We’ve submitted our response to the Professional Standards Authority’s consultation on its Accredited Registers programme.

This is the first time the PSA has reviewed the effectiveness of the accredited registers programme since it was launched in 2012.

You can read our full response to the consultation and also see the full results of our member survey that helped inform our answers to the consultation questions.

Thank you to the 9,100 of you who took part in our survey.

These are some of the key points from our response to the PSA.

Protecting the public

We told the PSA that we believe voluntary registration can be effective if it can address barriers such as: awareness and confidence of the scheme, consistency of standards and appropriate risk oversight.

In our member survey, 69.2% of participants agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘A system of voluntary registration of health and social care practitioners can be effective in protecting the public’.

Wider choice for clients

We told the PSA that while we believe the role of therapists in the NHS workforce should be greatly expanded to offer paid opportunities for all members, we know the vast majority of therapy provision is outside the NHS - from private practitioners or third sector agencies who do not see their role within a medical context. These therapists offer a much wider range of counselling and psychotherapy options and choices for clients struggling with personal problems, life issues and social issues which affect their health and well-being. This is exactly the kind of choice that we need to value and celebrate and which a trusted accredited register programme can support. 

Evidence of the effectiveness of occupations

We told the PSA that while we support the view that the effectiveness of occupations needs to be clearly demonstrated, we believe the definition of evidence needs to go beyond the narrow terms accepted by NICE and the NHS. We’d like there to be a greater focus on qualitative evidence and experience and preference of clients and service users.

In our member survey, 75.6% of respondents agreed, or strongly agreed, that the PSA should take account of evidence of effectiveness of occupations in its decisions to accredit an organisation’s register.

Endorsement of occupations

We said in our consultation response that accreditation with the PSA inevitably suggests endorsement of an occupation. We added that this can damage public and employer confidence and impact the reputation of organisations in the scheme if the credibility of the occupation is called into question. We also said we believe that the use of the term ‘accredited’ needs clarification by the PSA so as to avoid confusion between people who are individually accredited by professional bodies and the bodies themselves having an accredited register.

Our member survey found that 84% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that accreditation of a register implies that the PSA endorses the occupations on the register.

Future vision for the PSA register

We told the PSA that we’re supportive of the general direction of the proposals listed in its consultation document, but are unsure whether its proposals would lead to greater use and recognition of the programme.

The PSA consultation document acknowledges that employers do not necessarily use the benchmark of choosing practitioners from an accredited register when hiring. The document cites the problem of a lack of consistency across education and training standards, and the accredited registers not going far enough to offer assurance.

In response to the consultation, we’ve referred to the SCoPEd framework, which we’re developing with six partner organisations, and how this represents our commitment to a shared framework of standards and training.

In our member survey, 50.7% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that proposals being put forward by the PSA would achieve greater use or recognition of the programme by patients, the public and employers.

More information

The consultation also looked at issues such as: equality, spent convictions, the funding model for the accredited registered programme and the length of time between renewing accreditation.

Read our full response to the consultation.

Read the full results of our member survey.

Read the PSA Consultation document