We’re proud of our achievements during the last financial year and excited about the next twelve months, in which we’ll continue to improve services, influence decision makers, demonstrate the effectiveness of counselling, raise standards and protect the public.

From our chair

I’m delighted to present to you this overview of the Association’s work during the 12 months running up to April 2017, as well as our Financial Statements for the same period.

In these documents, you will see evidence of an organisation committed to evolution and improvement. We’ve been working in the background to make vital infrastructure changes, while collaborating on an unprecedented scale with our members and other organisations. These activities will enable us to better support our members throughout their professional careers. They also set the stage for an association that is better placed to champion the value of counselling to governments, policy makers and the public.

As I look through this yearly report, I see the promise of an association that is about to emerge from a period of transformation and renewal more confident and credible than ever before, with our members and their clients at the heart of everything we do.

Andrew Reeves

Andrew Reeves, Chair of BACP

Improving services

We aim to support our members throughout their careers by responding efficiently to their enquiries and providing them with the benefits and services that are most useful to them in their professional lives. We are working towards making our services as accessible and user-friendly as they can be.

This year we have:

  • improved our customer service standards
  • trialled an online version of the Certificate of Proficiency test
  • carried out a number of improvements to our IT infrastructure
  • trialled a new continuing professional development (CPD) platform to test the concept of stand-alone online CPD
  • held several extremely successful events
  • published more than 20 Good Practice in Action resources

Next year we plan to:

  • launch our new website
  • implement an online version of the Certificate of Proficiency test
  • support our members CPD needs through developing more low-cost, quality and accessible online CPD and webcasts
  • publish more Good Practice in Action resources

Influencing decision makers

We work with politicians and decision makers representing all four UK nations to help them understand the positive changes that counselling can make to people's lives. We use political monitoring and targeted, evidence-based communications to inform and influence the decisions that will impact on the public and members of the counselling professions most.

This year we have:

  • provided expert and evidence-based submissions to around 40 government and stakeholder consultations and parliamentary enquiries across each of the four nations
  • continued to strengthen and build relationships with key stakeholders, partners and decision makers
  • worked ever closer with other organisations, collaborative partners and stakeholders
  • continued our campaign for a trained counsellor in every school in the UK.

Next year we plan to:

  • launch our refreshed branding, which will support us in promoting our work to governments, decision makers and the public
  • improve stakeholder engagement within Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • exert influence around the implementation of the Five Year Forward View alongside the review of the NICE depression guidelines
  • examine the UK Government’s Green Paper on children and young people’s mental health
  • build on the existing scoping work in order to develop our key strategic intent around older people

Demonstrating the effectiveness of counselling

We have a critical role to play in supporting and disseminating the evolving research base for counselling and using research to demonstrate the value of counselling in making a positive difference to people’s lives.

This year we have:

  • conducted a survey about counselling professionals’ awareness and understanding of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • advanced the evidence base for counselling for children and young people
  • fully funded a PhD student at the University of Sheffield to conduct a feasibility trial into university counselling services
  • hosted the 22nd Annual BACP Research Conference
  • provided an evidence base for members’ work through the National Audit of Psychological Therapies for Anxiety and Depression (NAPT) project

Next year we plan to:

  • start a programme of research including conducting a public perception survey
  • build the evidence base for the counselling professions through providing PhD stipends for projects that meet our strategic objectives
  • put on a live webcast of part of the content of our research conference
  • form a research advisory group made up of experts relevant to each of our work streams as well as member volunteers and some members of the public

Setting standards and protecting the public

We set and uphold high standards for our members, both for initial registration and for maintaining registered status. We carry out an audit of a sample of registered members every month to make sure that standards are maintained. We investigate complaints through our professional conduct process, provide a support service to clients who have problems with their therapy and consult with external stakeholders to improve awareness of counselling and its benefits.

This year we have:

  • collaborated with our members in a review of our Professional Conduct Procedure to be launched later this year
  • carried out a membership consultation on the Register audit processes
  • raised entry standards for our Find a Therapist directory
  • seen a 32% increase in enquiries to our Ask Kathleen service
  • consulted with external stakeholders on the development of public and client reference groups
  • initiated the Scope of Practice development process with collaborative partners UKCP and BPC

Next year we plan to:

  • use our new website to improve the way we engage with the public
  • implement and monitor our revised Professional Conduct Procedure
  • further consult with our members about the Register audit processes
  • carry out a survey of older people to help us understand the barriers to accessing counselling among this group
  • develop a focus group of members of the public and clients of therapy
  • continue the Scope of Practice development process with collaborative partners UKCP and BPC.

Governance and structure

Our Governors are elected or appointed to oversee our strategic direction and the management of the Association. Representing and accountable to our members, their role is to provide strong leadership, enhance our decision making and to make sure that we achieve our objectives.

This year there have been a number of changes. We have welcomed three new members to our Board of Governors - Myira Khan, Natalie Bailey and Andrew Kinder. Two other members of our Board of Governors have stepped down this year - Alan Dunnett and Royston Flude.

David Weaver has left the Board to step into the position of President of the Association, where his passion for the value of counselling as an instrument of social justice continues to provide inspiration and direction to us as we move forward with our work in this vital area.

David replaces outgoing President, Dr Mike Shooter CBE. In his four years in the role, Mike has done a great deal to promote the value of counselling and early intervention for vulnerable children and young people. We are extremely grateful to Mike for his support and guidance during his time as President.

Financial highlights

We remain in a healthy financial position broadly in line with our reserves policy. This position allows us to undertake and support a broad range of activities in relation to our charitable objectives.

Our main sources of funding are membership subscriptions, Find a Therapist directory fees, accreditation fees and income from our trading subsidiary. Income from our trading subsidiary was particularly challenged during the year and the advertising sales activity involved outsourcing to a specialist provider in order to mitigate this.

The other sources of funding remained robust during the course of the year, although each was subject to operating in an increasingly competitive market. Particularly pleasing was the income from the take-up of online events and CPD opportunities.

The sources of funding sustain the costs incurred in delivering our key objectives through representation of the profession, developing research, the provision of journals, conferences and events, professional standards, register and conduct processes.

Annual review and financial statements 2016 to 2017 (pdf 1MB)