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‘A positive step towards risk-based regulation of healthcare professions’ – Authority submits response to Government consultation on criteria for regulating professions

The Professional Standards Authority has responded to the Government’s consultation Healthcare regulation: deciding when statutory regulation is appropriate. We support the Government’s proposals for 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.

We are glad to see Government reference its intention to seek the Authority’s advice and have highlighted in our response some questions around what the Authority’s future role might be. In our role overseeing the statutory professional regulators and the Accredited Registers programme we are well placed to spot emerging public protection risks and consider how these might be best managed.

The Government’s proposals align with our 2016 guidance Right-touch assurance: a methodology for assessing and assuring occupational risk of harm which called for a more coherent, risk-based approach to deciding who should be regulated, and for governments to consider other, more agile ways in which the public can be protected from lower risk professions.

We also welcome the Government’s endorsement in the consultation of alternatives, like our Accredited Registers programme, for groups that do not meet their criteria for statutory regulation.

The new policy would underpin powers in the Health and Care Bill for Ministers to take professions out of statutory regulation through secondary rather than primary legislation – mirroring existing powers to bring professions into regulation.

Alan Clamp, Chief Executive of the Professional Standards Authority, said:

‘We are very pleased to see Government endorsing a transparent, risk-based approach to which healthcare professions are regulated, which the Authority has long called for.

'It is right that statutory regulation is used only where necessary and that more flexible, cost-effective alternatives are used where appropriate.

'The Authority is well placed to provide advice on options for managing the risks of different groups and we look forward to working with Government and wider stakeholders on next steps once the consultation has closed.’


Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care


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.
  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
  8. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) published the consultation Healthcare regulation: deciding when statutory regulation is appropriate on 6 January and it runs until 31 March.
  9. 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.