The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has recently been subject to a Judicial Review regarding its professional conduct processes. The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) was named in the proceedings as an interested party.
The issues were twofold. Firstly, a claim was made that BACP should not hear a complaint that was similar to one that was being processed by another Accredited Register (held by UKCP).
Secondly, that BACP’s Professional Conduct Procedure (PCP) requires those making complaints to prosecute and prove their own complaints, which places the complainant at the heart of the process.
The Judge found in favour of the complainant on the first ground arguing that as BACP and UKCP perform similar roles with similar ethical frameworks and the complaints were identical in nature, BACP should not proceed as the matter had already been adjudicated upon.
UKCP Chair, Martin Pollecoff, said: “We now need to look at the implications of this decision for both organisations in the way we deal with complaints that have been made to more than one Accredited Register. We will consider the judgment in detail and discuss our next steps with BACP early in the New Year.
“This emphasises the importance of continuing the collaborative work we have been undertaking as professional bodies for almost two years. We have established a productive long-term relationship which will help us agree a way forward following this judgment.”
BACP is pleased to have successfully defended its Professional Conduct Procedure with the Judge affirming, “The second ground is in my judgment unarguable. It is not unfair or irrational to allow the complainant to act as formal prosecutor in BACP’s proceedings.”
BACP Chair, Dr Andrew Reeves, stated: “We welcome the Judge’s comments on both grounds. It is vital for our standards and procedures to be held to external scrutiny in this way. BACP will continue to monitor its procedure to ensure that it meets its objectives of safeguarding the public and remains fair to our members and the public alike. We are proud that our Professional Conduct Procedure has been vindicated. This shows the absolute robustness of BACP’s processes.
“At the same time, we recognise that the judgment highlights the need to continue our important collaborative work with UKCP and the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC). It is imperative that we continue to align our organisations in support of our practitioner members and public protection.”