When the revised Ethical Framework was first drafted and consultations held, I was dismayed that clinical wills (arrangements with a trusted colleague or colleagues to ensure clients are informed and supported should we suddenly be unable to work, for example accident or death) did not feature: client care in this situation is surely the epitome of putting the client first, the Ethical Framework key principle.

The omission also put BACP at odds with the professional bodies it is proud to work in partnership with – UKCP and BPC – these organisations having mandated clinical wills for many years.

I have campaigned for more than two years for the inclusion of this important measure, so was relieved and delighted to see its inclusion in this final version. Now I believe BACP needs to specify how implementation will be monitored (for example, it could be at annual membership renewal, when details of CPD and supervision are requested).

The Ethical Framework sounds like common sense, and it is, but still needs our careful reading and reflection to ensure we’re not just rushing past important principles and what they actually mean in practice. I find the EF a readable and engaging summary of what’s now expected of practitioners. I encourage all members to engage with it, if they haven’t already, so they’re well prepared for the July implementation date.

Roslyn Byfield MBACP (Accred)
Counsellor in private practice