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Linda Kaye

Supporting BPS policy to create real change – a member’s perspective

16 December 2020 | by Linda Kaye

For many when they join the BPS the last thing they expect to be doing is giving evidence to a House of Lords committee. However it’s just one of many ways that our members’ expertise and experience can help the profession of psychology influence government and policy development. Dr Linda Kaye shares her experiences of combining psychology and policy at a House of Lords committee.

I have been a member of the BPS for around 15 years but it has only been within the last year or so when I have really been fully involved in a wide range of its activities.

Like many members, I moved from being a student member, to a graduate member upon successfully completing my BSc psychology undergraduate degree, and chartered member upon being awarded my PhD in psychology.

I guess my involvement with the BPS during these times could largely be described as passive.

Working with the BPS as one of four co-founders of the Cyberpsychology section, and since becoming chair, my eyes have been opened to the range of activities the BPS is involved with.

One of these is its role in informing and influencing policy. This has been greatly enriched with its quite recent introduction of the Senate campaigns.

The current “From Poverty to Flourishing” campaign is a great example of this, especially as it is entirely coordinated with current government priorities.

In December 2020, unexpectedly I found myself directly involved with issues around government policy. This was in relation to the BPS coordinating a response to the UK government regarding the impacts of living online.

As well as having strong input from the Cyberpsychology section and its members, I was invited to represent the BPS to give oral evidence to the House of Lords Covid-19 committee.

It was really great working with the BPS policy team, who arranged various preparation sessions with me and sent helpful information about how committee proceedings tend to run and the sorts of questions which get asked.

On the day of the hearing, I felt all this preparation had set me up well to know what to expect. This was indeed the case, as we had a very enriching session where important policy considerations were discussed.

The committee broadcast is available here.

As an academic, I have been lucky to have had a range of experiences of applying my subject knowledge in cyberpsychology.

The bread and butter of this, of course is within my teaching and research, but over the last few years, it has been great to see cyberpsychology really take off.

This has given me many opportunities to work with industry, charities, public beneficiaries and the media to help raise awareness and inform public debate around issues in cyberpsychology.

Working with the BPS and its policy team has certainly given me added opportunities in this regard and in this case, helped me work directly with policy-makers as yet another beneficiary of my work.

These opportunities are not only important for the public good, but also in supporting me to do impactful research in line with REF (Research Excellence Framework) exercises.

In summary, over the last few years I have learnt a great deal about the BPS and its work. Certainly being actively involved in the work of the society can help you realise the rewards of your membership.

So it is less about what the BPS can do for you, but more about what you can do with the BPS.

- Dr Linda K. Kaye


Dr Linda K. Kaye is Chair of the BPS Cyberpsychology Section and Reader in Psychology at Edge Hill University.

Her research is on the psychology of online behaviour.

In particular she explores the way online settings can promote social inclusion and well-being.

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