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The Standard - e-newsletter 

Our e-newsletter 'The Standard' is published four times a year and the next issue is due out in Summer/Autumn 2022.

If you would like to know more about our work and receive regular updates you can sign up to receive our e-newsletter.



Spring 2022

Email Update 

“Could we do more to promote diversity and tackle inequalities in health and care?” We asked ourselves this question following the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matters movement. The answer was a very definite “Yes”. As a result, we have now published our first Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) action plan – instigated by those events, as well as (too many) others. We have received advice and guidance from external experts to produce this plan. It focuses on both internal and external actions and is made up of three key elements:

  1. We need to gain a deeper understanding of EDI issues and how people with minority protected characteristics are actually affected by the health and social care system.
  2. We need to make sure that our own internal processes actively promote equality, diversity and inclusion. As part of this work, we have appointed our first Associate Board Member from an under-represented demographic background. We’ll also be working with the regulators to get information to analyse our own decision-making around referring regulators’ decisions to the courts.
  3. We need to be clearer about our expectations from the regulators and accredited registers we oversee. They have an important role in assisting their registrants to provide care which addresses the health inequalities in this country and in running systems which are fair to all registrants.  

You can read the full action plan here as well as a blog from Mark Stobbs, our Director of Scrutiny and Quality, who explains more about the three key elements fundamental to achieving the actions we have set out in the plan.

Since our last e-newsletter, we have concluded 16 appeals.

We have appealed these decisions based on our belief that they were insufficient to protect the public. These cases involved a range of issues, including crossing professional boundaries, trying to cover up mistakes, taking advantage of and/or mistreating vulnerable service users/patients, forging signatures or lying about the ability to carry out procedures, as well as being convicted of assault.   

You can find out more about these appeals, as well as the outcomes of recent Court Hearings, here. Or find out more about the value added to public protection by our power to check and appeal fitness to practise decisions.

Does it take too long to publish a performance review report? Do we really need a full report for each regulator every year? We wanted to make sure our current performance review process was effective, but proportionate, helping us to identify risk and allowing ourselves (and the regulators) to target resources where they are most needed. We decided it was time for a change. We had identified several areas where improvements could be made and wanted to sense-check our initial proposals. We launched our first consultation in December 2020 to get stakeholder feedback on high-level proposals for a new approach.


The feedback we received helped us shape our proposals. We then consulted on this in late 2021, concentrating on three key areas:

  1. Moving from an annual process to one where we carry out our checks periodically, with ongoing monitoring in between to maintain our oversight
  2. Our proposal to set this period as a three-year cycle
  3. The factors we will consider when determining whether we need to look in more depth at a regulator’s performance.


What is changing?

Respondents broadly supported our proposals, so we are moving away from our annual cycle. We are implementing a three-year cycle of reviews, monitoring regulators’ performance in between the three-yearly reviews. We expect that these changes will allow us to target our resources to areas of greatest risk, and report much sooner after the end of the performance review period. You can find out more about both consultations here, including our report on responses received and next steps to introduce the new process.


The new process is being introduced for the 2021/22 review year onwards and the first is report is scheduled for publication in summer 2022.


Performance reviews published

We have recently published reviews for Social Work England, the General Dental Council and the General Optical Council. These reports were carried out under the old process – the PSNI’s performance review will be the last one under this process and will be published towards the end of June. You can find all our performance reviews here.

Rehabilitation Workers Professional Network joins the programme

We announced the accreditation of the register run by the Rehabilitation Workers Professional Network (RWPN) at the end of March. The RWPN is the professional body for vision rehabilitation workers, and it sets and maintains standards for the workforce. They work within a variety of contexts across health and care. Simon Labbett, the Chair of the RWPN, provided a guest blog where he shared his thoughts on the importance of accreditation. You can find out more here or read a summary of our accreditation decision in this two-page snapshot.


First Standard One ‘public interest test’ completed

We now invite registers interested in applying for accreditation to have their register assessed by us against Standard One before submitting a full application. This helps us to check for eligibility under our legislation, and if accreditation is in the public interest. A register must meet Standard One before we can assess it against the remaining Standards. This involves weighing the benefits of the roles registered, against the risks. Our decision is provisional and designed to give the register an indication about whether it is within the scope of the programme. It does not mean that their register is accredited by us.


Athena Herd is a register working with people practising ‘equine facilitated learning’. They are the first register to approach us to be assessed against Standard One. Following a panel meeting, we determined that Athena Herd had provisionally met Standard One. You can find out more here.


Further new applications received

On 31 March, we received a new application from the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS). BOHS provides information, guidance and expertise in the recognition, control and management of workplace health risks. We have just received a full application from Athena Herd, following our provisional decision on Standard One as set out above. We continue discussions with other prospective applicants, with the aim of supporting the continued growth of the programme and expansion of the assurance it offers to those receiving care from roles not regulated by statutory bodies.


Trial of enhanced DBS checks for self- employed registrants

In February, we launched a pilot to trial DBS checks, in conjunction with the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP). The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) carries out criminal records checks and maintains lists of individuals who are barred from carrying out certain activities, in England and Wales. There are four levels of checks; our pilot will focus on the Enhanced with Barred List check. A small, randomly selected sample of self-employed ACP registrants were checked. The results will be used to inform our understanding of eligibility and the practical implications of other Accredited Registers making these checks. The UK Government also announced its Independent Review into the Disclosure and Barring Regime which will seek to provide assurance to Ministers about the effectiveness of the disclosure and barring regime in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. It will review the definition of ‘regulated’ activity, used to determine who is eligible for a higher-level DBS check; and eligibility gaps for disclosure checks for the self-employed. This review will be relevant to the statutory regulators as well as Accredited Registers.

Health and Care Act

The Health and Care Bill has now passed into law as the Health and Care Act 2022. It is a large and wide-ranging piece of legislation, however the elements of interest for professional regulation include new powers for the Secretary of State to:

  • merge or abolish any of the healthcare professional regulators
  • deregulate professional groups.


We published our view of the Government’s proposals for reform of professional regulation in October 2021. 


The Government commissioned KPMG to carry out a review of the regulatory landscape and provide options for reconfiguration. They also consulted on introducing a new transparent process for deciding when statutory regulation is appropriate, see further details below. 


Within the wider provisions of the Act is the formal establishment of integrated care systems (ICSs). ICSs are partnership organisations that bring together providers and commissioners of NHS services across a geographical area with local authorities and other local partners to plan health and care services to meet the needs of the local population. This represents a shift from the previous focus on competitive purchasing of services via Clinical Commission Groups (CCGs).


The Government also amended the legislation to commit to introduction of a licensing scheme for non-surgical cosmetics, see further details below.


Non-surgical cosmetic procedures

The UK Government announced on 28 February that it intends to introduce an amendment to the Heath and Care Bill for a licensing regime in England for non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as Botox and fillers. This follows recent new legislation to ban procedures for cosmetic purposes on under 18s in England. A public consultation will help inform the scope and details of the regulations. We are in discussions with our two Accredited Registers (the JCCP and Save Face), and UK Government, on the proposals. We have published our opinion on this amendment.


Healthcare regulation: deciding when statutory regulation is appropriate

The Government consultation was launched on 6 January and ran to 31 March 2022. The Government plans to introduce a new policy for deciding which groups should be regulated by law, based mainly on the risk they pose to the public.


We published a news update on the consultation announcement back in January along with some FAQs. We also submitted our formal response to the consultation welcoming the move to a transparent, risk-based approach to deciding which roles are regulated.

Below you will find a short round-up of some of our recent events, consultation responses and the latest blogs we have published.

Recent events: annual Welsh seminar

We held our annual joint regulation event with the Welsh Government on 3 March 2022. It was entitled Regulatory developments and the Welsh context 2022: Safety under pressure – protecting patients through challenging times.


Speakers included the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, the Board of Community Health Councils, the Royal College of Nursing (Wales), Healthcare Inspectorate Wales and the Health and Care Professions Council and we had attendees from a range of organisations from Wales and across the UK.


We published a blog summarising highlights from the event.


Scotland Board meeting

We held our May Board meeting in Edinburgh. We are a four-country oversight body; and many of the regulators and registers we oversee span the UK. In addition to the Board meeting, we visited the Scottish Parliament, including a meeting between our Chief Executive and Chair with Humza Yousaf – the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care.


We followed this with a round-table discussion with stakeholders, as well as outlining our role and current priorities, we also discussed the priorities of the organisations in the room, including the Scottish Government, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, and representatives from accredited registers and regulators. There was considerable agreement about the challenges we face in the wider patient/public safety landscape, and how working together more closely might help us to address these challenges.

Over the next few months, we will hold Board meetings in Wales and in Northern Ireland.

Recent blogs

We have published blogs on:

You can find all our blogs here or read our latest news here.

Useful links

You can find out more about all our work from our website at


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