We’re actively working to stimulate paid employment opportunities for our members, working with key stakeholders, including politicians and decision makers from across the nations, to help them understand the positive changes that counselling can make to people's lives and the places they work.

Our public policy work helps us to bring members closer to opportunities in a range of sectors and often leads to wider benefits, including supporting the development of new services or improving pay and access to jobs for therapists.  

Learn more about our work in specific policy areas:

Workforce

Our Workforce Policy Lead works with a broad range of employers, professional bodies, industry sector representatives and strategic partnerships. With a greater focus on the private sector and workplace wellbeing, they work on raising the profile of the profession, promoting the value of investment in workplace counselling and bringing our members closer to a broader range of employment. We've focused our activities in key industry sectors where the need for counselling is typically higher in those workforces - drawing on research, work with sector representatives and consultation with members.

Over the last year we've worked alongside organisations in the farming, agriculture, retail, blue light, financial services, building and construction sectors. All the organisations that have worked with us have done so as a result of efforts to position counselling and psychotherapy in the minds of key decision makers, highlighting the important role we play in advocating for our members. In many cases we work closely with employers to explore their needs and align these with counselling services that are fit for purpose, provide best value and are delivered within the highest standards of professionalism and quality. To date our work with employers has leveraged hundreds of new jobs, seen more than one million pounds invested in new services and has helped to position counselling, psychotherapy and coaching more clearly in the minds of commissioners and key decision makers. 

Spotlight: we work with RABI to tackle mental health crisis in farming

Over the last two years we've worked closely with a range of stakeholders in the rural sector, helping to raise awareness of the mental health crisis in farming and alarming rates of suicide among agricultural workers. This has culminated in working with the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) to develop counselling services for farm workers and their families. Free at the point of delivery, the services provide a blend of online and face to face counselling for some of the most vulnerable and isolated rural workers in England. Alongside this we're working with academic partners, ministers and rural support organisations to make the case for targeted investment in counselling within farming communities.

Children, young people and families

Our school and college campaign work has put paid employment for counsellors at the heart of what we do. We work closely with policy makers and commissioners to come up with costing formulas to ensure specialist children and young people counsellors are paid appropriately, offering children and young people free at the point of access counselling services. In the nations where school, community and college counselling are already well established for 10 to 18-year-olds, we work with commissioners to roll out primary school counselling provision.

We also look for opportunities for members where they can contribute to the wider wellbeing of society. One example is a training programme we’ve developed in partnership with the Association of Colleges to provide reflective practice supervision spaces for pastoral staff in school and college settings. We’ve been instrumental in leading the way in this area and have developed a network of MBACP trainers who deliver supervision skills training in these settings.

This is a fast-growing area, and we're working with the Anna Freud Centre to look at evaluating the impact of the training and broadening its reach. The more training delivered, the more paid opportunities for members. This programme also involves raising the profile of employing counselling supervisors for one-to-one supervision.

Spotlight: TAC Access 

We're working with TAC Access, an online data base resource that enables commissioners, including schools and colleges, to directly contract children and young people trained counsellors to work with 5 to 18-year-olds. Signing up to the platform is free until September 2022, after that, members can choose whether to pay the monthly fee. The platform enables registered and accredited counsellors and psychotherapists to set their own rate of hourly pay with no agency taking a cut or paying therapists at a lower rate.

Find out how to sign up to the platform

Third sector

The community and voluntary, or third sector, is among the largest employers of counsellors and therapists in the UK. Over one third of our members report delivering all or part of their therapeutic work in the third sector. We recognise the importance of third sector provision of talking therapies in making counselling, psychotherapy and coaching accessible to clients and as a vital source of training placements and employment. In our policy work to promote the value of talking therapies to individuals, communities and society, we include examples, case-studies and impact reporting from third sector counselling providers. In response to member requests and in support of our work on equality, diversity and inclusion, we're leading on engagement with third sector providers to improve opportunities for paid employment and increase access to therapy for people from marginalised community backgrounds.

Spotlight: we help to shape counselling service for care workers

Last year, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked closely with The Care Workers’ Charity to help develop their Mental Health Support Programme. This offered free counselling to care workers in response to the mental health crisis faced by the UK’s social care workforce.

The new service provides up to 10 therapy sessions with a qualified BACP-registered therapist through organisational member Red Umbrella, a specialist mental health organisation providing counselling and training. The service continues to work with vulnerable care workers and has provided hundreds of hours of paid employment for our members.

Healthcare

Through our healthcare work we campaign for the greater availability of free at the point of need evidence-based counselling and psychotherapy for the public, including an increased choice of the interventions offered, improved availability and access to services for all groups within society and reducing waiting times for those services. 

We engage with strategic stakeholders to showcase the valuable contribution that counsellors and psychotherapists, and counselling and psychotherapy, can make to the health of the nation. As well as demonstrating how our members are often and undervalued and under-utilised workforce that should be playing a more central role in healthcare services. 

Engaging with members currently working within healthcare systems, and those who would like to work within it, we seek to better understand the opportunities and barriers they face. We use this information to inform our work to increase the number of meaningfully paid employment opportunities for counsellors and psychotherapists, including physical and mental health services. 

Spotlight: Parliamentary and public affairs

Our public affairs work champions the under-utilised capacity of our members as a profession, as well as the benefits of counselling and psychotherapy, to elected representatives and decision makers in the Governments, Parliaments and Assemblies across the four nations of the UK. We achieve this through a mixture of direct lobbying, meetings with Ministers, Officials and Parliamentarians from all parties, responding to a wide variety of relevant consultations and Parliamentary inquiries, securing and briefing debates, raising Parliamentary Questions and influencing relevant legislation. This is crucial to achieving our aims of improving public protection, expanding the choice of evidence-based therapies, increasing the availability of services, reducing waiting times and raising awareness of the valuable skills counsellors and psychotherapists can bring to a workforce.

A recent example of this is our joint briefing with the BPS in October, which directly influenced amendments within the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, currently passing through Parliament. We're also undertaking campaign activity with our members and key partners to amplify our voice and secure meaningful change. The central focus of this work is to increase investment in counselling and psychotherapy, leading to sustainable funding and an increase in paid opportunities for members across the four nations of the UK.

Read our latest updates in Policy news, Winter 2021

If you'd like to discuss employment related issues, please email kris.ambler@bacp.co.uk