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Membership Consultation Policy

Commitment to Consultation

This Policy outlines the basis on which the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (‘BABCP’) will consult with its Members (as defined in BABCP’s Articles of Association (‘Articles’)) (‘Members’) about its policies, policy guidance and services (and any changes to the same) (‘Activities’).

BABCP wishes to achieve professional, respectful and constructive engagement with its Members. The purpose of BABCP consulting with its Members is so as to achieve continuous improvement of its Activities by ensuring that they meet the wants and needs of those to whom they relate.

BABCP shall retain the discretion as to when it deems it appropriate to consult with its Members and the scope of that consultation. However, as balancing BABCP’s objectives with those of its Members is important it has established this Policy. Examples of when consultation may be carried out include:

  • Seeking member opinion as to whether policy guidance needs updating.
  • Seeking member feedback as to a proposed change to current, or implementation of new, policy.

Furthermore, BABCP may carry out consultations with the Members as part of its conducting of an ‘Impact and Needs Assessment’, to establish how certain groups may be affected by its activities and in particular whether any would be prejudiced in a negative way.

What is meant by Consultation?

Consultation is only one element of/level at which Members may participate in the activities of BABCP but the most important as an in-depth way in which the interaction between the two takes place. Put simply, BABCP sees consultation as the process by which its Members provide it with feedback/information on a given proposal thereby enabling it to use such information as part of an informed decision-making process.

Consultation may take whichever form BABCP deems most appropriate in the circumstances. For example, BABCP may require feedback on:

  • A proposal itself regarding the Activities (‘Proposal’) and whether it has the support of the Members;
  • Specific elements of a Proposal and the more intricate practicalities of its make-up; or
  • The experiences of Members and behaviours of service users in the field of behavioural and cognitive psychotherapies so as to provide it with general direction connected with its Activities and not in relation to a specific Proposal.

Aims and Objectives

In commissioning this Policy, BABCP has identified the following as beneficial reasons to support why it should carry out consultations:

  • The Members are at the forefront of providing services to Service Users and accordingly BABCP is committed to seeking their views in relation to the Activities, how these can be improved and how new Activities may be introduced.
  • Involving Members provides them with additional benefit and ownership of Activities.
  • Implementing best practice in carrying out its Activities.
  • Consultations will enable BABCP to gather a broad range of knowledge and experience.
  • Taking advantage of the various expert and knowledgeable views that may be available from within the Membership.
  • Improvement to transparency of process and decision-making.

In summary, having consulted and taken the views of its Members shall enable BABCP to make decisions which are transparent and evidence-based. As well as dealing with the Activities, this will also provide input into:

  • Planning, prioritising and delivering better services within BABCP and amongst the Members and identifying how each may make the best use of resources;
  • Identifying any problems both relating to the Activities and more widely; and
  • Implementing certain performance standards relating to the needs of Service Users.

Scope of the Policy

This Policy outlines the guiding principles of how BABCP will consult and whilst not being completely exhaustive, thus enabling BABCP to modify and adapt its approach to specific Activities and circumstances it does outline the:

  • ‘Why’– why does BABCP carry out consultation;
  • ‘Who’ – that the consultation process relates to the Members;
  • ‘How’ – how BABCP consults with the Members;
  • ‘When’ – that there is no set time within the year for carrying out consultation but that timescales and procedures are followed in this regard when a consultation takes place; and
  • ‘What’ – relating to the steps to be taken by BABCP once it has completed the consultation and collated the feedback.

Consultation Process Overview

Once BABCP has identified a need to carry out a consultation and determined the level of consultation required it shall apply the most relevant techniques available to it to achieve the desired outcome. Whilst specific and unique techniques will be applied to certain circumstances, there are some features which are common to all consultations.

In advance of commencing with a consultation, BABCP shall produce a Consultation Paper to issue to the Members. Amongst other things the Consultation Paper shall include and specify:

  • The subject matter on which a consultation is to be carried out;
  • The objectives (if any) of BABCP in carrying out a consultation process;
  • Any supporting information (or reference to the same) which the Members should take into account when providing the feedback (which may also include evidence of previous feedback provided by Members or decisions taken by BABCP on the same or similar matters);
  • Any techniques which are to be applied throughout the consultation period as referred to above;
  • The level of consultation required, including what feedback is required from Members and the relevant level of detail (for illustrative purposes this may take the form of a questionnaire affording the Members the ability to feedback with free text or multiple-choice answers or a simple vote;
  • How long the consultation period remains open for and in which the Members must provide their feedback to BABCP;
  • What weight (if any) BABCP will place on the feedback received;
  • How long BABCP will take reviewing the feedback in advance of making its decision; and
  • Who will be involved in the ultimate decision-making process (and whether this includes the Members).

Notwithstanding the completion of any consultation and/or a decision being made on a particular matter thereafter, BABCP reserves the right to repeat a consultation or to carry out consultation on a different level or independent basis including outsourcing the same.

Key Principles

Ensuring that the consultation process is carried out effectively is of paramount importance to BABCP as this will enable it to make sure that any decisions which are subsequently made are based on reliable and justifiable feedback and information. BABCP’s view is that poor consultation leading to a bad decision is much more damaging that not consulting its Members at all.

  1. Planning: In advance of commencing with any consultation BABCP will undertake careful planning. Remembering that BABCP has the discretion to make decisions in its own right, the fact that a consultation process has been embarked upon demonstrates that BABCP is undertaking a thorough review of the potential impact of its Activities. It is this planning process which will also enable BABCP to produce a detailed Consultation Paper to help inform the relevant decision- making process.
  2. Clarity: BABCP accepts that clarity is of vital importance in ensuring that effective feedback is received and that the right decision is made. BABCP shall therefore review and revise its Consultation Papers in advance of issuing them so as to ensure that this is achieved.
  3. Relevance: BABCP understands the value of restraints on each Member’s time and therefore endeavours to only provide relevant supporting information with the Consultation Paper. This may include information such as the likely impact on certain individuals or groups of individuals, which may also be provided following the carrying out of an equality impact assessment by BABCP.
  4. Diversity: BABCP recognises that both the Members themselves, the environments in which they operate and Service Users which they interact with are very diverse. Engaging with all of its Members via a consultation process enables this to be reflected in its decision-making process and that a one-size fits all approach may not always be appropriate.
  5. Inclusive: all Members will have the right to feedback and have their views heard.
  6. Timescales: Not all decisions can be made or feedback received in the same timeframes and so BABCP will assess the nature and scope of the consultation both in advance of providing the Members with notice of a forthcoming consultation and specifying the timescales of the applicable consultation period.
  7. Technology: BABCP shall keep abreast of the latest technology and available techniques to ensure that all Members are afforded with an equal, suitable and streamline way to participate in a consultation.
  8. Feedback: BABCP may provide feedback to the Members following completion of a consultation or a decision being made as a result (see paragraph 7 below).

Desired outcomes

BABCP’s desired outcome is to broaden the involvement of Members in its Activities and provide an effective medium for their voices to be heard. Accordingly, its desired outcomes are:

  • For no less than 10% of the Members to be involved in any given consultation;
  • Increase the level and frequency of interaction between BABCP and its Members;
  • To provide the Members with more ownership connected to BABCP’s decision-making process; and
  • Improve the Activities.

Using the results & providing feedback

An important element of the consultation process is managing the expectations of Members. This involves carrying out the process in line with the Key Principles referred to above but also:

  • Reminding Members that BABCP makes no guarantees that it will:

follow feedback or make decisions accordingly;

provide them with details of any of the feedback received during a consultation process;

  • Keeping Members fully up to date and informed of progress at all times;
  • Communicate decisions made by BABCP at the earliest opportunity and (where applicable) reasons behind this.

BABCP consults in order to gather the full span of views on a particular issue and to establish the substantive points and concerns of Members. Due to the fact that certain issues can be contentious and potentially controversial, BABCP does not as a matter of course, communicate consultation feedback and information.

For these same reasons and so as to mitigate the potential for disputes to arise in future (both between BABCP and its Members and amongst Members), BABCP is unable to act upon or in reliance upon all of the feedback received but where it deems it appropriate, may use this as the basis of further consultations in future. Alternatively, BABCP may use feedback and information gathered from Members to produce a ‘Key Findings Report’.

The Statutes and Reviewing the Policy

This is version 1 of the Policy, adopted on 22 November 2018 when it was registered in the ‘BABCP Policy Schedule’. For the avoidance of doubt, this Policy has not been implemented on the basis of any legal requirements imposed upon BABCP and takes the form of a policy implemented accordance with Article 26 of the Articles.

This Policy shall be regularly reviewed by BABCP to ensure that it remains relevant and up-to-date and may be altered, added to or repealed in accordance with Article 26 of the Articles.

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