The Psychological Professions Vision for England, 2021-2024 includes Leadership as an enabling workforce work stream. Within this there is a need to ensure that the leadership of the psychological professions is joined up and supports professional leadership into local providers, local systems and links to the national workforce.
The development of the PPNs across England is a key component of this (6.31, Vision document).
The PPN was first developed in the North West of England in 2014 supported by Health Education England (HEE) in the North West. This was followed in 2017 by the South East, with the South West launching in 2019. In 2020-2022, national spending review investment has enabled the initial set up of the PPN in the Midlands, North East & Yorkshire, London and the East of England. PPN funding has recently been secured for 2022/23, confirming the extension of the regional PPNs.
The PPN engages practitioners, and connects them directly to policy delivery objectives by acting as a free membership network for all psychological professionals and other stakeholders in NHS commissioned psychological healthcare. This supports the provision of coherent and informed high quality advice to policy-makers, workforce planners and commissioners. This supports the safe and effective expansion of the existing and new psychological professions.
Each regional PPN is accountable to the HEE Regional Mental Health Lead, and to a PPN England Board Co-Chaired by the National Lead for Psychological Professions and the National PPN Development Lead.
How do the PPNs work?
Each regional PPN has an annual work plan jointly agreed between the regional HEE office and the PPN England Board. These reflect both regional and national priorities and the level of maturity of each regional network. For the newest PPNs, objectives focus on the establishment of the network and engagement of members and stakeholders. For the more established PPNs, objectives include leadership development, workforce mapping, support for national workforce initiatives and projects. Each regional PPN provides quarterly reports to PPN England (as well as locally agreed reporting to HEE regional offices). This paper provides highlights from the most recent regional quarterly reports and linked them to the commitments and enablers in the Psychological Professions Vision for England, 2021-2024.
Work of the PPNs - Quarter 3 Update
Unite and Increase Diversity in the Psychological Professions
Structure and Governance, Communications and Membership
Each PPN has a chair or co-chairs. There are support functions which include programme managers, assistant psychologists and administrators. There are communications plans to support increased engagement and grow the membership. There is good engagement between chairs and regional HEE offices. Each PPN has or is developing a steering group and a wider group to promote engagement and involvement of the twelve psychological professions and key stakeholders (including Experts by Experience). A governance guide is in preparation.
Total membership is currently around 13,377, which looks to have increased by 9% since Q4. *Unable to compare to data in Q1 due to technical issues with the national site.
North East And Yorkshire held the second meeting for Anti-Racist Community of Practice on 12th September 22. The group has now met twice and established Terms of Reference along with a way of working that involves attendees choosing to attend one of two race-based caucuses (one for those who identify as white and one for those who identify as being from a racially minoritised background). The region is also supporting the development of an equality, diversity and inclusion position statement along with strategy implementation.
The programme manager in the South West continues to lead a national forum in which all PPN regions can share events and communications related to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) to ensure more representative and diverse content. There is interest in regions collaborating to host events. This group has several proposals about how the PPN might take EDI actions forward and are meeting regularly to develop this work.
The South West team noted the positive engagement at a stakeholder event in July for aspiring psychological professionals which was co-hosted with Exeter University, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. The emphasis was on inviting aspiring Psychological Professionals from under-represented groups.
All PPNs are establishing workforce councils, have held meetings and several regions have expanded the number of workforce council representatives. North East and Yorkshire noted their steering group would merge with the workforce council which would meet bimonthly. London’s workforce council meeting this quarter highlighted a regional investment in apprenticeship roles in Adult and CAMHS services (with a ‘grown our own’ strategy forming) and acknowledged the hard work that’s taken place to support the expansion of clinical psychology placements across the region.
The PPN's are working together to update the PPN career map and ensure it reflects career opportunities across the psychological professions. The South East team are now working towards the next three videos (PWP, Clinical Psychologist and CBT Therapist) with a further six videos commissioned.
The South East send out a fortnightly newsletter to over 400+ readers. A blog focusing on Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner training was released in August and a further three blogs in progress for release over the next three months.
The Midlands PPN will be polling their membership to determine whether a Health Inequalities Community of Practice would be beneficial. The Midlands PPN will also begin mapping EDI projects and initiatives across the Midlands that relate to the Psychological Professions.
Transform and Innovate
Each region continues to develop engagement with the Chief Psychological Professions Officers (CPPOs) in each region.
In the North West, the Leadership Fellow Scheme is progressing well. The 0.6 Band 8a Clinical Fellow commenced 6th Sept 2022 and CPPO Fellows are working with the North East Region CPPOs to develop community of practice and understand their training and support needs. The New Roles Fellow will be recruited to in Autumn 2022. The North West noted that the Proposal for NW School of Psychological Professions underway with HEE NW.
The South West PPN team noted that work is underway to update last year’s workforce report. However, production of an updated workforce report has been delayed until later this year to enable the inclusion of both an updated data collection that will give 2 full years coverage since the initial report and the release of relevant population data from the ONS census 2021. One of the PPN-SW Co-chairs has been seconded to the position of Senior Responsible Officer for the mental health workforce starting October 22.
In North East and Yorkshire, Gail Harrison, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, is currently leading on an ICS and regional project to support the development of a psychological professions’ workforce dashboard. The crib sheet which will be used by staff within provider organisations to code psychological professionals is nearly complete but there are some outstanding queries with regards to some newer roles and alignment with NHS Digital.
Progress on PROMPT (Psychological Research on Meaningful and Purposeful Training) is edging forward for the Midlands PPN. The team now holds PROMPT website html data, and it has been integrity-checked.
The website in the South East has been successfully merged with the national site and updates have been made to website which reflect updates to PPN South East projects and move to Workforce Council structure.
Help Our Communities to Thrive
Regions continue to support mentoring and developing opportunities for aspiring psychological professionals. The Midlands PPN hold bi-monthly meetings and talks have been given by a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP), a Clinical Educator, and a Trainee Clinical Psychologist. The South West region noted a number of active and emerging Communities of Practice.
The North West Psychological Practitioner Community of Practice Kickstart Event is taking place Wednesday 14th December 2022.
Consultants continue to represent London in a range of Trauma-Informed shared learning and training forums (e.g. KUF; selection panels; teaching and learning materials).
The East of England noted their Communities of Practice are either starting to blossom or going strong and feeding into regional conversations about the pipeline into training, recruitment and retention issues, also the interface between physical and mental health and the contribution of psychological professionals to the work of physical health colleagues and the impact for patients.
Make all health and care psychological
Projects continue across the PPN's to promote the psychological professions. The North West has completed phase 1 of Making Every Contact Count for Mental Health and phase 2 has now commenced.
Put People First
All PPNs have Expert by Experience (EbE) plans in place. The South West have developed a role description for an expert by experience member to join the workforce council. The North West noted that embedding EBEs across the Psychological Professions workplan and Mental Health Programme team is progressing well. The North West is working on an animation raising awareness of role of EBEs in development for Psychological Professions Week.
North East and Yorkshire have recruited a Senior Assistant Psychologist to support with the PT- SMHP Regional Supervision Mapping exercise, focused on increasing supervision capacity within the region. The plan is to engage with all four ICS regions, determining what can be done at ICS level and what could/needs to be delivered regionally.
The North East North Cumbria (NENC) (ICS) Psychological Professions -Expert Reference Group (PP-ERG) have formed. The PP-ERG consists of the heads of psychological professions from NHS hospital and mental health trusts, the regional IAPT service lead, HEIs, voluntary sector lead, and the NENC Clinical Network. The PP-ERG provides expert guidance regarding any issues relating to the Psychological Professions; training, career progression, workforce development and promoting best clinical care. This group links into the Regional PPN and is attended by the Chair.
Expert by experience members were involved with ratifying the PPN Midlands 2022-2023 ‘Plan on a Page’.
All regions have been supporting with the organisation of Psychological Professions week taking place 14th-18th November. Some of the regions are also hosting regional sessions during the week, in addition to the national conference.
The joint North of England Leadership and Innovation Forum is taking place on 20th October 2022.
The South East are currently planning their first event to be held on 11th October focusing on the psychological professions and climate change. Events to be scheduled on a quarterly basis going forward.
The Midlands PPN will celebrate its 2nd Birthday on 5th October, taking the opportunity to showcase new roles to their membership, with speakers giving an account of their training experiences and/or a typical working day.
Regional PPN contribution to national projects/work streams
The regional PPNs continue to support the Psychological Practice in Physical Health Care Expert Advisory Group (Midlands), Public Understanding of the Psychological Professions (EofE), the portfolio pilot of Advanced Clinical Practice in the Psychological Professions (NW) and Psychological Professions Week.