ASSAP the Professional Body
At its 30th anniversary Seriously Strange conference on 10 September 2011 ASSAP (Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena) announced it had been registered with the government as a professional body for paranormal investigators. They are holding a consultation for everyone to contribute and share ideas, not just members of ASSAP.
ASSAP will not impose any changes on groups or individuals either before or after the consultation.
To have your say visit ASSAP’s website: www.ASSAP.ac.uk
According to the ASSAP website they have recoginised the following frequently asked questions:
What is a professional body?
A professional body is often a charity and exists to further the interests of a particular profession, its clients, the public at large. Some professional bodies are also Learned Societies, as ASSAP is. Professional bodies often set standards for its members.
Who decides what organisation is a professional body?
In the UK the UK Government agencies makes this decision based on current legislation on who and what should, and should not, qualify as a professional body. The UK Government has recognised ASSAP as a professional body for investigators of anomalous phenomena.
Does this mean the government has a new view on paranormal activity?
No. This is purely application of the law on professional bodies. ASSAP will not be funded by the government. They have made a judgement based on current legislation.
Does everyone have to be part of a professional body?
No. This is a voluntary scheme; there is no regulation or new legislation. There is an indirect impact, however, that such investigations are seen as being capable of being a professional activity. And that is good for everyone.
Can volunteers be professional?
We were open with the UK government that many volunteers are investigators as well as people who consider it their full-time job. In the voluntary sector there is a powerful maxim that volunteers can be ‘voluntary but not amateur’. Other roles that deal with vulnerable people are carried out by professional volunteers who are often trained and insured, one example is Citizens Advice advisers.
What if I am already a member of a professional body?
Some professionals attached to existing professional bodies may be already suitably represented. An example might be a parapsychologist or psychical researcher who is a member of the BPS and the Parapsychological Association or the SPR, they may conduct investigation fieldwork under that professional body already.
Will this be controversial?
There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about this. But we hope this page should clear that up.
Does this mean groups might be governed in the future?
No. The law surrounding professional bodies that can ‘monopolise’ a field is very specific. Even if it wanted to, which it does not, ASSAP would never meet this criteria. There will be no ‘take over’ now or in the future.