The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences

12 April 2017

BASES members aligned with the Psychology Division - Important Information

To all BASES members aligned with the Psychology Division,

I know that some of you have noted the recent communication to members from the British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology (DSEP) that was focused on the employment of HCPC registered sport and exercise psychologists. A letter was sent over six months ago now to key sport bodies by DSEP to reiterate the importance to them that national governing bodies, institutes and professional sports should be employing practitioners with the protected title.

With respect to BASES Accreditation for Sport and Exercise Scientists , and as the Division of Psychology for BASES, we made the decision at that time to offer our own views to sport bodies about our qualification, and provide informed insights to such bodies about our own pathway and what it offers to employers. This letter was constructed in November 2016 and distributed to Chief Executives, Performance Directors and Directors of Coaching/Directors of Sport on 20 Dec 2016. We have attached to this email and detailed on the website here a copy of this correspondence for all members to see. Please click here.

The aim of this letter was to clarify and reinforce the value of BASES accreditation, and accredited practitioners vis a vis interdisciplinary strengths and the critical knowledge of the sport and exercise sciences whilst providing psychological support to athletes, coaches, teams and other stakeholders.  We (as an organisation) and ourselves as a Division Committee value the application of psychology rooted within a sport and exercise sciences approach, and as a practitioner and Chair of the Division , I certainly value my upbringing within a sport and exercise sciences programme. This is congruent, I’m sure,  with the beliefs and feelings of many other senior practitioners, Major Games psychologists, and academics in the field who came through a sport and exercise science pathway.

Our letter fully recognised and appreciated objective matters of title, but put those aside for a moment and sought to inform sports bodies of their duty of care around employing sport science personnel. Namely, that alternative, qualified and well-suited practitioners may be considered within shortlisting and interview processes. As many of you will have noticed, I too have noticed HCPC registration as ‘essential criteria’ on job postings, a requirement that effectively ‘trumps’ BASES accreditation for most applicants even when both are noted as ‘essential’ in the person specification. Our request to sport bodies is not necessarily to appoint BASES accredited practitioners in sport psychology, but to create an opportunity to see them at interview stage as opposed to deselect them at shortlisting because they don't make the essential criteria.  In part, this is about helping sports bodies to not miss out on some excellent applicants.

I also want to take the opportunity to address any misconceptions around the BASES - DSEP relationship. Both organisations are focused on the development of the profession and colleagues put a lot of voluntary time and effort into the running of projects in both organisations. We do have our different perspectives and processes with respect to the professional development of practitioners, but there aren’t extensive ‘individual differences’ beyond this. Crucially, we have always had one agenda in common and that has been to ensure that qualified professionals who have ‘done the hard yards’ are the practitioners getting the jobs in sport. For myself and the DSEP Chair, the threats don't lie opposite each other, they lie in the unqualified, unregulated providers who the media consistently misrepresent as qualified, and who still gain work in high performance sport. It is on this battleground where both Divisions together are a tour de force.  

In respect of our progression and evolution, however, during the 26th April  Division Day, click here for further details -  Dr. Richard Thelwell will be outlining our plans for overhauling the current BASES SE and Accreditation process (for psychology) with a view towards a new qualification to meet dual HCPC and CSci standards.  Please sign up to the day to hear morehttps://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bases-psychology-division-free-to-members-event-tickets-32494609251

Best wishes,

Professor Chris Harwood
Loughborough University

Chair, Psychology Division, BASES

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The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences
The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences
The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences
The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences