In our 2016/17 performance review, we are pleased to see that the General Chiropractic Council has maintained the improvement in its performance and continued to meet 23 out of 24 of our Standards of Good Regulation.
The GCC has met 23 out of 24 of our Standards of Good Regulation and maintained the improvement we noted in last year's review.
Guidance and standards: additional guidance helps registrants apply the regulator's standards
The GCC published its new Code – Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for chiropractors in June 2016. It also published additional guidance to help chiropractors understand their obligations around: advertising, candour, confidentiality, consent, maintaining sexual boundaries and the use of social media.
Education and training: standards are linked to standards for registrants, prioritising patient/service user safety
To ensure that its education standards relate directly to the newly-published Code, the GCC has continued with its project to review them and make sure that the standards reflect current and future healthcare training provision. The GCC shared the draft standards with stakeholders in April 2016, followed by a public consultation in May. Workshops were held in September and November and then the GCC met with chiropractic education providers in January 2017 to get more feedback, before finalising the standards for its Education Committee to approve. The new standards should become effective from September 2017.
Registration: only those who meet the regulator’s requirements are registered
Last year we carried out a targeted review of this Standard. This assured us that the GCC was correctly following its registration processes. The GCC has introduced checks to identify whether applicants for registration have been presenting themselves as chiropractors/offering chiropractic services during periods while they were not registered or while they were not registered as practising. We looked at the non-practising registration process and are satisfied that the GCC provides clear guidance for registrants on non-practising registration and has put appropriate checks in place. The GCC is also currently working with its IT contractors to enable registrants to upload details and evidence of their indemnity arrangements to its website.
Fitness to practise: cases are prioritised/dealt with as quickly as possible
We carried out a targeted review to look at an increase in the time the GCC is taking to make final Investigating Committee decisions. The GCC explained that a number of factors had contributed to the increase, including: changes to the investigation process; increase in advertising complaints; and dealing with more complex cases. The GCC explained the actions it has taken to improve its timeliness. Additionally, it is outsourcing Professional Conduct Committee referrals to a legal firm; and extending Investigating Committee panel sessions to two days rather than one. We concluded that the Standard is met – the GCC has addressed/started to address all the factors which contributed to delays in timeliness. We will monitor this again in our next review.
Fitness to practise: all parties are kept updated on progress
Concerns were identified in our 2014 audit regarding keeping parties updated and responding to correspondence received. The GCC did not meet this Standard last year nor in the previous year. We do recognise that the GCC has tried to improve its performance in this area, and has started to make changes but has had limited time since our last performance review for these changes to result in sufficient improvement. Therefore the GCC has not met this Standard.