ACTO – a potted history

ACTO – a potted history

With grateful thanks to Anne Stokes and Gill Jones for their valuable contribution to this history 

As there are fewer and fewer of the founding members of ACTO around, it is important to piece together the beginnings of ACTO, to honour our founders and chart our development.  

If anyone has material to add please let us know and also if you discover errors. This was put together with the help of Gill Jones and Anne Stokes. Amendments should be sent to  

ACTO: The early years 

The idea of creating an online therapy organisation began to materialize during 2006. The first meeting of the ACTO board was held on October 1st 2006 with the intention of launching ACTO at the beginning of 2007. 

We can only imagine what a crowded meeting that must have been. Held before video conferencing became stable enough to held so many people, the meeting was held in an MSN chatroom with the following people present.  

The first Executive Committee Officers were: 

ChairGill Jones
Deputy Chair Sue Whitlock
TreasurerJacqui Atkinson RIP
Membership SecretaryJane Roberts 
Information OfficerBarbara Lee
Liaison with BACPSteph Palin 
Liaison with ISMHOSue Whitlock
Publicity OfficerZoe Pool
WebsiteAlex Chew
Website and developmentJane Evans
Minutes Scribe and ArchivistSandy Watson

We still have all the minutes from those early meetings just in case anyone is an amateur archivist! 

Why was ACTO founded? 

ACTO came about as some early training providers saw a need for an organization just for people working online. We have diversified a lot since then but we are just as passionate as the early pioneers. 

It started as a local association which was a great way to develop such a new venture. More recently we realized we have outgrown this format as we needed to have a more robust structure in order to be eligible for grants etc. In 2017 we changedto a company limited by guarantee – so we are still in the “not for profit” sector – which seems very important to us. 


Around the same time some of the same people also founded OCTIA to provide a yearly conference for those working online. OCTIA has always been separate from ACTO but there were close ties between the two. Certainly, in the beginning, many board members were on both boards and gave so much of their spare time freely.  

Early achievements

Some of the things worked on were length of tenure for executive committee members (as they were called then), benefits for members and a website.  

Over the years ACTO started to grow bigger. As there is a limit to how long someone can be on the board, none of the original members are still on the board. Yet we owe them so much and we are still building on what they have put together. 

Our monthly meetings have now moved to video conferencing where we can get so much more done. These have proved to be a great success and each year we meet in person for an annual Away Day, as a Board of Directors team (and Exec before that). This has taken us on in leaps and bounds as we are able to focus our energy and agree action points for the year ahead. Of course, coronavirus has driven us onine in 2020 and 2021 – but this had had the advantage of including a meeting with Online Training Proviers on that day.

The team of directors has steadily grown and we now have two administrators and a media director. We also keep adding new director positions.

2020 was a year of great change and growth for ACTO. The membership went up and we introduced different levels of membership.

2021 sees the rebirth of the website, new directories, grandparenting and the launch of the international database.

Board of Directors summer 2021
PatronAnne Stokes
ChairAdrian Rhodes
Vice ChairPip Weitz
Webmaster & GrandparentingMieke Haveman
GrandparentingOlivia Djouadi
Research & DevelopmentClemency Jacques
Director without portfolioSuzanne Kamani
Director without portfolioCal Nield
InternationalKatrina Healey-Davis
Children & Young PeopleRachael Klug
Ethics & StandardsDuncan Branley

ACTO is all still mostly RUN by volunteers giving their time to ACTO freely. We are so lucky to have such a dedicated and knowledgeable group of people so generous with their time. However, we have splendid support in administration and social media – which improves significantly the quality of what we can offer. 

There is the monthly Directors’ meeting which is 2 hours on Saturday morning. And the many hours spent each week making sure that ACTO keeps adding new features for members. Many of the directors have formed working groups to encourage grassroots involvement by members – these have proved very popular and the Orcha apps  tool was put into place for ACTO members as a result of the Research and Develop Working Group. Other working groups are working just as hard and we are lucky to have so many very enthusiastic members who believe in the standards we promote of governance and good practice. 

Our aims are very similar to those of our founders to whom we are so indebted and are summarised in our Mission Statement. 

If you would like to contribute further to this history please email Thank you. 

June 2021

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