Monday, March 17, 2008

Scientific integrity: Another resignation from the British Psychological Society

Another psychologist, Cole Davis, has recently resigned from the British Psychological Society (BPS) over their ignoring of scientific integrity. His resignation letter submitted today for publication in the BPS Journal (The Psychologist) is below - but not yet published.

British Psychological Society in trouble
17 March 2008
To the British Psychological Society

Further to my resignation last year, the last straw being your encouragement of the appellation 'Chartered Scientist', available to people who do not necessarily embrace scientific methods:

I no longer accept the British Psychological Society's claim to be acting in the public interest, and support the recently declared stance of another ex-member. Although I personally do not need to use the term in order to make a living, I shall call myself a psychologist and will give any support to a body which can regulate psychology in a responsible manner.

Over the years it has become apparent that the BPS is not such an organisation.

Cole Davis
formerly "Chartered Occupational Psychologist"

Davis previously wrote to the Psychologist in 2007 detailing BPS failure to uphold scientific integrity.

The BPS - value for money in the public service?
Published in The Psychologist, February 2007


The BPS regularly refers to its duty to the public when defending itself against i) accusations of failure to support its members, ii) ostentatious advertising of members under a cloud and iii) being over-expensive.

I no longer subscribe to such a defence. Three times, spread over some years, I have sought either support or guidance on ethical matters. On none of these occasions was I offered any.

In the last instance, when I told officials that I was being repeatedly and overtly pressurised to falsify research findings for a public project, I was told that 'we don't give legal advice' and that I should consult the Code of Ethics. Apart from the fact that there is little in the Code of Ethics about corruption, other than an urging of the practitioner to behave professionally, I don't see why some guidance was not forthcoming. I was in touch with members of the BPS with responsibility for regulations and ethics; if all that is necessary is already on the web site, then I think there is a certain amount of redundancy in the organisation.

In short, I don't think members' subscriptions are benefiting the public and I think reorganisation, rethinking and refunds are in order.

Yours Sincerely

Cole Davis
Chartered Occupational Psychologist, London NW2

See also the resignation of Lisa Blakemore Brown. What of the regulatory body for doctors in the UK (The General Medical Council)? Do they have much real regard for honesty and for the integrity of science upon which our patients rely?

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BB said...

I am pleased but sorry to read that others have been experiencing similar problems with The British Psychological Society.

Since my first Letter of Concern was published in The Psychologist in September 1997 on Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, I was denied a right to reply when another letter was published by the BPS, critical of me and highly supportive of the use of MSBP, by colleagues of Roy Meadow and David Southall.

The BPS went as far as to contact a cancer specialist Professor to see if the cancer medications I was taking for Grade 3 cancer could have led me to raise concerns to Ministers about the unprofessional and unscientific use of MSBP I had personally witnessed as another Expert in Court. My deep concerns were that a miscarriage of justice had happened and more could happen given the powerful "tapestry" of eminent, untouchable Professors presenting unscientific evidence in dogmatic ways. I considered that this "tapestry" of variables resulted in a process of suggestibility influencing the Court and indeed all those engaged in child protection work. The potential for disaster throughout the system was palpably clear.

it was my opinion that this was entirely the domain of Psychology and needed to be investigated.

Instead, all of the concerns were sidelined, the focus of investigation shifting to me through vexatious complaints.

During the many Hearing days (8)in this last effort, BPS Counsel have told Panels that it was not the role of the Disciplinary Department to investigate such matters. There is nothing in thousands of pages from DPA requests to show that they were remotely interested.

My published letter achieved nothing and contact with the President and the CEO achieved nothing either. I was dismissed as a "disciplinary case" whose opinions were worthless and who was attempting to go above the unaccountable Disciplinary Department and its employees.

Every comment was sent back to the Disciplinary Department to be misconstrued as paranoia. Anyone who supported me in the very many supportive letters, was seen as having been manipulated by me or as mad as me.

Al that was needed was a helpful Psychiatrist to prove the point without ever seeing me. The "prima facie" evidence of paranoia could have been dismissed if the BPS had looked professionally and ethically at what I was telling them instead of distorting my every word.

These actions were stepped up when what I had been so concerned would happen - miscarriages of justice - became public reality in cases such as that of the tragic Sally Clark.

Lisa Blakemore-Brown

BB said...

I have proof that the British Psychological Society's Disciplinary Department have openly lied.

In one case they claimed the Psychologist in question was not a Member, months after the investigation began. The family made the complaint after a false allegation of MSBP, proven to be the case by ongoing real illnessess and a slamming of the system by the Judge who totally exonerated the mother.

The BPS simply wrote a short letter to them telling them the Psychologist was not a Member so there was nothing they could do about it. He is a Member and in fact is very involved in BPS training programmes for other Members.

Whereas in my own case, I have not paid the BPS any money for Membership fees since the end of 2002, have resigned three times and was even sent a letter in 2005 telling me that my Membership had lapsed as I had not paid.

Despite all these attempts to leave the British Psychological Society due to a total lack of confidence in them, they insisted on keeping me as a "Member" to pursue these complaints against me, claiming that I could not resign as long as they were investigating a complaint.

Crucially, however, I also have the proof that they ignored vital evidence from a professional witness which would have had the complaint thrown out as soon as it came in.

They went so far as to lie under cross examination, with two BPS workers claiming to not recall a 35minute conversation with the American witness colleague, or emails passing between them.

Their compliance officer told me that they had deleted them from the system, which is why they were not in the DPA request material.

Within two days of the witness calling the BPS about the patient support group and their profoundly unethical behaviour, saying that a grave miscarriage of justice would take place if they continued with the vexatious complaint, the BPS wrote to me to tell me their concerns were growing and they wanted me to see a Psychiatrist.

How this can be allowed I cannot understand.

BB said...

It may be of some interest and relevance - I leave others to judge, for fear of being called paranoid... that within weeks of the patient support group, a Charity, ADDISS. successfully coaching a person to put in a complaint to the BPS, and the BPS taking it seriously, Eli Lilly gave ADDISS a great deal of money and have done ever since. Jannsens also gave them money and they were also successful in getting grants from the Department of Health the following year.

The Minister Liam Byrne was questioned over the grants.

Anonymous said...

I find the British Psychological Society a very curious and politically motivated organization after hearing of a number of inappropriate situations members have encountered. I have also had an interesting encounter. I had the intention of traveling to the UK to prepare a workshop. In anticipation of this, I sought to obtain chartered psychologist status. I was informed I would need two proposers. I sent my application and within 6 days, funds were withdrawn from my account by the BPS. However, I received no documentation from the BPS in regards to my application. When I wrote by e-mail, after a delayed response they indicated they had sent it out to me two weeks earlier on the very date that one of the proposers sent me an e-mail indicating he had just sent them his reference. If they sent the letter at this time, then they could not have reviewed the proposer's reference. I waited for some time, and still received no documentation. I wrote again by e-mail and was told that I would be offered regular membership but they could not determine if I qualified for chartered status though I hold a Doctorate in Community Counseling, have been in the field over 10 years, have lectured extensively, published, etc. They indicated that my application could be reviewed by an Admissions Committee but it was 'extremely rare' for decisions to be overturn and that if it was rejected I would forfeit ALL funds that I had given to them at that point. To date, I never received any documentation by mail and am convinced that my application was never properly reviewed. In addition, it is my belief that their objectives are largely political and financial (to their benefit) and that because I am also involved in a critical psychology movement that this may have impacted their decision to not extend the chartered status. If I merely accepted the regular membership, they would keep my money. If I went through further review, they could keep my money.
I do not believe the BPS is a credible and honest organization.