Re: FOI Request - Policy on Employing Unaccredited Counsellors and Psychotherapists:

Thomas Stephens made this Freedom of Information request to Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I work for the office of Diana Johnson MP. I'm writing on her behalf to make an FOI request concerning the trust's policy on employing unaccredited counsellors and psychotherapists.

This FOI requests follow-on from requests I have made to all 211 CCGs in England concerning their policies on commissioning counsellors and psychotherapists. In their responses, three CCGs - Doncaster CCG, Rotherham CCG and North Lincolnshire CCG - told me they commissioned you to provide services (please do tell me if any more CCGs commission you).

However, the responses the CCGs gave in relation to RDASH's policy were contradictory - hence my making this FOI request. Doncaster CCG was quite clear to me that all RDASH's practitioners were accredited. They said:

"Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group commissions this service from Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber Foundation Trust (RDaSH). All of RDaSH’s psychological therapists are registered/accredited with one or more of these professional groups: (1) British Psychological Society (BPS) Psychologists and Counselling Psychologists and PWPs (2) United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapists (UKCP) – psychotherapists (3) British Association Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists – (BABCP) – cbt therapists (4) British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) – counsellors/psychotherapists (4) Health professions council – (HPC) arts psychotherapists. "

However, North Lincolnshire CCG provided no such assurance and stated that "the specification does not require psychotherapists employed by the provider to be members of an appropriate or relevant professional body." Rotherham CCG similarly appeared to suggest there was no such requirement.

I am thus hoping you can address this ambiguity by answering the questions in this FOI. Please see below for the questions in full, and don't hesitate to get back should you have any questions.

---------------------------------------- QUESTIONS ------------------------------------------------

I am writing to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act. This request follows on from a previous FOI request I sent, dated 28th January 2014, to all CCGs in England. It concerned the CCG’s commissioning of counselling and psychotherapy services from providers who employ practitioners who are not all accredited members of bodies which are on the Accredited Voluntary Register (AVR).

This request (which is attached to this letter) received a variety of responses from CCGs. Crucially, some CCGs told me that they only commission counselling and psychotherapy from their local NHS Trust, and advised I direct this FOI request to the Trusts for information on the accreditation of all the counsellors and psychotherapists they employ.

Pursuant to this, I am contacting you because some CCGs told me that they commission this Trust to provide counselling and psychotherapy services.

In making this follow-up request, I am interested in knowing not merely whether the CCG and Trust has a policy on the commissioning/employment of non-AVR registered counsellors or psychotherapists or not – which was the main issue of my previous FOI request – but whether the Trust can provide assurance that none of the counsellors and psychotherapists you employ are not accredited with organisations on the AVR.

I would thus like information on the following:

(1) Is the Trust commissioned by any CCGs to provide counselling and psychotherapy services? If so, please state which. Is the Trust the sole Provider of counselling and psychotherapy for any of these Trusts?

(2) If so, does the commissioning contract negotiated with the CCGs specify that all counsellors and psychotherapists employed by the provider must be accredited members of an appropriate or relevant professional body; or has the CCG sought assurance on this through other means? If so, could you list the bodies which the Trust deems appropriate? Are any of the bodies the CCG deems appropriate or relevant not on the Accredited Voluntary Register (AVR)?

(3) What is the Trust’s policy on the employment of counsellors and psychotherapists who are not accredited with professional bodies on the Accredited Voluntary Register?

(4) Can the Trust provide assurance that none of the practitioners you employ are not accredited with professional bodies which are on the AVR?

Yours faithfully,

Tom Stephens.

Rachael Smith,

Dear Mr Stephens
Thank you for your request. It is now being processed and you will receive a response by 27 October. If you wish to contact us in the meantime, please quote reference FOI\837.
Regards,
Rachael Smith
Information Governance Officer

Dear Rachael Smith,

Could I ask of the progress you have made in responding to my aforementioned FOI Request? You have now exceeded the deadline.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Stephens

Smith, Rachael - Information Governance Officer,

Dear Mr Stephens

 

Further to my email of 8 October 2014, I am writing to advise that we are
not yet in a position to release the requested information. We have
collated the data from our Children’s & Community Services but we are
still identifying and collating the data from our Mental Health Services.
As such, on behalf of the Trust I would like to request an extension to
the compliance period. The revised deadline for providing this information
will be 22 December 2014; however, we will endeavour to provide it before
this date.

 

If you are dissatisfied with this proposal, please advise quoting the
reference number shown above.

 

Regards,

 

Rachael Smith
Information Governance Officer
Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust

Information Governance Team, Business Assurance Directorate

Trust HQ, Woodfield House, Tickhill Road Hospital, Doncaster DN4 8QN
 
Tel: (01302) 796756      [mobile number]      Fax: (01302) 796723

 

Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust
Website: http://www.rdash.nhs.uk
Extranet: http://nww.rdash.nhs.uk (NHS Only)

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Dear Ms Smith,

Thanks for the response.

Am happy to accept a small extension but I struggle to understand why the deadline must be extended as far forward as 22 December?

Do you mean to say within another 20 working days, e.g. 22 November?

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Stephens

Smith, Rachael - Information Governance Officer,

Thank you for your mail.I am out of the office until PM Tuesday, 4 November.

If your mail is urgent please resend to [email address] and [email address], otherwise I will respond on my return,

Smith, Rachael - Information Governance Officer,

Dear Mr Stephens

 

Further to your request, on behalf of the Trust I can confirm the
following:

 

(1) Is the Trust commissioned by any CCGs to provide counselling and
psychotherapy services? If so, please state which. Is the Trust the sole
Provider of counselling and psychotherapy for any of these Trusts?

As a predominately mental health Trust the majority of our services
include some aspect of counselling and psychotherapy services. Our main
commissioners for aspects of these services are Doncaster CCG, Rotherham
CCG and North Lincolnshire CCG. The Trust is not in a position to comment
as to whether we are the sole provider to the CCGs as this depends on the
localities the CCGs cover and what they commission: this information can
be obtained from the CCGs.

 

(2) If so, does the commissioning contract negotiated with the CCGs
specify that all counsellors and psychotherapists employed by the provider
must be accredited members of an appropriate or relevant professional
body; or has the CCG sought assurance on this through other means? If so,
could you list the bodies which the Trust deems appropriate? Are any of
the bodies the CCG deems appropriate or relevant not on the Accredited
Voluntary Register (AVR)?

As per general condition 5.2 in the NHS standard contract, which governs
all our CCG contracts, the Trust as provider must ensure that all medical/
clinical staff have the relevant qualifications and, as per 5.3.1, are
registered with and, where required, have completed their revalidations by
the appropriate professional regulatory body.

 

Registration Bodies the Trust deems appropriate in relation to
counsellors/ therapists.

·         Health and Care Professions Council

·         General Pharmaceutical Council

·         British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

·         British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive
Psychotherapists

 

(3) What is the Trust’s policy on the employment of counsellors and
psychotherapists who are not accredited with professional bodies on the
Accredited Voluntary Register?

 

BACP accreditation is not a mandatory requirement for counsellor posts,
however, when the Trust recruits into counsellor posts, we require them to
be accredited or working towards accreditation. All counsellors currently
employed by the Trust are members of BACP and are eligible for
accreditation. Please note the Trust does not currently employ
psychotherapists.

 

(4) Can the Trust provide assurance that none of the practitioners you
employ are not accredited with professional bodies which are on the AVR?

 

As above, however, we do currently employ staff that are not accredited
but are registered with a professional body on the AVT. The majority of
these were TUPEd into the organisation on existing terms and conditions of
employment.

 

If you are dissatisfied with this response or with the way that your
request has been handled and would like to request an internal review,
please advise within 20 working days quoting reference FOI\837.

 

Regards,

 

Rachael Smith
Information Governance Officer
Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust

Information Governance Team, Business Assurance Directorate

Trust HQ, Woodfield House, Tickhill Road Hospital, Doncaster DN4 8QN
 
Tel: (01302) 796756      [mobile number]      Fax: (01302) 796723

 

Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust
Website: http://www.rdash.nhs.uk
Extranet: http://nww.rdash.nhs.uk (NHS Only)

The information contained in this e-mail and any attachment is legally privileged and confidential and is intended only for the use of the intended recipient. It may also be subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Unless the information is legally exempt from disclosure, the confidentiality of this email and your reply cannot be guaranteed.

If you have received this e-mail in error, you are hereby notified that any reading, printing, storage, disclosure forwarding or copying or any other action taken in respect of this email is prohibited and may be unlawful.

If you have received this e-mail in error please notify the sender immediately by using the reply function and then permanently delete what you have received. Thank you for your cooperation.

Please consider the environmental impact before printing this email or any attachments.