Our 41st Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held at the Birmingham Conference and Event Centre, Birmingham B5 4EW, on Thursday 16 November 2017 with participation available in person or via webcast.
The AGM included our Chair's annual review and a Q&A session on the future of the profession. Our Vice President, Julia Samuel, author of Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Survival was our keynote speaker.
The business aspect of the AGM included the formal announcement of our newly appointed Governors, as voted for and elected by the membership, and the results of the Resolution voting.
To view the webcast, please click on the button below
Below is the agenda for this years AGM, along with the minutes of last year's AGM and our Annual Review and Financial Statements 2016/2017.
We received three member resolutions this year – here they are in full:
Ordinary (member) Resolution 4:
We propose that BACP should work with independent experts to establish practice guidelines that are based on evidence for what works in counselling and psychotherapy relationships.
The influential model of guidelines developed by NICE, which is based on a medical paradigm for establishing efficacy of treatments, does not apply well or do justice in its current form to counselling and psychotherapy interventions. We believe there is a risk that the value of counselling and psychotherapy is becoming increasingly diminished in the NHS. Unless we undertake to develop better guidelines, more appropriate for counselling and psychotherapy, the increased access to psychological therapies that we have seen in the past decade will not deliver improved outcomes for the public.
In 2011, a consensus statement was agreed, and welcomed by NICE. In its updated manual, NICE recognises that different kinds of evidence are better suited to answering different kinds of questions. But so far, no NICE guidelines have tried to put this more pluralistic approach into practice – there is still an over-reliance on RCT studies only. We propose to look at the evidence which addresses three key questions from the perspective of the needs of three key stakeholders:
1) Will it work for me? The client or patient is primarily interested, naturally, in whether a recommended therapy will work for them rather than for an 'average' patient. NICE guidelines at present do not address this.
2) Will it add value? As the demands on local health economies continue to increase, local commissioners must ask whether 'new' interventions are going to add value and be able to be delivered sustainably by their local providers? NICE guidelines at present do not address this either.
3) How will we know if it is working? Practitioners on the frontline need to be able to understand how interventions are expected to work, and have access to training, supervision and practice to enable them to deliver new interventions effectively, by integrating new skills with their current skill set and by a continuous process of improvement. NICE guidelines at present do not even ask any questions about treatment mechanisms (or harms).
We propose with BACP's help to gather together a group of independent experts to review the evidence that can address these three questions, and develop a guideline that is more practical and helpful to those who will use it.
Under the current system for developing guidelines we believe it is only a matter of time before counselling and psychotherapy are dropped altogether from being recommended in favour of brief, manualised variations of cognitive and behavioural interventions and pharmacological treatments, in a kind of 'rich get richer' system of evaluation. The past decade has seen significant expansion of access to these interventions. But they are not making a difference in reducing the burden of depression. This is a task BACP's members must now engage with: the objective of developing a new kind of guideline is to enable them to use their skills to make a real difference.
Ordinary (member) Resolution 5
Research conducted by BACP and Sheffield University comparing the relative effectiveness of CBT and counselling, reported in 2017 that over 33,243 subjects, 'the scores of approximately half of all patients, regardless of the intervention received, either did not achieve reliable improvement or reliably deteriorated'.
Further, Figure 3, in the report indicates that some of the participating sites were predominantly effective and some were predominantly ineffective.
The Ordinary Resolution proposes that BACP recognise that the report evidences
• An unacceptable level of competence,
• The existence of both competent practice and incompetent practice.
This Ordinary Resolution accordingly proposes that BACP must apply itself energetically to ensuring that the tenets of good practice be identified and delivered into the training of counsellors and of supervisors.
(Ref: Pybis et al. BMC Psychiatry (2017) 17 :215)
Ordinary (member) Resolution 6:
Our proposed resolution is for BACP to support and champion the ethos that all qualified counsellors are paid for the work they do. If any organisation or charity advertises for qualified counsellors, they must be willing to pay fair sessional fees and cover supervision costs. We propose that all voluntary positions offered should be wholly for trainee counsellors who are on placement and fulfilling course requirements - within their competencies. Once qualified and not fulfilling training requirements, all counsellors engaged by organisations should be paid sessional fees, in line with local charges.
We propose that BACP supports this resolution and refrains from advertising voluntary roles for qualified counsellors.
We assert that the current practice of advertising and encouraging organisations to take on qualified counsellors working for free is exploitative and doing damage to the respect of the profession.