UKCP to review handling of Smalley case

Over the past few weeks I’ve been analysing the John Smalley case, a botched fitness to practice hearing by the UK Council for Psychotherapy, which took over 3 years to find seven allegations proven, but decided not to issue any sanction.

I’ve just heard the welcome news that the UKCP is now to “review the actual processing of the complaint, and in particular the factors that contributed to the complaint taking so long, so we can learn from the findings of the review, and try to improve our systems for the future.” According to the chief executive David Pink, “Our internal review will focus primarily on the management and handling of the case, and the contributory factors that together created an unprecedentedly case that travelled a long and tortuous path that must surely have felt unsatisfactory to all the parties.”

This is indeed good news, though only partially so, as the review will only be of the length of time taken, and will not consider the eventual decision of the panel, which seemed to feel that seven proven allegations did not merit so much as a caution, even after Mr Smalley admitted having destroyed his notes.

Separately to this, other parties have asked the UKCP to investigate how the complaint was initially handled by Smalley’s UKCP member organisation, the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists. They want to know the IGAP found that there was no case to answer, a decision ruled “perverse and incorrect” by the UKCP Central Final Appeals Panel. Currently, there is no word on whether the UKCP will do this.

Eventually, all the member organisations, including the IGAP, should be subject to the UKCP’s new Central Complaint’s Process. According to UKCP, that should be in place by the end of next year, though the IGAP seem rather off-message on that.

Last week the UKCP responded to the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence’s consultation on Voluntary Assured Registration. This proposed scheme will allow self-regulating professional bodies such as UKCP to obtain a “Quality Mark” from the CHRE (to be renamed the Professional Standards Authority). The Central Complaints Process is a key part of their aim to receive such a Quality Mark.

The CCP was found severely wanting in the Smalley case, and in any case member organisations like IGAP haven’t confirmed that they’ll even sign up to it. If the UKCP is to deserve its rubberstamp from the CHRE, then it still has improvements to make.