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Psychotherapists and Counsellors

Psychotherapists and Counsellors Professional Liaison Group

The 2007 whitepaper 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 HCPC 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 whitepaper.

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 entitled 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 HCPC’s Chief Executive wrote to Anne Milton MP, 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’ but that the Government would ‘keep this under review in light of the experience of assured voluntary registration’.

Details of previous meetings are available here.