Equality scheme

1. Values

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:

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.

3. Dimensions

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 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 Policy Group (IPG) is co-chaired by Clare Dixon and Jo Armitage 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 programme Policy Group Forum (PGF). The PGF makes decisions which may be implemented or discussed by the Inclusivity Policy Group.

5. Widening Participation in the Profession

Clinical Psychology is not a diverse profession, in terms of the six equality strands of the Equality Act, 2010. For example, in 2015, 85% of those accepting training places in the UK were female, 75% were aged 20-29 years, 75% said they had no religious affiliation, 89% said they did not have a disability (or did not respond to this question), 86% identified as 'white' and 88% 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:

  • Outreach. The IPG 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 IPG 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 IPG 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.
  • Website. In 2010, the course became aware that the programme website was not considered encouraging by potential applicants identifying with an ethnic minority via a publication in the BPS's Clinical Psychology Forum. The author was contacted and asked for feedback on the Lancaster website. It appeared that more specific information on the admissions process was required and the visual representations on the site were not inviting to all applicants e.g. they did not show trainees with a visible ethnic 'difference'. The Website Action Group was formed in June 2010 and undertook a complete revision of the DClinPsy website. A new member of staff with skills in website design and updating has been employed to ensure that this improvement is maintained. When applicants for the 2013 intake of trainees were surveyed, 100% of respondents said they used the website to help them to decide whether to apply and 100% said the website was encouraging and helpful.

6. Admissions

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 HPC's standards of proficiency for practitioner clinical psychologists. Please see the HCPC's Disabled Person's Guide to becoming a Health Professional.

Applicants declaring a disability are surveyed after the selection event to gauge the success of our efforts. In 2015, 21 applicants disclosed a disability in the survey. However, disability disclosures are logged at application stage with 49 declaring a disability, 23 of whom were invited to interview, and 8 of whom 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 2015, 36 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 99 respondents in total. 6 further respondents said they were "not sure" and 57 said "no". Some minority groups identified as 'working class', 'pansexual', 'mature candidate', 'lesbian', 'an older man', British Bangladeshi, 'Middle Eastern', 'trans', and 'white British female'.

78% of respondents said they had found their contact with the Lancaster DClinPsy at least partly 'inclusive'. 9 people (21%) 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 review

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. In 2014, selectors gave feedback on the strengths of the selections process in relation to inclusivity; comments included that the make-up of the panels was a strength with staff, trainees and LUPIN offering diverse perspectives, resulting in the experience being very inclusive, and that the variety of tasks gives candidates a number of opportunities to show their competence. Another selector highlighted that the admission process at Lancaster did not discriminate against candidates with less formal experience. In 2016 we surveyed our selectors' demographic details, including socioeconomic status - this data is currently being analysed.

In 2017, selector panels were quality assured to mitigate against any impact of unconscious bias. This is an ongoing process and will inform selector training in future years.

7. Widening participation in the Programme

Public involvement

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 policy groups as full members. Membership of policy 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 ill health. 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

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.

8. Inclusive Teaching

Teacher training

We aim to encourage teachers to be inclusive in their delivery and content of teaching across the course. We have facilitated 2 training days for teachers on the DClinPsy programme to facilitate and support inclusive teaching. Members of the Inclusivity Policy Group (IPG) and Teaching and Learning Strand team are available to offer 1:1 support to teachers wishing to improve their practise in this area as required. An 'Inclusive Teaching - Hints & Tips' document for teachers has been developed by IPG members in consultation with trainees, the LUPIN group and staff, and is available on request from c.dixon3@lancaster.ac.uk

The LUPIN group has discussed plans to offer training to teachers on facilitating service user involvement in teaching.

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 biannual training progress review meetings. Tutors can then send anonymised feedback to the Chair of the IPG 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.

Trainee feedback

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 programmes are reviewed this element is audited and reported to the Management Committee and Senior Management Group.


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.

9. Practice Placements

Log Books

A recent review of the way diversity is audited as an element of clinical experience on placement has 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 has a column labelled 'diversity' and 'white British' is often added next to the description of a client. This narrow definition of diversity does not reflect the values of the DClinPsy programme. We now ask trainees to leave this column blank and use a free text page of the Log Book to reflect on issues of inclusivity on this placement. Trainees' use of the Inclusivity section of the Log Book was reviewed in 2014. As a result of this review, three main changes have been made. Firstly, the wording of the questions in the Log Book have been modified to help prompt further breadth and depth of thought. Secondly, two additional questions have been added; 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. These updated questions were compiled into a new version of the Log Book used by the cohort of trainees who started their training in 2015 onwards. The third change is that Clinical Tutors who lead the Placement Policy Group now 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, the review has further emphasised the need for Clinical Tutors to enquire about placement inclusivity issues during mid-placement reviews and the Training Practice Review (TPR) meetings with trainees. Clinical Tutors have been asked to signal this change with both trainees and with placement providers during placement visits. An audit of Logbooks completed by trainees in 2012/13 showed that 95% of trainees were using these reflective questions to consider inclusivity on placement. We aim to increase this to 100%.

10. Staff training

A training day for all DClinPsy staff took place in January, 2011, to facilitate reflection on the values of the programme and personal diversity issues. A survey of participants showed that 78% believed that the staff team was more cohesive afterwards and 8 of 9 respondents said they would like another similar training event. Staff have also been trained in working as Action Learning Sets. Action Learning is designed to support personal reflection and decision making via the questions and reflections of colleagues in a group format. It enables the scrutiny of values and identity as part of the decision making process. Two days training took place in 2011 and regular meetings of the sets took place in 2012 and 2013. An away day on Tackling Inequality across the programme took place in November 2015.

11. Research and Assessed Written Work

Annual Inclusivity Conference

Third year trainees lead an 'Inclusivity Conference' for all 3 cohorts of trainees, course staff and LUPIN members each year. This event showcases the work of trainees which is relevant to equality and inclusivity with the aim of disseminating findings which can inform and change practise. Previous conferences have also included presentations from external charities and other organisations, workshop activities, and video clips to encourage everyone to focus on inclusivity in their work and to facilitate networking, particularly for those from underrepresented groups. Each year trainees who organised the conference write a piece on the conference for an issue of the DClinPsy newsletter (see an example here) and all presentations are available on the virtual learning environment.


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 course 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 2nd year. 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. 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.

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