We understand that it can be distressing to have a complaint made against you. However, in the interest of public protection and the reputation of the counselling professions, we have to ensure any complaints and concerns about our members are properly addressed. 

Our aim is always to help members address poor practice that leads to complaints and to raise professional standards.

The professional conduct procedure

Our new professional conduct procedure (PCP) aims to make the complaints process simpler and less punitive. It provides more ways of resolving complaints at an early stage, without the need for a full hearing. It will reduce the length of time it takes to process complaints and ensure the outcomes are proportionate, while still offering the same level of protection to clients and the public.

It's important that you read and understand the PCP. You agree to be bound by this when you join BACP or renew your membership. It's also your responsibility to bring it to the attention of clients who may wish to complain about you.

When we receive a complaint

If we receive a complaint about you, we'll give you the opportunity to comment and provide additional information before we complete the Threshold test.

If the complaint relates to an organisational member, we'll send it to the designated contact person. 

We'll also let you know if a complaint passes the test. You don't have to respond formally at this stage but you should notify your insurance company. 

For minor issues, we may give you advice on how to improve your practice or agree an appropriate sanction with you.

It's important you engage with the process. Once a complaint is being considered under the PCP, we'll continue to process it even if you lapse or resign your membership.

What support is available to members

We recognise that having a complaint made against you and going through BACP’s conduct procedure can be difficult. If you need to speak to someone about the personal or professional impact of the complaint, or for support, there is an independent Member Support service. This service is being offered as a pilot until 31 July 2024. Please email scheduling@bacp.co.uk if you need more information or would like to arrange a support session with a Member Supporter.

When a complaint goes to a hearing

The Investigation and Assessment Committee (IAC) will only refer complaints to a hearing where there is realistic prospect that a panel would find there has been a breach of professional standards. 

You can find further information on hearings in:

Disciplinary hearings

Practice review hearings

The process of conducting a hearing online

What is a virtual hearing?

Who will be present and what can you expect? 

How do you join a virtual hearing? 

What happens next? 

Findings and sanctions

Hearing findings and details of any sanctions imposed on members are published under Notices

You can read more about this in our Publication policy.

Further information

If you want to discuss the professional conduct procedure or a complaint against you, please call us on 01455 883300 or email professional_conduct@bacp.co.uk.

We will try to help if we can, but we must remain neutral in professional conduct cases and cannot offer individual advice.