Montage of CPCAB logo and photographs of counselling studentsMontage of CPCAB logo and photographs of counselling studentsCPCAB, the only awarding body run by counsellors for counsellorsStudent Update

Therapist 1: I’ve been asked to take on a client with multiple personality disorder, but I’ve said no.

Therapist 2: You have a problem with multiple personalities?

Therapist 1: Well it’s just that they never pay their bills. Every time I ask they say one of the others has already paid it ...

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TC-L4 transition arrangements for the changeover from NQF to QCF

As you may know, in September last year Ofqual (the government’s regulator of awarding organisations) introduced their new unit-based qualifications framework, the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). This new framework includes many features such as dividing all qualifications into smaller ‘units’, each of which is allocated a number of credits. These credits may be used to access other qualifications, providing a more flexible framework than the earlier National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

At CPCAB we have worked hard to keep the number of changes to our NQF qualifications to a minimum to ease disruption to tutors and candidates. However, the move to the QCF has had some added implications for candidates studying CPCAB’s Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. Not only is this our only two-year qualification, it also allows for extra time for completion of client hours etc. From time to time, too, candidates ask for permission to take a ‘gap’ year mid-course, for various reasons. The following information has been sent out to CPCAB-registered centres and you may find it useful as well.

1. Diploma candidates taking a year out
From September 2011 candidates will not be able to register for the (old) NQF qualification. Any candidates taking a TCL4 Diploma from this date onwards, whether Year 1 or Year 2, will have to be registered on the (new) QCF qualification.

There are likely to be some candidates who, for various reasons, may have had a year off at the end of Year 1, and will be caught between the previous and current qualifications when continuing on to a Year 2 course.

Prospective applicants who fall into this category will need to be interviewed by a Diploma tutor who must carry out the RPL process in order to determine the suitability of candidates to join a Year 2 group.

Successful candidates will then need to register for the new qualification with the rest of the group they are joining, map their previously assessed portfolio work to the criteria under the new qualification (500/8088/X), and take the external assessment under the new qualification at the same time as the rest of their new group.

Client hours, supervision hours and personal therapy can be carried forward to Year 2 providing that they have been documented in the required way.

2. Diploma candidates wishing to re-sit the external assessment
There will be some candidates who have studied on the former NQF qualification, been deemed non-proficient at external assessment and need to resit during the academic year beginning September 2011.

There is no substantial change to the external assessment. There are only minimal cosmetic changes to the format of the 7 assessable areas for the recording, and the review paper will look exactly the same. Therefore candidates can be entered for the external assessment on what is essentially the ‘new’ QCF qualification even if they had previously been registered on the older NQF qualification. However, their resulting Diploma will still be an NQF qualification and not a QCF qualification.

Regulation update

In February the government published a command paper entitled ‘Enabling Excellence’ to support the earlier publication of the Health and Social Care Bill in January. This paper clearly states that the government would prefer regulation to be based on ‘assured voluntary registers rather than statutory regulation except where there is a “compelling case” based on risk to the public. Existing voluntary registers can be accredited by the overall regulator, the CHRE (to be renamed the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care - PSA) or new voluntary registers can be created and held by other regulators – such as the HPC. Consequently there are a number of possible options for the regulation of counselling and psychotherapy:

1. Statutory regulation – if there is a convincing case based on public risk. HPC itself has not yet published its final recommendations for counselling and psychotherapy; however counselling and psychotherapy were not singled out for statutory regulation in the bill.

2. A new single voluntary register - this might be created and held by HPC. This would look much like a statutory register but the HPC would have fewer powers. Employers might require practitioners to register as a condition of employment but it would not be a statutory requirement for all practitioners nor would the titles be protected. HPC itself has not finalised its own position on the creation of voluntary registers and has instructed its own executive to look again at these issues.

3. The accreditation of existing voluntary registers by PSA. These registers would have to meet certain criteria but entry to the register and sanctions would be managed by the holder of the register, i.e. the professional bodies.

The outcome is, therefore, still far from certain. The HPC itself (to be renamed the Health and Care Professions Council or HCPC) will be discussing these issues again at its next council meeting on 12th May 2011.

The professional bodies have generally welcomed the possibility of assured voluntary registers rather than statutory regulation. However, there are issues about how the public will make sense of a landscape where there are several different but parallel registers.

CPCAB is continuing to track developments and to maintain the good relationships that we developed when working on the PLG. We are being given opportunities to engage in the ongoing debate and we hope that the collaborative work done by the PLG will be put to good use in any future solution. For further information visit the professional body websites or click on the following link -