Readers that saw our article in the Health Service Journal recently will know that the rules of the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) for registrants facing enquiries into their conduct were outmoded, unfair and not fit for purpose. Under the current regime for example, analysts facing even the most serious of allegations are denied legal representation and the right to cross question their accuser.
Following the issuing of legal action in the High Court on behalf of one of one of our clients and threatened action on behalf of another, the CEO of the BPC has now issued a statement confirming that there will be a consultation next year looking at the procedure that is deployed in disciplinary hearings. No doubt the BPC’s recent accreditation with the Professional Standards Authority weighed heavily on its mind when agreeing to this exercise. We welcome this move and encourage stakeholders to participate to ensure that the new scheme is fair to registrants and complainants alike.
In the meantime, for our client who still awaits their hearing, the BPC has offered to use an ad hoc procedure containing the essential attributes of a fair disciplinary process: right to be represented; an independent legal assessor; a prosecutor (remarkably the Committee undertook this role before); allegations provided before our client has to reply; full disclosure…
We hope that some of the other regulators in this sector will take this opportunity to review their procedures to bring them in line with accepted best practise. Voluntary regulation should not mean unfair regulation.Psychoanalysts facing allegations before the BPC under the current disciplinary regime should take legal advice as to how they might be able to secure an alternative (fair) procedure in advance of the outcome of the consultation.