Research Assistant / Assistant Psychologist - Matlock CLOSED

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Research Assistant / Assistant Psychologist - Matlock CLOSED

Post by miriam »

About the position

We have a vacancy in our Matlock office for a Research Assistant or an Assistant Psychologist to support our work developing tools to help identify and track the psychological needs of children who have experienced adversity (see and to help us disseminate our findings and maximise their impact.

We are committed to evaluating everything we do, and this post is a critical link between our research and the services we provide. We want to improve what we do by learning from our data, and to publish our findings and show that what we do works, so that more organisations subscribe and we are able to reach more children. The post we are advertising is a key component of the team, as well as a unique opportunity to use your research skills to make a genuine impact on people's lives.

We have already collected a lot of data. This includes a large data set from BERRI about the needs of young people living in residential care, and we are starting to collect samples from children in foster care, and from educational settings. We want to use this data to inform the way we produce our reports, and to inform decisions about the appropriate placements and services for young people. We have also collected data about the workforce delivering services to these young people, and we have unique data about how children's presentations relate to their early experiences, recent life events and current stressors that we want to analyse and publish. We use BERRI to with care providers; delivering training, consultancy and individual assessments and formulations, as well as advising on appropriate interventions, and we evaluate all of these activities.

In each of these areas this post will help to identify the variables that determine later outcomes for the children and to evaluate the impact we make - both in terms of the outcomes for children and the economic impact. We want to continually improve our efficacy and to inform what we do by analysing the data we collect so that our work has maximum impact.

Job Description

The researcher will be quite autonomous, under the supervision of the director/consultant clinical psychologist, but link in with all other elements of the company, from the clinicians, to sales, to the programmers. The day to day work will involve undertaking complex statistical analysis, presenting our findings at conferences and events and writing up papers for publication, as well as contributing to grant applications. The job may involve travelling to various locations in the area and involve more mundane research tasks like literature reviews, scoring up questionnaires, data entry, cleaning up large data files, as well as related activities like gathering information, setting up meetings, linking up with academic colleagues and gathering user feedback about our products and services.

The post involves a combination of:

- organising the logistics of research (eg visiting children's homes, local authorities, schools; organising meetings, chasing up information)

- gathering, entering and processing data (eg from questionnaires, file audits, user surveys, or large data files exported from our software)

- advanced statistical analysis

- providing summary reports

- writing literature reviews

- writing academic papers for publication

- acting as a champion for the outcome measurement protocol within services

- general administrative tasks (arranging meetings, responding to telephone and email enquiries, keeping track of materials, etc)

- other such tasks as the business requires

If the applicant has ambitions towards a career in psychology then this post involves direct work within a clinical psychology team and supervision from a consultant clinical psychologist with a good track history of helping professional and personal development of assistant psychologists, and active involvement with professional and policy matters, including the BPS/ACP. In addition, there may be some more "clinical" opportunities such as summarising legal bundles, administering/scoring and writing up psychometric assessments, and contributing to reports and letters - though these will be as a minor job role and secondary to completing the research activities.

If the applicant has ambitions towards an academic/research career then this post involves publishing peer reviewed journal articles, seeking grants, presenting at conferences and linking up with academic colleagues at Leicester University and the Anna Freud Centre / UCL. We are happy to explore options that involve sponsoring and supervising a PhD as an alternative to the stated salary.

You'll be part of a small local team, based in the office with a consultant CP/director, an AP, a customer development manager (also a psych grad), our tech lead and a part-time administrator, but you will also connect to a wider network that includes projects across the UK. We are well resourced with laptops, books, psychometrics and the benefits of a lovely working environment (where we all have our own desks and computers, and the business supplies tea and coffee). We hope that there will be opportunities to sit in on training events, and to learn about service delivery in various different agencies. A successful postholder will contribute to numerous publications. Most papers will be written with input from the service lead, but may also include other colleagues within the company and/or external academic collaborators. Where you make a significant contribution to articles you will be named as an author, and may also have opportunities to present at relevant conferences.

We like to give you the opportunity to show us what you are capable of, and we see our staff as our most valuable resource. We provide supervision according to BPS recommendations, and plenty of opportunities for personal development. Supervision will be provided by a qualified clinical psychologist (probably the service director / consultant CP). We have a commitment to training and development, and a good track record of past assistants gaining places on clinical training (though I suspect this is as much about who I select as the experiences we provide).

Derbyshire offers a very good quality of life, and a lower cost of living than many large cities. We are based in lovely purpose-built offices about a mile out of Matlock, with views of the river, woods, fields, and dry stone walls. We are just a few miles from the Peak District national park and there are waterfalls and industrial heritage sites on our doorstep. Yet Matlock has a good range of shops and is within an hour of larger towns and cities such as Derby, Chesterfield, Nottingham and Sheffield.


The nature of the roles means that we require either a graduate in statistics or research with relevant knowledge to apply this to our topic, or a psychology graduate with GBC (at a 2:1 or better, and/or with a completed post-graduate qualification) and evidence of advanced research skills. Assistant Psychologist posts within the company are paid £18,000-£20,000 per annum, dependent on past AP experience. Salaries above this will only be considered for applicants with substantial research experience and/or a completed post-graduate qualification in research or statistics, or a completed PhD in a relevant topic.

Apart from academic qualifications, we want you to share our mission to improve the lives of people who have experienced adversity. There are also various skills that are required to do the job. We want someone who loves answering clinical questions with data, and who feels confident with research methodology and statistics. You will be competent in using SPSS and may also be familiar with R and other advanced statistical analysis techniques and software. Experience writing papers for publication would be an advantage, as would experience contributing to grant applications.

We need someone who is bright and proactive enough to seek out the information they need, assertive and autonomous enough to get the job done, and reflective enough to know the boundaries to their own competence. You also need to be diligent and meticulous about collecting and writing up information. You need to be organised and proactive, able to set up meetings and communicate in a professional manner, including writing reports to a very high standard.

Fluency with computer and internet applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc is also necessary, along with a passion for research and good interpersonal skills. Because of our location we require a post-holder who has a driving license and access to a vehicle (or can propose suitable adaptation if they have a disability that prevents this). You need to have the kind of personality and resilience required to be part of a team that makes a difference for some of the most complex children in the country.

How to apply

We are accepting applications here. If you want to apply for this position then please send a CV (no longer than 2 pages) and a brief covering letter/expression of interest (no more than 600 words) explaining how you are suited to the position. You must include the telephone/email contact details for two references.

Please apply as soon as possible. We expect to close applications on 24th January, but may close earlier if we have sufficient applicants of suitable calibre. We hope to interview on Tuesday 4th February.

Background information:

LifePsychol is a clinical psychology company that has particular expertise about children and families, particularly when it comes to attachment, parenting and recovery from adversity. Our main specialist area is around attachment, trauma and maltreatment and how this evidence base can inform the care of children who do not live in their family of origin. We therefore provide training for adoptive, foster and residential carers, as well as health, social care and legal professionals.

The company is small but growing rapidly. Our mission is to improve outcomes for children with complex needs. Our aim is to change the way that children's psychological needs are looked at in the UK (and then around the world), by identifying both mental health symptoms and needs that are outside the traditional medical model and encompass behaviour, relationships, development, risk and a broad range of indicators of wellbeing. Through identifying needs better, and tracking how they change over time we want to improve the quality of placements and services for children, starting with those who are in the Care system. We hope to achieve this ambitious goal by training carers, implementing a new set of standards for care providers, and through structured needs assessments and regular use of outcome measures (BERRI). We then hope to spread this methodology to other groups of children with complex needs, such as those at the edge of care, or in specialist educational provision, poor school attenders or those who have experienced adversity. We hope to see our system used in every local authority, placement provider, school and charity that provides children's services to inform the way that psychological needs are identified and addressed.

Why start with children who are in Care? LAC are a particularly vulnerable group of children and young people because their needs are complex and they have experienced multiple adversities that put them at greater risk of negative outcomes. Local Authorities are spending £9 billion on children's social care, including £3 billion on placements every year, but there is little evidence about what works to improve life chances and reduce risks because very little data is being collected. We want to change this, and to ensure that the systems around children are psychologically minded and informed by the latest evidence.

The training, pathway and standards we implement are about ensuring that strategies carers use are evidence-based, individualised to the background and needs of each child, evolve as the child’s needs change, and are based on a thorough psychological assessment and a multi-faceted formulation of the child’s needs. We believe that having advice from a clinical psychologist to inform the care of all Looked After Children (and other children with complex needs) will both reduce stigma and improve outcomes, whilst helping carers to feel better equipped to meet the children’s needs. We have developed a training program and care pathway as one means to implement these standards for placements.

We have also developed a set of online tools for commissioners and placement providers to use to identify and track the needs of children in their care. The tools are known by the acronym ‘BERRI’ because they explore Behaviour, Emotional well-being, Risk to self and others, Relationships and Indicators of conditions that need to be understood to care effectively for the child. We want every young person with complex needs to have a service that meets their needs in an effective and evidence-based way. We have therefore developed tools that allow us to gain a more holistic picture of children’s needs, to track how this changes over time and to target particular concerns and monitor the effectiveness of interventions to address them.

Our initial data suggests that we can help to ensure that children's psychological needs are effectively identified and addressed. Our pilots have shown we can reduce children's needs significantly within six months of using the pathway and tools we provide, and save costs to the public purse whilst we do so. Our services gain exceptional feedback from carers and professionals, but we hold ourselves to tough standards of evidence, and gather data about our effectiveness every step of the way.

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