Background

A large dataset from voluntary and community sector counselling services is needed to provide an evidence base for the effectiveness of services. BACP wanted to collect enough data to do a meaningful analysis that would be 'taken seriously' by government and policy makers, and has a large membership which could provide this information. However, many of these services are small and need guidance on which outcome measures to use, how to store the data collected and how to analyse and interpret them.

Tackling the problems

BACP wanted to bring their member services together. To do so, they consulted with services to agree on a number of shared outcome measures that would be used across services and decided on a single platform (COMMIT) to store and analyse the data. Most services were already using the COMMIT system, but some had their own systems and were extracting their data in a CYP IAPT compliant way which was time consuming. To ensure services were able to use the same system, those unfamiliar with COMMIT required training and BACP provided training days and produced a training video to support this. Overall services were lacking the resources to employ staff to input and extract data. The amount of resources needed from BACP to support practitioners and services to use measures and the data platform was substantial - 0.5 days a week for the duration of the project.

Impact

  • Data were collected over a two year period, from 2,151 young people.
  • Paired outcome data was collected for approx 65% of young people accessing the service.
  • BACP were able to compare the data collected by their member services with the rest of CORC's membership and see that their data indicated good outcomes (using CORE-10, YP-CORE and Goal Based Outcomes) and high levels of service satisfaction in comparison to other CORC services using similar measures.

Key learning

A gradual roll out of the schedule for data collection is needed to be able to offer level of support necessary to practitioners/ services. It was important to communicate the 'wider picture' to services to keep them motivated and ensure that BACP had the knowledge and resources to support services to use the outcome measures and COMMIT. 

How did CORC help?

CORC provided the framework and support that BACP needed to help their member services collect and submit data. The CORC research team undertook all of the data analysis for BACP, which provided the valuable comparison of BACP member services with the rest of CORC. 

Discussions with CORC about a potential joint training to further support smaller services to collect, store and understand the data they collect were also held.

Next steps

Data analysis is ongoing, with preliminary results being presented at two conferences (BACP research conference and BPS counselling psychology conference). BACP are currently in talks with services about how they can continue and build on this project.