The HCPC is an efficient regulator and meets the great majority of the Standards. However, in the last two performance reviews of the HCPC we identified areas of concern and, this year, have concluded that three Standards are not met.
Publishing revised standards of conduct, performance and ethics (scpe)
The HCPC published revised standards in January 2016. It also reviewed and published revised Guidance on Conduct and Ethics for Students to ensure this guidance reflected the changes to the SCPE. The HCPC continues to publish guidance and standards on its website and these are available in alternative formats. It also continues to raise awareness of them through social media activity, blogs, newsletters and other events.
Registration: the registration process
Following a targeted review, we concluded that this Standard was not met. Our concerns related mainly to the registration appeals process, particularly where applicants for registration had made a declaration relating to their character. Our assessment was that the HCPC’s process may not be fully in accordance with their governance rules and we also felt that there was a lack of transparency. Read more details in our full performance review report.
Fitness to practise: complaints are reviewed on receipt and serious cases are prioritised
Our 2014/15 performance review outlined our ongoing concerns around timeliness and quality of risk assessments. However, our targeted review for 2015/16 highlighted areas where improvement was needed. These related to continued failures and delays to carry out risk assessments and their quality. We were pleased to note that there has been an improvement in the timescale for obtaining interim orders. However, we are concerned at the number of adjournments of interim order hearings where there are serious concerns about protecting the public.
Review of standards for education and training
The HCPC began a periodic review of these standards in 2014. The review is taking place over three years and in three phases. The first phase consisted of research and stakeholder engagement which is now complete. The second phase is now underway and involves establishing a Professional Liaison Group comprised of members of the HCPC Council and stakeholder representatives. This group is responsible for producing draft revised standards.
Fitness to practise: anyone can raise a concern/information about those concerns is shared
The HCPC has made changes to its standard of acceptance for complaints which we considered carefully. We were satisfied that changes made would not deter complaints being made. The HCPC published a factsheet to help clarify to members of the public about the Standards of acceptance. The HCPC has continued to expand its information-sharing arrangements with relevant organisations. We welcome these initiatives.
Fitness to practise: cases are dealt with as quickly as possible
We first noted an increase in the time taken to progress complaints in our 2013/14 review. This trend has continued. The HCPC is taking steps to address the concerns but these had not translated into improvements in the period of the review. Read more about this in our full report.
Fitness to practise: all parties are kept updated on the progress of their case
The HCPC opened a new dedicated hearings centre in January 2016 with increased room capacity and enhanced facilities, including video conferencing − helping to support witnesses, especially vulnerable witnesses.