Benefits of service accreditation

  • reassures clients that your service is safe, secure and professionally managed
  • improves recruitment and retention of practitioners and volunteers
  • enhances recognition and credibility with employers and funding bodies
  • helps with the acquisition of new contracts
  • free accredited services listing
  • use of BACP accredited service logo in advertising, publicity and information materials

Requirements

To be eligible for BACP service accreditation, you must:

  • be a current organisational member of BACP
  • provide a distinct therapeutic counselling or psychotherapy service
  • have a minimum of three fully qualified practitioners providing this service

Accreditation is awarded to the specific counselling or psychotherapy service, not to the organisation.

Process

To apply, you need to complete an in-depth written application showing how your service meets a range of criteria with supporting evidence. The criteria cover:

  • management and administration
  • aims and objectives
  • equal opportunities
  • health and safety
  • evaluation and feedback
  • professional conduct
  • accommodation
  • publicity and community liaison

Your application will be individually assessed by our professional assessors.

Apply for service accreditation

Commitments

Service accreditation is awarded for five years. To retain your accreditation for the full term you must:

  • maintain your BACP organisational membership
  • comply with the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions
  • continue to meet all criteria for the service accreditation scheme
  • submit an annual monitoring report and pay the report submission fee
  • inform us immediately of any significant changes that take place within your organisation or accredited service
  • abide by the service accreditation terms and conditions

If you do not meet these requirements, or if we uphold a professional conduct complaint against you, we may withdraw, suspend or impose conditions upon your accreditation. We may also visit you for a quality assurance check. We will charge you for this visit.

You must also comply with our advertising policies when using your accredited service logo or status in publicity or information material. See:

Promoting your membership

Advertising your accredited service (pdf 77KB)

Costs

The costs are the same for new applications and renewals.

Annual monitoring process

While you are accredited, you must submit an annual monitoring report when you renew your organisational membership. We'll send you an email reminder and a monitoring form to complete two months before your submission deadline. 

This process ensures you continue to understand the accreditation criteria, and helps us check you are maintaining these standards throughout your accreditation term. We expect services to develop and change over time so this is a useful process for both of us. It also gives you an opportunity to change your accredited services directory entry, and to tell us about your experiences of accreditation and how we might better support you. 

We'll assess your report and provide feedback on any points that require consideration. We may also request further information which you must provide.

Renew your service accreditation

Your accredited status will not be renewed automatically. You must submit a full, new application which will be assessed on its own merit to ensure that all criteria continue to be met.

We'll notify you about your renewal eight months before the end of your accreditation term. To allow for assessment time, the deadline for returning your submission will be three months before your accreditation actually ends. This gives you five months to complete your new application.

While the criteria and assessment process are the same as for your initial application, it's unlikely that just submitting updated versions of your supporting evidence and statements will meet the requirements. Services change over time so you should treat your renewal application as a new application. Use your previous application, annual monitoring submissions and our assessment reports to make sure your renewal application is complete and fully demonstrates that you are maintaining the accreditation standard.

We recommend you read the following document, as the guidance may have been updated:

Guide to applying for, renewing and maintaining service accreditation (pdf 0.4MB)

You may want to include any new counselling or psychotherapy services introduced since your original accreditation which have not yet been accredited. If the finance and governance structure of any new service is different from your existing accredited service, for example a subsidiary of your organisation, you will need to make a separate application. Please contact us to discuss if you are unsure.

Proposed changes to an accredited service

You must inform us of all changes occurring with your organisation in your annual monitoring submission. You should also contact us to discuss any significant changes that may affect your service, such as an internal restructure or merger, when you find out about them and when they occur. 

It's your responsibility to keep us informed. Please contact us at anytime to discuss anything you are unsure about. We may withdraw your accreditation if we become aware that changes have been made to your accredited service. 

Adding additional services

If you wish to include a new counselling or psychotherapy service or project within your current accreditation, you don't have to wait until your renewal is due.

You may be able to extend your accreditation to cover the new service or project if it is:

  • an additional specialist area. You'll need to submit evidence that the service meets the accreditation criteria.
  • aimed at a new target population or funded for a specific project, but works within the existing policies and procedures of your accredited service. You'll need to provide an outline of the service with a list of any revised policies, procedures and forms. 

If the new service is a distinct service with its own policies and procedures, funding and governance, it will need its own accreditation. You'll need to submit a new application in full.  

Services for children and young people

If you want your accreditation to include a service which works with children and young people, please see the guidelines below:

Guidelines for extending accreditation to services working with children and young people (pdf 0.2MB)

If you have any questions about service accreditation, please contact our service accreditation officer Penny Thomas at penny.thomas@bacp.co.uk