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How we work

Our Board sets our strategy and makes sure we carry out our work well. The chief executive Harry Cayton leads our work. He and our staff are independent of government (they are not civil servants or NHS employees).

Our staff (about 40 people) have various skills and roles including legal, governance, conducting reviews and audits, policy, research and operations and finance.

We have three directorates: Scrutiny and Quality (overseeing regulators and how well they work), Standards and Policy (developing standards and influencing regulatory policy), Operations and Governance (managing how we deliver our services).  Most of our staff work in Scrutiny and Quality.

How we are funded

Our annual budget each year is under £4 million. We are funded in three ways:

  1. The nine regulators we oversee pay a compulsory fee to us each year. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 provided for the Authority to be funded in the main by the regulatory bodies
  2. Accredited Registers apply to be accredited and pay us a fee to assess whether they meet our standards
  3. The Department of Health and other bodies in the UK and internationally, commission us to provide them with advice or carry out reviews.

Who oversees us

Parliament oversees our work. The Privy Council consults on the budget we say we need to do our work and sets the fees that the regulators must pay. The Health Committee can call us to appear and give account of our work.

Our legal authority

We were set up under the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002. Our legislation has been amended since then. The most recent legislation was the Health and Social Care Act (2012), which gave us two new responsibilities relating to our work with Accredited Registers; and our work advising the Privy Council about appointments to the nine regulators’ Councils. We have the authority to:

  • Review decisions made by the nine regulators about practitioners’ ‘fitness to practise’. We have a power to appeal decisions to the High Court (Court of Session in Scotland) if we consider them to be insufficient for the protection of the public.
  • Direct a regulator to change its rules (we have not yet had to do so)
  • Accredit voluntary registers that meet our standards - and suspend accreditation, apply conditions and remove accreditation.  

We do not have the power to investigate complaints about the regulators as this part of the legislation has not been put into practice, but we do value hearing from people who are willing to share their experiences with us to help inform our work.