Frequently Asked Questions


Additional employment (second job)

I am a part time EP and I work 2/3 days a week. I want to do some teacher training and have seen a job which would fill in the other few days each week, without interference to my current working hours.

Will this be a conflict of interest with my EP work or not?

You need to discuss this with your line manager. Most EPs will have contracts which state that they must consult with their line manager before contemplating any other paid work (regardless of what it is) and that discussion will consider whether or not there may be a conflict of interest.
You must have the agreement of your managers before taking on any other paid work otherwise it could be construed as a breach of contract.

Annual Leave (taking of)

See circular Taking Annual Leave AEP/034/03
I have booked annual leave during a JAR period and have been advised that unless I had already sought approval for the required dates and had leave approved, I will not be allowed to take annual leave during the JAR period in November.
I would be grateful for some advice on this ruling. For example what would be the position of an EP who has booked a holiday during those dates but has omitted thus far to get line-manager approval for the time-off? What if the EP needs to take annual leave in order to deal with some domestic crisis etc?

Although not a pleasant one this is a reasonable request from an employer. One can expect that if emergency leave was necessary than it could be taken under the usual arrangements, but it would be worth enquiring of the LA HR.
The person who has booked a holiday without first ensuring that leave can be taken has been rather foolish. In such a circumstance then a special plea to the relevant line manager is all that they could reasonably hope to achieve.
Taking leave without permission in such a case could be construed as gross misconduct and lead to dismissal.

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Additional annual leave entitlement

My employer has told me that I must have 5 years continuous service to be eligible for the additional annual leave entitlement. I did take a year out to do some supply teaching. Will this affect my continuous service?

Annual Leave subject to local agreement. Your employer is entitled to say that you must have 5 years continuous service to be eligible for additional annual leave and as your locum teaching is not counted as continuous service employment you will have a break in service. Some small breaks might not affect your continuous service entitlement. If you were a funded Trainee or took unpaid leave of absence your training year probably won’t count as a break in continuity.

Applications for SPA points

I wanted to know whether there was any statutory guidance regarding the amount of time my authority had to respond to my Structured Professional Assessment (SPA) application and inform me whether it had been successful.

No national guidance is available about this although good practice suggests that something should be written into internal procedures (a copy of the procedures should be available). One would expect to receive a substantive response within 28 days. After 28 days a gentle reminder should ask for a response within the next 10 days – if nothing is forthcoming after that period of time, then there may be grounds for a possible grievance for failure to implement contractual entitlement i.e. to have an assessment for a SPA.

Assistant Educational Psychologists

What guidance do the AEP have on employing assistant EPs.

None, guidance is as outlined in the Soulbury Report as follows:

Assistant educational psychologists are not qualified to carry out the full range of duties and responsibilities of fully qualified officers on Scale A.
Those local authorities who employ assistant educational psychologists should take positive action to ensure that these employees achieve qualified status as soon as possible. It is the aim that no officer should remain on the assistant educational psychologists’ scale for more than 4 years.

Changing from a bursary to paid employment

In the world of employment you are not obliged to stay beyond a reasonable notice period with any employer.  You can apply for the employed post if you want.  Even if you have signed a contract around your bursary you could still be able to give notice, but you may have to pay some money back. In such cases you should check your situation with an official of the AEP.

I have been offered a bursary position but have seen an advert for an employed position. What can I do?

Changing Pay Structures/Scales

It would be up to her and any new employer to negotiate a suitable Soulbury pay scale point if/when you are offered another job. You could highlight the fact that you have gained more and wider experience which would be beneficial in any new job to try to negotiate an increased salary.

I am currently on Scale 10/11 of Soulbury. A temporary post covering maternity has arisen and I would like to take the job to widen my experience. However, the new temporary post is on the “Hay” scale and is actually a drop in wages.
What happens if I take a drop in wages for 9 months – will I still be able to go for another job on Soulbury scale 10/11 after that time, even though I have been on a different pay system for the past 9 months?

Contact with work colleagues during sick leave

I had a knee operation and my GP has renewed my original sick note twice, until mid-March. I am ABSOLUTELY under no pressure from my employer, but I was wondering if I would break any rules or invalidate my sick note if a colleague came to visit me at home and we did some planning for a joint training we have booked after Easter

It depends upon the reason for sick leave so I would suggest that you contact your PEP to seek permission.

EPiTs Salaries

Have the AEP made a recommendation about exactly which point EPiTs on a doctoral programme should be on or is this at the discretion of each individual LA.

Recommend at least:
Point 4 in Year 2
Point 6 in Year 3
see (AEP position paper Part 2 TEP Paper.pdf) & (TU Side Salary Guidance to JESC 149).

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Evening Work

A member has been asked to run a parenting group on one, or possibly more, evenings a week.
When she mentioned this to her PEP she was told that this “comes with the territory” but she was concerned about time off in lieu and how this work would impinge on her evening leisure time.

To be able to fully answer members queries regarding evening work we would need to have a look at their contract and job description. They are entitled to time off in lieu, but all requests for members to carry out evening work such as the above should take into account the issue of “reasonableness”.

LA Representation Nominations/Elections

I am an AEP member and would welcome your advice and support in relation to how to initiate a team meeting and/or to prompt nominations/elections for AEP representation.

In the members' handbook there is advice on how to do this;

If the PEP is an AEP member he/she could act as returning officer. If you are prepared to initiate it with help from the PEP, the AEP could provide a list of members. All that the PEP would then need to do is to set out a timetable for writing out and asking for nominations by a certain date. Nominations need to be accompanied by a short statement to support the nomination - with ballot papers sent out if there is more than one nomination. The nominations form need to take a simple format, with a box for indicating voter's preference advising of a closing date for return to the PEP.

If there's only one nomination by closing date then that person becomes the rep. Otherwise, the PEP could be asked to count the votes as returning officer and announce the results!

Stolen Laptop

My laptop with confidential files on it has been stolen. The computer is password protected but the files are not. Police have been informed. What should I do?

If you work for a Local Authority:
Look at the LAs confidentiality policy, IT policy and the taking of information outside the office policy? Of you have transgressed any of these policies you may want to seek advice from your LA representative.

Private:
If you are in private practice you need to check the data protection act and your own liability insurance to check that it will cover you in these circumstances.

Maternity Leave - General

Could you let me have some general advice on maternity leave and benefits?

It is best to have a look at the Department of Work & Pensions website as they will be the most up-to-date.

Maternity Pay Scheme

I have been on half pay maternity and now intend to go to another Authority. They have said I will need to return for 13 weeks or pay the money back.

Your employer might have their own maternity pay scheme. Check your contract of employment or staff handbook, or ask your employer's HR department. Some company schemes require you to pay back some money if you don't come back to work. However, you must be paid at least as much as SMP (if you qualify), which doesn't have to be repaid.

Membership Questions - Can people who are not employed by Local Authorities join the AEP?

Can people who are not employed by Local Authorities join the AEP?

Yes, anyone working as an educational psychologist is eligible to join the AEP regardless of who their employer is and as long as they meet the qualifications criteria?

Membership Questions - What category do members in Private Practice join?

What category do members in Private Practice join?

They would join as a full member. 

Membership Questions - Can someone who has stopped working as an educational psychologist still be a member?

Can someone who has stopped working as an educational psychologist still be a member?

Yes as long as they meet the qualifications criteria. They have a choice of category. If they have retired they can become a RETIRED member, but if they are still working, say in another job, they should become an AFFILIATE member.

Pensions

Please could you give me advice on dealing with my pension?

The AEP is not allowed to give this type of advice under the terms of the Financial Services Act. In fact we are unable to give any specific advice about a person’s pension, she should get advice either from her own Pension Fund or an Independent Financial Adviser.

Insurance cover - Liability insurance

If I am working privately do I need personal liability insurance?

If you are working privately you need personal liability insurance, probably of at least £1 million. This is to protect the member from any possible legal actions around misconduct or inappropriate advice etc.
The AEP does not have any arrangements that cover this. Members can use the BPS scheme if they are members of the BPS or they should contact a local insurance agent for details of appropriate commercial schemes.

Insurance cover

X recently left our service and is carrying out short term contracted pieces of work. She hopes to continue carrying out some training for the authority in the future but there are queries about insurance cover. It has been suggested that if she were a member of the union that this might cover her.

The AEP does not provide insurance cover. Members employed by Local Authorities should be covered by the Local Authority’s insurance and vicarious liability insurance. Members in private practice are advised to make their own insurance arrangements and the BPS operates an appropriate scheme.

Picket Lines

I’m a little concerned about the information given that says that those workers who feel intimidated by a picket line should phone the line manager. Have you any guidance for PEPs or other line managers on what advice we could give?

I think the guidance you require is quite simple. If you have a member of your service who is in danger and you are aware of it, then you should take all reasonable action to ensure their safety. Not to do so would be abrogations of your duty of care to someone whom you line manage.
The simple answer should be to require the EP to return to base or go to their next appointment or any other appropriate place of safety. Just as you would if a member informed you they felt threatened when turning up at a home visit for example.
As Head of Service you would then need to support the EP in their contact with the school etc and help them to make alternative arrangements to undertake the work at a suitable future time.
The purpose of the original guidance is to ensure that members are not placed in the invidious situation of either having to cross a picket line when they feel they may be in danger or to elect not to carry out an expected duty. By contacting a line manger the member then has the surety of their employer knowing what they have done and that they have taken reasonable action. This protects the line manager as well as s/he will be acting to ensure the safety of an employee.

Postgraduate advice for gaining experience prior to doctoral study

I would like to become an Educational Psychologist and have completed my degree in psychology. I am looking to commence my Doctorate in the near future.
I understand that I will need some experience teaching/working with children and am looking to gain relevant experience as a graduate assistant in an Educational Psychology service. How can I find out more?

It is no longer a requirement for you to gain actual teaching experience before becoming an Educational Psychologist. Once you have completed your Doctorate you need to become HPC registered and this will allow you to work as an Educational Psychologist.
To gain experience of working with children, we would suggest voluntary or paid work across a number of sectors such as care work or social care / learning support assistants or there may be a limited number of positions for graduate assistants to Educational Psychology services. The best place to find out about these is by either ringing your LA to see if they have any vacancies, or checking out the British Psychology website vacancy page: http://www.psychapp.co.uk/

Private Work whilst also working for a Local Authority

I am working part-time. Can I undertake private work and is there a conflict of interest in working with children of the same authority?

The answer to your question is Yes you can undertake private work but first check you contract as you may need your employers permission.
With reference to working with children involved with the local authority there may be a conflict of interest and once again you should check with your employer.

Probation Period

How long is probationary period?

It is usual practice for employers to offer jobs subject to a probationary period. Probation is normally for a six months period, unless specified otherwise in the contract of employment.

Self Funded Years

Is a self funded year classed as service?

No - if you are not employed by someone at the time.
Yes - if it was unpaid leave of absence.

Senior EP's ability to change EP reports without permission

Can a Senior EP change an EP report without their permission?

An EP’s report cannot be changed without his/her permission; however, as a manager, one could challenge a report on a number of bases e.g.

  • belief that something is written in an unprofessional manner
  • contravenes HPC standards
  • recommendations are not supported by evidence
  • anecdote is quoted as fact etc.

If the report is challenged, the manager could veto submission or attach a note of caution to it.
Clearly, the best practice is to discuss the report and your concerns, see if you can come to some compromise. Sometimes, part of a report can be omitted without making any substantial difference to the report.
If there is an agreed “house style” which is not being followed then this would need to be managed via the usual performance management processes.

Statutory Regulation

If you are not registered as a chartered psychologist with the BPS, will full membership of the AEP allow some one to be registered with the HPC and therefore able to practice as an EP?

It is likely that AEP members will be able to be automatically added to the register. However, this still has to be approved by the Dept of Health and the HPC. The AEP is meeting with them on January 21st 2008 and should be able to give an answer after then.
Following a meeting with the HPC and DoH the AEP has secured the same rights for AEP members as will be given to BPS members. These are both of course subject to final ratification by Parliament.

Supervision of Trainees by Main Scale Educational Psychologists

I have just finished training and am now a qualified supervisor. I have been and will be carrying out supervision as an educational psychologist. Are there any recommendations regarding potential senior practitioner status?

The new Soulbury report concludes the following:-
Supervision of Trainees by Main Scale Educational Psychologists

Where a local authority does not have separate grading arrangements for recognising the supervision of trainees, a main scale educational psychologist who is required to supervise trainees will be awarded an allowance equivalent to one additional incremental point on Scale A for the duration of the period of the supervision. This would be a temporary monetary allowance only and would not allow for progression from one pay scale to another.
With regard to the question of recommendations regarding potential senior practitioner status – Senior practitioners are expected to be paid on Scale A.

NB – For those main scale educational psychologist on the maximum point on Scale A, the allowance equivalent to one additional incremental point is the difference in money between Scale A SCP 11 and Scale B SCP 8.
However, main grade educational psychologists benefitting from this provision will not be able to classify themselves as Scale B as this a temporary allowance – not an increment.

Tax Relief for Self Funded Doctoral Students - can I claim tax relief?

I am a part-time doctoral student; can I claim tax relief on fees which I have paid myself?

Tax relief only applies to people on initial training as they had what was deemed to be a training grant rather than a salary.

Contact your Local Tax Office

It will not affect your Local Government Pension but will affect your contribution to the state pension.

Tax Relief for Self Funded Doctoral Students - I am having great trouble claiming back a tax rebate and my tax office are saying that they will only go back 4 years.

I am having great trouble claiming back a tax rebate and my tax office are saying that they will only go back 4 years.

The procedure may vary depending on individual circumstances. Unfortunately, the AEP is not able to provide advice or assistance to members in respect of their personal claims.

Termination Period

How long is a termination period

Both employees and employers have the right to be given notice before the contract of employment is ended. This right is contained in section 86 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), which also sets out the minimum periods of notice that can apply. The employer and employee can agree to make the notice period longer that the minimum, but not shorter.
The minimum amount of notice an employer must give an employee depends on how long the employee has been employed and is as follows:

  • One week, if the employee has been employed for between one month and two years; or
  • One week for each year, if the employee has been employed for between two and 12 years; or
  • 12 weeks if the employee has been employed for at least 12 years.
Time allowance for completing Statutory Advice Assessments (Appendix D’s)

Time allowance for completing Statutory Advice Assessments (Appendix D’s)

Educational Psychologists are allowed 6 weeks to complete statutory advice, regardless of the time of year (i.e., summer etc.) .
The only time an extension can be applied for due to extenuating circumstances would be in the event that the child was ill/unable to attend.

Two Job Offers

Presently they are in a temporary contract – and are also to be interviewed and the end of the week for a permanent position. In the interim they have made an application for a job in lecturing. If they are offered a permanent post within the Authority at the end of this week, would they be able, in 3-4 weeks time, to accept another post if successful at obtaining the position of lecturer outside the Authority. How will they be affected contractually?

Thank you for your enquiry. In legal terms this situation is quite straight forward if you are offered permanent post within a Local Authority and are pressed for a decision whether you are accepting before you learn about the success or otherwise of your lecturer application then my advice is to accept the permanent offer from the Local Authority. Then continue lecturer application and if its successful you then have a choice if you prefer the lecturer post then you will have to give notice on the permanent post you have just accepted with the Local Authority.

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