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 and opportunity to advertise in our therapist directory
  • 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

Costs

New application

  • Commercial organisations: £970
  • Not-for-profit organisations: £270

Annual monitoring report

  • Commercial organisations: £150
  • Not-for-profit organisations: £79

Renewal application

  • Commercial organisations: £970
  • Not-for-profit organisations: £270

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)

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 two months before your submission deadline.

You need to pay the report submission fee with your annual organisational membership renewal fee.

Service accreditation annual monitoring form (doc 95KB)

We'll assess your report and provide feedback on any points that require consideration. We may also request further information which you must provide. We'll also make any necessary updates to the accredited services search.

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.

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, using previous submissions as a guide only.

In particular, you should consider:

  • the accreditation criteria - make sure you revisit these and consider how best to demonstrate you are meeting them today
  • your original application assessment reports – make sure you don't make the same mistakes if or where you did not meet the criteria
  • your annual monitoring feedback reports – take note of our feedback to understand what we need to see in terms of clarity
  • how your service may have changed - since your previous application, for example outposts or venues used or new policies and procedures
  • the supporting evidence – make sure it is all current, reviewed where appropriate and dated
  • any additional services - that were not available when your previous application was made (you may need to make a separate application for such services)

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

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

Proposed changes to an accredited service

You must inform us of all changes occurring with your organisation in your annual monitoring report. You should also contact us to discuss any significant changes when they occur. It is your responsibility to keep us informed. We may withdraw your accreditation if we become aware that changes have been made to your service.

For further information, see:

Service accreditation - mergers and acquisitions (pdf 0.3MB)

Extend your service accreditation

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 meet 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.  

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