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Psychotherapists and Counsellors

The 2007 White Paper 'Trust Assurance and Safety – The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century' said that the Government intended to introduce statutory regulation for psychotherapists and counsellors.

The HPC set up a working group of stakeholders, known as a Professional Liaison Group or ‘PLG’, to consider and make recommendations to the Council about how psychotherapists and counsellors might be regulated, in light of the statements made in the White Paper. The HPC held a public consultation on the PLG recommendations, which ran for three months in 2009. Following the consultation, the PLG was reconvened and had its last meeting on 2 February 2011.

In February 2011, the Government published a Command Paper ‘Enabling Excellence’ which sets out the Government’s policy on professional regulation. The paper outlines a system of ‘assured voluntary registration’ and says that in the future statutory regulation will only be considered where there is a ‘compelling case’ and where ‘voluntary registers are not considered sufficient to manage this risk’.

In mid-February, the HPC’s Chief Executive wrote to Anne Milton MP, then Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Public Health, seeking clarification of the coalition government’s policy on the statutory regulation of psychotherapists and counsellors.

At its meeting on 31 March 2011 the Council discussed the response received from Anne Milton MP. The letter said: ‘…it is not currently our intention to proceed with statutory regulation of psychotherapists and counsellors’.