Summary of findings
In our 2014/15 Performance Review Report we have noted that, this year, as before, all regulators meet the great majority of the Standards of Good Regulation. However we have greater concerns than noted in previous reviews about the performance of some of the health and care regulators in relation to some of the Standards for registration and fitness to practise.
In the report, we have identified where the regulators have or have not met the Standards of Good Regulation and where they have demonstrated improvement. In relation to those Standards which were not met in 2014/15, we note that these were in relation to the registration and fitness to practise functions of the regulators, with the exception of one Standard.
In summary, in 2014/15 we considered that:
Three of the regulators met all 24 of the Standards of Good Regulation: the Health and Care Professions Council, the General Medical Council and the General Osteopathic Council
Two of the regulators met all but one of the Standards of Good Regulation: the General Pharmaceutical Council and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
Four of the regulators did not meet three or more of the Standards of Good Regulation. In particular, we note that the General Chiropractic Council did not meet four of the Standards and performed inconsistently against one; the General Dental Council did not meet eight of the Standards and the Nursing and Midwifery Council did not meet seven of the Standards and performed inconsistently against two others.
As in previous years, we have identified continuing concerns about the performance of some regulators regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of the fitness to practise processes. Some regulators are working to achieve effective control of the core elements of an effective fitness to practise framework, including ensuring that cases are progressed as quickly as possible taking a risk-based approach, improving decision making and ensuring that information is securely retained.
There will be further changes in the sector, possibly including legislative reform. There may also be further change in that we launched a public consultation on the revised performance review process on 7 May 2015. Subject to the outcome of the consultation, this will therefore be the last Performance Review Report in the current form.
We will continue to work with the regulators to ensure that amid these developments, the structures and processes of regulation of the regulators that we oversee continue to meet their statutory responsibilities and focus on public protection.
We have recommended that each of the regulators:
Addresses the concerns highlighted in their individual reports
Reviews the Performance Review Report as a whole, taking account of our views and considers whether they can learn and improve from the practices of the other regulators
Ensures that their Councils reviews and discusses the Performance Review Report in a public Council meeting.
We have shared this report with the Departments of Health in England and the devolved administrations and with the Health Committee in the UK Parliament and the devolved administrations.