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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
A governance guide is now in preparation.
Total membership is currently around 10,866*, which is a 30% increase since Quarter 2.
* Up to date South East figures were not available at the time so this is based on the previous known South East figure.
The PPN South West team noted broader representation and good engagement from less well represented psychological professions at events. They are also working to develop a PPN South West Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policy. The South West programme manager has been developing links with colleagues involved in work related to health inequalities across HEIs and NHS trusts on behalf of the PPNSW. We are working to create a PPN-wide position statement on EDI and are pulling together an EDI communications group.
PPN London has produced regional workforce data with the aim to produce a meaningful regional 'baseline'. North East and Yorkshire also has agreements in place to conduct a baseline assessment of the psychological professions workforce within the NE&Y region.
PPN Midlands and PPN South West have been working to set up regional workforce councils, with PPN South East restarting their workforce council as well. PPN London and PPN North West continue to develop their workforce councils.
The East of England PPN team have conducted work to explore and promote EDI initiatives and are setting up meetings with Higher Education Institute (HEI) EDI leads. They have also started a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy training project to increase and clarify pathways into CAPT training.
The PPN's are working together to update the PPN career map and ensure it reflects career opportunities across the psychological professions.
Transform and Innovate
Each region continues to develop engagement with the Chief Psychological Professions Officers (CPPOs) in each region. The South West have worked with HEIs & NHS Trust colleagues to develop assistant practitioner competency frameworks and roles in various settings.
The North East and Yorkshire Chair has been invited to join the North East Clinical Leadership team which will support with working across professions and sharing good practice. The North of England held an IAPT Leadership and Innovation forum on Thursday 3rd March.
In the North West there are three Integrated Care System (ICS) Leadership Fellows in post, with their tenure extended to 18 months. They are also hosting a DClinPsy trainee as part of a Leadership placement.
Help Our Communities to Thrive
There is ongoing work to support mentoring and developing opportunities for aspiring psychological professionals; PPN Midlands held their first aspiring psychological professionals community of practice meeting in December. This was attended by 30 aspiring psychological professionals. An EDI strategy for the PPN is under development through collaboration between the regional PPNs. East of England created an Education Mental Health Practitioner school impact video. London PPN is conducting public engagement project work.
Make all health and care psychological
Several projects are underway in the PPN's to promote the psychological professions. This includes East of England's professions spotlight, which has featured child and adolescent psychotherapist, education mental health practitioner, psychological wellbeing practitioner and children's wellbeing practitioner so far, and Midland's professional showcase, the first of which focused on older adults and learning disabilities. The North West is linking in with the British Psychological Society to continue discussions on careers engagement strategy, as well as implementing a number of HEE funded collaborative projects such as GP MH/IAPT placements.
Put People First
All PPNs have Expert by Experience (EbE) plans in place. Recruitment of EbEs has taken place in most regions with development underway in the newer regions. Further work is planned to ensure a clear and consistent approach. Progress in the last quarter includes inclusion of EbEs as members of several workforce council's, and EbE involvement and chairing of PPN conference sessions. Work is underway to expand the PPN's lived experience advisory panel, including setting up a CYP LEAP.
PPN Conference Week 2021 took place during the week of 15th – 19th November 2021 with great success. Over 3600 psychological professionals, stakeholders, experts by experience and members of the public registered for the event, a 10% increase from the previous year. Between 175 to 300 people attended each session with higher attendance at the morning sessions. On average, the sessions were rated as 4.3 out of 5 in terms of being informative, stimulating attendees to take action, and encouraging thinking about system change. Great feedback about the week was received and the conference team have considered key workstreams that should be taken forward as a result of the topics discussed. An evaluation of Psychological Professions Week 2021 was presented to the NPP Stakeholder Group in November 2021.
PPN London 1st Birthday took place in January 2022. This was well attended and offered an opportunity for a number of key stakeholders working on PPN projects to present their work and progress.
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). Workplan implications from Psychological Professions Week 2021 have been allocated to NPPWG or PPNE - regional PPN's will support with the relevant workstreams.
Senior Assistant Psychologist