Voluntary registers

Pouring pills

Statutory and voluntary regulation helps to protect patients and the public and is done through a number of registers which are managed by professional regulators.  Each regulator has their own system, standards and register with detailed processes of how to alert them if you have concerns about an individuals fitness to practice. You can find out more in our statutory regulation section.

This section more specifically focuses on voluntary accredited registers, what they do and the value of encouraging your staff to join one where available to them.


In February 2011, the Government published Enabling excellence - autonomy and accountability for healthcare workers, social workers and social care workers'. This paper set out the government's policy on regulation, including the approach to extending regulation to new groups. The paper outlined a system of 'assured voluntary registration.

What is an accredited register?

Accredited registers work alongside employers, commissioners, local authorities, patient and consumer protection agencies as part of a quality assurance network. They set standards for practitioners working in unregulated health and care occupations, encourage registrants to meet these standards and take action to protect the public when necessary. They give you piece of mind that the health practitioners you employ, who are on the register, are competent and trustworthy.

Promoting the benefits of joining an accredited register

Where a health and social care provider carries the accredited registers quality mark, employers or commissioners can be assured that these organisations require their registrants to meet high standards of personal behaviour, technical competence and, where relevant, business practice. The areas covered by the standards for the scheme include:

  • governance
  • setting standards
  • education and training
  • managing the register
  • providing information
  • handling complaints.
Joining an accredited register that meets high standards set by their professional or accrediting body allows individual's to demonstrate their personal commitment to their work area, and enables them to be a part a professional community that strives for high standards and safety. 

While joining an accredited register is not a compulsory requirement and cannot be required as a condition of employment, employers should take every opportunity to raise the profile of the type of accredited registers available to staff as part of their recruitment process, and encourage them to consider the benefits of joining one. It is also important that when recruiting, employers include reference to all the applicable registers to the post. 

Visit our voluntary registers - top tips section for guidelines on how to ensure you are registered to receive updates on newly accredited bodies, and job adverts and personal specifications are updated to reflect these, as relevant.

The role of the Professional Standards Authority

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) is a professional regulator and has had the ability to accredit voluntary registers of people working in a variety of health and social care occupations since January 2013.  Their Accredited Registers (formerly known as Accredited Voluntary Registers) programme, was launched at the end of June 2013.

Below is a list of bodies on the PSA's accredited register (last updated on 13 September 2018). Please note that for some professions, there is more than one register:

  • Academy for Healthcare Science
  • Alliance of Private Sector Practitioners
  • Association of Child Psychotherapists
  • Association of Christian Counsellors
  • British Acupuncture Council
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • British Association of Play Therapists
  • British Association of Sport Rehabilitators & Trainers
  • British Psychoanalytic Council
  • Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council
  • COSCA (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland)
  • Federation of Holistic Therapists
  • Genetic Counsellor Registration Board
  • Human Givens Institute
  • Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners
  • National Counselling Society
  • National Hypnotherapy Society
  • Play Therapy UK 
  • Register of Clinical Technologists
  • Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists
  • Save Face
  • Society of Homeopaths
  • UK Association of Humanistic Psychology Practitioners
  • UK Board of Healthcare Chaplaincy
  • UK Council for Psychotherapy
  • UK Public Health Register.

With a number of other organisations interested in the scheme or currently applying for accreditation, the PSA is aiming to accredit many registers across a wide range of health and social care services.

Further information about the Accredited Register programme can be found on PSA's website.

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