Information was received by BACP, which raised questions about the suitability of Mr Philip Blundell’s continued membership of this Association. The matters raised were considered under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association. The Article 4.6 Panel decided to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Mr Blundell. Mr Blundell appealed against the decision and the matter was considered by the Article 4.6 Appeal Panel.
Mr Blundell appealed against the Article 4.6 Panel’s decision to withdraw BACP membership for the following reasons:
- Mr Blundell had pleaded guilty in court to an offence of theft which involved a breach of trust to his employer over a long period of time, and this was incompatible with the values of counselling and psychotherapy.
- The serious view taken of this by the court was reflected in the length of sentence imposed.
- If the public was accurately informed of all the circumstances of this case, its trust in the profession would be adversely affected.
- Mr Blundell failed to notify BACP, as his professional body and as required to do so by his signed declaration, of his custodial prison sentence and the acts and circumstances that led to his imprisonment.
It was the duty of the Appeal Panel to decide whether the Article 4.6 Panel’s decision was fair and appropriate.
Mr Blundell admitted he had been foolish, dishonest and guilty of a lack of clarity with reference to the theft charges and the acts that led up to that charge. The Panel, therefore, was unanimous in its decision that his appeal against the first three bullet points of the Article 4.6 Panel’s decision was not allowed
However, the Panel accepted that Mr Blundell was not in a position to notify BACP of his prison sentence at the time, but that he had kept the College [where he had attended as a student] apprised of events throughout this time. Therefore, his appeal was upheld on the fourth bullet point.
In view of the circumstances, the Panel decided that his membership of BACP should be withdrawn and that its decision would be published on the website and in Therapy Today. However, the Panel decided that Mr Blundell could re-apply for membership at any time after his sentence is spent in November 2008. Any re-application for membership will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association and any successful re-application will be published on the website and in Therapy Today accordingly.
Mr Blundell is to be complimented on seeking therapy and supervision since his discharge from H M Prison; however, the Appeal Panel wish that Mr Blundell reflect carefully on his fitness to practise and his level of competence prior to re-applying for membership of BACP as this will need to be demonstrated in any re-application. Mr Blundell is advised to contact the Professional Conduct Department for further details at any time.