more robust about regulating the use of all job titles within psychology, so that bad/fraudulent/struck-off practitioners can be prevented from using titles that mislead employers and the public, placing clients at risk.
astra wrote:I agree with better regulation of these things, but I do feel as job roles are changing and more people are working privately, it would be appropriate for the BPS/HCPC to think about how to accredit experience in people not working within the NHS. I had been stuck on 8a forever and left the NHS without ever progressing past that point. I had been working well beyond 8a in terms of service development and leadership within the NHS and now do so in my private work. I would like to be able to use the title Consultant but have no means to officially adopt it.
I would second both of these positions and would welcome clarity and uniformity, with a couple of caveats. I am in almost the opposite position to Astra. I was a consultant in my last post before I decided to leave the NHS. I had national assessors at the interview so it was properly assessed and went through all the right channels and I operated at that level for 6 years. Now I've started doing some private work I would like to be able to use the term Consultant because I want to reflect the level of experience I have and that I have been deemed suitable to operate at that level. However, I would not want people like Astra to be barred from using it if their experience, levels of responsibility etc. meet the same standard but, for various reasons, they have not had a national assessor interview. Since setting up your own private practice doesn't involve interviews, this
miriam wrote:I'd then ensure that Consultant was only used where the 2 BPS assessors have been on the interview panel
will not apply so maybe some wider thought has to be given as to alternative ways of demonstrating you meet Consultant level. (I hope that makes sense!)

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Re: The use of "consultant" as a professional title

Post by BlueCat » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:45 pm

miriam wrote:Social workers adopting the title is not something I've seen, but I'd stamp that out as well unless it is properly defined and regulated. A social work consultant, fine. But anyone putting "consultant" before a regulated title or a facsimile of one to imply seniority risks misleading the public.
It is an official thing, the consultant social worker role. There's two on my team. But I agree that it ought to be carefully regulated.

https://www.theguardian.com/social-care ... ial-worker
http://www.thefrontline.org.uk/blog/soc ... ial-worker
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