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New ‘public interest’ test for accreditation decisions

The Professional Standards Authority (the Authority) is introducing a ‘public interest’ test as part of its Standards  for registers of health and care roles not subject to statutory regulation.

This follows a public consultation as part of our strategic review of the programme, which began in June last year. One of the key objectives of this review was to consider the scope of the programme. We received strong support from stakeholders, in particular patients, to take greater account of the effectiveness of treatments in our decisions about accreditation.

Our ‘public interest’ test will allow us to weigh up whether the evidence about the benefits of treatments covered by a register outweigh any risks. We will also consider how clearly and accurately the register and its registrants describe these benefits and risks. This will help to make sure that patients, service users and employers can have confidence about choosing services from someone on an accredited register.

In parallel, we will be introducing changes to our assessment cycle to enable us to deliver assessments in a more targeted and proportionate way. This will put us in a strong position to ensure the programme can expand to meet the changing needs of the health and care workforce. For example, by providing assurance for the range of roles within multi-disciplinary teams, whether they are required by law to be registered or not.

Alan Clamp, Chief Executive at the Authority, said:

"The introduction of a ‘public interest’ test supports informed patient choice and reduces the risk that a register is accredited if it is unable to evidence how its members support health and wellbeing.

"We look forward to continuing to work with the UK Governments and employers from the wide range of settings in which Accredited Register practitioners work, to achieve the greater levels of recognition and use of registers that are essential for the programme to be effective in protecting the public.”


Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care

 Contact: Christine Braithwaite, Director of Standards and Policy


Notes to the Editor

  1. 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).
  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 – integrity, transparency, respect, fairness and teamwork – and we strive to ensure that they are at the core of our work.
  7. More information about our work and the approach we take is available at