Thank you to the 5,740 of you who took the time to complete this year’s membership survey. The survey was sent to all BACP members on 27 May and was open for four weeks. The response rate was approximately 10% and although this is lower than last year, respondents are broadly representative of our membership categories.

You told us about your relationship with us, what we’re doing well and what we could improve on. You also told us about what matters most to you, and the areas of our work that you find most important.

We use this feedback to continually improve the support and services we offer, so that you get the best possible membership experience.

Key findings

What matters to you

You told us what matters and what's important to you and below are the top five areas you identified as priorities for BACP to work through on behalf of our members. You said that it’s important BACP:

  • provides you with resources that support professional and ethical practice
  • keeps you informed about issues within the field of counselling and the profession and how they affect you
  • sets standards for the profession
  • protects clients from unsafe or unethical practice by providing support, information and a complaints procedure
  • keeps you informed about our work and how it affects you

In our membership survey: 

  • 69% of you say BACP is the professional body you identify most with
  • 84% of you say you're likely to renew your membership without, or with little, hesitation
  • 68% say that you trust BACP*
  • 77% say that being a member of BACP gives credibility to your practice

Therefore, we're pleased to see that your membership remains important to you and that your responses have remained consistent with 2020. However, we’d like to see these responses improve next year, and we’re already looking at ways to do this.

* Further results show 23% neither agreed nor disagreed with the trust statement.

What we could do better

  • 56% think BACP is an inclusive association

We’re pleased that more than half of you see BACP as an inclusive association, but we know we can do more in this hugely important area. This year, we’ve started to develop our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy by working closely with our newly formed Task and Finish Group, made up of members. We’ve got a significant number of EDI initiatives planned to address the barriers to our profession, including our recently launched Third Sector Grants Scheme.

  • 31% of you say we work well to provide forums and groups for people with similar interests to come together and network
  • 35% say you feel part of a community of members

We’ve recognised it’s important for us to provide a place where our members can come together, which is why we’re working on our new Communities of Practice platform to be launched in 2022. The new platform will offer members a bespoke forum where you can network and learn from one another in a secure and safe online space.

  • 22% of you say we work well on behalf of members to improve employment opportunities, up from 18% in 2020
  • 25% agree we promote opportunities for paid employment and volunteer placements for students, up from 22% in 2020

We’re pleased that these figures have improved slightly on 2020 and we continue to campaign for more paid opportunities for all our members across the four nations of the UK.

Our Jobs board has seen a 61% increase in the number of job adverts being posted, with over 1,000 roles advertised over the last 12 months.

  • 42% agree we raise awareness of the counselling professions in the public and the media, up from 38% in 2020

We’ve significantly furthered our commitment to publicly championing our members over the last 12 months. We launched our national Counselling changes lives media campaign, designed to raise awareness of BACP, introduce the benefits of therapy and most importantly, signpost those in need to our members. So far, our campaign has featured across national and regional press, radio and TV and has been seen by several million people.

We also launched an advertising campaign in July, which saw leaflets and posters distributed to 3,000 GP practices across the UK explaining the importance of choosing a counsellor who is listed on a PSA accredited register.

In October, we launched our first paid social media campaign and extended the reach of our Google AdWords campaign, both of which will continue to improve public awareness of BACP and the work of our members.

What we're doing well

  • three quarters of members join BACP to demonstrate commitment to ethics and 81% agree that we do well at providing ethical support and resources
  • 76% say we set standards for the profession well

SCoPEd, in particular, represents an important step in setting standards for the profession, protecting clients from unsafe or unethical practice and providing members with the resources and support needed to practise. 

  • 72% agree that we work to deliver a robust regulatory framework and hold and maintain a PSA accredited register which promotes confidence in BACP members
  • 73% agree we keep you informed about the issues within the field of counselling and the profession and how they affect you

While it’s great to see you feel supported in these areas, we’ve continued to improve our communications in several ways this year.

We’ve worked hard to bring you timely coronavirus news, have introduced more regular SCoPEd updates across all our channels, and have been running our listening workshops as an opportunity for you to find out more about our work. We’ve also introduced a new customer thermometer tool on our all-member e-bulletins, so you can feedback on our regular communications and help us to continue to improve.

Through this feedback, we know that many of you find our content informative and relevant to your practice and encourage all members to share your thoughts on future updates.

Your relationship with us

  • 50% of you say we listen well
  • 56% agree we act in the best interests of our members

Since March, we’ve been holding monthly listening workshops. Each workshop addresses a different theme and is an opportunity for you to ask questions about key areas of our work that are important to you. We’ve been holding these workshops to help us listen to you better and we send surveys to attendees after each workshop to understand how valuable members found it. We’re pleased to see that many attendees strongly agree or agree that the listening workshops help them to feel valued as a member; student (85%), EDI (76%), policy (70%), research (70%), professional standards (68%) and communications (60%).

You can catch up on all of the events we’ve held so far, and book to attend future events, on our Listening workshops page.

Thank you

We can only achieve our aims with your support and honest feedback. Thank you again to those of you who took part in this survey. Your feedback helps us to continually improve as your association and ensure that we’re able to better support you as you change lives through counselling.