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The Authority welcomes the Government's response to the Law Commissions’ Report

Professional Standards Authority welcomes the Government's response to the Law Commissions’ Report

The Professional Standards Authority supports the Government’s intention to strengthen public protection. Their response to the Law Commission builds on and improves the Law Commissions’ proposals in a number of important areas.

However, we are concerned that the Government intends to extend the ‘five year rule’ to all eight of the regulators which will enable them to refuse to investigate any complaint made more than five years after the event.

Harry Cayton, Chief executive of the Professional Standards Authority, said:
‘ Overall, we are pleased that the Government is strengthening public protection. Regulation must protect the public first and foremost. We were disappointed therefore to see that the Government proposes to extend the ‘five year rule’ to other regulators. This is not in the public’s interests because it puts an unnecessary obstacle in the way of listening to patients when they raise serious concerns.’

We consider that the rule is unnecessary as regulators can already decide not to investigate a case if they do not have enough evidence. It can be more difficult to investigate cases that happened more than five years ago but the decision should be based on the evidence, not on time alone.

Public protection will however, be strengthened by many of the changes proposed In the Law Commissions’ Report and the Government’s response including:

  • Ensuring there is a lay majority on fitness to practise panels
  • Giving the Professional Standards Authority new powers to obtain all necessary information when carrying out investigations.

Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care
Christine Braithwaite
Professional Standards Authority
0207 389 8030

Notes to the Editor

  1. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (previously known as the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence) oversees nine statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
  2. We assess their performance and report to Parliament. We also conduct audits and investigations and can appeal fitness to practise cases to the courts if we consider that sanctions are unduly lenient and it is in the public interest.
  3. We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
  4. We share good practice and knowledge, conduct research and introduce new ideas to our sector. We monitor policy developments in the UK and internationally and provide advice on issues relating to professional standards in health and social care.
  5. We do this to promote the health, safety and well-being of users of health and social care services and the public. We are an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament.
  6. Our values are at the heart of who we are and what we do. We are committed to being impartial, fair, accessible and consistent in the application of our values.
  7. More information about our work and the approach we take is available at