Children Firstpolitics in the best interests of the child


Will your organisation endorse the following statement?


‘What sort of society are we becoming when four and five year olds are starting school unable to utter more than a few words, understand basic instructions or even use the toilet?’ (‘The Daily Mail’, 1st June, 2018).

Ofsted Head, Amanda Spielman, categorises children as either born ‘lucky’ or facing ‘disadvantage right from the start … unable to follow what’s going on. Unable to keep up with their classmates. Unable to reach their potential.’

Menaced by five 21st century ‘evils’

  • obesity and physical inactivity
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • rising mental health issues
  • dominance of social media and screen time influence
  • socioeconomic disadvantage and cultural/ethnic divde

Our children may become the least healthy adult population in living memory.

We need an authoritative voice within the Cabinet to bring all these issues together and devise solutions that will be more than just firefighting on an individual policy front and so we call upon Government to appoint a Cabinet Minister for Children and Young People.

Need to know more? A full supporting document is available from 

Please let Phil know by email if we can add your name to the list of endorsements.

Launch of the APPG Report 'Mental Health in Childhood' - June 2018

An All-Party Group dedicated to finding ways to improve children’s health and wellbeing has called for a positive approach to the Government’s Child Mental Health proposals.

Publishing its 10th report (sponsored by the National Counselling Society, and giving a speech at the launch alongside our Children and Young People Ambassador Kate Day): ‘Mental Health in Childhood,’ the APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood described the Government’s green paper on Child Mental Health as ‘a work in progress,’ and said it should be strengthened by: 

  • Championing early intervention  rather than relying unduly upon expensive later-stage crisis services
  • Ring-fencing funding for antenatal, postnatal and early years’ mental health provision for children and their parents
  • A properly funded CAMHS with statutory referral times and a national in-school counselling service staffed only by professionally accredited counsellors on an Accredited Register
  • Compulsory initial training and ongoing CPD for all teachers and other professionals dealing with the mental health of children and young people
  • The Designated Mental Health Lead in schools to receive guaranteed remuneration commensurate with the responsibilities of the post
  • Government to initiate dialogue with media concerns about the screening of potentially inflammatory and contentious material; combined with Government regulation of social media where appropriate for child safeguarding purposes
  • Speedy, responsive new services for students/apprentices embarking upon an FE place, degree or mix of work and training who currently ‘fall between’ sources of available provision
  • Mental health service funding to reflect the needs of culturally diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities
  • Inter-Departmental collaboration on child health and wellbeing ideally co-ordinated and audited by a Secretary of State for Children, heading a Department for Children and scrutinised by a new Select Committee.

Introducing the report, APPG co-Chair, Baroness (Floella) Benjamin said:

‘We welcome the green paper and some of its core recommendations such as early intervention and counselling services in schools, but green papers are necessarily ‘works in progress.’

Our report shows that there is much more to do. Now, all people and organisations who care about children’s mental health must help to make the forthcoming legislation as good as it can be by supporting the ideas outlined in our report and especially concerning the internet and smart phones,  funding essential school counselling services and ensuring that we don’t have services in some parts of the UK forced to play ‘ catch up’.  We agree with the Education and Health and Social Care Committees that this challenging policy area should be supported by new initiatives and co-ordination across government.

The ‘new initiative’ that we propose is the creation of a Department for Children, headed by a Secretary of  State with responsibility  for cross Departmental audit and held to account by a new Select Committee.’

We believe the report helps to highlight key issues that need to be dealt with when considering any implementation of new policies by governement. We hope this report will be widely shared in order for as many people as possible to be aware. The report has also been covered by the following page online 

Update regarding SCoPEd - June 2018

We have received a response to our further request of an inclusive approach to SCoPEd project. Unfortunately, we are disappointed to see that it seems the collaboration are unwilling to discuss with the wider profession, we shall continue to monitor developments and of course provide updates ourselves.


11th June 2018

Dear Vicky,

Thank you very much for your email setting out your further concerns about the SCoPEd project.

As you know this project evolved from work already being undertaken as part of the collaborative work between BACP, BPC and UKCP. Our three organisations have been working together for some years as part of a formal collaboration – the CCPP. This project is one of several things we are working on together.

ScoPEd is not creating anything new – it is an evidence-based research project mapping existing competences and professional standards. So, the project will set out what already exists. We hope that in the future a wide range of bodies will find the generic competence framework useful.

Thank you for getting in touch. We appreciate your feedback.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Fereday

Chief Executive BPC

(signed on behalf of the SCoPEd Steering Group)


Response to open letter regarding SCoPEd - May 2018

Following our open letter (which can be found further down this page), we have now received a response from the SCoPEd collaboration.


Dear Vicky                     

Thank you for your letter which was discussed at our Steering Group meeting on 25 April. We are pleased to hear that you recognise what an important piece of work this is but it is not exactly as you state. The project evolved organically from the collaborative discussions between our three professional bodies over the last few years and is specifically to map the current landscape, expressed in evidence-based generic competencies and then to identify any gaps or areas where further clarification is needed using the Roth and Pilling methodology.  It is not about developing standards. We have researched the evidence comprehensively and systematically, and continue to do so, in order to ensure that a complete a picture as possible is drawn.

Once the Expert Reference Group has completed its work there will be a consultation with practitioners and external stakeholders. Although the exact form of the consultation has yet to be decided, it will be presenting the work done so far and asking for feedback and input on any further gaps or omissions.

Yours sincerely

Gary Fereday                                      

Chief Executive BPC                                                                                                   

(signed on behalf of the SCoPEd Steering Group)


The response concerns ourselves and we are very surprised that the response letter claims that the SCoPEd project is not intended to set standards for the profession. It specifically states on both BACP and UKCP websites that  'BACP, BPC, UKCP are jointly working on a groundbreaking project to set out the training requirements and practice standards for counselling and psychotherapy', in the very first sentence, as well as the below statements;

'There was complete agreement between BACP, BPC, and UKCP that a proactive leadership role was needed in the development of generic standards for the counselling and psychotherapy professions.'


'The project is systematically mapping existing competencies, standards, training and practice requirements within counselling and psychotherapy.'

Clearly, the publically stated view of two of the scoped collaborators is that this project is seen by them as a fundamental attempt to "set standards for the profession" without prior consultation or consent with the profession at large. 

Accordingly, we have renewed our request in our previous letter for an end to the non-inclusive, ringfenced and top down approach to professional standards, and call upon the collaboration to engage with us and all other interested parties within the profession, to move the profession forwards to an inclusive and democratic approach based upon the good of all.


Society Response to SCoPEd project - April 2018

You may have seen the recent announcement by BACP, UKCP and BPC working on a project to set out the training requirements and practice standards for counselling and psychotherapy.

They write;

‘Counselling and psychotherapy are not statutorily regulated.  Professional bodies can apply for their own registers to be accredited  by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) under its Accredited Registers programme.

The PSA sets standards for organisations that hold a register in a health or social care profession, and the focus of their programme is public protection.

The PSA-accredited registers in the field of counselling and psychotherapy each has its own distinct standards of training and practice. There are also no agreed common entry or training requirements to enter the field.

This causes confusion for the public, for clients/patients, for employers and commissioners of services about what training and experience to expect when employing a counsellor or psychotherapist.

There is also confusion amongst those who are considering training in this field as there are disparate standards, with a wide range of courses available at differing academic levels geared to different client groups and professional roles, and sitting within different qualifications frameworks’


Whilst we agree there need to be minimum standards for any registrant working with the public, we are concerned that there has been no consultation or discussion amongst fellow Accredited Register holders, training providers, organisations or importantly its members – despite the collaboration being near completion on their project.

We wanted to make you aware we have responded with the below open letter. We shall also be in contact soon with training providers and members to further discuss this important issue. 

We welcome any training providers and organisations to add their details in support, members or not. Please do contact the office, details will be updated in due course. 


Re : SCoPEd project

We write to you concerning your stated intention to develop “generic standards for the counselling and psychotherapy professions”.  You write that “the PSA-accredited registers in the field of counselling and psychotherapy each has its own distinct standards of training and practice. There are also no agreed common entry or training requirements to enter the field. This causes confusion for the public, for clients/patients, for employers and commissioners of services about what training and experience to expect when employing a counsellor or psychotherapist.”

Our view is that any project to set common standards should be fully inclusive from the outset, with full and equal participation by all Accredited Register holders in talking therapies, alongside other stakeholders such as the Psychotherapy and Counselling Union, Alliance for Counselling & Psychotherapy, Awarding Bodies and training organisations.

It will, surely, only cause further “public, client and employer confusion” for three of the current Accredited Register holders to agree their own new set of standards without reference to the AR programme, especially when NHS guidelines are now focussed on recommending the programme as the one supported by Government.

In addition, we feel that any new setting of standards should be done with full democratic participation by the memberships of stakeholder organisations, using a member-led approach, rather than a top-down approach. 

Without these safeguards in place, the SCoPEd project will not succeed in setting standards for the profession, but rather, will be an internal exercise conducted on behalf of particular organisations for their own ends, conducted to the exclusion of many.  You are of course, welcome to set standards for yourselves – but not to claim that these should be imposed on, or represent, the profession as a whole, without having equal participation and full support from the wider profession.

We are also concerned that the project could lead to further homogenisation, over -regulation, and further control mechanisms being applied by professional associations on their members.  Instead, we would seek to enshrine equality, diversity and the heart of counselling and psychotherapy in any further attempts to define standards. A mechanistic, technical and manualised understanding of therapeutic work can never do justice to the reality of how we practice.  We believe a pluralistic approach respectful of diversity, variety and individual client choice is fundamentally important, whilst of course maintaining standards and public safety.

We are also concerned that, unless handled sensitively, any such project could easily lend itself to takeover by a corporatist style of regulation where the profession risks fundamental change with no benefit to counsellors, psychotherapists, or their clients.  Do we really want even more prescriptions and controls on practice than there are now?

You speak of the need to avoid “public confusion”.  We are not aware of any great public confusion.  In the employed sector, counselling in any case has been to some extent bypassed by IAPT where a very limited number of approaches are used in a very prescribed way.  This has led over time to a fundamental under valuing of counselling and psychotherapy in its richness and diversity.  What we are aware of is the public wishing to preserve choice with access to therapy in a timely manner – to select the practitioner and approach that is right for them; to be able to see value in the therapeutic relationship above and beyond issues of professionalisation.   We are also aware that counsellors and psychotherapists seek to preserve choice and diversity, and feel that there already exist robust and appropriate standards which allow a place for individuality, creativity and vocation alongside public protection and good practice.  These can be fine tuned by the profession as a whole.

There are already existing standards and reference points including the QAA Benchmark Statement on Counselling and Psychotherapy, The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, the Regulated Qualifications Framework, Skills for Health National Occupational Standards and the UCL CORE competence frameworks which are not “owned” by any one professional body. These, together with the standards adopted by individual professional bodies, are surely sufficient.

While any organisations are, of course, welcome to collaborate and devise their own standards, what is concerning is that, at the very time that the Accredited Register programme has begun to flourish and allow all register holders to meet, cooperate, and learn to improve standards and governance with the assistance of the Authority, your collaboration threatens to ringfence your own memberships from the wider Accredited Register community, not to mention missed opportunities for equal participation from other stakeholders.  The chance to set standards as part of, rather than taken away from, the Accredited Register scheme would have far greater benefits for the entire profession. 

We support minimum standards for the profession – if they are, indeed, created by the profession as a whole. The risk of setting standards in a vacuum is that it is seen as an internal political exercise.  This risks greater confusion – not less.

Kind Regards

Vicky Parkinson



With support of -

Jeffery Thomas and Monika Jephcott, PTUK 

Tony Ruddle on behalf of Association of Christian Counsellors 

Dominic Davies, Pink Therapy

Andrew Samuels, Former Chair, UKCP. Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex

Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy  

Psychotherapy and Counselling Union

Professor Michael Jacobs

Gail Evans, Programme Director at The Academy: SPACE

Leigh Smith, Heartwood Director

Karl Gregory, Severn Talking Therapy

Kathy Raffles, Kathy Raffles Counselling Services

Marie Easden, Chrysalis Courses

Nathalie Asmall, BACP Accredited and Iron Mill College tutor  

Professor Stephen Joseph, University of Nottingham

Dr David Murphy, University of Nottingham

Dr Sue Price, University of Nottingham

Lindsay Cooper, Assistant Professor of Counselling, Course Leader BA (Hons) Humanistic Counselling Practice University of Nottingham 

Dr Katy Wakelin, University of Nottingham

Laura Davies , University of Nottingham

Dr Laura Monk, University of Nottingham

Janet Tolan

Lesley Wilson

Heather Kapelko

Sheila McCarthy-Dodd

Jane Pendlebury 


Denise Gregory MBACP (Accred)

Phil Turner MBACP (Accred)

Amanda Young Dip Counselling

LouAnne Lachman MBACP (Accred)

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