In the SCoPEd member questionnaire in the Summer of 2020, we asked whether you were interested in taking part in the follow-up bulletin board to discuss issues in more detail. We were particularly interested to learn more about the concerns of those who aren’t supportive of SCoPEd and those holding a neutral position. The bulletin board generated lots of useful findings, which we're now pleased to share with you.
What was the bulletin board?
The bulletin board was an online forum, open for two weeks in Autumn 2020. It was facilitated and moderated by an independent market research agency, who posted discussion points and invited participants to comment and discuss with each other. Discussion points were designed to reflect:
- whether the framework had incorporated feedback from the previous draft iteration of the framework
- themes which developed from comments received in the member questionnaire.
The independent research agency ensured bulletin board participants were a representative sample of the broad range of BACP, BPC and UKCP members, by selecting participants anonymously based upon various demographics such as geographical location, length of experience and practice settings.
Who were the bulletin board participants?
There were 45 participants, of which 42 were BACP members, 10 were UKCP members and four were BPC members.*
Six participants were students or newly qualified, 20 had been qualified for between one and 10 years, and 19 had been qualified for over 10 years.
35 of the participants worked in private practice, 19 in the charity sector, 12 in education, eight in the NHS and six worked in other settings.*
38 participants lived in England, four in Scotland, two in Wales and one lived outside of the UK.
In relation to their views on the SCoPEd framework, 12 participants indicated they were supportive, 13 had a neutral stance and 20 participants were not supportive of the framework. The bulletin board participants were weighted more towards those unsupportive or neutral about the framework in order to gather useful feedback from members with potential concerns.
* Some figures don’t add up to 45 as some participants were members of more than one membership body or worked in more than one employment setting.
Snapshot of views
Overall, participants were passionate about giving their view and helping to shape both their own and the profession’s future. Participants were open to discussion and listening to perspectives that differed from their own. Many discussions developed into debates and although generally both sides could see merit in the other view presented, in most areas agreement wasn’t reached. All members showed respect for each other and took the time to go into considerable detail within their contributions which enabled us to get a much clearer understanding of the different perspectives.
Consensus wasn’t reached on whether the SCoPEd project group had listened to feedback received from the first consultation. For example, respondents had opposing views on the decision to remove titles from the current draft iteration of the framework – some felt it didn’t evidence listening, whereas other participants understood the rationale behind the decision.
There were some interesting discussions around the need for greater clarity for stakeholders; some felt the framework wouldn’t provide clarity and others felt that stakeholders didn’t need or want clarity to begin with.
Outcomes and key themes discussed
The need for SCoPEd
- Participants who agreed there was a need for SCoPEd (or something like it) generally felt that the profession needs greater clarity and status. They felt that commissioners and employers don’t understand the differentiation within the profession currently.
- Participants who didn’t agree with a need for SCoPEd questioned why it was needed as there are already professional standards in existence. They also questioned why the membership bodies weren’t focusing on other issues, which felt more important to them.
- Some participants felt conflicted in their views as they were supportive of the concept but feared the implications of a framework.
What BACP is doing next:
- We’re working hard to improve how we share our views as to why we believe SCoPEd is needed and why it’s such an important issue for all the membership bodies involved.
- Some participants felt the language had changed to be more inclusive, whereas others felt the changes in language hadn’t gone far enough.
- Questions were raised around whether the language was the reason some therapists felt excluded or devalued, or whether the reasons behind this were much bigger.
- Several participants felt that the language within the draft framework was not useful for clients or commissioners.
What BACP is doing next:
- We're continuing to contribute to the expanded SCoPEd Technical Group work which is focused on reviewing and where appropriate making further changes to the language used.
Gateways, grandparenting and mechanisms
- Participants generally felt they were a good idea, but many participants raised concerns over the lack of detail around this area. This led to confusion around what they meant and led to participants feeling they couldn’t comment on whether they are a positive or negative addition to the framework.
- Understandably, there were concerns around the impact of the framework, accessibility and rigour of any mechanisms created.
- Discussions around this theme led to a wider discussion around participants’ lack of knowledge of the professional landscape before and during their initial training.
What BACP is doing next:
- We will clarify and publish proposed timescales for when further information about proposed mechanisms relating to gateways will be available for BACP members.
- We’ll be proactive in communicating these timescales and what it means for members if the framework is adopted.
- Discussions on various themes often came back to the hierarchy the draft framework presents, which led to further discussions about the perceived value of one modality over another and the structure of the framework itself.
- Some participants discussed the privilege within the profession and felt the framework exacerbated and encouraged this.
- Other participants had opposing views and talked around whether differentiation of training and experience can, or should, enable all therapists to be represented as the ‘same’.
What BACP is doing next:
- We’re continuing to contribute to the expanded SCoPEd Technical group work to improve how we communicate and reflect the value of all modalities in the language used, and how we ensure accessibility and diversity representation.
- We’re working to more effectively show that the differences between columns are based on the length and depth of training, knowledge and experience.
What have we learnt from the bulletin board?
The discussions held on the bulletin board, paired with the results from the questionnaire, show there is still work to do in how we communicate with our members. The different interpretations we’ve seen from this work show that we need to consistently provide the clarity, support and understanding our members are seeking.
We’ve seen that members are supportive of standards, increased access to paid jobs and ensuring clients are able to access properly trained and competent therapists. The bulletin board has underscored our understanding that we need to provide our members with high level of support, in relation specifically to their work and their future in the profession if the framework is adopted.
As the framework is currently in draft form, we’re not at the point to develop the mechanisms that will allow members to move between the columns. However, we recognise that this is a real area of concern and we’re committed to communicating with you about this process when we are able to.
We’d like to take this opportunity to reassure our members that if BACP were to adopt the framework they would not be devalued or deskilled by SCoPEd in any way and that it would act as an enabling framework for those already in the profession and those seeking to join it.
What will we do now?
The SCoPEd project now comprises seven professional bodies which shows growing involvement and collaboration between PSA accredited register bodies. We’ll continue to work with the expanded Technical Group, which will consider feedback we have received since we published the framework in July. The Technical Group will make recommendations for further changes to the framework to the Expert Reference Group (ERG) where evidence supports this. We will continue to work with the SCoPEd partners on developing the next iteration of the SCoPEd framework, which we’re hoping will be ready to share with members by the end of 2021. We’ll work on our communication with members to ensure that messages are clear and clarify the vision for the framework. This will mean increasing how often we communicate with you about the project and ensure our updates are consistent and available on more platforms.
We’ve committed to providing a monthly SCoPEd update, which members will hear about in our eBulletin. There’ll be regular updates in Therapy Today, as well as more feature articles for members to learn about the project, and we’ll be refreshing and improving the SCoPEd content on our website.
SCoPEd is a ground-breaking project to set out the training requirements and practice standards for counselling and psychotherapy.
FAQs about SCoPEd
Answers to some of your questions about the Scope of Practice and Education for the counselling and psychotherapy professions project. Updated 14 July 2020
We’re pleased to confirm that we’ve now published the next iteration of the draft SCoPEd framework.