Prestigious accreditation for our University Counselling Service (UCS)

UCS is the first university counselling service, and one of only seven organisations nationally, to have been awarded a new service-wide quality assurance accreditation mark.

Our free, confidential service, which is available to all of our students, has been honoured through the Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapy Services (APPTS) – a partnership between the Centre for Quality Improvement at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the British Psychological Society.

Accreditation is awarded following a rigorous, externally audited process including a self-review workbook with an audit of 56 quality standards, service user and therapist feedback and an on-site peer review involving interviews with service users and staff.

The quality standards look at whether a counselling service is safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs, and well led.

UCS scored 100 per cent in all type one standards, which are considered to be essential for the safety and dignity of service users.

Following in-depth interviews with our staff, the review team found that UCS offers a positive open culture amongst its clinical staff and that UCS staff feel comfortable to report concerns and raise suggestions for improvements.

The reviewers commented on the welcoming atmosphere at the service with particular recognition for the high number of informative resources in the UCS waiting room including self-help materials and leaflets promoting other care and support providers.

Louise Knowles, Head of UCS, said: “The APPTS accreditation is a real achievement for our service and will increase the confidence of our student population in the clinical rigour of the service.

“At UCS we are committed to continually improving the quality and standard of the service we deliver, balancing this against increasing numbers accessing our service and looking at new and innovative ways of working with the student population.

“This accreditation mark recognises both the extremely short wait times, as well as our talented and clinically robust team who offer a varied range of treatments and interventions in a challenging environment. It is a privilege to be amongst a select few national psychological providers.”

The audit report said: “The service is very patient-led, and received positive feedback on its flexibility, and compassionate approach. There is a short waiting time target of 10 days, which the service is usually able to meet. Work has gone into ensuring that the venue is pleasant and the waiting area is well stocked with self-help materials and information about local organisations and services which may be of interest to service users. A lot of helpful information is also available on the service's website.”

UCS had a 100 per cent return rate from the 50 users, selected randomly, to give feedback on the service. Here’s what some of them said:

“It is an absolutely amazing service & a credit to the University. My therapist is just how I need her to be. She listens, comments & gives advice when asked. Sometimes that is all a person needs when they feel isolated & up against it all.”

“The therapy is very significant for me…….Thank you so much for your service.”

“The service here has been really helpful and has helped me with a lot. I'm glad I've been able to receive this kind of support and would definitely recommend it to others.”

“My handwriting is awful so I'll just say I love this service and it has helped me a lot."

“Lovely staff and wonderful counsellor, thank you.”

Find out more about UCS

  • Email UCS (ucs@sheffield.ac.uk) or call them on 0114 222 4134