This statement aims to provide reassurance to members across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland following the UK’s departure from the European Union on 1 January 2021, after a long period of uncertainty and instability. This is particularly important for those who work with clients on both sides of the border.

We’ve worked with The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) to provide information which clarifies the status of our members, details of the new regulations, and signposts to further business advice and guidance.

Your membership status and recognition won’t change

BACP and IACP have more than 6,000 members across the island of Ireland, some of whom are members of both organisations.

Despite changes to the trading status between both nations we can confirm that members in the UK and in the Republic of Ireland will continue to be recognised and receive the same service and benefits from both BACP and IACP.

You can continue to work with clients on both sides of the border

Our members will retain freedom of movement to continue to meet the needs of their clients on both sides of the border.

From 1 January 2020, the new Northern Ireland Protocol provides unfettered access to the UK market and free access to EU markets, and reflects the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland and the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. At the heart of the NI Protocol is the joint commitment by the British and Irish governments to retain the Common Travel Area (CTA). This critically means existing reciprocal rights to travel, work, study, access social security and public services will stay the same for UK and Irish nationals. Find out more about your rights under the CTA.

On 24 December 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom also reached an agreement in principle on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, setting out future rules for services, including on tax, personal data and e-commerce. Some further guidance is expected from the UK and EU on a small number of outstanding issues relating mostly to financial services. For other sectors it is expected there may be small changes in terminology and invoice references on taxation, rather than any wholesale legislative changes. This is continuing to be developed and we advise members to continue to review the Trade in services guidance from InterTradeIreland.

We will continue to recognise each other's accreditation schemes

BACP’s agreement with IACP that allows each organisation to recognise the other’s accreditation schemes remains in place.

You will continue to receive all the benefits normally associated with both organisations’ accredited member status.

Free practical advice for businesses

Free advice and support continue to be available for businesses in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on post-Brexit arrangements. These organisations are all offering support that you may find helpful.

  • InterTradeIreland
    They have a free Brexit advisory service to help businesses understand and deal with the new regulations, particularly those trading on a cross-border basis, including some very useful FAQs. They also provide a planning voucher for independent advice valued up to £2,000/€2,250.

  • Department of the Taoiseach
    A range of support for businesses in Ireland is available to inform business readiness, including a series of business support events across the Republic of Ireland.

  • Invest Northern Ireland
    The NIdirect website provides a range of useful tools and advice to make sure NI businesses are prepared for leaving the EU, including an EU Exit resilience tool.

BACP and IACP will continue to work together, responding to the needs of members and promoting the counselling professions throughout Ireland.