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Welcome to the winter edition of The Standard

As so often for us the year ahead promises to be one of more changes and challenges. The Operations and Governance team will be preparing for the important change to the way we are funded. The Government’s consultation on the fee regulations is complete; we don’t know the outcome yet but we anticipate that the new arrangements where we are paid for by the regulators, the accredited registers, the governments- for policy commissions – and by third parties for consultancy, will come in August 2015. This will mean quite a new way of thinking about our money and how we spend it.

Proposals for changes to the performance review and the audit to merge them into a single approach to assessing the regulators are being finalised. A paper will go to the Board at the end of this month and if accepted a three month formal consultation will take place. We hope the new approach will come into effect in the autumn of this year.

There will be no separate audit cycle this year. We will use the time in the summer for preparing and training for the new approach and between now and then will be implementing the changes to the Scrutiny and Quality team we agreed last year. We have already made improvements to our Section 29 work and the strengthened internal legal expertise is bearing fruit.

The Accredited Registers programme has been given a newish look. With the arrival of the Academy of Healthcare Science and with two years of operation and 17 registers to learn from we are aiming to give it a higher profile in the NHS and with the public. The team will be publishing a progress report soon.

The General Election in May and all the s60 orders and legal changes being proposed will continue to keep the standards and policy team busy. Robert Francis will be publishing his report on raising concerns shortly and the Health Committee will have their annual sessions with both the NMC and the GMC this month. The team are working on an update of Right Touch Regulation.

Meanwhile Harry Cayton sounds a note of caution in his Viewpoint and explains why we will be rethinking regulation.

Christine Braithwaite
Director of Standards and Policy