We have published our annual performance review of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2022, we monitored the HCPC’s performance against the Standards of Good Regulation (the Standards).
For this period, the HCPC has met 13 out of the 18 Standards. Our report explains how we made our decision.
This year, the HCPC has met our Standard on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). It has worked actively to collect EDI data about its registrants leading to a significant increase in the level of EDI data it holds. The HCPC has a clear commitment to EDI.
We determined that the HCPC did not meet one of our Registration Standards. Although the HCPC received a significant increase in the number of applications it received, it did not process international applications to join the register quickly enough and the lengthy time taken by the registration department to answer phone calls and emails also affected people’s ability to obtain information about registration. We had no concerns with the time taken by the HCPC to process UK applications.
We continue to monitor the HCPC’s implementation of its fitness to practise improvement programme. The HCPC has made significant progress in delivering a number of projects designed to improve its fitness to practise processes following our serious concerns from our audit in 2020 about the quality and timeliness of this part of its work. We have seen evidence of improvement in case progression and decision-making. We will be auditing the process next year but, while acknowledging the work the HCPC has been doing, cannot yet say that the relevant fitness to practise Standards are met.
The performance review is our check on how well the regulators have been protecting the public and promoting confidence in the health and care professions. We do this by assessing their performance against our 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 we are satisfied that a regulator is performing well in that area.
In January 2022, we implemented a new performance review approach, starting with the 2021/22 round of reviews. In the new process, we undertake a ‘periodic review’ of each regulator every three years. This is our opportunity to look closely at all aspects of the regulator’s work. Between these reviews, we monitor their performance, focusing on areas of risk. This year, we undertook a monitoring review of the HCPC.
Note to Editors
- 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 March 2022, there were 297,515 registrants on its register.
- More information about our work and the approach we take is available at www.professionalstandards.org.uk