As Treasurer, and a Lay Trustee of UKCP, it falls to me to oversee the process around setting annual subscriptions.
This involves a considerable amount of discussion. The process takes several months of analysis to reach the optimal decision – which is ultimately taken by the Board of Trustees.
The critical issue is of striking an appropriate balance between two core perspectives. First is the impact any subscription increase will have on UKCP members, and this means trying to keep subscriptions as low as possible.
The second is of ensuring that the organisation is adequately resourced to deliver the services and initiatives members are entitled to expect, and, probably more importantly, to enhance the perceived value of UKCP membership among those seeking to engage a psychotherapist or psychotherapeutic counsellor.
It is critical to every UKCP member that when an individual or an organisation is deciding to retain the services of a psychotherapeutic practitioner they recognise UKCP as a body that is reputable, that regulates its members appropriately, that supports its members to keep up to date etc, and that represents its members where it matters.
UKCP registration has huge credibility and, whether you are working in private practice, in the NHS and/or third sector, it is essential that this credibility is maintained and enhanced. As with some other professions, there are unaccredited organisations promoting their services online. We must ensure that UKCP is always perceived as the hallmark of quality.
The reputation of excellence is hard won and easily lost. Financial stability and robust governance all play their part in ensuring that when an individual needs psychotherapeutic support the phrase ‘make sure your therapist is UKCP registered’ should spring to mind.
The conclusion reached in trying to balance these two perspectives is that we will increase the subscriptions for members by 1.9 per cent – a figure broadly in line with inflation. We believe this modest increase is an appropriate balance between competing objectives.
COVID-19 has presented significant challenges for everybody. The UKCP team, under Sarah Niblock’s stewardship, has seamlessly delivered webinars and podcasts, online guidance on a COVID Hub, some policy wins, created an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, as well as achieving unprecedented media coverage to promote our members’ expertise – highlights being ITV and weekly appearances in The Guardian. The trainee bursary scheme is also being enhanced to embrace students.
We are now also faced with a very significant, and unanticipated, increase in UKCP’s subscription fee for the PSA (the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care) – in the order of nearly 400%. Due to prudent cost control and diligence in prioritising our spending in the current year, we do not intend to pass that onto members at this stage. Increases of such magnitude however cannot be sustained and we will need to keep the situation under review as we go through the next financial year.
As COVID recedes many of you will hopefully experience a resumption of some sort of normality, although this new normality may well bring with it new challenges. However these challenges materialise, I am confident that UKCP will be well positioned to provide support and guidance to help you deal with them, and may I take this opportunity to wish you every success in the year ahead.