Regulation: The Plot Thickens

Also in December 2005, The College wrote to the DoH identifying the precise location of The College on the professional scene and requesting an undertaking that we would be assured a place at future discussions concerning regulation. That assurance was forthcoming and access to the correspondence relating to this is also available from a link elsewhere in Latest News.

Consistent with this undertaking, The College, along with other organisations in the field, was notified in July by the DoH that a planning meeting of sector skills councils, qualifications authorities and others with expertise in competence development would be setting up a competence framework covering the practice of psychotherapists and counsellors and that the organisation Skills for Health, which is itself a part of The Sector Skills Council for Health, would coordinate the production of an initial framework to identify the scope of practice involved and that The College would be invited to participate.

The way forward via the determination and specification of competencies for our profession was regarded by many psychoanalytic practitioners, and possibly by most, as bad news for psychoanalysis. Again a critique setting out the arguments against this approach is on this website and is accessible from a link elsewhere in Latest News.

This month, The College has received a formal letter from Skills for Health, inviting The College to participate when the consultation process takes place between 1st December and the end of February 2007. UKCP in particular has already done a great deal of work in this area. Interestingly, however, Skills for Health went out of its way to give an assurance that the work and submissions of UKCP should not be taken as prejudging these issues and that the report already published by UKCP will constitute only one submission in the global consultation process.

Returning to the Foster Review, its findings were published in July 2006, almost simultaneously with the government’s new proposals for regulation of the medical profession. As reported previously in Latest News, the two reports were presented very much as a joint bundle. The principal recommendation of the Foster Review was that there should be fewer regulators rather than a proliferation of specialised regulators and that the psychological therapies should be regulated via HPC, as if all practitioners were employed in the public services. It seems very clear from this that the government will not countenance a regulator oriented more specifically to the professions dealing with the psychological therapies. Nevertheless, DoH who published the Foster Review, called for submissions from all interested parties in a consultation process that would end on 10th November.

In order to contextualise the next development, it is helpful to note that, some time ago, BPS completed their own discussions with HPC, designed to lead to state-regulation by HPC of applied psychologists. The conclusion reached by BPS at the end of those discussions was that regulation by HPC would not be appropriate because, according to them, such regulation would not be sufficiently rigorous. Those who want to know more about this will find ample documentation and details on the BPS website.