From today, members of the public will be able to choose a counsellor or psychotherapist belonging to a register vetted and approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care. BACP's voluntary register has been accredited under a new scheme set up by the Department of Health and administered by an independent body, accountable to Parliament.
Counsellors and psychotherapists on BACP's register will be able to display the Accredited Voluntary Register quality mark, a sign that they belong to a register which meets the Professional Standards Authority's robust standards.
BACP Chief Executive, Laurie Clarke, said:
"This accreditation is great news for counsellors, psychotherapists and their clients. By recognising the important role the profession plays in the country's health and emotional wellbeing, it will give our members the status within the health and social care sector that they deserve. At the same time, given the increasing number of practitioners offering counselling services, this new safeguard provides a vital standard of service to help people select the very best counsellor or psychotherapist for them."
Harry Cayton, Chief Executive of the Professional Standards Authority said:
"We are very pleased to accredit BACP's voluntary register. Bringing counsellors and psychotherapists into a broad framework of assurance is good for clients, service users and the public and is the best way to promote quality. The scheme offers enhanced consumer protection and gives counsellors and psychotherapists the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment."
BACP is one of the first organisations to have its voluntary register assessed and accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.
As the scheme develops, accredited registers will encompass a wide range of occupations and organisations, and the Professional Standards Authority may accredit more than one register in any particular occupation. Further information on the accredited voluntary register scheme is available at www.professionalstandards.org.uk/voluntary-registers
Accreditation does not imply that the Authority has assessed the merits of individuals on the register. This remains the responsibility of BACP. It does not mean that the Authority has endorsed a particular treatment; people will need to consider the information provided and decide if it is suitable for them. Accreditation means that BACP's register meets the Professional Standards Authority's high standards in governance, standard-setting, education and training, management, complaints and information.