Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Have your say on a draft Board-authored code of conduct for psychologists – public consultation now open
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Have your say on a draft Board-authored code of conduct for psychologists – public consultation now open

19 Jun 2023

The Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) is consulting on a draft code of conduct it has developed for psychologists.

The Board is inviting feedback to the consultation from all stakeholders, including psychologists, employers, the public, education providers and professional associations.

The Board adopted the Australian Psychological Society (APS) Code of ethics (the APS code) as the code of conduct and ethics for the profession when the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) started in 2010.

Compliance with the APS code is a requirement of registration as a psychologist in Australia and this will not change until the Board announces otherwise.

The Board chose to adopt the APS code in 2010 rather than introducing its own code because the profession was transitioning from state-based regulation to national regulation and the Board decided to develop a code of conduct later to not add to the change the profession was already experiencing.

The Board now considers it is time to develop a regulatory code for the profession.

Twelve professions in the National Scheme have a shared Code of conduct which was released last year. Health Ministers have asked Ahpra and the National Boards to work together to ensure registration requirements align across the professions as closely as possible.

With that in mind, the Board has developed a code for the profession that builds on extensive research and evidence considered in the shared code, as well as insights from stakeholder consultations and user testing as part of that review.

Importantly, the Board has developed a code that addresses the nuances of psychological practice and is more detailed in outlining what the Board expects of psychologists.

Rachel Phillips, Psychology Board Chair, said, ‘This doesn’t mean that the standards of practice have changed, just that the Board-authored code provides guidance to psychologists and the public on what the Board expects of psychologists.’

The key changes proposed include:

  • setting clear and specific standards of safe and effective practice for psychologists
  • improving patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and priority groups within the community
  • updating and clarifying the section on maintaining proper professional boundaries, and
  • aligning the profession with recent developments in regulation.

‘The Board is seeking stakeholder feedback so we can finalise development of the code to reflect the standards expected of a psychologist’s peers and by the broader community,’ Rachel said.

‘Feedback to the consultation will add to the Board’s 12 years’ experience as the national regulatory body to develop a code of conduct that protects the public and guides psychologists in providing professional, safe and effective psychological services.’

Provide feedback to our consultation

The consultation paper is published on the Board’s website and explains how to provide your feedback on the draft code of conduct. Submissions must be received by close of business on Monday 14 August 2023.

The Board has also published a Guide to the review that outlines the key aspects of the consultation and how the proposed move away from the APS code will affect psychologists.

Register now to attend a webinar

All stakeholders are invited to attend one of two webinars to find out more about the consultation and the draft code. Board Chair Rachel Phillips will provide background and context to the proposed changes and answer questions from attendees. The webinars will be recorded and available on the Board’s website for anyone not available to participate on the scheduled webinar dates.

Register now to attend one of these webinars:

  • Tuesday 25 July at 12.30pm to 1.30pm AEST
  • Thursday 3 August at 5.30pm to 6.30pm AEST

Each webinar will focus on helping attendees to understand the proposed updates to the code of conduct for psychologists including:

  • a summary of our proposal
  • details on key changes, including cultural safety and sexual boundaries provisions
  • how to apply the code in practice, and
  • how you can provide feedback to the Board’s consultation.

Contact us

  • For media enquiries, phone (03) 8708 9200.
  • For registration enquiries, please phone 1300 419 495 (within Australia) +61 3 9125 3010 (overseas callers).
Page reviewed 19/06/2023