The annual review and financial statements focuses on our work between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020 and how that fits in with the goals in our strategy. You can read the highlights below or download the full review.

From our Chair

This is my first annual review as Chair of the Association and it’s also the first since the launch of our new strategy.

This strategy has been inspired by what our members have told us they want from us – and how they believe we should work with them and for them. It’s something that is very close to my heart. A desire to strengthen our membership focus is one of the reasons I first joined the Board and why, last year, I stepped up to the role of Chair.

We only launched the new strategy in December and so it’s encouraging to see the progress already made detailed in this annual review. We have much more planned over the next three years to reinforce how we work on behalf of our members and how we promote the counselling professions to policy-makers and the public.

At the time of writing this introduction, we face unprecedented challenges as individuals, practitioners, professions and society. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted on all our lives in ways we could not have imagined a few months ago. My hope is that you and your families have remained safe and well, and that you've witnessed first-hand the work we’ve done as an Association, to protect the interests of members through these difficult times and to provide robust support and valuable direction where needed.

I truly believe that many of the goals we set ourselves with our new strategy – and the values that we work by as an Association – have been at the core of how we’ve responded to this challenge. I’ve seen how the counselling community has come together to support each other during this crisis, and it is something of which we can all be immensely proud.

I know we’ll continue to face the consequences of this pandemic throughout 2020/21. As an Association we will work hard to support our members through the next stages of this unparalleled situation. We’ll also continue to concentrate on our wider strategic aims to listen to, promote and support our members and demonstrate to everyone that counselling changes lives.

Natalie Bailey
Chair of the Association

Natalie Bailey

"This strategy has been inspired by what our members have told us they want from us – and how they believe we should work with them and for them."


1. We will listen to, learn from and work with our members to inform the work of the Association.

Key achievements from this year:

Private practice tool
A project assisting private practitioners to use an online case management and research measurement tool to support their practice has been expanded. Through regular consultation with the members who are using the tool, we’re gaining valuable insights into how outcome measures can support practice.

Ethics resources
We created new resources to support members in their practice based on the most common themes of enquiries that came into our ethics services. We’ve listened to members about the ethical issues that cause them the most concern and expanded our guidance on the topics where necessary to support them.

Coronavirus guidance
Resources and guidance put together for members during the coronavirus pandemic were designed to help with the questions that we were receiving from members via customer services calls, our ethics hub, our professional standards team, and through our social media channels.

Safe lone-working
A lone-working resource was produced featuring practical suggestions to support our members in keeping themselves safe. It was prompted by the findings of a members’ survey, which we carried out with personal safety charity the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

Roslyn Byfield

"It was a very interesting and worthwhile meeting, enabling all of us to learn more at first-hand about others’ roles and responsibilities, successes and challenges – very different from reading about it solely in member bulletins and journals."

Accredited member Roslyn Byfield on a meeting between her and colleagues from Waterloo Community Counselling and our Chief Executive and Chief Professional Standards Officer

2. We will equip our members to be able to work in a fast-changing world, to be able to influence and contribute to the wellbeing of society.

Key achievements from this year:

Contacting election candidates
We supported members to promote counselling and psychotherapy to their prospective parliamentary candidates ahead of the 2019 General Election with online resources and a dedicated web platform. More than 700 candidates were contacted by members through this system.

Research access
We partnered with EBSCO, the leading provider of research databases, e-journals, magazine subscriptions, e-books and discovery service. This has given members free access to a database of more than 480 psychology journals and more than 3.7 billion records from the world’s top publishers and information providers.

CPD content
We’ve continued to expand the volume of content on our CPD hub to support members to continue their learning throughout their careers. This year the content has been broadened out to cover a wider range of topics and an extra 10 hours of videos of every month.

Podcast launched
Recognising that people now consume their media in different formats, we launched a Therapy Today podcast so members can now listen to a selection of the magazine’s articles each month via their computers, mobile phones or other devices.

Sally Carline

"I am so pleased to be able to access EBSCO services as part of my BACP membership, as this allows me to have the most up-to-date and relevant information at my fingertips, with only a few keystrokes."

Student member Sally Carline on getting free access to the EBSCO research database

3. We will be the professional home of choice for members and communities of practice, providing relevant services and opportunities to learn, develop and inspire each other.

Key achievements from this year:

Free business courses
We’ve provided members with access to a selection of free business courses thanks to a partnership with Openlearn, a learning platform delivered by The Open University. The online courses take from two to 24 hours to complete. Topics covered include finance and accounting, marketing, human resources and IT.

New ethical support service
We launched an ethical support service for members working with children and young people. Our new ethics consultant can help members with ethical dilemmas presented by clients or queries relating to the provision of therapy for this age group.

More traffic to our directory
A website project has driven more traffic to our directory. It’s focused on the use of Google Adwords, enhanced search engine optimisation and extra content aimed at the public about how therapy can help. Page views on our public pages increased by 52% in February 2020 compared to February 2019.

Therapy Today refresh
We refreshed Therapy Today to reflect our work with and for members. This included relaunching the ethical dilemma page, introducing a practical question and answer section and revamping the news round-up pages.

Lesley Ludlow

"Working in private practice can be isolating and for counsellors to come together and share experiences is priceless in terms of feeling part of a community but also alleviating worries about running a business."

BACP Private Practice division Chair Lesley Ludlow on the Private Practice networking group events

4. We will further develop confidence in and credibility of the profession by developing and upholding professional and ethical standards, informed by an evidence base.

Key achievements from this year:

Addressing feedback to SCoPEd
We incorporated feedback from our members and stakeholders into the next draft of the framework for our Scope of Practice and Education for the counselling and psychotherapy professions (SCoPEd) project. We’ve made changes to the language and content to ensure it’s more inclusive and addresses specific issues.

The SCoPEd project aims to agree a shared, evidence-based competence framework for the training and practice standards for counselling and psychotherapy. It’s a collaboration between us, the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) and the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

Drugs guidance
Guidance was published to give therapists information to help clients struggling with side effects and withdrawal issues resulting from the prescription of psychiatric drugs. It was facilitated by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence and endorsed by us, BPC, National Counselling Society and UKCP.

Care homes’ research
We’ve started research into how counselling can be integrated into care homes, although this project has now been delayed due to coronavirus. When it’s safe for it to resume, counselling support will be introduced for residents in three care homes and we’ll evaluate how this works. We will recruit members to undertake 1-2-1 sessions with residents and have already recruited members to train and supervise participants. The project follows a consultation with members, care home managers and care teams about the need for counselling provision in this environment.

New frameworks
We’ve reached the final stages of putting together competence frameworks for people using counselling skills in their professional roles and also workplace counselling.

Danuta Lipinska

"I am delighted that BACP has created a research project to test the feasibility of offering counselling in care homes. The qualities and skills of the counsellor members who have joined the project are inspirational."

Member Danuta Lipinska, who is the trainer and supervisor for our care homes’ research project

5. We will campaign for the appropriate provision of counselling and psychotherapy for all members of society and for opportunities for paid employment of our members. We will champion the skills, competence and contribution of our members to the public, employers, commissioners and policy-makers.

Key achievements from this year:

Impactful conversations
Our policy team logged more than 450 impactful conversations with stakeholders across the four nations of the UK in 2019. These discussions with policy-makers, politicians, commissioners, employers, academics and third sector organisations have led to a range of collaborative actions to promote the counselling professions. One example is a collaboration with Dementia UK on a ‘counselling people with dementia’ information resource.

Manifesto commitments
We influenced the manifesto commitments of four of the main five political parties in England, three out of five in Scotland and five out of five in Wales ahead of the 2019 General Election.

Scottish Parliament evidence
We gave oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Education Select Committee outlining recommendations for professional standards, competences and training required to meet the forthcoming workforce requirements as part of the four-year £60 million commitment to universal school-based counselling for 10 to 18-year-olds.

Members’ expertise in the media
We’ve ensured that our members’ expertise, qualifications and high standards play a central part in our response to media enquiries and in our statements. This was included within an interview our Chief Professional Standards Officer Fiona Ballantine Dykes gave to BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 programme, titled The Therapy Business.

Natasha Page

"I feel that as counsellors our work is often hidden because of the nature of what we do. I saw this opportunity to be a media spokesperson as a part of being able to voice how much I enjoy working as a therapist."

Member Natasha Page, who is one of our media spokespeople and has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and been quoted in The Guardian.

6. We will optimise the organisation of BACP to ensure it is flexible, responsive and capable of resourcing the vision and goals.

Key achievements from this year:

Programme board
We launched a programme board to ensure projects that directly improve the membership proposition are prioritised in line with our member-focused strategy.

Cyber security
We’ve achieved the Cyber Essentials Plus kitemark, which is the highest level of Cyber Essentials’ certifications, demonstrating that we safeguard our members data against the most common cyber threats and reduce our risk of cyber attacks.

Database investment
We’ve invested in our membership database system to increase efficiency and enhance our information management and member services. This has included improving online self-service options for members – such as online applications, renewal and events booking.