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UpdateApril 2018 No. 62

As the April edition of Update makes its way to you, in Somerset it's finally beginning to feel as if the worst days of the winter are finally behind us. It feels as if the “Beast from the East” has stormed away, come back wagging a finger saying “And another thing...!” and finally flounced off and slammed the door. The spring flowers are looking glorious and the birds are singing to lift our spirits.

We have a couple of very important messages that we'd like you to read though; please scroll down for details.

However, before you do, we'd like to introduce you to our new Qualification Leader for Levels 2 and 3, Andrew Thorne. Andrew comes to CPCAB with a wealth of experience in both counselling and counselling training that began with an introductory course as a Christmas gift! His career has encompassed psychiatric nursing, agency management and teaching at a number of levels; it has also expanded to include Programme Co-ordinator and Counselling School Manager. The move to an awarding organisation seemed like a natural next step after such a varied journey and he is already proving a very helpful – and popular - member of the team. He's looking forward to meeting you at standardisation days and we know you'll make him feel welcome.

Three important messages - please read

Please take a moment to read these important messages, which apply to every one of our approved centres.

You will shortly be receiving an emailed letter from CPCAB asking you for a formal response to certain statements. There are two reasons for this.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

As many of you will know, the law in this country will be changing in May this year in terms of how organisations handle data they collect and process on behalf of individuals.

  • Anyone who requests data from individuals is known as a data controller. CPCAB requests some data from centres and you request data on our behalf from your students. In this way we are joint data controllers.
  • Anyone who handles the data is known as a data processor. CPCAB and our centres are data processors but we also use others, such as the Learning Records Service. We are responsible for confirming that CPCAB is compliant with GDPR and that any other organisations we deal with are also compliant. We will shortly ask your centre to confirm this.
  • Anyone who allows you to process their data is known as a data subject. Your data subjects will be your students, of course, but also your staff and possibly others, such as any mailing lists you might keep, or lists of local agency staff. CPCAB's data subjects include the students who are registered on our courses, as well as our staff, our marketing databases and, of course, you yourselves.

It's helpful to keep in mind that the basic principles of GDPR are quite straightforward; you have to have a reason ("lawful base") for every piece of data you collect, you have to keep it secure and you have to agree to the rights of the data subject which include:

  • Access. Data subjects can ask for copies of what you hold on them. From May you will have a maximum of one month to do this and you won't be able to charge an administration fee.
  • Rectification. This is obvious, really; if the data is wrong we have to change it.
  • Deletion. Data controllers can only hold on to the data for as long as there is a justification for it, although your own archiving policy will give you a rationale for retaining a certain amount of data. CPCAB will retain basic candidate data indefinitely so we can process potential requests for replacement certificates, but any data subject can request that their data is deleted and we have to abide by this.
  • Data must be kept securely and it would be good practice to have a written record of how you do this. If there is a "data breach" you need to notify the ICO and take what action is appropriate. An example might be sending a student's exam result to the wrong email address. Some more serious data breaches have hit the headlines in recent years and the consequences have been extremely far-reaching but there will always be human error and the ICO recognises this.
  • There is a new right to data portability. Data subjects can request a copy of their data in a form that can be used by a new data controller. This has always happened with staffing of course, with the P45 issued when anyone leaves our employment.

There is a lot to learn about the changes to data protection and here at CPCAB we're working through the guidance that's available. Our Data Protection Policy has been given a thorough makeover and is now available on our website.

For your own GDPR work, you might find these links (below) helpful but we would ask you please not to contact us directly for individual GDPR advice; we are far from being experts in this area and don't have the resources to offer this service. Large FE colleges will no doubt have their own teams working on GDPR of course, but smaller centres might find it helpful to "buddy up" with similar organisations to share advice and guidance. BACP members might also be interested in a useful article in a recent edition of “Therapy Today”.

An updated version of the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions has recently been released under consultation; it includes guidance on the new data protection regulations.

Centre controls

We hope you aren't too exhausted after reading all the GDPR information!

But we need to let you know that our regulators, particularly Ofqual who regulate us in England, are currently placing a major focus on how we, as awarding organisations, work with our centres to ensure that we are all compliant with our General Conditions of Recognition.

At CPCAB our approachable style and good humoured relationships with our centres are a source of great pride to us and that won't change. What we are currently looking at, though, is how we ensure that the whole package of information you give us when you first go through the approval process stays up to date, accurate and fit for purpose.

We're going to put in place an additional check linked to your Annual Practicing Certificate and you will shortly receive an annual declaration form for the first time. It will ask you either to update us of any changes at your centre such as schemes of work, centre policies, etc, or to confirm that the information in your original application is still up to date.

We are mindful of not adding an extra administrative burden to our centres; however do keep in mind that it's part of our regulation that we have proper centre controls and we ask you to co-operate with us and reply promptly to our requests for information.

Upgraded tutor requirements

At CPCAB we are aware that it has been some time since we updated our guidance on tutor qualifications and experience.

We have therefore spent some time this year reviewing our Tutor CV pro forma, together with our staffing expectations for tutors delivering the qualifications we award. Our aim is to bring this more in line with the profession as a whole and ensure consistent standards across all qualifications.

Therefore, from September 2018 onwards we will be using new guidelines when approving tutor CVs. No previous tutor approvals will be affected. However, all new tutors will need to meet these requirements so do please read them carefully. Feel free to contact us if you have any queries regarding this update.

As you will see from the above, it's an exceptionally busy time here at CPCAB but our relationships with our centres and our pride in our joint work make it all worthwhile. Thank you for your support.

A New Vision for Mental Health

The New Vision for Mental Health website asks: “Have you ever wondered what mental healthcare would look like if, knowing what we know today, it was redesigned from scratch?”

Some of the latest posts include:

Access is completely free and open to everyone.

Standardisation training

Details are now available for the 2018-19 programme of standardisation days, including standardisation requirements, dates/venues and non-attendance charge.

For those tutors who didn't need to attend standardisation training during 2017-18, please note that the cascade materials are available for download now from the website.

New fees from September 2018

Please note that our new fee structure comes into force with effect from September 2018. These fees apply to the UK only. For overseas charges please contact CPCAB.

External Assessment videos

As we mentioned in January, our videos of scripted listening or counselling sessions, used in external assessment for the Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills and the Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies, are used for a limited number of times in assessment before being made more widely available via mock papers and tutor standardisation day exercises. New films are produced each year to keep the assessment experience “fresh” and to ensure that anyone doing a re-sit won't be asked to watch the same film twice.

Our videos team has now taken this a step further by adding a number of films that are now regarded as public to our Youtube channel, The Counselling Channel. They are free to view and may prove a useful tool in the classroom or for home study. Remember that they were designed to generate question papers (these aren't made publicly available so as to keep the assessment “playing field” as level as we possibly can) and shouldn't be viewed as examples of best practice! More films will be added from time to time as they are removed from our confidential list.