Ethics Committee Members

Key Responsibilities of the Ethics Committee, Person Specification and Terms of Appointment

April 2017

Key responsibilities of the Ethics Committee

  • To promote ethical practice through appropriate means, such as conferences, seminars, workshops and publications (both published and online).
  • To respond to requests for an opinion from UKCP boards, committees, colleges, faculties and organisational members on current best practice. To respond to such requests from individual members at its discretion. These responses will not include legal advice.
  • To oversee, review and maintain the UKCP Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct and the associated policy, guidance and standards. This will be in relation to information from within the psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic counselling profession, and with reference to other relevant professional areas and the broader field of mental health and healthcare, including the law.
  • To consult and comment on particular ethical developments and policies, as requested by the Board of Trustees.
  • To independently initiate and offer comment on (for consideration by the Board of Trustees) ethical issues implicit in topical matters currently under public consideration.
  • To disseminate lessons-learned and common themes arising from ethical queries.
  • To keep the Chief Executive of UKCP updated with the current and future work and plans of the committee.
  • To annually agree and submit the EC Activity Plan and Budget Request Form to the Finance and Audit Committee, and to regularly monitor the EC budget and progress of the EC Activity Plan.
  • To communicate effectively with UKCP’s members (individual and organisational), colleges and faculties in relation to ethical developments, practice and education via conferences, seminars, workshops and publications (both published and online).
  • To undertake such consultations, research and projects as are congruent with the effective maintenance and development of the UKCP’s ethical framework.
  • To liaise with the UKCP Professional Conduct Committee (the body that delivers the Complaints and Conduct Process) and make effective use of the information received in its work to maintain and develop the UKCP Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct and the UKCP’s broader ethical framework.
  • To contribute to the effective integration of ethics into the training and Continual Professional Development (CPD) systems supported within the UKCP structures.

Person Specification

In your written application, please give evidence of examples of proven experience against each of the selection criteria listed in Part One of the person specification. These responses will be developed and discussed with those candidates invited for interview, together with the other criteria listed in Part Twoand Part Three.

Part One

Knowledge and Experience

  • A background in one or more of the following areas is highly desirable:
  • as a professional ethicist, who has had formal training in ethical thinking and decision-making
  • as a legal professional (although not necessarily as a lawyer)
  • as a faith representative who offers a perspective on the impact of religious belief on ethical decision-making
  • as a user of psychotherapy or psychotherapeutic counselling
  • as a clinician
  • with a philosophical background, or applied philosophy in practice
  • with a psychology background
  • with experience of disability therapy
  • Appreciation of and interest in key ethical theories and approaches; specific knowledge and understanding of ethical principles and how they apply to psychotherapy is highly desirable although not essential.
  • Experience of applying ethical principles to specific contexts and situations is desirable.
  • Experience of working collaboratively and across disciplines in a relevant setting is essential;direct experience of working in a relevant ethics committee role is desirable.
  • Experience of handling sensitive and confidential information appropriately.
  • Understands the role of the Committee and has a track record of accepting and supporting the views of others / the majority.

Part Two

Skills and Abilities

  • Able to think critically and take a thoughtful approach to complex ethical matters.
  • High analytical capacity, with the ability to hold in mind and attend to multiple positions in relation to complex ethical matters.
  • Strong interpersonal, written and oral communication skills, in particular the ability to communicate complex information simply and succinctly.
  • Proven team-working skills; able to support others, work with UKCP staff at all levels and have regard and respect for the views of others.
  • Good IT skills and able to use IT-based communication for committee business.

Part Three

Personal Style and Behaviours

  • Open to, and respectful of, the views of others.
  • Has integrity and takes responsibility for own actions.
  • Sound judgement.
  • Comfortable making challenging and complex decisions in the context of strong and/or controversial opinions and feelings.
  • Strong personal commitment to the principles and promotion of equality and diversity.

Terms of Appointment

Time commitment

The Ethics Committee meets for a minimum of 4 meetings per annum. It is expected that members will make a commitment to attend all 4 of the meetings each year and will be available for one day a month to attend to work arising from the Committee – for example, working groups, correspondence, practice guidance.


Meetings generally take place at UKCP’s London office. It will be possible to attend some meetings by teleconference.


These roles are unremunerated although appropriate expenses will be reimbursed in line with UKCP’s expenses policy.

Length of appointment

The term of office for members of the Ethics Committee is three years.

Diversity and Equal Opportunities

UKCP aims to be an equal opportunities employer. We welcome all applications, regardless of political belief, gender and gender identity, sexual preference or orientation, disability, marital or partnership status, race, nationality, ethnic origin, heritage identity, religious or spiritual identity, age or socio-economic class of individuals and groups.