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Literature review on decision-making in private

We publish today a literature review commissioned from Dr Paul Sanderson to contribute to our ongoing work on the reform of regulation, particularly fitness to practise proceedings. 

We asked Dr Sanderson to look at what the academic literature on decision-making tells us about the consequences of decisions generally being taken in a more private context. We asked him to identify from the wider literature potential risks or benefits to the public, from a shift to greater use of consensual disposal of fitness to practise cases and other agreed outcomes. (Consensual disposal means that the registrant consents to the regulator's decision about the facts of a case and the outcome without a full hearing in public.)

Dr Sanderson’s review yields fascinating insights and highlights areas for further consideration. These include that:

  • while private hearings may allow decision-makers to consider a broader range of options
  • in a public context decision-makers may strive to perform better in their role.

He highlights of course the importance of context in understanding his findings and points to the need for empirical research to understand the application of the academic literature to actual processes and outcomes in fitness to practise.

The report is available on our website.


Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care Christine Braithwaite, Director Standards and Policy

Reception: 020 7389 8030


Notes to the Editor

  1. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care 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 insufficient to protect the public 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 wellbeing 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