Jo Holmes, BACP’s Children, Young People and Families Lead, discusses the benefits of the newly launched groundbreaking TACaccess platform

As Children, Young People and Families Lead, based within the Policy team at BACP, one of the key issues I respond to regularly focuses on discrepancies in counsellors’ pay, particularly from members who work in schools, whether employed directly or contracted on a sessional basis. These concerns are reflected in our work with BACP’s UK-wide school-based counselling Expert Reference Group and our wider school counselling campaign work with Citizen’s UK, where we’re looking at models of Government funding in England reflecting competitive pay alongside full-time terms and conditions of employment.

While we’re making some headway in our campaign work as we move towards a general election, one exciting and innovative programme of work I’ve been fortunate to be part of is the recently launched TACaccess platform. The platform, which is free for BACP members to join if they have a specialism in working with children and young people (CYP), is groundbreaking in what it can offer.

The founders of the platform, two visionary ex-school leaders, Ruth Simmonds and Julian Rose, wanted to set up an accessible directory for commissioners (initially) so they could guarantee high professional standards with professionally trained and experienced CYP therapists (registered with the HCPC or PSA) who could then set the rates of pay themselves. They’d had experiences of profit-making agencies charging the school high costs and paying the counsellors as little as £15 per hour. Their thinking was, for the same costs the child could have more sessions, the money could go directly to the therapist and the platform could ensure all the safeguarding checks and balances were in place.

Ruth and Julian are busy strengthening the offer to schools and those commissioning therapeutic interventions in a wide range of settings, including competitive sport where children and young people’s mental health can be under other additional pressures. One such organisation is the Pony Club UK, opening the door for its young members to have access to therapeutic interventions. As more organisations sign up, the platform will be a gateway to reaching children and young people in settings BACP members may not have traditionally worked in, resulting in more paid and hopefully regular employment opportunities.

Read more about TACaccess.