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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 report provides highlights from the most recent regional quarterly reports and links them to the commitments and enablers in the Psychological Professions Vision for England, 2021-2024.
Work of the PPNs - Quarter 4 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 12,322, which is a 13% increase since Quarter 3.
The PPN South East noted progress with the PWP Apprenticeship Foundation Programme, with funding awarded to University of Southampton and University of Surrey; there are plans for evaluation and feedback into 2022/23. They are also conducting ongoing engagement work and steering groups through their widening participation into HEE funded roles project.
The East of England PPN team have continued their work to raise the profile of the psychological professions, primarily through their profession of the month project. They are also expanding their communities of practice, with work in this quarter focused on setting up a Clinical Associates in Psychology community of practice. PPN Midlands have progressed their Aspiring Psychological Professionals community of practice with the March meeting focusing on career resources.
The South West team have been working on developing an EDI plan for the South West and has created a set of commitments to inclusion and anti-oppressive practice. Nationally the regions are coming together to discuss and develop a PPN EDI strategy, with two meetings having taken place to share resources and collaborate. North East & Yorkshire PPN have been planning for an Antiracism Community of Practice.
All PPN's noted significant growth in members this quarter, with North East & Yorkshire membership now being over 3000 compared to 1010 in January.
All PPNs are working towards either setting up a workforce council or developing these and progressing their work in those that already exist.
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 have been working on a number of career map videos with the psychological wellbeing practitioner video and clinical psychology video now being complete:
Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) - PPN Career Map - YouTube
Clinical Psychology - PPN Career Map - YouTube
Transform and Innovate
Each region continues to develop engagement with the CPPOs in each region.
In the North West there has been development in relation to the Leadership Fellow Scheme with new fellow posts: there is funding for New Roles Band 7 Leadership Fellows and HEE Clinical Fellow Band 8a role out for recruitment. The DClinPsy leadership placement in the North West has been successful and has been extended to 12 months.
The East of England launched their Psychological Professions in Physical Health community of practice in March.
The South West PPN team have continued their work to develop and sustain workforce innovations. Progress this quarter includes promotion and allocation of places on MHWP training, supporting development of MPAC training through Exeter University and supporting a regional scheme to place health psychology trainees in a local system.
Help Our Communities to Thrive
Regions continue to support mentoring and developing opportunities for aspiring psychological professionals. East of England PPN have been working on developing and embedding CYP roles and a CYP section of their regional site has been developed to host relevant content. PPN London has plans to set up a number of communities of practice and has been working on a project about safety in mental health settings. An EDI strategy for the PPN is under development through collaboration between the regional PPNs.
Make all health and care psychological
Projects continue across the PPN's to promote the psychological professions.
Following the success of the older adults and learning disabilities showcase held by PPN Midlands in February (with over 190 people registered to attend and speakers from across the region), a health inequalities showcase will take place on 28/04/22. Presentation topics include a focus on deaf and hard of hearing, ethnicity and poverty. The North West PPN continues to link in with the BPS careers team to discuss how to promote careers in the psychological professions and generate engagement. East of England continues to host quarterly meetings to inform and engage psychological professions across the region.
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 further integration of EbEs into PPN workforce councils, involvement of EbEs in steering groups and ongoing projects. East of England have re-initiated their Healthwatch meetings and identified this as a way of engaging with and recruiting EbEs. The national team have progressed their work with a child and young person's lived experience advisory panel; an information meeting has taken place in addition to the first YP group meeting to introduce them to our work.
Following the success of Psychological Professions Week 2021, the PPNs have come together to begin planning for Psychological Professions Week 2022, which will take place in November.
The London PPN team will be holding a stand at the Division of Counselling Psychology Conference at the Royal College of Physicians in London, 15-16th July 2022.
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) and the portfolio pilot of Advanced Clinical Practice in the Psychological Professions (NW). Workplan implications from Psychological Professions Week 2021 have been allocated to the National Psychological Professions Workforce Group or PPNE - regional PPN's will support with the relevant workstreams.
Senior Assistant Psychologist