Information was disclosed to BACP, which was considered under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.
The summary of the information, together with the allegations as notified to Rev Dr Ezeakor was as follows:
It is alleged that Rev Dr Ezeakor's contract, as Roman Catholic Chaplain at [ . . . ], was terminated in April 2014 following a disciplinary hearing, which was the result of two formal complaints made against him. Dr Rev Ezeakor allegedly appealed the decision, but the Appeal Panel upheld the termination of his contract.
It is alleged that Rev Dr Ezeakor was the founder and CEO of Empowerment & Development of People's Skills (EDPS) & Health Foundation UK and that on the website for www.edpsngo.org he referred to himself as MBACP, which is in contravention of BACP's advertising policy.
As a result of the information received from [ . . . ], the Professional Conduct Department of BACP wrote to Rev Dr Ezeakor on 14 January 2015, asking for further details about the termination of his contract at [ . . . ], any paperwork about his dismissal and for a response to the complaint that had been made by [ . . . ].
On 04 February 2015, Rev Dr Ezeakor emailed BACP and advised that, since his contract had been terminated, he was no longer officially working in the UK. He further advised that he could not repeat the ordeal and that his belongings had been shipped to Nigeria, and that he could not therefore provide any supporting materials.
Attached to the email of 04 February 2015 was a word document entitled, ‘Father Adolphus Ezeakor -Appeal Hearing- Preparation and Submission', which stated ‘prepared by [ . . . ]- Employment Law Consultant'. The document referred to two allegations that had been made against him:
(1) That Rev Dr Adolphus Ezeakor failed to provide appropriate spiritual care to a dying patient and his family on critical care, as would be expected of a band 6 chaplain.
(2) That Rev Dr Adolphus Ezeakor's conduct towards the nursing staff and the patient's family had fallen below that expected by the Department and the Trust.
On 05 February 2015, BACP wrote to Rev Dr Ezeakor via email, asking for an up to date contact address. A reply was received the same day, in which he advised that he was no longer residing at the address and could access his emails anywhere at any time. No postal address was provided.
On 20 February 2015, BACP emailed a letter to Rev Dr Ezeakor, reminding him of his obligations to make disclosures to BACP, and his obligation, under paragraph 50 of the Ethical Framework, to take part in BACP's professional conduct procedures. A request was made again for the information that had previously been requested on 14 January 2015, and he was asked whether he had made any enquiries with [ . . . ], to obtain the documentation concerning his dismissal. BACP did not receive any response to this letter.
Chaser emails were sent on 13 March and 27 March 2015. BACP attempted to telephone Rev Dr Ezeakor on 27 March 2015, but was unable to connect to the mobile number provided on his membership record.
On 01 May 2015, BACP emailed a further letter, reminding Rev Dr Ezeakor of his obligation to comply with BACP's procedures, and that a failure to do so could result in the Panel withdrawing his membership under Article 12.6. A copy of the declaration part of his membership application form was also sent, demonstrating that Rev Dr Ezeakor had signed an agreement to make relevant disclosures during the period of his membership.
On 26 May 2015, BACP wrote to Rev Dr Ezeakor's last known postal address. This letter was signed for, with the printed name reading ‘Ezeakor'.
Since his email to BACP, of 04 February 2015, Rev Dr Ezeakor has failed to respond to BACP's correspondence.
Relayed receipts have been received for BACP's emails of 13 March, 27 March and 01 May 2015 and BACP has not been notified of any emails sent as being ‘returned to sender' or ‘failing to be delivered'.
The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Rev Dr Ezeakor's continuing membership of this Association in particular:
1. Allegedly, Rev Dr Ezeakor's contract at [ . . . ] was terminated, following a disciplinary process, after two complaints were upheld against him.
2. Allegedly, Rev Dr Ezeakor failed to disclose to BACP that disciplinary proceedings had been taken against him, resulting in the termination of his contract, as required to do so under the BACP Membership Agreement.
3. Allegedly, as an Associate Member, Rev Dr Ezeakor misrepresented his membership status by using the designation ‘MBCAP'.
4. Allegedly, Rev Dr Ezeakor failed to comply with BACP's Procedures and provide information to BACP concerning the allegations that had been made against him.
5. Rev Dr Ezeakor's alleged actions have brought or could bring the reputation of BACP into disrepute.
6. Rev Dr Ezeakor's alleged actions have brought, or may yet bring, the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.
7. Rev Dr Ezeakor's alleged behaviour is incongruent with that which is expected of a member of BACP.
8. Allegedly, the information further suggests that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Rev Dr Ezeakor was required to formally respond to the allegations by 5 August 2015. However, no further communications have been received from Mr Ezeakor, since his email of 05 February 2015.
The Panel carefully considered all the evidence disclosed.
The Panel noted that allegation 3, referred to the designation being used as ‘MBCAP', but noted from the papers that Rev Dr Ezeakor had used the designation ‘MBACP'. The Panel was satisfied that this was a typographical error and therefore should have read as follows:
3. ‘Allegedly, as an Associate Member, Mr Ezeakor misrepresented his membership status by using the designation ‘MBACP'
The Article 12.6 Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association. Rev Dr Adolphus Ezeakor's membership would be withdrawn subject to appeal. Rev Dr Ezeakor had 28 days from the date of notification of this report to make an appeal. In the absence of an appeal, notification would be given to Rev Dr Ezeakor by the Chair of the Association with regard to the withdrawal of membership.
The reasons for the Panel's decision are as follows:
The Panel noted that, in August 2014, [ . . . ] informed BACP that Rev Dr Ezeakor had been dismissed from his employment as Roman Catholic Chaplain at [ . . . ] in April 2014. The Panel noted Rev Dr Ezeakor accepted in an email to BACP of 04 February 2015, that his contract had been terminated.
The Panel found that Rev Dr Ezeakor had failed to inform BACP of the dismissal from [ . . . ] himself, as required under the terms of his Membership. In making this finding the Panel observed that Rev Dr Ezeakor, had signed the declaration which required members to make relevant disclosures during the period of membership.
With reference to the allegation relating to the misuse of the designatory letters, the Panel noted that Rev Dr Ezeakor is an Associate Member of BACP and as such is not entitled use the designatory letters MBACP, after his name. The Panel noted within the papers presented before them, in particular correspondence dated 26 February and 7 May 2014 and his website, which was deactivated in August 2014, that Rev Dr Ezeakor had referred to himself as ‘Rev'd Dr. Adolphus Ikechhukwu Ezeakor PhD, MBACP (LOND)'. The Panel noted that the breach was evidenced by the correspondence dating back to 2014, and there was no evidence before the Panel that this had been rectified. The Panel therefore found that Mr Ezeakor had breached the BACP Advertising Policy, thereby misrepresenting his status of membership with BACP.
The Panel was concerned with the absence of any substantive response from Rev Dr Ezeakor to any of the issues raised by the BACP and, in particular, with reference to his dismissal from [ . . . ], where he faced serious disciplinary allegations which appear to have been upheld. Whilst it was not in the Panel's remit to look behind the disciplinary matters which were upheld against Rev Dr Ezeakor, it did expect to have received an explanation from Rev Dr Ezeakor, as to how the issues at his workplace arose. The Panel noted Rev Dr Ezeakor's reply to BACP's letter of 14 January 2015, asking him for information and his response to the complaint, in his email of 04 February 2015, was limited to a statement which said: ‘Please understand I cannot repeat myself with the past ordeal since I have started working in relation to the healing of my inner self with supervision.'
The Panel also noted the emails sent from BACP to Rev Dr Ezeakor had been relayed to the email address from which he had replied on 04 and 05 February 2015. The Panel noted his comments on 05 February 2015 that he could ‘access my email anywhere at anytime', yet he did not provide any response to BACP, after 05 February 2015 and has not provided a substantive response to date.
It was of particular note to the Panel that Rev Dr Ezeakor had not availed himself of the opportunities afforded to him, to give an explanation in relation to the allegations raised. The Panel therefore found that Rev Dr Ezeakor had failed to comply with the procedures of BACP and provide information to BACP. The Panel further noted that Rev Dr Ezeakor had been reminded of his obligation to comply with BACP's procedures, and that a failure to do so could result in the Panel withdrawing his membership under Article 12.6. The Panel was also alert to the requirement contained in the Ethical Framework, that members had a responsibility to take part in the professional conduct procedures.
In considering Rev Dr Ezeakor's conduct and in the absence of any response of substance, the Article 12.6 Panel could only consider the information before it.
The Panel considered the totality of the issues which it considered were such that Rev Dr Ezeakor's behaviour was incongruent with that which is expected of a member of BACP and is incompatible with the ethical and behavioural standards that are expected of a member of BACP. The Panel found that the information suggested there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the ethical framework for Good Practise in Counselling and Psychotherapy. The Panel also found that Rev Dr Mr Ezeakor's actions would result in the reputations of counselling and psychotherapy and BACP being brought into disrepute, if the public were accurately informed of all of the information.
The Panel was therefore unanimous in its decision to implement Article 12.6 and withdraw Rev Dr Ezeakor's membership, subject to any appeal.
Rev Dr Ezeakor did not appeal the decision and his membership was withdrawn.
Any future re-application for membership will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.