- Register of Practitioners
The National Counselling Society holds a register of practitioners which is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority under its Accredited Registers programme. As such, the Society's register meets the same robust standards as other counselling registers accredited under the programme and this has been independently verified by the Authority.
The Health and Social Care Act 2012, amending the Health Care Professions Act 2002, provides for the Professional Standards Authority to accredit registers of health and social care practitioners which meet the Authority's standards.
An Accredited Register is the result of the programme set up by the Department of Health, and administered by the Professional Standards Authority who are an independent body, accountable to Parliament. The Professional Standards Authority accredits registers of people working in a variety of health and social care occupations. The Authority also oversees statutory regulators such as the General Medical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The accreditation programme covers not only counselling but all other healthcare organisations. It was set up to provide assurance on the standards of voluntary registers and is the best way to promote quality within the field of counselling.
Being accredited under the NCS Accredited Register offers enhanced protection to anyone looking for counselling services which includes:
- Members of the public seeking a Registered Counsellor
- Qualified Counsellors seeking to become Registrants
Counsellors on our register, also known as Registrants, will be able to display the Accredited Register quality mark, as a sign that they belong to a register which meets the Authority's rigorous standards.
Members of the public will, from now on, be encouraged to choose a practitioner who belongs to a register which has been vetted and approved by the Authority. The Accredited Register programme was set up by the Department of Health to ensure that the public are able to choose safe, ethical and competent professionals for their health and social care needs.
The National Counselling Society believes that all Accredited Registers should be seen as equal. Recognition of the programme is growing:
- NHS Choices information list Accredited Registers to reflect what should be equality of choice for all clients and patients.
- NHS Employers has added content encouraging the use and detailing the benefits of Accredited Registers.
- Health Education England has amended the information on the NHS Health Careers website also to be in line with the aforementioned changes on NHS Choices and NHS employers sites, and promote inclusive hiring practices.
- The Department for Education recommends Accredited Registers and mentions the NCS specifically in its "Blue Print for Schools" document.
- The GMC highlights Accredited Registers as relevant to delegation and referral.
- The Society's position on standards
The Society's standards of entry to the Register are now benchmarked against Ofqual levels, where a Level 4 Diploma is required for entry to the Register and further training is required for progression in membership, e.g. to obtain individual Accredited Professional Registrant status. By benchmarking against Ofqual Levels the Society is demonstrating our commitment to ensuring that counselling training is independently verifiable as meeting national standards.
In addition, standards are benchmarked against the Society's Occupational Standards which draw from a variety of accepted sources.
The Society fully supports the current Accredited Register programme as offering protection to the public whilst balancing this with a right touch approach to regulation which allows counselling and its associated practices to flourish, promotes competition between registers, protects diversity in, and access, to training and allows professional associations to be central to the process.
Since 2012 the Society has made wide ranging improvements across our standards, including in governance, accountability, education standards, complaints, and listening to clients, as well as in equality and diversity. These improvements have been as a direct result of our involvement in the Accredited Register programme.
- What does an Accredited Register mean when you’re looking for a counsellor?
If you're looking for a counsellor, you should now only choose one on an Accredited Register approved by the Professional Standards Authority.
The National Counselling Society's Register has been accredited under a programme set up by the Department of Health and administered by an independent body, accountable to Parliament. The Accreditation Mark is recognisable to the general public to enable them to identify a competent counsellor.
As a member of the public, the National Counselling Society's Accredited Register offers you a way to search and contact counsellors who are on our Accredited Register. This means we are responsible for ensuring that the accredited counsellors on our register meet our high standards and offers peace of mind and enhanced protection to you the client, that the counsellor you are seeking is on a register that has been vetted and approved.
The National Counselling Society's Accredited Register will bring Counsellors into a broad framework of assurance. It is good for patients, service users and the public and is the best way to promote quality within the sector.
- What does the Accredited Register programme mean for you as a counsellor?
Counsellors should now belong to an Accredited Register.
Clients will increasingly become aware of the programme and will wish to choose the added public safeguards of seeing a counsellor on such a register. In addition, it will be a mark of your professional standing and commitment, as well as a useful way to inform potential clients of your regulated status.
The National Counselling Society's Register is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. We were the second counselling organisation to be accredited by the programme, set up by the Department of Health. We believe that the Accreditation Mark will set a bench mark for professional standards in Counselling.
Join the National Counselling Society
We are a professional yet personable Society, an organisation with heart; we avoid a needlessly complicated style of application in preference to a holistic approach based on your experience, practice and qualifications.
The National Counselling Society recognises the experience and skills that each individual can bring to our profession and this is reflected in our application process.
Here is what you will stand to gain from joining our Society as an Accredited, Accredited Professional, or Senior Accredited member and being on our Accredited Register:
- Registrants of the NCS will be able to display the Accredited Register quality mark, a sign that they belong to a register which meets the Professional Standards Authority's robust standards
- Accreditation offers practitioners working in Counselling a means of demonstrating their personal commitment to meeting high standards by joining The National Counselling Society Accredited Register
- Professionally you will be able to use the phrase ‘I am on a register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority'
- You will be able to tell potential clients that the Accredited Register programme was set up by the Government to improve standards and safety for the benefit of the public
- Enables you to emphasise that accreditation demonstrates your commitment to high professional standards, to enhancing safety and delivering a better service
There are a wealth of member benefits in addition to being on the NCS Accredited Register.
- The Society's position on Regulation
We have written a paper that outlines our position on regulation. This came about as part of the Professional Standards Authority's Strategic Review of the Accredited Registers programme in 2020/2021, and has subsequently been developed further by the Society to clearly define our position in terms of regulation of the profession.
You can read the paper here: Counselling at the Crossroads
You can read our full response to the Strategic Review here: An Evidence-Informed and Member-Informed Response to the Professional
Standards Authority’s Strategic Review of the Accredited Registers Programme