The Professional Standards Authority supports the proposals set out in the newly published consultation Healthcare regulation: deciding when statutory regulation is appropriate.
The Government plans to bring in a new policy for deciding which groups should be regulated by law – known as statutory regulation – based mainly on the risk they pose to the public. It wants alternatives, like our Accredited Registers programme, to be considered for groups that don’t meet their criteria for statutory regulation.
This approach would be in line with our own views, which we set out in our guidance Right-touch assurance: a methodology for assessing and assuring occupational risk of harm. We have consistently argued for a more coherent, risk-based approach to deciding who should be regulated, and for governments to look into other, more agile and proportionate ways of protecting the public from lower risk professions.
These plans come as the Government attempts to make it easier for Ministers to take professions out of statutory regulation – mirroring existing powers to bring professions into regulation.
Alan Clamp, Chief Executive of the Professional Standards Authority, said:
“Statutory regulation can be burdensome and often lacks flexibility. It should only be used where it is needed to protect the public. While there appear to be no plans to change who is and isn’t regulated at the moment, it is important for the Government to be transparent about how these decisions will be made, given that Parliamentary scrutiny of this sort of legislation may be limited. The plans in this consultation are a welcome step towards a more risk-based approach to deciding who should be regulated.”
We have prepared some FAQs to fill the gap before we publish our full response to this consultation in mid March 2022.
Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care
Contact: Christine Braithwaite, Director of Standards and Policy
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
- The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) published the consultation Healthcare regulation: deciding when statutory regulation is appropriate on 6 January. You can find out more about how to respond here. The deadline for responding is 31 March 2022 (23:45).
- The plans to extend use of secondary legislation to removing professions from statutory regulation feature in the Health and Care Bill currently going through Parliament. The current section 142 would give the Secretary of State powers to remove professions from statutory regulation through secondary legislation, mirroring the powers that already exist for bringing professions into statutory regulation.