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SCoPEd - What is it all About?

There is a bit of confusion about the SCoPEd project which is a joint undertaking by BACP, UKCP and BAP, three of the countries main membership bodies for qualified professional counsellors. Here, I aim to simplify what I understand about the project. It is only my understanding and nothing is yet agreed or set in stone.

There is a huge difference between what the different counselling training courses offer. For example, some training providers offer a level 4 course which covers 400 hours of training, including placement and others, like ourselves cover 420 hours of training, plus 100 hours in placement. Some courses have no assessment criteria and some have considerably more. What is clear, is that there is a huge difference between the training and assessment counsellors may have had in order to achieve a level 4 diploma and this cannot be right as at the end of the day it is clients who could be at risk. These three organisations have seen the need for a standardisation of competencies that counsellors should have.

Our level 4 courses are accredited by CPCAB (which upon a quick glance already contains the competencies BACP are suggesting) and upon successful completion of a level 4 course, counsellors can join the BACP Register (and other resisters such as that held by the NCS). To join the BACP register post qualifying requires applicants to sit a short free online test set by BACP called the Certificate of Proficiency.

Other courses are accredited by a membership body, such as BACP. Upon successful completion of a BACP accredited course, counsellors automatically gain entry to the register without the need to do the Certificate of Proficiency. There is only one BACP accredited course in Devon, so they are not widely available.

The BACP, UKCP and BPC accredit courses already and each body has it's own criteria and standards for the students on their courses. The new framework aims to make the framework for each organisation the same.

So, if you do a BACP, UKCP or BAP accredited course post SCoPEd being rolled out, then there may be a slight change to the qualification assessment criteria and level of training. Remember nothing is finalised yet, so the actual outcome is unknown.

If you are doing a CPCAB course with ourselves, I expect that post qualifying and if the SCoPEd suggestions are implemented, then there will be a slight change needed to upgrade your membership from student to individual member with BACP to gain entry onto their register. Perhaps the Certificate of Proficiency test will be amended to incorporate the new requirements. For current individual members of BACP it would appear that they will offer pathways to meet any new standards that are implemented. They say " The three organisations value and support their members and we plan to continue to offer a professional home to all existing members now and in the future. It’s not our intention to encourage members to join other bodies".

BACP say that "over time, existing members may be asked to benchmark themselves against the framework (including any post registration skills and experience), as part of ongoing registration requirements and as evidence of working within their competence. There will be further consultation and engagement as this work continues"

I also expect that CPCAB will implement anything needed to ensure that their qualifications retain their highly respected status.

UKCP state that "The Department of Health recently held a consultation seeking views on proposals to reform the regulation of healthcare professionals in the UK. While no one knows where this will lead, we will be in a better place to navigate any future changes if we do this work now" It would seem that these main membership bodies are preparing for the future to safeguard their registers and their members who may be on them.

From what I understand this project is about improving and maintaining standards, which cannot be a bad thing. This film is very useful in explaining more.

Gary Fereday Chief Executive at BPC says "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"

For us oldies in the profession, we have been through something similar already. A few years ago, when the voluntary registers came in, we had to all sit the Certificate of Proficiency test which BACP made very accessible and it was free. I imagine that they will do something similar with these changes. It really does seem that this work is needed if the Professional Standards Authority are to continue allowing us as a profession to regulate ourselves and for our membership bodies to continue holding voluntary registers. As an Individual Member of BACP I am not worried about this and hope that this information helps to clarify and put to rest any fears.

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