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Professional Standards Authority publishes outcome of in-year review of Society of Homeopaths

The Professional Standards Authority (the Authority) has today published the outcome report of its in-year review of the Society of Homeopaths (the Society). This follows an investigation of concerns raised in June 2020 about social media posts by the Society’s then Safeguarding Lead.

Following the Review, a Panel constituted by the Authority met on 9 July 2020 and decided to issue three Conditions to the Society, which are published in today’s report. These relate to the Society’s recruitment policies, complaints-handling and social media policy. All Conditions must be met by the Society within three to six months.

The Conditions have been imposed in addition to four separate Conditions set out by the Authority in February, when it renewed the Society’s accreditation.

A further Panel met on 13 August to consider new information provided as part of the in-year review. The Society reported to the Authority that its interim CEO had resigned for personal reasons on 30 July. The Authority was concerned about the potential impact of the staffing challenges within the Society on its ability to meet the outstanding and new Conditions. The Authority also became aware that a particular registrant appeared still to be advertising and practising CEASE, despite the Authority bringing this registrant to the attention of the Society in February 2020.

Given the time period for the Conditions had not yet expired and there was evidence that the Society was taking action to meet them, including appointing an interim CEO after the resignation in July, the Panel decided that the Society should be allowed the allotted time in which to comply, and no further action should be taken.

Christine Braithwate, Director of Standards and Policy at the Professional Standards Authority, said:

‘The Authority has set out Conditions which we consider to be stringent and proportionate, given the concerns that were discussed by the Panel regarding the Society’s staffing challenges and the conduct of certain registrants.

‘Today’s Conditions reflect those concerns.  The Authority expects them to be swiftly and robustly rectified by the Society.

‘The Society’s leadership and governance will be considered as part of the Society’s next annual review. The Society will be expected to demonstrate that the changes in the key roles inspire confidence in its ability to run the register as part of the Standards.

‘Given the nature of the concerns raised, and the fact that similar concerns have been raised with the Society in successive re-accreditation reviews, it is now essential that the Society complies with all Conditions within the timeframes set for continued accreditation.’

As announced in June 2020the Authority will also hold a Strategic Review of the Accredited Registers programme this year. This is the first comprehensive review of the programme since its creation in 2012.

The Strategic Review will consider the extent to which the programme has achieved its aim, the scope of the programme and whether the Authority’s criteria for inclusion or exclusion of occupations are sound; and will make recommendations for the future shape of the programme. It is anticipated that preliminary options will be agreed by late summer.

The full Conditions set out in the Authority’s outcome report of its in-year review of the Society of Homeopaths, are as follows:

Condition 1

The Society must ensure that its recruitment processes include appropriate due diligence checks to assure itself that applicants are, and have been, in compliance with the Society’s Code of Ethics and position statements, including those relating to the use of social media. This should apply to all paid and voluntary positions within the Society including Board and staff members. The Society should also ensure that it has processes in place to assure itself that officials of the Society remain in compliance after appointment. The Society must report to the Authority on the steps it has taken to comply with this condition within three months of the date of notification.

Condition 2

The Society must provide the Authority with its policy for the escalation of complaints against registrants, which are initially handled informally, into its formal processes and its procedures for handling persistent complainants. The Society must also provide a summary of complaints received since the publication of its new position statement on 10 June 2020 (including those handled through an informal route) and outcomes to the Authority. This should be completed within three months of the date of notification.

Condition 3

The Society must:

a) monitor its registrants’ use of social media to ensure that they are complying with its position statements. The Society should provide quarterly reports to the Authority.

b) review and if necessary, update its social media policy for registrants, ensuring consistency of guidance to registrants on the content of their own websites, and their statements and actions on others’ websites and other social media. This should be completed within six months of the date of notification.


Ends

Media contacts

Tabitha Adams – Luther Pendragon

Simon Whale – Luther Pendragon

Email: PSA@luther.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)7500 013062

Notes to Editors

The full report can be found here on the Authority’s website:

About the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care

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

About the Accredited Registers programme

The Accredited Registers programme is designed to help people get better care by ensuring that the health practitioners on its registers are competent and trustworthy. They set standards for people working in unregulated health and care occupations, encourage them to meet them and take action to protect the public when necessary. They ensure that the information they and their registrants provide is clear and helps the public to make informed choices about the practitioner they want to see and about the treatments, therapies, care and products the practitioner offers.

More information is available on the Authority’s website.

About the Society of Homeopaths

The Society of Homeopaths is the largest organisation registering professional homeopaths in the UK and currently has 1,000 fully Registered Members (RSHom). The Society of Homeopaths is the only dedicated homeopathy register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) and has maintained this registration since 2014. The Society sets and maintains standards of practice and conduct, accredits homeopathy courses and provides its members with continuing professional development.

For further information about the Society of Homeopaths visit

https://homeopathy-soh.org/ or contact Pamela Stevens on 01604 817890/ email pamela_stevens@homeopathy-soh.org