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Client Assessment Procedures

For Individual Counselling (Community Section)


Assessment of potential clients is regarded by BCCS as an essential element of the service in order to ensure suitability through the identification of risk elements and other contraindications. Suitability needs to take into account the fact that counsellors in the Community Section of the service come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and can be at very different levels of experiences.




BCCS is committed to ensuring that an assessment is achieved as soon as possible following the initial referral. Potential clients are made aware of likely time delays before individual counselling can be offered.

Enquiries by BCCS staff at first contact seek to identity certain basic characteristics such as age and address, which may eliminate the potential client from eligibility for a service. Information about known alternative services will be offered.

Client assessments are completed by experienced assessors who are BACP Registered, or the equivalent, with specific training in risk assessment and knowledge of onward referral options, both nationally and locally.


BCCS endeavours to ensure, through the information gained at assessment, that clients accepted into the service are referred to a counsellor who has reached an appropriate level of ability to work with their issues.

1.5 Counsellors are strongly encouraged to see assessment as an ongoing process and use supervision or discussion with the Co-ordinator
to consider onward referral if they uncover client issues which may be unsuitable for them to work with.




The BCCS assessment process requires completion of a form by the assessor, which includes key areas of information to assist in risk assessment and appropriate onward referral, within the service or, possibly, to another service.

Areas of unsuitability for the service include psychotic symptoms, chronic and severe mental health problems, current suicidal behaviour, serious substance misuse, and eating disorders.


If there is evidence of a psychiatric problem which would indicate unsuitability for the service the assessor will discuss this possibility with the potential client and may request their permission, in writing, to make contact with an agency worker or physician if further exchange of information is seen to be helpful by the client.


The assessor asks the potential client to complete a form from the CORE system of evaluation. This further identifies, by measurement, areas of risk, well being and functioning, which can be used to help identify a counsellor with sufficient experience, and used as a point of comparison, with completion of the form again at a later date.


The assessor needs to identify any specific client requirements in regard to areas such as disability, gender or ethnicity.

2.6 The assessor will discuss with clients the times of day or evening they prefer, possible venues and sessional fee levels, reaching a decision with them on the amount they will pay. This will be recorded on a form that includes general information and the confidentiality policy. They are asked to sign the form and receive a copy.
2.7 Copies of the assessment form and the agreement form are passed to the selected counsellor by the Co-ordinator, with names and contact details given separately.
2.8 This Procedure should be read in conjunction with the BCCS Confidentiality Policy.