Service accreditation demonstrates that you offer an accountable, ethical, professional and responsive service to clients, staff, volunteers and stakeholders. The scheme is open to any service provider, from small local voluntary groups to major commercial providers of employee assistance programmes.

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
  • offers external validation of your counselling and psychotherapy services
  • includes ongoing support from BACP accreditation and assessor teams


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
  • have a clinical lead who is an individually accredited BACP member or equivalent
  • ensure all your practitioners and trainees are members of a professional counselling or psychotherapy body that has a complaints procedure

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


To apply, you need to complete a detailed written application showing how your service meets a range of criteria, together 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

The application form is in two parts:

  • Part A – Eligibility
  • Part B – Operational criteria and visit

You need to pass the eligibility application stage (Part A) first before progressing to Part B.

The visit allows our accreditation assessors to meet your staff and practitioners, building a relationship with you while also helping us understand any issues you may be facing as a service provider. We can also discuss any questions you may have about the criteria or recommendations that we give.

Before submitting Part B, you’ll be able to arrange a telesurgery with an accreditation assessor (up to 60 minutes). We ask you to submit your questions in advance so the assessor can prepare and you get the most out of their time.

Once your service is awarded accreditation, there will be a rolling annual review process over a five-year cycle.

We’re always happy to help with any questions you may have by email to Alternatively, we can arrange a telephone or online video call if you email us with a few convenient dates and times.

Diagram showing the course and service accreditation process


The application and ongoing costs depend on your type of organisational membership (not-for-profit sector or commercial), based on legal definitions:  


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

  • maintain your BACP organisational membership
  • pay the annual accreditation fee
  • comply with the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions
  • continue to meet all criteria for the service accreditation scheme
  • submit a rolling annual review form for assessment
  • inform us of any proposed changes to the service or the overall organisation, before they are implemented
  • 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 service accreditation.