We are seeking lay members for our Ethics Committee

We are looking for new members of ACAT’s Ethics Committee. Specifically we are seeking lay members, who are not therapists. Lay members may come from any walk of life, any profession, or no profession at all.

We are particularly keen to enlist people from a diversity of ethnic backgrounds, as we are currently underrepresented in that area. We have noted this to be an issue within our committee, and we would like to address that.

What is ACAT and what do we do?

ACAT stands for the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT), and we are a registered charity. We oversee and accredit education and training in cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) in the UK. In addition, we promote good practice and proper standards in this form of therapy. We also aim to increase awareness and understanding of cognitive analytic therapy amongst the public, service providers and health professionals.

We are one of the organisational members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). Our membership stands at about 1000 CAT therapists and trainees.

What is ACAT’s Ethic Committee and what do we do?

The ACAT Ethics Committee is a small group of people who meet regularly to consider any concerns or complaints about CAT training, supervision or practice. Both a professional CAT therapist and a lay member chair the Committee jointly. The committee reports to ACAT’s Board of Trustees and Council of Management.

We may receive concerns or complaints from members of the public, or ACAT members, about difficulties they have experienced during therapy, supervision or training.

We follow ACAT’s Concerns and Compliants Procedure. This may involve:

  • looking into concerns or complaints
  • giving initial advice
  • gathering more information from different parties with the aim of investigating more formally
  • supporting the people involved in a complaint along the lines of mediation, so that they can resolve the problem together
  • making more formal decisions or judgments to help resolve a dispute or problem (“adjudication”)
  • communicating with different people, relevant agencies and organisations, recording these accurately, and writing reports about outcomes

What do we need from lay members?

All members of the Ethics Committee need to be able to stay neutral and objective when dealing with concerns or complaints. They need to be able to hear all sides of an issue. Also, they need to remain compassionate and fair to all parties. These qualities help to make sure a fair hearing is given to both the person making the complaint (“complainant”), and the person being complained about.

We particularly value lay members as they can represent an outside perspective on the world of therapy, and what may go wrong.

What does the role require and what commitment do I need to make?

The following gives a more specific idea of the skills needed and the commitment required.

Members of the Ethics Committee are required to:

  • have a general interest in the ethics of psychotherapy
  • attend the Ethics Committee meetings three times a year (usually via Zoom)
  • read any written information relating to the concern or complaint
  • along with other Ethics Committee members, take part in considerations and discussions about the concern or complaint

As required, and as laid out in ACAT’s Concerns and Complaints Procedure, lay members may need to

  • take on a role of mediator or investigator
  • take part in panels set up to investigate of adjudicate (ie make decisions and judgements about outcomes)
  • report as necessary to the Ethics Commitee Chairs
  • on occasion, as a lay member, we may expect you to become the chair of an investigating or adjudicating panel

In a panel chair role, we would require you to

  • compile a summary report on the outcome and/or recommendations of investigations or adjudications.

Skills and experience required

The members of the Ethics committee should

  • be comfortable with taking a position of responsibility (bearing in mind that decisions made by the Ethics Commitee may have significant impacts for all parties in emotional, practical and material ways, including on a clinician’s life and livelihood)
  • have good communication and written skills
  • be objective in their judgement
  • engage with complainants effectively and without bias
  • engage with the subject of the concern or complaint effectively and without bias

You may have particular skills or experience that are very relevant or valued in this role. For example, you may have had a CAT therapy yourself in the past. Or you may have experience of the justice system, or of working with charitable organisations.

Is there any payment to cover my time or expenses?

We offer an honorarium of £350 per annum plus travel expenses if needed.

How do I find out more?

We would love to hear from you if you are interested. However you might want to find out more to help you get a better understanding of the work involved. If so, we could arrange for you to talk to a current member of the Ethics Committee. Hopefully this would help you decide whether or not to make a formal application.

How do I apply formally?

All you need to do is send us

  • a brief up-to-date curriculum vitae or list of any relevant experience
  • a cover letter or email telling us why you are interested in being part of ACAT’s Ethics Commitee
  • the names of two referees. These would usually be people from professional backgrounds who can give an account of your experience and suitability for this role

Is there a deadline?

Please send your application to us by the 30th September 2023.

What happens next?

If you are shortlisted, we would contact you to arrange a short interview. This could take place face to face, or more likely, over Zoom.

How do I contact ACAT to take the next step?

Please contact Maria Cross, our Administrative Manager, in the first instance.

ACAT Administration Manager – Maria Cross Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (9am to 5pm); Thursday (9am to 12.30) – maria.cross@acat.me.uk | 07598 725 789 


Published by Alison Marfell on 20th Jul 2023

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