From our Chair

Our strategy is about a continuous focus on embedding change. It acts as a catalyst for long-term commitment and improvement. We’re working towards embodying the values that underpin equality, diversity and inclusion.

Focusing on EDI yields huge benefits for the profession, therapists and those considering becoming therapists, and of course for mental health across all parts of our society. Our strategy sets out our commitment to evolve and improve practice across all areas of our work. Making the necessary changes is complex and we’re going to continue on this journey. We’ll innovate, use research, pilot schemes and collate metrics to measure impact, ensuring we build in accountability and evolve the strategy.

Our vision for the future is to:

  • embed change that ensures the relevance of the counselling professions to all corners of our diverse society
  • remove and address barriers to access training, entry to the counselling professions and access to paid employment so we’re reflective of the communities we serve
  • remove barriers that prevent the growth and evolution of therapists, supporting a skilled, competent and diverse workforce to deliver therapy to people from all sections of society
  • ensure members experience a welcoming and inclusive organisation, which facilitates a sense of belonging, with members identifying themselves as being part of BACP because it reflects who they are, what they stand for and their values and beliefs.

The intent of our strategy is that counselling and psychotherapy change the lives of more people because of the diversity of members and the organisation that supports them. Social justice is at the heart of our strategy, and we’re fully committed to promoting and progressing social justice in our contemporary and diverse communities. Social justice means many things to many people, but for us, it’s about ensuring that anyone who needs counselling will be able to access equitable, ethical and effective practice.

We recognise that this work has its foundations internally in our Association. We’ll strive to create a vibrant, inclusive, diverse, ethical and equitable culture. And we’ll work with our staff, committees and divisions, to lead by example in our policies, operations and communications.

Natalie Bailey, Chair of BACP

Natalie Bailey

"The intent of our strategy is that counselling and psychotherapy change the lives of more people because of the diversity of members and the organisation that supports them."

Strategy development

Our senior management team and a task and finish group drafted specific tactical steps and commitments for each of our 2019-2022 strategic goals, to ensure we fully embed equality, diversity and inclusion.

There are many aspects to EDI and our strategy isn’t intended to cover the specifics of every area; we’ll do that by producing position papers and statements. We also understand that not all equality issues are the same and they may need different actions to achieve appropriate equitable, and therefore ethical, outcomes. Our strategy aims to ensure the EDI thread runs through all our work and is embedded into our organisational goals.


An internal EDI Steering group is leading on the implementation of the tactical steps and commitments outlined in the strategy. This group includes senior representatives from all areas of BACP to provide leadership and influence for change across the organisation and our membership.

An internal EDI group of self-selected colleagues, originally formed in June 2020, is now committed to working on tactical step six. This group is aspiring to create a workplace where all voices are heard, respected and valid. It also aims to break down barriers faced by marginalised groups by challenging discrimination, supporting colleagues and developing inclusive policies and initiatives.

We’ll review the strategy annually, considering feedback on progress and continuing to evolve EDI work throughout BACP.

Designated funds

The Board has approved funding of £1.3 million to support the implementation of the EDI strategy and key workstreams. Decisions around the investment of this funding and the benefits of initiatives will be monitored by BACP's Designated Funds Committee which acts as the governance body responsible for delivering BACP Board strategic goals. 

Our goals

Strategic goal one

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

  • Tactical step one: We will recognise and work to remove barriers that prevent marginalised voices from participating in member consultations, and will ensure that all our members feel listened to and engaged with

Strategic goal two

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

  • Tactical step two: We will promote learning and development opportunities on equality, diversity and inclusion to support members to work with the communities we serve

Strategic goal three

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

  • Tactical step three: We will take an active stance on issues of equality, diversity and inclusion in member services and communications, working with members to create a professional home where members feel they belong

Strategic goal four

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

  • Tactical step four: We will ensure equality, diversity and inclusion awareness and understanding are embedded into training and practice standards

Strategic goal five

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 policymakers

  • Tactical step five: We will campaign and advocate for equality of access to counselling and psychotherapy

Strategic goal six

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

  • Tactical step six: We will continue to create an inclusive workplace which respects and values, diversity, equality and inclusivity.