We had nearly 1,000 responses from UKCP members to the SCoPEd consultation earlier this year. Of those who responded nearly 50% again left a comment of some form, this was the case across the organisations. We’re very grateful for everyone who took the time to respond and give a wide range of views and it has, understandably, taken some time to process these comments.
We asked the independent research company to identify some of the key themes from your responses to enable us to understand what is working and what needs further clarification or addressing.
Inevitably, different themes were more relevant to members of the different organisations. Below are the key themes that were most relevant to UKCP members. We’ve also identified what, either as a collaboration or individually, we will be doing next in response to these themes.
The public, clients and patients will not understand the framework
This was the most prominent theme for UKCP members with 27 per cent of people who left a comment flagging this as a concern. This was above the average for the three organisations; one member said:
‘I am not sure that a patient or client will consult the level of detail that this framework offers, or if they did, the data might not make sense in terms of what to expect from a counselling or therapy contract’.
As a collaboration, we agree. We believe that this work can help showcase our professions and help clients/patients find the best support for them. However, not in its current form. It was not our intention that it would be shared with the public, clients and patients in this form, but we did not make this clear in our communication.
We will produce documents that take into consideration the audience they are intended for and we will ask the public for their views by including them in any future consultation.
The framework creates structure where previously there was little
Twenty-four per cent of UKCP members who responded and left a comment felt this was an important outcome of the framework, again this was above the average for the three organisations. One UKCP member who has been qualified for more than ten years said:
‘Anything that add clarity to with regard to people’s level of training and experience is to be welcomed’.
People highlighted that the framework had the potential to create order to what can sometimes seem like a jumble of titles, training and experience.
As a collaboration we represent around 65,000 counselling and psychotherapy practitioners, we know that when we can work together, we can provide a stronger and clearer voice for the profession to those in position of influencing. We believe that this framework will help us achieve that.
However, we know this framework could be better so we will continue to work alongside our members to work towards creating a structure that will continue to open doors for our professions, and those working within it.
Previous experience and CPD is overlooked
A concern from our members and across the three organisations was that this framework ignores the range of important experience and skillsets of therapist after they start working in the field.
We agree. This framework only looks at entry level and maps the landscape based on existing standards and literature. We haven’t started looking at how the vast knowledge and skills that members acquire since qualifying could be included in this.
We will start looking at clarifying what the framework could mean after entry point so we can reassure all our members that their skills and knowledge would be valued where they met the standards.
The framework creates a hierarchy
This was a significant concern from members across all three organisations with 36 per cent of member comments indicating an understanding of hierarchy from the research. Twenty per cent of our members identified this as well.
One of our recently qualified members commented:
‘I think it will create an unnecessary hierarchy in the profession and is particularly unfair on counsellors who trained prior to this being brought in. It feels like moving goal posts creating division and hierarchies within the profession that do not benefit counsellors themselves.’
Our intention was to map existing training, standards and practice requirements at an entry level. We used a bespoke methodology to form this framework which is an attempt to describe the current state of play based on what is available. As a collaboration we are committed to all our members and registrants and know that each one of you provides an important and valuable service to your clients and patients.
However, we completely understand that the descriptors for the entry points and layout may have contributed to sense of hierarchy.
We will work with our members in the next few months alongside the Expert Reference Group (ERG) and Technical Group to review the column titles and layouts to make sure they are fair and fit for purpose. In addition to this we are also planning to recruit two new members to the ERG as a direct result of the feedback. We hope they will help us develop the language throughout the framework and ensure we do not create a sense of hierarchy.
These were the top four themes that were most relevant to our members. There were also some specific suggestions to help develop the framework which will be assessed by the ERG and Technical Group as part of the ongoing work.
In addition to this there were other themes that were more relevant to the other professional bodies, as a collaboration, we are committed to working through all the feedback received to help develop a framework that provides the best opportunities for all our members.
As we mentioned there was an overwhelmingly positive response from our members. Fifty-six per cent of our members felt the framework would make it easier for clients or patients to find the right kind of help to meet their needs. Seventy-one per cent believed this would be the case for employers in establishing who to employ in their service, 73 per cent felt that this would help the professional bodies promote the skills and services of their membership and 78 per cent felt it would make it easier for trainees to understand the pathways open to them.
Once again, we would like to thank all our members for their ongoing contribution to this work and will continue to involve you in its development.