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By Amanda Gordon MAPS
APS President

Guiding the work of the APS through strategic planning

In 2006, the membership of the APS voted for a change in the governance structure of the Society. In doing so, it set in trail a real change in the way we do business, and the way we can respond to the environment in which we live. It's been an interesting journey for members of the Board of Directors, who now, I believe, engage with a broader strategic intent regarding the work done by Lyn Littlefield and her management team in National Office. Together, the elected Directors and the National Office managers have recently developed a new Strategic Plan for the APS for the next three years, which will soon be available to members for comment. The management team has in turn developed a business plan through which the strategic objectives of the Society are operationalised. Meetings of the Board of Directors will then deal with issues that arise to ensure that we work towards our ongoing objectives, keeping an eye on the broader environment and being responsive to changes in circumstances.

The work of the APS is of course incredibly broad and our interests are diverse. We continue, through the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council, to be responsible for the accreditation of all university psychology courses in Australia, assess qualifications of those who want to practice psychology in this country, try to ensure the value of membership to all members, support the Branches, Colleges and Interest Groups that make up the Society, develop and promulgate professional development programs and conferences, and relate to psychology societies internationally. In that regard, this month I will be attending the British Psychological Society conference in Dublin, in order to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with our British counterparts. The MOU is available on the APS website in its entirety for members' information.

No Board Director can possibly be on top of every project in which we are involved, nor know every detail of every committee's deliberations. We schedule reports on all projects regularly, but acknowledge that it is Lyn Littlefield and her management team who are immersed in it all on a daily basis who are inevitably best informed and most likely to be able to respond to the questions and needs of the membership. Quite different from the old days when the Society was governed by a large Council, with only a half a dozen staff in National Office and limited activity!

I have talked about the needs of Indigenous Australians and the role psychologists can and do play in making a difference many times. I have also attempted to have an impact through ensuring opportunities for Indigenous psychologists to gain postgraduate qualifications through supporting them financially. I am delighted to announce that the APS Bendi Lango Foundation,  established with deductible gift recipient status in 2007, has attracted a philanthropic donation of $30,000. This generous donation has come from a woman who understands that through the training of Aboriginal psychologists to the highest level we will be able to work in partnership, so that what western psychology has to offer can be incorporated into culturally appropriate interventions that will change outcomes for our Indigenous peoples.