This year’s report has been produced and published under very different, and sad circumstances. The report covers our work during the last year both before and shortly after the pandemic struck the UK.
On a positive note, the last year has laid the groundwork for the health and social care sector’s move to a more adaptable and agile regulatory approach, with a stronger emphasis by regulators on collaborative working.
In July 2019, we welcomed the government’s response to its consultation on regulatory reform of healthcare professionals, which plans to give regulators greater flexibility. We support moves to reform regulators’ fitness to practise procedures. But there must be no reduction in public protection. As our report makes clear, greater flexibility must be balanced by greater accountability. To do otherwise is simply counter-intuitive.
In November, our annual symposium for the regulators focused on collaboration, and sharing learning between health and other regulatory sectors. Many inquiries have found lack of cooperation and collaboration at the root of problems, and the Authority has sought to encourage improvement.
In December, we oversaw the successful transition of the regulation of social workers to Social Work England. In January, we introduced our new Standards for Good Regulation including a new standard assessing how regulators consider the diversity of its registrants and others they interact with and try to ensure that processes do not disadvantage people with protected characteristics.
Our accredited registers programme has continued to grow, and now covers almost 90,000 practitioners and many occupations. However, it has not been without its challenges. During the year, we responded to a judicial review application, which although withdrawn raised some important issues for us to consider. The programme has not achieved financial independence and the gap in safeguarding legislation highlighted by us for a few years is not yet closed. This year we will carry out a strategic review of the programme to determine next steps.
Alan Clamp, Chief Executive said: ‘We ended the year sadly, as have many, adapting to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our staff responded brilliantly to the change and we have continued our work as planned, with minimal loss in productivity. Our focus this year will be on continuing to support regulators and the accredited registers in dealing with the impact of Coronavirus on their registrants and the public; our equality, diversity and inclusion project launched in response to the tragic death of George Floyd and others like him, and on regulatory reform and the ongoing protection of the public’.
The report can be downloaded from our website here. You can also read through an infographic of key stats for the year, or a summary.
Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care
Notes to the Editor
- The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees 10 statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
- 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.
- We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
- 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.
- 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.
- Our values are – integrity, transparency, respect, fairness and teamwork – and we strive to ensure that they are at the core of our work.
- More information about our work and the approach we take is available at www.professionalstandards.org.uk