Meeting of Counselling and Psychotherapy Professional Liaison Group

College Notes

Report on Health Professions Council

Meeting of Counselling and Psychotherapy Professional Liaison Group, 4th December 2008.

The PLG group is made up of the following members:

Sally Aldridge – British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
Fiona Ballantine Dykes – Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body
Jonathan Coe – We Need To Talk
Mick Cooper – University of Strathclyde
Peter Fonagy – Skills for Health
Julian Lousada – British Psychoanalytic Council
Brian Magee – Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland
Linda Matthews – British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
Rose Mary Owen – Relate Institute
Jean McMinn – Queen’s University Belfast
Kathi Murphy – United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy
Mary Clark-Glass – Lay member of the HPC Council
Jeff Lucas – Lay member of the HPC Council
Graham Smith – Physiotherapist member of the HPC Council
Eileen Thornton – Alternate Physiotherapist member of the HPC Council
Annie Turner – Occupational therapist member of the HPC Council
Diane Waller – Arts therapist member of the HPC Council and Chair of the PLG

The meeting was well attended by observers. It was open by Anna van der Gaag, President of HPC Council, who made an enthusiastic case for HPC being the best regulator for counselling and psychotherapy. It was then handed over to Diane Waller, who clearly struggled to sustain her function to continue enthusing members about regulation through HPC.

A presentation followed by Niall McDermott, Head of Policy & Standards from the Dept of Health. He informed the group that once its work is done he and his team of lawyers will move to translate it into law. He pressed that, in order to make legislation ‘possible and quick’, policy will needs to be ‘clear and tight’. He confirmed that the legislative process would take approximately two years, so, likely, regulation would not happen until 2011. A question was raised about the relationship between HPC and SfH, and an assurance was given that there are no formal links between the two, and HPC processes are completely independent. Nevertheless, the point was also made that it is appropriate for the two agencies to inform each other’s work. A question was raised about consultation processes with the DH. NM replied that, once the work of the group has been submitted, representations could be made to the DH to raise whatever objections. However, he also stressed that the process would need to go ahead regardless of unresolved disagreements. Ultimately, disagreements would need to be submitted to Parliament, which would have the final saying. A debate followed about the HPC’s own processes. Several PLG members insisted that all processes should be made transparent, and agreement was reached that HPC, DH and Parliamentary processes would be made available through the HPC’s website.