From our chair

This has been a busy and productive year for us with a host of exciting developments taking place that strengthen our work to promote the counselling professions and support our members.

Therefore, I’m delighted to share this overview of the Association’s work for the 12 months up to April 2019. This includes our financial statements, which describe our financial activity for the same period. I firmly believe that we are in a stronger position than ever to champion counselling and psychotherapy. This review details the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes, including new projects to increase members’ CPD opportunities and influential work to ensure policy-makers and NHS commissioners know that counselling changes people’s lives and that there is a workforce available to carry this out.

Many of the changes we have put in place over the past year are a result of feedback from our members. Understanding the needs of our members – and of clients – is important in shaping how our work progresses and should influence everything we do.

After five years, this will be the final time I present our annual report as I will step down as Chair at the November AGM. I want to thank members, the Board and staff for their invaluable support and advice. I know that our Chair-elect Natalie Bailey and everyone associated with BACP will continue to take the organisation forward and I wish them all the best for the future.

Andrew Reeves

Andrew Reeves, Chair of BACP

Improving member 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’re working towards making our services as accessible and user-friendly as we can.

This year we have:

  • improved ethical support through our free Ethics hub and online booking system
  • launched our CPD hub, which now contains more than 140 hours of content
  • made online renewal available to all members
  • staged more member events, including relaunching Making Connections around the UK
  • increased the accessibility of our events through webcasts and online recordings
  • published 52 new or updated Good Practice in Action resources
  • gave our members a greater voice through a new system of motions and resolutions
  • increased support for accredited courses and services
  • improved the way we deal with personal data
  • upgraded our IT infrastructure to deliver a faster, more effective, future-proof service 

Next year we plan to:

  • build on our exciting programme of member events
  • increase practical support for specialist groups
  • increase the variety of our CPD content
  • enhance our member engagement
  • explore how we can help members engage with the public
  • continue to improve member support for data protection

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. We continue to represent members’ interests and to argue for high research standards to inform policy and commissioning.

This year we have:

  • launched a pilot private practice research tool
  • disseminated our research to the widest possible audiences
  • supported research through PhD studentships
  • explored the effectiveness of counselling with academic and strategic partners
  • promoted our work at academic conferences and public events
  • shared clients' stories
  • promoted therapy in the media

Next year we plan to:

  • publish findings from our research projects
  • support members' research activity
  • research counselling for older people
  • extend the Pragmatic Tracker project
  • promote the profession to the public

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. Through intelligent horizon scanning and targeted, evidence-based communications, we inform and influence the decisions that will impact on our members, with a particular focus on our core priority areas – older people, children, young people and families, healthcare and workforce – through our dedicated leads.

This year we have:

  • succeeded in our campaign to provide access to counselling in schools in Scotland
  • led a campaign to help university and college students have access to embedded-counselling services
  • worked with Relate to call for increased accessibility to cost-effective relationship support
  • promoted counselling for older people
  • shared evidence from members to around 25 Government and stakeholder consultations and parliamentary inquiries across all four nations
  • developed stronger working relations with the wider professions and all our stakeholders
  • influenced policy makers in Wales and Manchester
  • continued the pressure on NICE to ensure that counselling and psychotherapy remain within the Depression in Adults clinical guideline

Next year we plan to:

  • lead on supporting the counselling and psychotherapy workforce
  • work to influence NHS workforce plans
  • continue to increase engagement and visibility in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • expand our work with MPs
  • lobby for school-based counselling in England
  • showcase good practice
  • build on the development of the older people strategy

Raising 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:

  • consulted on the Scope of Practice and Education project (SCoPEd) 
  • updated our Professional Conduct Procedure
  • improved processes for members, including launching online assessment for the Certificate of Proficiency
  • increased the accessibility of our Ethical Framework, with British Sign Language, audio and Word versions now available on our website
  • introduced six new committees to make us more accountable to members
  • updated our children and young people competence framework to include humanistic counselling with children aged 4 to 10 years
  • increased the number of public enquiries resolved by our Ask Kathleen service
  • introduced a new course accreditation scheme for person-centred experiential counselling for depression (PCE-CfD)
  • began work on a project to develop a competency framework for people who use counselling skills within their professional roles

Next year we plan to:

  • engage further with members on SCoPEd
  • seek feedback about the Professional Conduct Procedure
  • engage with members about the Certificate of Proficiency
  • implement an updated publication policy for findings of our Professional Conduct Panel hearings
  • support raising standards in specialisms via competence frameworks
  • review our accreditation schemes
  • revise our procedure for dealing with serious allegations against a member

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 we welcomed Julie May to our Board of Governors. Val Elliott and Moira Sibbald were also co-opted to the Board and appointed Chair of the Finance and Policy Committee and Chair of the Public Protection Committee respectively.

Financial highlights

We remain in a healthy financial position in line with our reserves policy. This financial 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, therapist directory fees, accreditation fees and income from our trading subsidiary, BACP Enterprises Ltd.