12 February 2015

Accredited this, accredited that - the PSA's response to the accreditation confusion

counselling psychotherapy exeter - info on accredited register and accreditation
Two days ago I wrote about the Professional Standard Authority's (PSA) Accredited Registers (ARs), formerly known as the Accredited Voluntary Registers, asking why they had dropped the word "voluntary". In that post I mused on the confusion that inevitably arises around the word "accredited" in that we have the Accredited Registers within which a member or registrant may or may not have accredited status within the professional body they are registered with. For example, the BACP have an AR, so a therapist on that register can state that they are on an Accredited Register. That registrant will also have a certain level of BACP membership which could be ordinary member, accredited member or senior accredited member. I also mentioned the difference between the BACP and NCS's criteria for their individual members to achieve accredited status.

I asked the PSA what their thoughts were around this confusion and received a prompt response thus:

The Accredited Registers programme exists to assure the public that registers of people working in health and care are held to high standards. One way Accredited Registers improve standards in health and care is by giving registrants opportunities to develop their knowledge and experience beyond their initial qualifications. This is also a way for registers to differentiate themselves from each other, supporting members of the public to make informed choices.
The Professional Standards Authority is aware of the potential for confusion in the different uses of the word ‘accredited’. We are working closely with the Accredited Registers to prevent this confusion by providing clear information to the public. This will include a guide to different types and levels of qualifications in health and care, which we will publish in the coming months.

I asked the PSA for clarity:

I am a little confused by the first paragraph and the 'giving registrants opportunities to develop their knowledge and experience' part. My experience of being on the BACP Accredited Register since early 2013 is that I have to re-sign it yearly to confirm that I am attending CPD and am supervised and insured, in order to retain registration. However I do not see where developing knowledge and experience beyond qualifications comes into being on an AR. I would value an explanation of how this works in practice. I believe that I am perhaps missing something.

And their spokesperson clarified accordingly:

My understanding on the first paragraph is that Accredited Registers are free to offer registrants an 'accredited membership' or any kind of enhanced membership. The Authority welcomes these where they encourage registrants to develop knowledge and experience, helping to improve standards. BACP's accreditation and endorsement scheme is a good example.

So there we have it. There is an acknowledgement of the potential for confusion and, in the pipeline, some clarity and communication to help inform the public, which I look forward to sharing when the time comes.

Amanda Williamson Counselling in Exeter Reg MBACP Accred

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