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Research and policy update

 Our Consultations

Right-touch regulation in practice: international perspectives

It is eight years since we first published Right-touch regulation and in our latest publication –  Right-touch regulation in practice: international perspectives – 10 contributors (including from organisations in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand, as well as the UK) share their experiences of using right-touch regulation to inform their thinking, policies and practice. The contributions set out the interesting and varied ways in which different regulators in different sectors and in different countries have applied right-touch regulation to their particular problems and challenges.

A common theme in the papers is that right-touch regulation is an adaptable approach, flexible enough to be useful in different regulatory regimes, and clear enough to provide a consistent framework for problem-solving. Our authors show that right-touch regulation is complementary to other values-based approaches, and that it can act as a catalyst for organisational change within regulators. Some authors also ponder what the next iteration of Right-touch regulation might include, for example, asking ‘Why?’ questions as well as ‘What?’; and perhaps the need to include the process of reflection on regulatory interventions further down the line.

 You can download a copy of Right-touch regulation in practice: international perspectives. We also have a limited number of hard copies available. Please email Lesley Loughran to request a copy.

‘What is it to be a good regulator’? Theme of our 2019 Academic Conference announced


Our 2019 academic and research conference will take place on 7-8 March 2019 at Cumberland Lodge. Our theme will be ‘what is it to be a good regulator?’ working with our academic lead Deborah Bowman, Professor of Bioethics, Clinical Ethics and Medical Law at St George’s University of London. In her blog, Professor Bowman expands on the theme. 

You can find out more about our most recent academic conference by watching our highlights video or reading through the presentations.

For more information about the 2019 conference, please contact Douglas Bilton, Assistant Director of Standards and Policy, at

Sexual Behaviours – read the report or watch the video

Where do you draw the line - video

We mentioned this new research – Sexual behaviours between health and care practitioners: where does the boundary lie? in our summer newsletter. We have now produced a video to complement it. You can watch Dr Simon Christmas (who conducted the research) discuss the key findings and talk about how the participants reached their conclusions. Alongside Dr Christmas, our Senior Solicitor, Kisha Punchihewa, explains why we felt the need to commission the research and Daisy Blench, one of our Policy Managers, looks at how the research could be helpful to regulators and employers and how we might take its findings forward.

You can watch the full video, read the report or see a short animation which asks ‘Would you be willing to see a healthcare practitioner if you found out that they had overstepped a boundary with a colleague?’ based on the three real-life case studies used in the research.

Fixing fitness to practise?

We recently published a three-part blog which posed this question. In part 1, Policy Manager Daisy Blench explains what fitness to practise is and why reforming it is long overdue? In part 2, Daisy asks ‘Fixing fitness to practise: what can we do now?’ and focuses on what changes could be introduced without the need for substantial legislative change or radical regulatory reform. In the third and final part, Daisy goes from the evolutionary approach to the revolutionary – and explains what we would like to see if we could design the fitness to practise process from scratch.

Meetings with stakeholders

Members of our policy team, along with our Director of Standards and Policy, Christine Braithwaite, have recently travelled to Scotland and Northern Ireland to meet with stakeholders. In September, on a visit to Belfast, we met stakeholders from 12 organisations in health and social care. It was a fruitful two days engaging stakeholders on issues relevant to Northern Ireland like the Authority’s ongoing work on candour of professionals.

On 17-18 September we visited Scotland and met a variety of stakeholders, including regulators, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. We are looking forward to meeting a number of our Scottish contacts again at the Scottish Government’s Annual Regulation Conference in Edinburgh on 5 November 2018.

Consultation responses

Since our summer newsletter, we have responded to consultations on:

  • the HCPCs consultation on revising its indicative sanctions policy
  • the GPhC’s consultation on developing its approach to registered pharmacies
  • the GPhC’s discussion on making sure patients and the public obtain medicines and other pharmacy services safely online.

Find more of our responses to regulators’ consultations on our website.