Audit, as a way of reviewing and improving the quality of care to patients and clients, has become established practice within the NHS. It is a subject that is of increasing interest and importance in the wider health professions field, including counselling. BACP emphasise the importance of audit…
‘Audit and evaluation are considered crucial for developing counselling services and may be used both as ways of increasing counsellor efficacy and as methods of meeting the quality demands of purchasers’(users and regulators).’ [Guidance for Best Practice: Employment of Counsellors and Psychotherapists in the NHS].
The practice of establishing quality indicators is now the norm for licensed treatment services and their application to counselling services is as essential as to any other form of provision. At Inspection, the HFEA has an expectation that counsellors working in Licensed Treatment Centres will have produced an Annual Audit report on the Counselling Service provided to patients. It is also a requirement for counsellors seeking BICA accreditation to be able to provide evidence of having audited their practice and established quality indicators.
The BICA Exec has consistently promoted the importance of maintaining data on counselling provision and in 2006 published specific guidance on the detail that is expected in an annual audit of practice. The Audit template and guidance have now been reviewed and a new Audit Template was produced in 2012 and is now available to assist members in writing Audit reports for the counselling service they provide.
In addition, all disciplines working within licensed treatment centres have been asked by the HFEA to produce Quality Indicators to measure the effectiveness of services provided. BICA has responded to this by producing a set of Quality Indicators that Infertility Counsellors can adapt to evaluate the counselling service that they provide. Guidance on using these Quality Indicators is also available.
The relevant documents are available for download below
The BICA Executive has also provided a set of measurable Counselling Competencies that you are able to adapt for your own practice.