This year, we’ve taken significant additional steps to promote our AGM processes and ensure they’re more accessible to members than they’ve ever been before.
As in previous years, we’ve shared regular and timely AGM updates across our email, website and social media channels. But we also included a printed insert in the June edition of Therapy Today, with details of all key stages and dates for members. The AGM has also featured in all of our divisional journals, on our Customer Services telephone line, as part of staff email signatures, across online events materials, on our regular online feedback forms and many more places besides.
With that in mind, it was great to see so many of you engaging with the AGM so far, with more than 60% of you (over 30,000 members) opening at least one of our support stage emails, and 8% clicking through to the voting platform itself to find out more. 3.2% of members showed support in the motions and resolutions process with 4.6% voting in the governor elections.
Our Chair, Natalie Bailey said: "It’s really good to see so many members taking part in this year’s support stage, and I’d particularly like to thank those of you who took the time to submit your motions and resolutions.
Although not every submission has gained the support required to progress to the AGM, please remember that the Board listens to your feedback and that this process is hugely important in helping us to understand our members’ concerns. On that note, there is already significant work underway in some of these areas which will be further informed by the points raised in your submissions, and which I believe demonstrates our commitment to continually improving our members’ experience.
For those submissions that have gained the required level of support, the final stage is the members’ vote which opens on Monday 4 October and runs until 1pm on Friday 5 November, the day of our AGM. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible there.”
Resolutions require the support of 5% of the membership to be put to a vote at the AGM.
Resolution 1: Policy
BACP to clearly demonstrate the work they do in promoting paid work for their registered, unaccredited members.
1275 (2.15%) members supported this resolution and as such, it did not reach the 5% support required to progress to the voting stage.
However, we are pleased that this resolution recognises the work BACP has done around paid employment and are keen to explore additional ways we can demonstrate our work to advocate for increased paid opportunities for all our registered members.
We currently use all available communications platforms - including our e-bulletins, journals, website and social media – to communicate our progress in this hugely important area, and wherever possible, try to use external platforms through the media, opportunities at conferences and of course, through regular formal and informal conversations with key stakeholders.
We’re aware that we need to showcase our work in a more pro-active and easily accessible way, and over the coming months we’ll be bringing this work together through a dedicated employment webpage, which will further highlight our efforts and include employer testimonies, case studies, news items and articles.
We hope that this will provide the evidence of the work requested through this resolution.
Resolution 2: Qualified member employment
In light of the ever increasing unpaid volunteering positions aimed at BACP registered and qualified counsellors, we ask that BACP communicates with organisations advertising such positions through their Workforce Employment Strategy Lead to state their support for paid employment.
1321 (2.22%) members supported this resolution and as such, it did not reach the 5% support required to progress to the voting stage.
We understand the view that we should take a stance against the advertising and subsequent employment of qualified therapists in unpaid roles. Our position is that all members once they are qualified should not be expected to work for free. With that in mind, since 2017 we have no longer advertised voluntary jobs or unpaid roles for qualified counsellors through our advertising channels.
Through our work we advocate for our members across the UK, building links with policy makers, improving relations and working closely with third sector organisations, commissioners and employers across the public, private and third sectors to advocate for trained and qualified members and for them to be appropriately remunerated for the work they do.
As part of our Third Sector strategy, a key element is engaging and promoting the delivery of therapy in voluntary and community sector organisations. BACP is working to identify and promote service models that include paid work for qualified therapists and will invite all organisational members to engage in dialogue about the importance of paid work.
Resolution 3: Spearhead a campaign to make therapy expenses tax-deductible
This resolution calls for BACP to spearhead the development and implementation of a robust, well-resourced and if necessary sustained campaign to influence policy-makers to make practitioners’ therapy expenses tax-deductible. Adoption of this resolution will bring about increased access to therapy for practitioners by lowering costs.
1008 (1.70%) members supported this resolution and as such, it did not reach the 5% support required to progress to the voting stage.
BACP is committed to working to remove unnecessary obstacles to accessing therapy, including campaigning to remove unfair financial barriers which may results in costs which would need to be absorbed by the therapists or passed on through higher fees.
An example of BACP’s efforts in this area is our campaign for a VAT exemption for counselling and psychotherapy in line with other similar mental health professionals.
In relation to this resolution specifically, it’s our understanding that personal therapy is already a tax-deductible business expense. However, BACP will take further steps to clarify this position and communicate to our members in due course.
Resolution 4: Accredited membership
To align the fees of the accredited membership category and the Registered MBACP category
1136 (1.91%) members supported this resolution and as such, it did not reach the 5% support required to progress to the voting stage.
However, we are very mindful that all barriers to accreditation need to be explored; not just in gaining accreditation, but the continuing cost of maintaining accreditation.
For this reason, BACP is committed to reviewing the membership fee structure. This resolution supports the need for this review alongside the other obstacles preventing members from becoming accredited.
Resolution 5: Individual accreditation
Make it free to apply for individual accreditation for all eligible members
1234 (2.08%) members supported this resolution and as such, it did not reach the 5% support required to progress to the voting stage.
However, we are committed to removing barriers to accreditation for potential applicants and know that cost is a real barrier for some, even with our reduced fee option. You’ve also told us that the time it takes to apply, the complexity of the process and the lack of additional support and flexibility in submitting evidence, all present accessibility issues.
As you know, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has recommended that BACP look at ways to increase accessibility to the scheme, and we’re committed to doing so.
Proposals to achieve this have already been submitted and you will hear more about our plans in the coming year. In the meantime, we are shortly moving to an online accreditation application process which will make the process much more straightforward.
Resolution 6: Independent impact assessment of SCoPEd
We propose that an independent impact assessment is commissioned by BACP and shared in full with members before SCoPEd is considered for implementation. The assessment will research the distribution of members across the framework’s columns and the impact of adopting SCoPEd on equality and diversity, training, employment, and client choice.
1350 (2.27%) members supported this resolution and as such, it did not reach the 5% support required to progress to the voting stage.
However, we have been very mindful of the potential impacts of SCoPEd from the outset, and this has been reflected in feedback from our members and other key stakeholders.
As such, the SCoPEd Oversight Committee – which includes all SCoPEd partners - has agreed in principle that it is important to conduct an impact assessment, but that a final framework needs to be published before this can be carried out in any meaningful way. The areas raised in this resolution can be explored as part of the overall objectives of an impact assessment.
We completely support the idea of an impact assessment and look forward to shaping the brief with SCoPEd partner organisations and our Experts by Experience.
Motions require the support of 0.1% of the membership to be put to a vote at the AGM.
The following motions all received the required support to progress to the voting stage.
Motion 1: Public perception and governance
The BACP's current passive involvement with MHFAs and self-nominated Mental Health Coaches, people usually unqualified in Counselling or Psychotherapy, is damaging the reputation of our qualified MH professions. The BACP needs a clear public policy and members' ethical guidelines, rather than tacit acceptance or encouragement of the current confusion.
910 (1.53%) members supported this motion.
Motion 2: Training
That all BACP accredited training courses should include some mandatory teaching about neurodiversity and neurodivergent conditions (e.g. autism, ADHD, dyslexia, etc).
911 (1.53%) members supported this motion.
Motion 3: Policy - Therapist pay
That the BACP require all agencies, whether they be charities or companies, as part of their organisational accreditation with the BACP to commit to paying all therapists who work there (at the very least minimum wage).
1011 (1.70%) members supported this motion.
Motion 4: Policy - Parity of esteem, pay and conditions
For there to be parity of esteem, pay and conditions for NHS IAPT non-CBT therapists/therapies.
For all NHS IAPT High Intensity therapists to be paid at Band 7, not just CBT therapists.
For all NHS non accredited counsellors to be paid at Band 6, not at Band 5.
915 (1.54%) members supported this motion.
Motion 5: Policy - Eco-psychotherapeutic division
That the BACP set up an eco-psychotherapeutic or eco-awareness division to support members and enable us to share best practice towards helping clients affected by eco-anxiety. The BACP survey with Yougov 2020 showed that a staggering 55% of UK adults are affected by eco-anxiety.
431 (0.73%) members supported this motion.
Motion 6: Policy - Neurodiversity
That the BACP recognises neurodiversity as the normal variation in neurocognitive functioning within the human species and strives to accommodate the entirety of its neurodiverse membership by:
1. including neurodiversity within its guidelines and resources
2. ensuring that neurodivergent voices are consulted, heard, and accounted for when writing these documents
731 (1.23%) members supported this motion.
Motion 7: Policy - public protection
That the BACP acknowledges the existence of bullying and harassment within the counselling and psychotherapy professions and determines to produce an anti-bullying policy for reference by its members, employees and volunteers. The policy should outline what behaviour may be considered bullying and harassment, along with procedures for dealing with concerns.
808 (1.36%) members supported this motion.
Motion 8: The resolution and motion process
BACP should consult with their members to establish their views of BACP's resolution and motion process. Listening to members would help identify any barriers for members when engaging with this process and potentially help broaden engagement from the wider membership.
879 (1.48%) members supported this motion.
Our 2021 AGM takes place online on Friday 5 November and is open to all members.
We're working on an exciting programme of events for the day that will feature:
- a roundup of our year and a Q&A session with the Board
- keynote presentations
- the introduction to the new governor elected by members
We’ll be streaming the meeting live and, if you haven’t done so in advance, you'll be able to vote on the motions and other AGM voting items while you watch online. Voting will close when instructed by the Chair during the AGM and the results will be announced live later in the meeting
A recording of the meeting will be available afterwards through our catch-up service.