Moving Up to Consultant Grade: Role Expectations

How do we compare to other professions, what roles do we take, etc. Includes descriptions of "a week in the life" of relevant posts.
Post Reply
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 8261
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks

Moving Up to Consultant Grade: Role Expectations

Post by miriam »

Some senior clinical psychologists are able to gain a consultant grade post to lead services. If this happens in the NHS then there is a panel interview that involves specialist assessors from the BPS who check that the job description merits consultant grading and is written correctly, and then ensure that the best candidate is chosen, and that the individual has sufficient experience with the client group, leadership skills and knowledge of management/NHS issues to merit the grading. This can mean a panel of six or more interviewers, as it will also include local service managers and service user representatives. The panel can require specific training or additional experience before the grading is awarded, or can appoint or decline to appoint alongside the service managers.

Unfortunately outside of the NHS, because the term "consultant" is not regulated by the HCPC, some psychologists have self-adopted this title to increase their perceived importance without this involving the BPS assessors. Hopefully this wouldn't fool any CPs, but it can give a very misleading impression to other professionals and the public! There is BPS guidance to discourage self-adoption of this title, but it isn't statutory so they can't enforce it.


The following list of competencies was compiled by Consultant Clinical Psychologists to help those preparing for interviews to move up to consultant status. The idea is that it gives an indication of the areas of expectation that might be relevant to consultant posts, but its by no means an exhaustive list. You would also be expected to know a large amount about the specialist service/client group in which the post is situated.

Expert Clinical Practice

• Breadth of direct clinical experience (e.g. for a child post this would be experience across-tier CAMHS; CDC; Paeds; Child Protection; Education liaison; SSD liaison; Neuropsych; etc)
• Breadth of clinical theoretical model (formulation) usage, with implications for flexibility of provision and receipt of supervision
• Substantive experience of clinical supervision of trainee psychologists, Band 7 and 8a psychologists, and other disciplines
• Experience of receiving high quality clinical supervision
• Post-qualification training and expertise in specialised area(s) of clinical work

Leadership, Consultation and Management

• Substantive leadership/management training (e.g. BPS White Hart course) and clinical governance training
• Substantive experience in providing leadership for Band 7 and 8a staff (governance, appraisal, recruitment, etc), and awareness and/or management of budgets - this may be in collaboration with colleagues in operations/service management roles
• Experience of joint leadership of new initiative, often with a medical, social care or other senior (non-psychologist) colleague
• Develop systemic understanding of organisational functioning
• Knowledge of the wider political and management system. It can be useful to shadow a Trust Chief Executive and then network
• Keep up-to-date with wider NHS developments (KEY area of national political development and investment), and linked social and educational policy developments; maybe scan-read the Health Service Journal and other cross-cutting sources of information e.g. Department of Health website.
• Personal/professional organisational skills become crucial – time management, pacing, delegation etc

Service Development

• Substantive experience in designing, and where possible acquiring funding for, and setting up a new project or service – ideally involving audit or research reports which can be listed as publications – experience in design and negotiation is more important than actual success in developing fully funded projects!!
• Collaborative strategic development work, working directly with PCT or commissioners
• Involvement in innovative clinical or quality governance
• Multi-agency angle on all above
• Internalise relevant NSF

Research and Development / Evaluation

• Track record of qualitative and quantitative evaluation of service development
• Research and development activity
• Publications in peer review journals

Teaching / Training and Development

• All activity in relation to trainee clinical psychologists
• Teaching junior medical staff (eg linking with SPRs in psychiatry and medicine – joint research opportunities often arise)
• Teaching colleagues from other agencies
• ‘Extended involvement’ or ‘training and development’ as key aspects of teaching experience (as distinct from ad hoc teaching)

Special Interests

• Developing a key special interest in one or more of the above clinical or service areas, and becoming highly expert, and deliberately cross-cutting the domains of leadership, service development, clinical expertise, research and evaluation etc in relation to that special interest.


• Consultant posts usually have attached some expectations of team-playing, insightfulness, self-reflective ability, capacity to cope with endemic large-organisation stress etc

Note: If you have a suggestion about how to improve or add to this wiki please post it hereas a reply. If you want to discuss this post please post a new thread in the forum. There is information about the structure, rules and copyright of the wiki here.

Content checked by qualified Clinical Psychologist on 27/01/2018
Last modified on 27/01/2018

See my blog at
This forum is free to use. If you find the site useful, you are welcome to contribute the cost of a cup of coffee to our running costs.
Any Psychologists out there want to come and join us? We have an opportunity for an additional clinical/practitioner psychologist to join our highly skilled, tight knit, diverse clinical team
Post Reply