Disciplinary hearings are heard by a professional conduct panel. It will listen to the case, consider the evidence, ask questions and make a decision.
The panel is made up of at least three independent people, which always includes a BACP member and a lay person. The lay person will not be a counsellor and will have no connection to BACP.
Disciplinary hearings are formal hearings, generally held in private unless the panel decides this is not in the public interest.
The case is between BACP and the member, and we will present the complaint. The complainant is invited to attend as a witness and may be asked to give details of the complaint or answer questions.
The member may be accompanied by a representative who may support or speak on their behalf. Both parties may call witnesses, if agreed beforehand.
If the panel upholds the complaint, it can require the member to:
- send a written apology to a relevant client or clients
- demonstrate a specific change or improvement in their practice
- undertake specific training
It can also suspend or withdraw their BACP membership.
Details of hearing findings and sanctions are published on this website in Notices.
Right of appeal
The member or BACP may appeal the decision of a disciplinary panel on the grounds that:
- the findings were clearly wrong
- the sanction is disproportionate to the findings and unjust
- the findings and decision were affected by a procedural error
- the decision was affected by a factual error
- there is new evidence which was not available at the time of the hearing
The complainant can ask us to appeal the decision. We will take their views into account when deciding whether or not to appeal.
The grounds for an appeal will be considered by an independent reviewer, who will decide whether the case should go before an Appeals Panel.