The Professional Standards Authority (the Authority) has published its annual performance review of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). We review each of the statutory health and social care regulators each year to assess whether they are meeting our Standards of Good Regulation. The HCPC’s register covers over 285,000 registrants across 15 different professions.
We have assessed the HCPC’s performance against our Standards of Good Regulation. For this review period, the HCPC has met 13 of the 18 Standards. The judgements we make against each Standard incorporate a range of evidence to form an overall picture of performance. Meeting a Standard means that, based on the information we have reviewed, we are satisfied that a regulator is performing well in that area.
The HCPC did not meet our Standard in respect of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) as the small amount of data it held about its registrants in the review period meant that the HCPC was unable to effectively use this analysis to consider whether its processes adversely impact individuals with protected characteristics. The HCPC has since sought to improve the EDI information it collects from registrants and has conducted a significant amount of work in this area. We will review this work in our next assessment.
The HCPC has invested significant resources in its fitness to practise process and developed a fitness to practise improvement programme in response to the concerns we identified in our previous reports. The programme was implemented in late 2020 and has continued into 2021, and we acknowledge that the programme will take some time to embed and for potential benefits to be realised. As the work began in late 2020 it will not have affected performance in this review period. We therefore determined that the HCPC had not met Standard 15, 16, 17 and 18, because we have not yet seen tangible evidence of the impact of improvement actions during the review period.
We continue to monitor the HCPC’s implementation of its improvement programme through regular engagement with the HCPC’s Executive Team and we have been impressed by its commitment to the programme. We are of the view that, if successfully implemented and embedded, the programme should lead to improvements in the HCPC’s fitness to practise function.
More information about how we reached our decision is set out in our Performance Review - HCPC 2020/21 or read a summary in our snapshot.
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.
- The Standards of Good Regulation are designed to ensure that the regulators are protecting the public but also promoting confidence in health and care professionals and themselves. The Standards cover the regulators’ four core functions: setting and promoting guidance and standards for the profession; setting standards for and quality assuring the provision of education and training; maintaining a register of professionals; and taking action where a professional’s fitness to practise may be impaired.
- 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.
- The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) regulates the practice in the UK of arts therapists, biomedical scientists, chiropodists/podiatrists, clinical scientists, dieticians, hearing aid dispensers, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, practitioner psychologists, prosthetists/orthotists, radiographers, speech and language therapists. It sets standards for the education and training of practitioners and assuring the quality of education and training provided; sets and maintains standards of conduct, performance, and ethics for practitioners and standards of proficiency for each of the professions it regulates; maintains a register of practitioners (‘registrants’) who meet those standards; sets standards of continuing professional development to ensure registrants maintain their ability to practise safely and effectively; and takes action to restrict or remove from practice individual registrants who are considered not fit to practise. As at 31 December 2020, there were 286,810 registrants on its register. Its registration fee is £180, paid over a two-year cycle.
- More information about our work and the approach we take is available at www.professionalstandards.org.uk