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by Rhianna Broadway
Published on 16 August 2021

Last Monday (2nd August 2021) all BACP members will have received an email from BACP Chair Natalie Bailey, informing them that the voting for Resolutions and Motions and new board members is now open.

Resolution 6 is a motion proposed by Dr Peter Blundell and seconded by me and calls for an ‘Independent impact assessment of SCoPEd’.

An impact assessment of SCoPEd is something that has been asked for repeatedly to BACP – most notably via an open letter published on tPCA website specifically calling for just this (see https://www.the-pca.org.uk/images/SCoPEd/SCoPEd_Letter_signed.pdf )

As part of submitting this resolution to BACP for consideration, the wording of the resolution was constructed by several person-centred voices with a focus on BACP members and the impact that SCoPEd may have on them.

Both Peter are I are endeavouring to be transparent about the process of getting this resolution submitted to BACP and as part of that I wish to briefly share our experience here:

The process of approval of this resolution has been a tedious one, with BACP asking for several changes to the wording of the resolution in order for it to be approved for consideration. In particular BACP originally (on submission of the resolution proposal) made two specific demands in order for this Resolution to go live to members:

Firstly that any discussion within the resolution must acknowledge all other SCoPEd partners as part of the impact assessment (and that BACP would not hold sole responsibility for this). This is problematic given that this is a BACP resolution affecting BACP members – however BACP were not willing to accept it on this basis. For us this results in a conflict of interest between BACP, in that they were not able to prioritise accountability to their members above that of their SCoPEd partners. SCoPEd partners took priority and BACP would not pass the resolution without a change to wording to reflect this. We therefore decided to make this change in order to get the resolution through.

Secondly BACP categorically stated that any resolution or motion regarding SCoPEd that required BACP to go back to its members again for further consultation on the SCoPEd project or for a vote on the SCoPEd framework would be rejected by BACP.
This has meant that a lot of resolutions and motions have not been passed by BACP to be voted on.

The first version of our resolution did require that BACP would consult members on the outcome of a SCoPEd impact assessment. We were told this needed to be removed as part of the consultation with BACP and have (reluctantly) done this in order to get the resolution through.

Having made these changes as stated by BACP we expected the resolution to be accepted by the BACP Board and for it to go forward to a member vote, however, one day before the deadline BACP then contacted Peter again stating that they would not pass the resolution to be voted on unless one word was changed, that word was WILL.

WILL was included as part of a sentence that stated ‘BACP will undertake an impact assessment and they will assess… (issues that are then listed as part of the resolution).

BACP asked that ‘will’ was changed to ‘may’. In affect meaning that BACP will undertake an impact assessment and they may assess… (issues that are then listed as part of the resolution). The full list of possible points for assessment are listed in the resolution itself.

This is a significant and altering change as it takes the onus off BACP having to do something with the findings of an impact assessment to saying that they might do something. This then in effect turns our resolution into a motion (BACP are not obliged to carry out motions but are legally obliged to carry out resolutions) as the wording does not hold them responsible to do anything listed within the resolution.

Peter responded to BACP with a request that ‘endeavour’ be used rather than ‘may’ at least signalling BACP intention to assess the areas listed. BACP responded that there was no time to make any further amendments – the only way to get the resolution through was to keep ‘may’ or the resolution would not be accepted.

This last-minute change to ‘may’ could have been requested at numerous previous meetings with BACP – however it was left as a demand at the eleventh hour with no space for recourse. The only way to get the resolution through was to do as BACP said.

This wording was changed as we felt that the importance of giving BACP members a chance to vote on the impact assessment was of top priority. It was not changed lightly or with ease by us. We chose to prioritise a resolution about SCoPEd in some form rather than not at all.

The whole process with BACP was not transparent. Their communication was not consistent and in the end it forced our hand.

Finally, for those interested Peter has also produced a video documenting our experience, this can be found here https://youtu.be/qLTtId186z8

On behalf of myself and Peter and tPCA we are asking all BACP members take this opportunity to vote on an impact assessment of SCoPEd and to demonstrate that we as individuals, counsellors or psychotherapists, trainee therapists and trainers are concerned about the impact of SCoPEd.

BACP voting closes at the start of September 2021. If members do not have the email with link to vote they can contact BACP or access details of how to vote via the members area of the BACP website.

We need 5 % of BACP membership to vote on our resolution in order to get it to the BACP AGM in the autumn. That is 3000 people. 

Bearing in mind that four BACP Board members have resigned recently, making five resignations in eight months. This reduces the independent oversight of BACP considerably. No explanations have been given as yet,  please vote if you can on this and the other motions, resolutions and board elections.

Rhianna Broadway

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