UKCP Annual Review with the PSA Email
From: Janet Weiz
Date: 12 February 2016 11:17:20 GMT
“Paul McGinley (Constructivist & Existential College Chair)”
Subject: UKCP Annual Review decision
As I am sure you are aware our annual renewal with PSA encountered some problems which we needed to address before they would renew our accreditation. We addressed their areas of concern and when the panel reconvened they renewed our accreditation.
I am pleased to now confirm that yesterday the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) published the details of the decision to renew our reaccreditation following the suspension at the end of last year.
Please find attached a breakdown of what we were asked to do and what steps we took to achieve reaccreditation. Also, here is the link to the PSA website for the full details (see https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/docs/default-source/voluntary-registers/ukcp-annual-review-2015.pdf?sfvrsn=4).
I would appreciate it if you would share this email and the attached document – which is also on the UKCP website (http://www.ukcp.org.uk/news/ukcp-annual-review-decision) – so members can fully understand the background to what has been a stressful and unsettling situation . It also clearly explains the areas they wished us to address which as I said at the time were all fixable.
As I say in my note, I can only apologise for the apparent lack of communication about this to the wider membership . We have learnt lessons from this.
If you have any further questions or concerns, just let me know as soon as possible.
The Professional Standards Authority areas of concern – UKCP statement
UKCP applied for reaccreditation with the Professional Standards Authority (the PSA) for the second time in November 2015.
During this process, the PSA raised a number of concerns which we had to address before we were reaccredited on 18 January 2016.
Members have asked us to explain what happened. We have set out below as clearly as we can all the concerns raised and how we have now addressed them.
Complaints and Conduct Process
When we launched our revised Complaints and Conduct Process (CCP15) in October 2015, we included the ability for UKCP to appeal a sanction if we believed it to be unduly lenient or unduly severe.
The PSA considered that appealing a sanction for being unduly severe would be inconsistent with our role in protecting the public. Accordingly, we have now updated CCP15 and removed this, however the registrant can still appeal an unduly severe sanction.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
The PSA was also concerned that we had removed the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) from CCP15; although it did acknowledge that we support mediation on a case-by-case basis and are reviewing the process this year.
We clarified that we had a stand-alone ADR policy which sits alongside the CCP and explained that, when we reviewed our Complaints and Conduct Process, we recognised that ADR played a vital role in early dispute resolution.
We decided that the ADR process should be separated from the CCP and a working group should be convened to review our ADR policy and develop a robust early resolution process. To address the PSA’s concern, we have made our position clearer by referencing ADR in the CCP15 and clarifying our information leaflets.
- Making a complaint
Our revised Complaints and Conduct Process rules stated that we may consider any complaint relating to ‘serious professional incompetence’. The PSA asked how we tested or defined this, and we explained that this referred ’to behaviour which falls short of the standards that would normally be expected of a professional in the circumstances’.
The PSA felt this definition was unclear and appeared to refer to ‘personal behaviour’ instead of technical competence. Therefore, we removed the word ‘serious’ from the relevant section in the CCP15 and the associated guidance leaflets.
Publication of sanctions
- Publication of Decisions:
The PSA noted that our publication policy for complaints decisions stated that all decisions will be published for 12 months and it felt this may cause confusion should sanctions be issued for longer periods.
The PSA also advised that removals from the register should be published for a set period of time. We have now revised our Publication of Decisions Policy to reflect the PSA’s view. This means sanctions will now be displayed for the time that they are in place and removals will be displayed for five years.
- Find a Therapist
The PSA was not satisfied that a member of the public looking for a therapist on our website would easily be able to see if sanctions had been issued.
To address this concern, we have added a marker to the online profile of members with a sanction. Registrants’ online profiles can be accessed from our Register or from Find a Therapist (if they are active on there).
We have also revised the text on our ‘About our registers’ page on the website to make clearer the reasons why someone may not appear in our register. The text indicates that if a registrant’s name is not found, users can click a link to check the complaints decisions page.
Communicate decisions clearly
The PSA stated that we need to communicate our decisions more clearly. It suggested that we look at how we provide information to all parties at all stages of the complaints processes, which explains clearly how we have arrived at decisions , the reasons behind such decisions and further avenues available under its processes.
We included a plan showing how we will improve communications. The Complaints and Conduct team and Communications team continue to work collaboratively to make sure we achieve this.
The PSA acknowledged that we are currently undertaking an audit of all our communications, and communications around the Complaints and Conduct Process will be included in this.
The PSA reviewed a number of our cases and highlighted a few areas of concern.
In one instance, the PSA highlighted that a decision had been made in the Professional Conduct Committee meeting without being properly documented in the meeting minutes. We have committed to making sure minutes are better documented so that decisions are clearly recorded. Last year we introduced a decision-recording template for panels to use to ensure consistency.
The PSA also had concerns about procedure in another case. The case was dismissed after hearing UKCP’s evidence without hearing evidence from the registrant. Whilst the PSA acknowledged that we had followed our procedure correctly, they remained concerned that the evidence had not been appropriately tested.
The PSA considered that the composition of an all-male panel in a sexual boundaries allegation had been insensitive and the handling of this case, while it may have been in line with UKCP’s processes, was not compatible with good practice set out in the PSA’s ‘Clear sexual boundaries between healthcare professionals and patients: guidance for fitness to practise panels.’
To address these concerns, we will provide new panel members and Chairs with the PSA’s document ‘Clear Sexual Boundaries between Healthcare Professionals and Patients’, to support and further inform how they work with vulnerable witnesses.
We also advised the PSA that, in a previous case, UKCP had instructed an expert to assist the Adjudication Panel improve their understanding of, and ability to work with, victims of extreme trauma. This is something we will consider again.
We will be recruiting new panel members later this year, so that we have a wider pool to select from. This will enable us to ensure that we always have an appropriate mix of people.
I hope this clarifies the situation but we do recognise that members were concerned about the way we handled this sensitive situation and for that I can only apologise. Suffice to say, lessons have been learned and we aim to be more open and transparent in the future.
UK Council for Psychotherapy