PSA application update
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Application for Professional Standards Authority (PSA) registration - update

This information was provided by email to BABCP members on 12 & 28 October 2022, and was updated on 21 December 2022.

We have formally submitted the final part of our accreditation application to the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). A significant amount of work has gone into this, and we are very grateful to our staff team and volunteer colleagues who have gone over and above to ensure we were able to submit this. This also takes us as an organisation a step closer to the protection of CBT as a title.  

One requirement of the application has been to introduce a major overhaul of our current complaints policy, and members will shortly see a significant update to our strategy. Members can be assured the Board of Trustees are determined to protect the public and to promote public confidence in our organisation by making those decisions that are deemed necessary. Advice taken has proved invaluable in providing a robust policy that will be fit for purpose. Thank you to everyone who took part in earlier consultations with the PSA.  

Who are the PSA?

The PSA is an independent organisation, accountable to the UK Parliament. Their remit is to protect the public through work with organisations that register and regulate people working in health and social care.

What does the PSA do?

The PSA aims to protect the public by improving the regulation and registration of people who work in health and social care. There are three main areas to their work:

  • Accrediting organisations such as BABCP that registers healthcare practitioners in unregulated roles through the Accredited Registers programme
  • Reviewing the processes of the UK’s ten professional regulators (such as the GMC and the NMC) to improve the way healthcare practitioners are regulated
  • Providing policy advice to government and others, and encouraging research to improve regulation

What is the Accredited Registers programme?

There are many health and social care roles which can be carried out without mandatory registration with a statutory body, including counsellors and psychotherapists. 

However, organisations such as BABCP which registers healthcare practitioners working in unregulated roles can apply for accreditation with the PSA, which means they are audited against a set of standards, and if they meet these, it will award the organisation and their registrants a ‘quality mark’.

This shows an organisation is committed to protecting the public and is working to good practice. Each Register holds details of individuals who meet the required standards set for their profession, including standards of education and training, professional skills, competence, and behaviour.

Where is BABCP with its application for PSA accreditation?

We were recently informed that the PSA has adjourned a decision on our application as further work on our complaints process is required. We are grateful to the work undertaken by the Standards & Ethics Committee to date. We have revamped our policy, and are currently in the process of having this signed off by our legal team.

We are delighted with the progress that has been achieved in getting this process to the stage we have, although the Board of Trustees would like to take this opportunity of apologising to any BABCP Member who is waiting for adjudication on any Complaint Hearing. We are looking to implement the revised policy as soon as we can recruit members and staff to the various hearing panels.

What does the PSA application mean for me?

At present, in the United Kingdom, anyone – without any training - can call themselves a psychotherapist, counsellor or CBT therapist. Such persons or actions present a risk to the wellbeing and safety of the public, but also undermine the professionalism and reputation of genuine CBT therapists and PWPs who have undertaken training.

BABCP are committed to ensuring that all our members who have recognised qualifications and, who are currently working with the public in any therapeutic role, adhere to the highest, ethical and professional standards in delivering their services.

Our application to the PSA is a crucial part in this.

As well as knowing you would be a member of a professional organisation that cares passionately about protecting the public and working to good practice, if BABCP is awarded PSA Accreditation, this ‘quality mark’ can also be displayed on BABCP-Accredited members' websites, on business cards and in treatment rooms. The PSA themselves stipulate that accreditation provides greater confidence in the safety and competence of the wider workforce because of a commitment to professional standards, safeguarding and ethical behaviours.

However, protecting the public and developing a professional organisation does come at a cost, and this has meant we have had to increase our accreditation fees. We do appreciate that at this time of a cost-of-living crisis, it is far from ideal, but it is essential to help transition BABCP from a highly regarded special interest group to being a mature and professional organisation.

However, protecting the public and developing a professional organisation does come at a cost, and unfortunately there is likely to be an increase to membership fees and accreditation fees. We do appreciate that at this time of a cost of living crisis, this is far from ideal. We are looking at ways of mitigating this, such as drawing on our reserves, but we are going to be relying on members' goodwill in order to help transition BABCP from a highly-regarded special interest group towards a fully fledged professional organisation.

As a Board of Trustees we pledge to honour our proud heritage as pioneers in the CBT world, but we know that this work will help us move towards greater accountability.  

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