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

The request was successful.

Dear Sir/Madam,

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

This follows from FOI requests we made to all 211 CCGs in England concerning their policies on the commissisoning of counselling and psychotherapy. Six CCGs told me they commission your Trust, and these are as follows (please clarify if there are any more):

> Cannock Chase CCG
> Telford and Wreckin CCG
> Stafford and Surrounds CCG
> Southport and Formby CCG
> South East Staffs and Seisdon Peninsular CCG
> South Sefton CCG

These CCGs have given contradictory messages on the accreditation of your Trust's counsellors and psychotherapists. For example, NHS Telford and Wreckin CCG claims it commissions you, but they state that:

"The service specifications within the contract do not identify specific accreditation requirements but the contract has a couple of clauses that put the expectation on the Provider to ensure their staff are suitably qualified to do the job for which they have been recruited."

Similarly, both NHS Southport and Formby CCG and South Sefton CCG similarly only stated training requirements and said nothing about accreditation:

"South Staffordshire and Shropshire FT (SSSFT) ensure that its clinicians are appropriately skilled and qualified to deliver NICE compliant treatments. This requires staff to undertake training and verify their competence in delivering the treatments through accreditation. Supporting this view, the national IAPT programme guidance, ‘IAPT for Adults Minimum Quality Standards’ states that “Treatments should be NICE recommended and evidence based, offered in the appropriate dosage by a trained and accredited workforce”. The National IAPT programme has resulted in the development of qualifications that will enable staff to train and gain accreditation in the NICE approved treatment modalities required in an IAPT service. This includes courses for Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy, for Psychodynamic Counsellors, and Counselling for Depression, for Humanistic based Counsellors, such as those working in a Client-Centred Rogarian way. Consistent with the IAPT for Adults Minimum Quality Standards guidance, all service clinicians are required to undertake initial or CPD training to enable them to gain accreditation in the delivery of a NICE compliant, IAPT approved treatment modality. The Operations lead in SSSFT is accredited with BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and qualified at Masters Level. As part of the service specification requirements the Trust must ensure that 100% of the staff are trained and competent to deliver services as set out in the contract."

By contrast, however, South East Staffordshire and Seisdon CCG were able to assure me that:

"All Psychotherapists employed by SSSHFT are BACP accredited."

I am thus sending and FOI request to you with the hope of working out the Trust's policy on the employment of unaccredited counsellors and psychotherapists. Please see below for the request in full.

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

Dear Sir/Madam,

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,

Thomas Stephens

Godfrey Amanda (RRE) SSSFT, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for contacting South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS
Foundation Trust.  We provide mental health, learning disability and
specialist children's services across South Staffordshire and mental
health and learning disability services in Shropshire. 

Please note: this email address is monitored during office hours only and
you may not get an immediate reply.

If you need urgent assistance, please use this link to our website for
more information
[1]http://www.southstaffsandshropshealthcar...

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Hall Donna (RRE) SSSFT, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Mr Stephens,

I write to acknowledge receipt of your email in which you requested
information under the FOI Act 2000.

Your request is being considered and you will receive a response within
the statutory timescale of 20 working days, from the date of receipt, as
defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The Act defines a number of exemptions which may prevent release of the
information you have requested. There will be an assessment and if any of
the exemption categories apply then the information will not be released.
You will be informed if this is the case within 20 working days, together
with your rights of appeal.

If the information you are requesting contains reference to a third party
then they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or
not to release the information to you. You will be informed within 20
working days if this is the case.

If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact
me.  May l ask that you quote the above reference number on all your
correspondence.

Yours sincerely

 

Donna

 

Donna Hall

FOI Officer

South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare

NHS Foundation Trust

Trust HQ, St George’s Hospital

Corporation Street

Stafford
ST16 3AG

Tel: 01785 257888 Ext 8907

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

This email is confidential and intended solely for the use of the
individual to whom it is addressed. Any views or opinions presented are
solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of South
Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. If you are not
the intended recipient, be advised that you have received this email in
error and that any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing, or copying of
this email is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in
error please notify the Health Informatics Service Desk by telephone on
01785 230390.

 

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Hall Donna (RRE) SSSFT, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Mr Stephens,

Further to your recent request made under the Freedom of Information Act
2000, please see detailed below the Trust’s response:

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?

 

The Trust is commissioned to provide counselling and psychotherapy
services by the Clinical Commissioning Groups covering  Shropshire,
Telford and Wrekin, Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, North Staffordshire and
South East Staffordshire through its contracts for the provision of IAPT
(Improving Access to Psychological Therapies). The Trust is also
commissioned by East Staffordshire CCG and South East Staffordshire and
Seisdon CCG to provide psychological services to East Staffordshire and
Seisdon Peninsula as part of a Primary Care service.  We do not hold
information on whether these CCGs also commission these services from
other providers in addition to ourselves.

 

(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)?

 

Commissioning contracts do not specify accredited status for
counsellors/psychotherapists or other assurance.  Where Trust job
descriptions/person specifications for counsellors and psychotherapists
require professional accreditation eg BACP, this accreditation is
systematically checked on appointment.  We have not had any CCG
instruction regarding bodies not on the Accredited Voluntary Register
(AVR).

 

The National IAPT programme is prescriptive on the training for Hi and Lo
level intensity workers and the IAPT services have duly accessed this
training for the staff. The Trust is accredited with Staffordshire
University to run a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) training course
and all staff that work in these services are supervised by a registered
Psychologist.

 

(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?

 

As explained above, where Trust job descriptions/person specifications for
counsellors and psychotherapists require professional accreditation eg
BACP, this accreditation is systematically checked on appointment.  We are
currently reconsidering our position on requiring ongoing accreditation
for this staff group. The Trust ensures that all staff are competent to
undertake the role that they are employed to deliver and are suitably
managed and supervised.

 

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

 

No, currently the Trust cannot provide assurance that none of the
practitioners employed are not accredited with professional bodies which
are on the AVR.

 

We would be grateful if you could take a minute to fill out our Freedom of
Information Customer Satisfaction Survey and let us know about your
experience. This can be accessed by following the link: 

[1]http://www.southstaffsandshropshealthcar...

 

Please contact me in the first instance if you have any queries or
questions regarding the Trust's response.  However, if you have any
complaints about the handling of your enquiry, please contact:

Ms Jane Landick
Company Secretary
South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Trust Headquarters St George's Hospital Corporation Street Stafford
ST16 3SR
Email: [2][email address] <[3]mailto:[email address]>

You also have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545700
Website: [4]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely

 

Donna Hall

 

FOI Officer

South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare

NHS Foundation Trust

Trust HQ, St George’s Hospital

Corporation Street

Stafford
ST16 3AG

Tel: 01785 257888 Ext 8907

Email: [5][email address]

This email is confidential and intended solely for the use of the
individual to whom it is addressed. Any views or opinions presented are
solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of South
Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. If you are not
the intended recipient, be advised that you have received this email in
error and that any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing, or copying of
this email is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in
error please notify the Health Informatics Service Desk by telephone on
01785 230390.

 

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.southstaffsandshropshealthcar...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
5. mailto:[email address]

Dear Ms Hall,

Thanks for the response. I'm just writing to double-check something.

From the FOI responses I've got, six CCGs have said they commission you. They each gave their own responses as to the accreditation requirements they place on the Trust, which can be stated as follows:

- Telford and Wreckin CCG, South Sefton CCG, Southport and Formby CCG - no accreditation requirements stated on the part of the Trust, which corroborates your answer.

- Cannock Chase CCG, Stafford and Surrounds CCG - they claim all their providers' practitioners are accredited, which contradicts your answer.

- South East Staffs and Seisdon Peninsular CCG - all providers' practitioners are accredited - all explicitly with the BACP, which contradicts your answer.

Can I confirm that the answer you've given applies at least to all six CCGs, so that in fact the answers from the three CCGs which have stated all practitioners are accredited can be disregarded?

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Stephens

Hall Donna (RRE) SSSFT, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Mr Stephens,

I write to acknowledge receipt of your email in which you requested
further information in respect to our response.

Your request is being considered and you will receive a response within
the statutory timescale of 20 working days, from the date of receipt, as
defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The Act defines a number of exemptions which may prevent release of the
information you have requested. There will be an assessment and if any of
the exemption categories apply then the information will not be released.
You will be informed if this is the case within 20 working days, together
with your rights of appeal.

If the information you are requesting contains reference to a third party
then they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or
not to release the information to you. You will be informed within 20
working days if this is the case.

If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact
me.  May l ask that you quote the above reference number on all your
correspondence.

Yours sincerely

 

Donna

 

Donna Hall

FOI Officer

South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare

NHS Foundation Trust

Trust HQ, St George’s Hospital

Corporation Street

Stafford
ST16 3AG

Tel: 01785 257888 Ext 8907

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

This email is confidential and intended solely for the use of the
individual to whom it is addressed. Any views or opinions presented are
solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of South
Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. If you are not
the intended recipient, be advised that you have received this email in
error and that any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing, or copying of
this email is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in
error please notify the Health Informatics Service Desk by telephone on
01785 230390.

 

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Hall Donna (RRE) SSSFT, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Mr Stephens,

 

Further to your request for further clarification of our response to your
FOI request, I can confirm that we have double checked the service
specifications for the CCGs for which we provide a service and from the
information we have, our original response was correct. Stafford and
Surrounds and Cannock CCGs do not commission psychological services from
the Trust and were not referred to in our original response.  The answers
to questions 2 onwards relate to the CCGs listed in the response to
question 1.

 

We would be grateful if you could take a minute to fill out our Freedom of
Information Customer Satisfaction Survey and let us know about your
experience. This can be accessed by following the link: 

[1]http://www.southstaffsandshropshealthcar...

 

Please contact me in the first instance if you have any queries or
questions regarding the Trust's response.  However, if you have any
complaints about the handling of your enquiry, please contact:

Ms Jane Landick
Company Secretary
South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Trust Headquarters St George's Hospital Corporation Street Stafford
ST16 3SR
Email: [2][email address] <[3]mailto:[email address]>

You also have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545700
Website: [4]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely

 

Donna Hall

 

FOI Officer

South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare

NHS Foundation Trust

Trust HQ, St George’s Hospital

Corporation Street

Stafford
ST16 3AG

Tel: 01785 257888 Ext 8907

Email: [5][email address]

This email is confidential and intended solely for the use of the
individual to whom it is addressed. Any views or opinions presented are
solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of South
Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. If you are not
the intended recipient, be advised that you have received this email in
error and that any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing, or copying of
this email is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in
error please notify the Health Informatics Service Desk by telephone on
01785 230390.

 

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.southstaffsandshropshealthcar...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
5. mailto:[email address]

Barbara Richards left an annotation ()

I'm a child abuse victim, and have been sectioned 4 times to St George's Psychiatric Hospital, the first time aged 14, the reason for that was because I tried to run away from a children's home which was being used by child traffickers as a sex slave brothel. (Joseph Hopkins, who was sent to jail for 11 years) I've had appalling treatment at this hospital.

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