We’re inviting applications from experienced researchers to act as an External Consultant to support the development of a BACP competence framework in relationship counselling. 

External consultants are self-employed fixed-term contractors involved as active researchers and advisors in developing BACP competence frameworks. Development of competence frameworks includes a comprehensive scoping review (in line with PRISMA ScR, Tricco et al, 2018) and thematic synthesis of relevant research, practice manuals and professional guidance. The project is led by the Professional Standards Development Facilitator (PSDF) supported by a BACP Core Group. The Core Group comprises of the Head of Professional Standards (HoPS), Competence Development Lead (CDL), Research Fellow (RF) and an External Consultant (EC) who is a subject matter expert with relevant research experience. As a key member of the Core Group, the EC collaborates on each developmental stage of the project. The process is overseen by an Expert Reference Group (ERG), who are actively involved in shaping the competence framework through regular consultation and feedback to the core team. The EC is named as a key contributor in the final published framework. 

BACP competence frameworks

BACP competence frameworks present a structured set of evidence-based competences that enable practitioners, supervisors, employers and commissioners to understand the relevant skills, knowledge and professional attributes that counsellors and psychotherapists need to work safely and effectively in post-qualification specialist practice with specific presenting problem areas, therapeutic modalities or client populations. You can find existing BACP competence frameworks on the BACP competences and curricula web page.

Time commitment

You'll work with us for approximately 20 days over the lifetime of the project (18 to 24 months) and will be required to fulfil the activities and expectations of the role as outline below. The bulk of the required work (approximately 15 days) is likely to take place within the first eight to 12 months of the project.  

Skills and abilities

You should: 

  • have specialist knowledge, skills and experience in relationship counselling, including familiarity with contemporary research relating to the subject matter
  • hold up-to-date knowledge of relevant legislation and policy that applies to relationship counselling
  • have experience of conducting systematic or scoping literature reviews, ideally to PRISMA guidelines
  • have excellent critical appraisal and analytical skills, demonstrating a high attention to detail and accuracy
  • have confidence in acting as a consultant; being able to communicate and challenge effectively and respectfully within a group setting
  • have excellent planning and organisational skills with the initiative to organise and prioritise work to agreed deadlines
  • have IT skills and PC access to give feedback on documents and attend online meetings
  • adhere to the seven Nolan principles of public office: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. This includes a commitment to collaborative working and having the ability to look beyond your own organisational interests

Activities and expectations to carry out the role

You'll need to:

  • review and comment on the feasibility and relevance of the pre-drafted initial project protocol, discussing the purpose and parameters of the initial literature review and report
  • review the initial shortlist for ERG members drafted by the PSDF, advise on the numbers required and suggest additional or alternative members
  • collaborate with the PSDF and Research Fellow on developing and writing an initial focused literature review to help refine search terms and research strategy and also collaborate on presenting the findings to the ERG and discuss further refinements to searches, key terms, inclusion criteria and exclusion criteria
  • collaborate on producing a scoping review which includes a full text review, data extraction, data coding and provide advice around a thematic synthesis of findings
  • perform additional searches and data extraction following ERG advice
  • review the preliminary and advanced draft competence maps
  • support with incorporating the results of peer reviews
  • contribute to the final editing of the competence framework, user guide and methodology documents

To effectively complete these steps, the EC is expected to attend online meetings with the PSDF, Core Group and ERG as required. They're also expected to engage in work between meetings and to complete agreed actions to deadline, in close consultation with the PSDF. 


A fixed fee is paid at £500 per day (working day is seven hours and 15 minutes). Meetings are held online, but in the event of any in-person meeting, the role holder will be able to claim expenses in line with BACP's expenses policy.