Throughout 2020/21 all the regulators and registers we oversee have had to take steps to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. This has had a significant impact on registrants and on staff at the regulators and accredited registers. We worked with the regulators on making changes to their processes and published guidance on holding virtual hearings. At the end of 2020/21, we also published a review of the regulators’ responses to the pandemic, which made recommendations about possible improvements in regulation and how we can prepare for future emergencies.
Our performance reviews found that the regulators generally continued to meet our standards of good regulation, with an average of 90% of standards met overall and two regulators meeting all standards. One regulator, the Health and Care Professions Council needs to significantly improve its performance in fitness to practise.
We noted that regulators’ fitness to practice case decisions about registrants were mostly managed to a high standard, with findings and sanctions that protect the public appropriately. However, although the numbers are very small, some do not. During the last two years we successfully appealed twice as many cases as in the previous two years.
During 2020/21 we reviewed our accredited registers programme and will be implementing changes from July 2021. We renewed accreditation of 25 registers and suspended accreditation of the Society of Homeopaths.
We commissioned three research studies to support improvement in regulation on unconscious bias, consistency in regulation and the ethical dilemmas faced by registrants during the pandemic. In November 2020 we held a successful three-part symposium on: learning from the Covid-19 pandemic; regulation in the four countries of the UK; and equality, diversity and inclusion in regulation.
In March 2021, we started preparations to respond to the government’s consultation on reforming regulation (publishing two short reports in April and May before we published our full response in June 2021).
Alan Clamp, Chief Executive said:
‘It has been a productive and successful year for the Authority, in challenging circumstances. I would like to express my thanks for the professionalism and hard work of all my colleagues. As we look forward to 2021/22 and beyond, the Professional Standards Authority remains as committed as ever to improving regulation and registration to protect the public.’
The report can be downloaded from our website Annual Report and Accounts 2020/21. 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 (General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Dental Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Chiropractic Council, Health and Care Professions Council, Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland and Social Work England).
- 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