Professional Standards Authority suspends UK Council for Psychotherapy accreditation

I suddenly noticed something on the Professional Standards Authority’s list of Accredited Registers. The UK Council for Psychotherapy are still on the list, but if you click on their page, some eye-opening details are revealed. It seems the UKCP has had their accreditation suspended.

I couldn’t find any mention of this on the UKCP website, which surprised me somewhat.

The UKCP page on the PSA’s Accredited Registers now reads:

Valid from:
Accreditation currently under assessment

The Accreditation Panel met on 11 November 2015 to review UKCP’s accreditation and decided to suspend accreditation. The Panel was not satisfied that UKCP continued to meet the Standards for Accredited Registers. It was not satisfied that UKCP met Standards 7f, 10b, 11b, 11c, 11d and 11e. As a result of shortcomings identified in those Standards, the Panel was not fully satisfied that Standards 2 and 5 were met.

The UKCP has accepted the outcome and is positively engaging with the Authority to provide further evidence to the Panel. UKCP was given until 5 January 2015 to submit the evidence.

The standards they refer to as being not satisfied about are:

7f) Communicates effectively with the public and its registrants. In particular it ensures that the information it provides about its registrants and their occupation(s) helps service users to make informed decisions.

10b) Maintains a register that is accurate, easily accessible to the public and supports all those using it to make informed decisions.

11a) Provides clear information about its arrangements for handling complaints and concerns about a) its registrants and b) itself.

11b) Encourages early resolution of complaints including use of mediation where appropriate and it has adequate monitoring arrangements in place to identify matters that require disciplinary action.

11c) Provides good advice and support for those providing information and evidence in relation to complaints and disciplinary cases.

11d) Focuses on protecting service users and the public where necessary and putting matters right where possible.

11e) Makes sound decisions that are fair, transparent, consistent and explained clearly.

The standards 2 and 5 that they then refer to are:

Standard 2: the organisation demonstrates that it is committed to protecting the public and promoting public confidence in the occupation it registers.

The organisation will need to demonstrate that its purpose and directives are focused on public protection. Additionally, the organisation will need to show that in carrying out its voluntary register functions public interest is paramount and that professional interests do not dominate or unintentionally subvert that interest. Evidence of this might include board or committee discussions where issues have been debated and conflicts of interest identified or the ethical interests of parties weighed in the balance; decisions made about admittance to the register where the documented rationale shows due consideration of public protection; outcomes of complaints; particularities of governance arrangements.

Standard 5: the organisation demonstrates that it has the capacity to inspire confidence in its ability to manage the register effectively.

Factors the Professional Standards Authority will take into account include the organisation’s leadership, its reputation within and outside its field, the skills and experience of those involved in its voluntary register functions, its operational efficiency and its openness.

This is worrying news, particularly to UKCP registrants who may be concerned about their accreditation being at risk. Let’s see what happens after the January 5th deadline.

44 thoughts on “Professional Standards Authority suspends UK Council for Psychotherapy accreditation

  1. Once a bunch of wallies – always a bunch of wallies in my view. Message to UKCP members – get out as fast as you can and join Bacp.

  2. I have discovered to my dismay that UKCP NHS therapists are not accountable to UKCP! I sought to complain about my NHS therapist and was told by UKCP that although she is a member of UKCP and thereby receiveds all the benefits and protection etc of membership, because she works within the NHS, I , as a patient in receipt of her therapy, have no right to redress from UKCP. Since my mental health trust refuses to process my complaint, and so does UKCP, I have not alternative but to take my issues to the Ombudsman….

    Isnt it very odd, this arrangment whereby a worker within the NHS and registered with UKCP, Is NOT accountable to UKCP for their work within the NHS??

    • Yes, extremely odd… and what has Osho to do with this?

    • This is not the case according to the UKCP’s document about complaints. It states that they may choose to refer a case to an employer such as the NHS if that is more appropriate and that it might respect the outcome of an investigation by another body if the allegations are substantially the same.

      That is not the same as being unaccountable. Why did the NHS dismiss the complaint?

      • I am not at all clear why the mental health trust refused to process my complaint. The letter the CEO wrote to me does not explain clearly his reasoning— and frankly clearly isn’t that interested. Originally I sought to resolve the situation on an informal level but I was not at all happy with the results of that as although a ‘report’ was written, much of the account in my view was inaccurate and the trust would not alter it. Neither was there any ‘practical’ outcome to the report which to my mind meant the process of that was pointless. I expressed my dismay that there was no real progress made in any meaningful way, and lhen approached UKCP who seemed very resistant to taking on my case. I sought other support from elsewhere – voluntary bodies and the like – and, in a rather constant traumatized state tried to find closure. More recently I approached UKCP again and it was then that they actually said that ‘they could not deal with complaints about psychotherapists who worked within the mental health NHS system’, and that I would have to go through the complaints procedure of the NHS. Of course I then repeated -what you already know.

    • @zorbathebuddha2
      I have read your comment which seems very similar to my own experience. Be warned of the Ombudsman though- you are unlikely to get reason there as they are very biased towards the NHS and will accept any verbal excuses in retrospect, they will collaborate together and as you are a MH patient your complaint will all be deemed to be part of your problems. Besides, they are only a lay person so have no understanding or knowledge or psychotherapy. My NHS Trust too was defensive, dismissive and denying in their (non) handling of my complaint- the process was as bad as the complaint itself. So how do we get accountability for the harm caused? Can I email you,? i’m interested to hear about your experience and which NHS Trust. Pls message me..

      • please do. I am willing to talk about this. how do I get my e mail to you confidentially?

      • What I can say here is that it relates to Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust — which I think is the biggest mental health trust in the country..

      • Furthermore, my ‘complaint’ has been with the Ombudsman, and swirling around rather inconclusively and quizzically with them, since November 2015……. I am still mostly receiving the ‘silent’ treatment….and no progress apparent yet at all!

  3. It’s in everyone’s best interests for the UKCP to get their act together and it looks like they’re trying. They are advertising for a Quality Assurance Regulation Manager:

    and the duties of the post include:

    “Liaise with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that UKCP is meeting and maintaining requirements for Professional Standards Authority accreditation under the Assured Voluntary Registers scheme.”

    Hopefully the UKCP will sort out their problems and the suspension will be lifted, this will be an interesting test of how much the PSA’s Accredited Registers can influence the quality of regulation.

  4. My understanding is that this is far from a disaster: rather it’s a somewhat routine clearing of the re-accreditation. I imagine, if the re-accreditation were an easy ride, there would be understandable questions asked about the validity and strength of the process. So maybe some issues like this are to be expected or even valued?

    BACP is a very different beast from UKCP, by the way. I don’t think any kind of partisan conclusion is really all that relevant.

    • I’d heard that was the official line on the subject – that it’s routine.

      The PSA announces that they’re not satisfied with 6 very important aspects of the UKCP’s register and they’re suspending the accreditation, then the UKCP are suddenly hiring for a quality assurance manager for the register….I can’t claim to know the inner workings of either the PSA or UKCP, but that really doesn’t come across as routine.

  5. Does it matter how it “comes across”? I would be more interested in “how things actually are”. What has actually gone wrong, Phil? It could just be minor policy wording for all your report tells us. Since they are being given until Jan 5th to sort it out, this is a lot more likely than anything structural. We will se if they have put it right then. What a shame that UKCP has to focus its energy on all this compliance nonsense instead of progressing the practice of psychotherapy and the benefit of its members and clients.

    • If this is really minor – why have they left it for eight weeks to not tell their members? Does that not display a problem with transparency. And by the way – what does that do to the Professional Indemnity Insurance Policies of members – the policies state that you have to be a member of a viable professional organisation to be covered. If I were a member of UKCP i would be very worried indeed about this and the organisation have a duty to keep members informed. Is that a minor issue?

    • If you look at the Professional Standards Authority decisions page you’ll find the reports on the UKCP’s initial accreditation review in 2013 and its renewal in 2014.

      Here’s the story so far in a nutshell:

      2013, UKCP to PSA: “Please accredit our register”
      2013, PSA to UKCP: “OK we’ll accredit your register, but we need you to make some improvements to the way you regulate your members before you renew your accreditation next year.”
      2013, UKCP to PSA: “Thank you for accrediting our register, we’ll make the improvements you ask.”

      2014, UKCP to PSA: “Please renew our register’s accreditation.”
      2014, PSA to UKCP: “You have improved things somewhat since last year, but there are still outstanding changes. We’ll renew your accreditation on condition that you make some of the changes straight away, and you’ll have to sort out the rest before you renew next year.”
      2014, UKCP to PSA: “Thank you for renewing our register’s accreditation, we’ll make the improvements you ask.

      2015, UKCP to PSA: “Please renew our register’s accreditation.”
      2015, PSA to UKCP: “No, you have improved things a bit more but you still haven’t fully sorted out the way you regulate your members. We won’t strip your register of its accreditation yet, we’ll leave it in limbo for a bit to give you a chance to get your act together.”

      The UKCP is having trouble keeping its promises to the PSA. That’s not surprising when you consider the fact that the UKCP is an umbrella organisation for just under 80 training and accrediting organisations, and the PSA is effectively asking the executive of the UKCP to prove that it is in control of the regulatory activates of all its organisational members. It must be like trying to get cats to march in formation.

      By suspending their register’s accreditation the PSA is actually giving the UKCP’s executive a lot of leverage, they can go to their organisational members and tell them “If you don’t do what we say everyone will suffer.” Hopefully that will be enough.

      It’s good to see that the UKCP is progressing the practice of psychotherapy by focusing its efforts on meeting the challenges of establishing an effective regulatory system.

    • UKCP must protect the public, this is not nonsense. It is very important that an outside body that is not connected to the organisation is checking this is being fulfilled. Organisations (just as any group) have a habit of becoming breeding grounds for narcissists.

  6. Well from my point of view and that of several others I have known who have been in receipt of psychotherapy by those accredited by UKCP, this investigation does not go far enough. Psychotherapists do an immense amount of damage at times and when they do, it is clear to me that they are simply not sufficiently accountable. this is not just about sexual abuse within the therapeutic session, but about emotional and psychological manipulation which can and does result frequently in serious trauma being occasioned to patients/clients who seem to have no meaningful way to redress at all. This is nothing short of scandalous,particularly within the mental health ‘system’ context.

  7. I wonder how this will affect an ongoing hearing (complaint) that is still listed and not concluded yet?

  8. I havent read all the comments yet but thank you Phil for bringing this to our attention, please keep up the great and needed work. By the way, I would imagine that the PSA was alerted about the state of the UKCP by a person who was not satisfied with the UKCP, not because it was routine – this is the sort of thing slippery politicians say.

  9. I think there all full of it…. when one has a complaint against a Psychoanalyst… concrete evidence of Unethical and Unprofessional Behavoir… you the patient are giving the run around… disgraceful and sinful !!!!

    • ‘runaround’ is about right. My mental health trust refused to process my complaint; I tried UKCP having established she was registered with them and was told because she worked in the NHS, they could not look into it; I approached CQC and they told me they only looked at general issues – but would not even look at those I expounded; I phoned CCG three times and was promised they would ring me back, they didnt; the CAB could not look into this because they say they do not have the expertise, and are also, quite obviously in meltdown; Mind have no advocates in this area and can only give advice; BACP cannot advise even from their distance; there are other organisations I have tried including getting support from PowHr and Voiceability. I am now forced to take it to the Ombudsman. And have told my MP.

      • If it was in the last couple of years, that is since the UKCP’s register was accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), then you can raise the UKCP’s refusal to look into it with the PSA. The PSA can’t look into your complaint directly, but they can look into how the UKCP handled it.

      • Try Graham Baldwin of Catalyst Counselling; a charity that advises and supports people who have been in abusive relationships including with therapists.
        (Google it to find contact details)

    • Ah, it is just “a small number of changes” and it is just “a process which is carried out annually.”

    • So I see. I presume they’ll have made their submissions to PSA by now.

    • No further updates today that I can see, though I’d imagine these things would take some time.

      My gut feeling is that the changes the PSA is insisting will probably get pushed through, because it’s simply too important to the UKCP to have their accreditation for any other outcome to be envisaged.

      That said, whenever I’ve tried to predict the outcome of complex events from afar, I’ve often been wrong, so I wouldn’t necessarily pay too much attention to Nostradamus over here.

      • 🙂

        I wonder if BPC also has to go through the “annual clean-up”. Im sure PSA would find many things to clean up in that organisation.
        For example, they havent updated their name and shame list since 2012 the last time I looked (which was a few weeks ago).
        Not to mention the people/victims I have talked to who had their complaint quashed by BPC and just had no other way of being heard and getting justice.

        Makes me wonder if this really is a yearly clean up or if someone has brought the sorry state of UKCP to PSA attention.

  10. PS it is not a name and shame list as such but it does say how many complaints have been made, how many have been accepted and how many have been quashed.

  11. I told my MP about what UKCP told me about the complaint I wanted to make -that if a UKCP therapist worked with you within the NHS , UKCP could not look into your complaint. He is asking about this in Parliament.

    • This shows the narcissism
      “For UKCP to represent this as just a routine step in the annual accreditation process would appear to back-up some of the PSA’s concerns”

      Rotten to the core. No real desire to protect the public.

  12. Pingback: UKCP Suspension “Not Routine” says PSA | Sex Therapy Bristol Blog

  13. @zorbathebuddha2
    I have read your comment which seems very similar to my own experience. Be warned of the Ombudsman though- you are unlikely to get reason there as they are very biased towards the NHS and will accept any verbal excuses in retrospect, they will collaborate together and as you are a MH patient your complaint will all be deemed to be part of your problems. Besides, they are only a lay person so have no understanding or knowledge or psychotherapy. My NHS Trust too was defensive, dismissive and denying in their (non) handling of my complaint- the process was as bad as the complaint itself. So how do we get accountability for the harm caused? Can I email you,? i’m interested to hear about your experience and which NHS Trust. Pls message me..

  14. Perhaps somebody should ask the PSA if it’s okay that the UKCP do not look at complaints that involve NHS therapists.

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