Psychology in the Public Sector

About Us

A high proportion of registered psychologists work in the public service; Health Workforce Australia (2014) report that more than 10,659 psychologists worked in the public service in 2012, compared with 15,408 psychologists working in private practice. While the clinical practice of psychology may be similar in public and private settings, there are challenges faced in the public sector, including working in complex systems, working in multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary teams, being managed by non-psychologists and working with limited financial resources. Psychologists may also be in leadership or management positions, providing additional complexity to their roles. Also, there are additional ethical considerations regarding best use of public funds and the role of the public servant.

Psychologists working in the public service need:

  • a strong and cohesive voice to demonstrate the many achievements and substantial merit of public sector psychology,
  • to better understand the issues and needs of psychology in the public space,
  • to be aware of the potential benefits of more fully supporting psychology in the public space
  • to advocate on behalf of public sector psychologists regarding the continuation and consolidation of psychological service delivery
  • the development of additional services to meet the current needs of the community.

While there are fora for the sharing of information and knowledge resources nationally according to diagnosis or service type, there are limited opportunities for psychologists to share around best practice, quality improvement or service development within the public sector at state or national levels.

The creation of a nation and sector wise public sector interest group will play a key role in addressing such concerns. It will operate with the following terms of reference.

Terms of Reference:

  1. To facilitate a national forum for discussion, information sharing and peer support for psychologists working in public service settings.
  2. To encourage research and  publications relevant to the provision of psychological services in the public service
  3. To provide expert advice to the APS Board and National Office on issues relating to the practice of psychology in the public service.
  4. To promote high standards in professional development and the practice of psychology in public service settings
  5. To provide a forum to share innovations, service improvements and quality improvement projects that related to the provision of psychology in public services
  6. To facilitate discussion and generate information related to psychology in improving efficiency, efficacy and equity of access in the public services
  7. To generate, acquire and disseminate knowledge concerning contemporary best practice in providing psychological services in public service settings.
  8. To enhance awareness across the public service sector of the value and benefits of psychological services
  9. To develop and maintain links with other professional groups relevant to the aims of the group