The Lancaster DClinPsy Programme is committed to celebrating the diversity of all those associated with it: students, staff, members of our Public Involvement Network (LUPIN), teachers, supervisors and assessors,the Learning Together Group and others. This commitment is underpinned by an emphasis on inclusivity and equality of outcome. Learning experiences provided and facilitated by this programme, and the quality of our professional relationships, are informed by this overarching principle.
2. The Policy Landscape
The DClinPsy Equality Scheme is based on the policies of our stakeholders, below, but shows actions and plans specific to the DClinPsy Programme:
- Lancaster University Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Plan 2016 to 2020
- LCFT's equality and diversity web page
- The British Psychological Society's (BPS) Human Rights Policy Statement
For more detail on legislation governing equality policies, precise definitions of terms and equality policies and strategies at an institutional level, please follow the links above.
Both LCFT and Lancaster University organise their equality strategies around six equality strands: race and ethnicity, disability, gender, age, religion/belief and sexual orientation. The Equality Act 2010 specifies nine protected characteristics which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly: the six above plus gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. The Act says that socio-economic factors must be considered, in terms of strategy, by public bodies but does not specifically include higher education institutions in this. The Lancaster DClinPsy regards equality of outcome regardless of socio-economic background as important, however, and we are taking steps to monitor and improve this aspect of our selection process. The BPS's human rights statement reflects the values of the Lancaster DClinPsy Programme by changing the emphasis of their equality strategy from diversity to inclusivity:
"generally, human rights, social inclusion and social equity must be promoted, as there is clear evidence that these issues are intimately related to healthy, supportive communities which support high levels of personal and psychological well-being"
The Lancaster DClinPsy aims to support high levels of psychological wellbeing in those associated with the programme by ensuring that our activities support their inclusion and full contribution.
4. Programme Structure
The Lancaster DClinPsy Inclusivity Development and Implementation Group (IDIG) is cchaired by Clare Dixon and comprises: members of the programme team (one of whom is also deputy chair of the Selection and Admission policy Group), trainee representatives from each year of training and a number of members of LUPIN. This meets quarterly and makes recommendations to the Operational Management Group (OMG). The OMG makes decisions which may be implemented or discussed by the Inclusivity DIG.
5. Widening Participation in the Profession
Clinical Psychology is not a diverse profession, in terms of the six equality strands. For example, in 2017, 86% of those accepting training places in the UK were female, 81% were aged 20-29 years, 78% said they had no religious affiliation, 90% said they did not have a disability (or did not respond to this question), 88% identified as 'white' and 93% said they were heterosexual or did not respond to this question.
Undergraduates on UK psychology degree courses match this profile closely so the issues begin earlier than selection for training. In order to encourage applicants from underrepresented groups the Lancaster DClinPsy has taken a number of steps to widen participation:
- Outreach. The IDIG works to encourage applicants from a variety of underrepresented groups to apply to the Lancaster DClinPsy programme for clinical training. The aim is a match between the membership of the Clinical Psychology profession and the general population. The IDIG disseminates information about how to become a clinical psychologist to sixth form schools and colleges that have been identified as having students from underrepresented groups. Widening participation is a standing item on the IDIG agenda and is discussed regularly. Members of this group attend careers fairs, speak to students about the programme and promote diversity and inclusivity. The group has forged links with Leanne Bates who is involved in outreach activities at a university level, and has longstanding relationships with a growing number of schools and colleges.
The admissions process
The DClinPsy Programme changed its admissions procedures in 2005 in order to widen participation to the profession. Previously, applicants were selected for interview by rating their relevant previous experience, academic qualifications and references. This privileged those who were able to study for further degrees and/or take a number of poorly paid jobs or voluntary work. This is much easier where family/other financial support is available so we stopped rating experience and academic attainment and asked all applicants to take a short online test of verbal and numerical ability.. There is evidence that the results of general mental ability test predict success in complex careers at a postgraduate level. Those with the top 70 scores and those who declare a disability and reach a threshold score progress to a selection event. Anyone who experiences difficulty in accessing the online screening test, thorough disability or other reason are consulted and supported to improve access and offered further support when they progress to the selection event. Competencies established by job analyses and a competency mapping exercise are assessed during the selection event.
Applicants declaring a disability
The university promotes inclusivity by ensuring that applicants declaring a registered disability are offered an interview as long as they have the minimal entry requirements and achieve our threshold score in the screening task. Applicants with a disability are encouraged to contact the programme in advance so we can provide appropriate support in all their contacts with us. When students declare a disability at any stage of the programme, they are offered support tailored to their needs. The Lancaster DClinPsy Programme is committed to making reasonable adjustments to supporting candidates with a disability in achieving the HCPC's standards of proficiency for practitioner clinical psychologists. Please see the HCPC's Disabled Person's Guide to becoming a Health Professional.
In 2017, 9% of applicants disclosed a disability at application stage. 10% of applicants declaring a disability were invited to interview, and 13% of those interviewed were offered places.
Action: Applicants for clinical training at Lancaster will continue to be surveyed after the event and particular attention paid to making adjustments to arrangements for those declaring a disability which support them in demonstrating their competence and values.
Applicants identifying with a 'minority group'
In 2018, 33 respondents to our survey of all applicants for clinical training responded positively to the question "Do you see yourself as a member of any minority group (in the context of DClinPsy selection)?". There were 100 respondents in total from 491 applicants surveyed. 7 further respondents said they were "not sure" and 60 said "no". Some applicants minority groups identified as 'LGBT and disability', 'Autism Spectrum Condition', 'Black British/African', 'Chronic health condition/ disability', 'Ethnic minority', 'Very low SES – LAC', 'I am mixed race and I have longstanding mental health difficulties', 'I am 51, a lesbian and a single mum who changed career quite late in life', and 'I am a gay man, coming from a socially disadvantaged background'.
80% of respondents said they had found their contact with the Lancaster DClinPsy at least partly 'inclusive'. 8 people (20%) said they had felt at a disadvantage.
Action: Applicants for clinical training at Lancaster will continue to be surveyed after the event and particular attention will be paid to supporting those who identify with a 'minority group' in demonstrating their competence and values.
Data are provided by the Clearing House in Clinical Psychology each year. These show the profile, in terms of equal opportunities, of all applicants to the Lancaster DClinPsy at each stage of the admissions process: application, written task and selection event. We can see the profile of those who accepted places. A review of the data for the 2014 intake can be found in the handbook. This data is used to inform the inclusivity strategy and highlight areas where we can improve in relation to inclusive selections and admissions.
Many selectors are Clinical Psychologists, which is not a diverse group in terms of the six equality strands identified by the Equality Act, 2010. There is a danger that applicants similar to selectors will be privileged and steps are taken to mitigate against this possibility. Applicants are rated using a competency-based framework and all selectors are trained in its use each year. Service users (LUPIN members) and current trainees are full members of selection panels, alongside clinical psychologists and a member of the staff team. Decisions are made as a group based on discussion of evidence for each competence
In 2016 we surveyed our selectors' demographic details: - 83% of our selectors were female, 97% white British and 9% disabled. Increasing the diversity of our selection panels is a priority. In 2017 and 2018, selection panels were audio recorded as quality assurance to mitigate against any impact of unconscious bias. This is an ongoing process and will inform selector training in future years.
In 2018, 100% of our selectors who responded said they thought the selection process was fair and inclusive.
7. Widening participation in the Programme
In 2008, the LUPIN group was established to facilitate the influence of service users and carers on the activities of the Lancaster DClinPsy. Since then, LUPIN members have had an important role in shaping teaching and selection procedures. Their role in supporting research is developing and LUPIN members have been invited to all programme Development and Implementation Groups as full members. Membership of these groups is evolving and to facilitate this, LUPIN members will spend more time with staff and trainees on campus in informal settings to establish closer working relationships.
Flexible working patterns for trainees
A number of trainees have atypical working patterns and paths through training. This may be due to pregnancy, family commitments, or to manage chronic health conditions. Atypical paths through training are negotiated on a case by case basis. Applications for extra funding from NHS (NW) are submitted when required.
Flexible working for staff
Many DClinPsy staff work part time or have flexible working arrangements e.g. annualised hours, to enable their full participation in the DClinPsy programme whilst undertaking other activities e.g. a clinical role or raising a family.
Reasonable adjustments to working life are made in negotiation with staff and trainees as it becomes apparent that they are needed to facilitate their full involvement in the programme and their maintenance/attainment of the HPC standards of proficiency. Many trainees do not declare a disability at the point of selection but find it useful to signal their need for adjustments during training. The programme works closely with the university Disability Service and Trust HR partners.
8. Inclusive Teaching
We aim to encourage teachers to be inclusive in their delivery and content of teaching across the course. An 'Inclusive Teaching - Hints & Tips' document for teachers has been developed by IDIG members in consultation with trainees, the LUPIN group and staff, and is available in this handbook and sent to all teachers.
The LUPIN group has discussed plans to offer training to teachers on facilitating service user involvement in teaching, and a number of sessions are co-facilitated by LUPIN members, the Learning Together North West group or other service users.
Tutors are encouraged to discuss trainees' experiences of teaching e.g. asking them whether they felt that their perspective was valued and encouraged during teaching, when they meet trainees for their Individual Trainee Progress meetings. Tutors can then send anonymised feedback to the Chair of the IDIG for discussion with strand teams and further action.
The 'Inclusivity' curriculum
All teaching on issues around diversity and inclusivity, e.g. personal development and reflection sessions, contextual psychology sessions and cultural competence teaching, are planned as a developmental programme through the 3 years of training.
Each year final year trainees take the lead on organising the annual ‘Inclusivity Event,' a conference style cross cohort day on a topic of their choice. Trainees are joined by staff and LUPIN members with the day rpoviding an opportunity for us all to focus on inclusivity in our work and to facilitate networking, particularly for those from underrepresented groups.
In 2016 the theme was Mental Health and inclusion and involved presentations on a psychiatrist's experience of depression, being involved in policy work as a trainee, and from the Learning Together North West group on their experiences of using Experience Based Co-Design. In 2017 the day focused on working with refugees, and included speakers from the Helen Bamber Foundation and the charity Solace.
Each year trainees who organised the event write a piece on the conference for an issue of the DClinPsy newsletter (see an example here). All presentations are available on the Moodle virtual learning environment.
Trainees are surveyed after every teaching session and asked whether they experienced the session as inclusive. They are asked to make constructive suggestions for improvement. This question has been separated from the broader spread of questions about the quality of teaching sessions so that any relevant comments can be sent to the teachers and co-coordinators of teaching for urgent attention. When teaching sessions are reviewed this element is audited and reported to a Learning and Teaching DIG meeting.
The trainee teaching room is accessible by elevator, hearing loops are available and teaching sessions can be recorded when necessary. All teachers are asked to use a standard font and background format, designed to minimise the impact of a visual impairment, for slides and handouts. We are working towards compliance in all our documentation. There is an accessible toilet fitted with a hoist available close to the teaching room, and the programme has been instrumental in establishing another such facility elsewhere on campus. We have links with the Inclusive Practice Development Consultant, within Student Wellbeing Services, and have engaged with training as a staff team on making documentation more accessible.
9. Practice Placements
A review of the way diversity is audited as an element of clinical experience on placement led to changes in the use of placement documentation. The Log Book is a record of all experiences on a practice placement and a summary table is normally completed to show all clinical contacts. This table had a column labelled 'diversity' and 'white British' added next to the description of a client. This narrow definition of diversity did not reflect the values of the DClinPsy programme. We have since removed this column and replaced it with some open-ended questions on the Log Book intended to prompt thinking around inclusivity issues on placement.
Trainees are asked to reflect on service-user involvement in the service, and about how their thinking around inclusivity issues has developed over the course of the placement. Clinical Tutors who lead the Placement DIG routinely review trainees' Log Books at the end of each placement to check for any relevant placement quality issues, such as trainees feeling excluded on placement. Additionally, Clinical Tutors enquire about placement inclusivity issues during mid-placement reviews and Individual Trainee Progress meetings with trainees.
10. Staff training
A half away day on Tackling Inequality across the programme took place in November 2015.The morning brought together members of the inclusivity, pastoral and selection and admissions development and implementation groups to consider our aims as a DClinPsy programme in terms of tackling inequality, our progress towards those aims over recent years, and areas in which we still need to demonstrate progress. Discussions took place on: (a) Why should we tackle inequality? (b) How do we know if our attempts to tackle inequality are working? What does equality look like (c) What do we do well on the DClinPsy (in terms of tackling inequality)? (d) What do we want to do better and why?
Staff attend the annual trainee-led cross cohort Inclusivity Event (see Inclusive Teaching above for more details of this event).
In May 2018 the Division of Heath Research was visited by the 'Inclusive Lancaster Roadshow'. This drop-in training session included practical training, advice and support on making materials and resources accessible, understanding how materials are used by disabled students and the impact of not checking for accessibility, steps to making the curriculum inclusive, and technology that can enhance teaching and learning. The Inclusive Learning Network (ILN) provides an opportunity for anyone with an interest in developing inclusive practice in their teaching & learning, or provision of services, to reflect and share knowledge on supporting, and engaging with, an increasingly diverse student population. The chair of the IDIG links into the ILN, regularly sharing resources and information with the staff team.
11. Research and Assessed Written Work
The Lancaster DClinPsy has a high publication rate for written assignments and research. The course provides a great deal of support to trainees to this end. Respecting the contribution of service user participants in research by ensuring it informs practice is the driver behind this high rate of publication.
12. Trainee support
The DClinPsy Programme values the contributions of all trainees and works to support them in reaching their full potential. Trainees are supported by the buddy system, programme staff, personal mentors, placement providers and colleagues. Trainees who feel excluded due to identification with a marginalised group can use the opportunities offered to help them address these issues and challenge barriers to inclusion. For example, each trainee is offered a small number of individual cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) sessions as part of the training experience ('personal reformulation' sessions) during their training. In addition to the opportunity to reflect on individual values and behaviour, the experience of receiving therapy is somewhat akin to that of a service user and provides an insight into the power imbalances which can occur inadvertently in therapy.
13. The trainee experience
Trainee feedback from end of training interviews consistently highlights the inclusive ethos and systems of the programme as a key strength. The following feedback is taken from a recent end of training report:
Ethos of inclusivity. "Inclusivity, flexibility and adaptability"
Trainees felt positive about the programme's ethos of inclusivity, how it values individuals, and is willing to take a stance and challenge practice. They highlighted several processes as evidence of the course's commitment to inclusivity and flexibility, such as the selections and admissions processes giving people opportunities which other courses don't, and the opportunity for bespoke, part time training as evidence of valuing diversity and individuality.
They also valued the emphasis on reflective practice and flexibility in thinking of the course, i.e. that there's not one way to be a clinical psychologist.
"We're encouraged to find our own identity but are also trained to be flexible enough to fit into services well".
"The course values us as developing psychologists, and encourages us to develop uniquely, rather than focusing on one model or approach."
14. Equal opportunities data
You can view the information on the applicants for Clinical Psychology training across the UK compared to Lancaster on our Admissions Equal Opportunities page.
15. Links to Policy & Resources
Lancaster University Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Plan 2016 to 2020
LCFT's equality and diversity web page
HCPC's Equality and Diversity Scheme
BPS Human Rights Policy Statement
Equality Act (2010)
HCPC's guidance: 'A disabled person's guide to becoming a health professional'
Guidance on document and slide preparation
Marking for assignments in relation to a specific learning difficulty