The HCPC has met all the Standards of Good Regulation for Guidance and Standards, Education and Training, and Registration. Last year the HCPC failed to meet six Fitness to Practise Standards – these still remain unmet. However, the HCPC has made significant progress addressing the concerns we raised – read our full review to find out more.
Guidance and Standards
The HCPC has published an updated statement of its approach to fitness to practise, setting out the HCPC’s understanding of the purpose of fitness to practise proceedings and its expectations of those involved. It also published guidance for the public, What you should expect from your health and care professional, including information about how to raise concerns, and contact details for sources of further information or support.
Education and Training: action is taken where concerns are identified
The HCPC continues to investigate and take action where concerns are identified, including withdrawing its approval from a training programme when concerns were identified and subsequently investigated.
Registration: the process is fair, efficient and transparent
The HCPC’s quarterly performance data showed an increase in the number of registration appeals received and upheld. There was also an increase in appeals relating to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). We decided to carry out a targeted review to explore these issues in more detail. The HCPC explained that most of these CPD appeals related to two professions which renewed their CPD cycles in 2016: social workers and operating department practitioners. It explained action taken to engage with registrants in preparation for the next renewal cycle in 2018. The HCPC provided additional data showing that there has been no significant increase in the number of registration appeals for the year as a whole. It is also recording appeal outcomes more transparently. We did not see evidence that the increase in CPD appeals was a sign of problems and we note that the HCPC has taken action in light of the increase. We will continue to monitor data about registration appeals, including CPD appeals. Overall, we are satisfied that this Standard is met.
Registration: everyone can easily access information about registrants
We carried out a targeted review of this Standard to make sure that the online register correctly displays details of any restrictions on registrants’ practice. Although we did identify a problem affecting some entries on the online register (about 10 per cent of our sample), the HCPC investigated the issue quickly, updated its register entries and put in place a new process to check that these details are displayed and the links work. We did not receive any concerns about this issue from the public and the affected register entries accurately confirmed whether a registrant had a restriction on their practice, and for how long. We have concluded that this Standard is met this year.
Fitness to Practise
In our 2016/17 review we identified serious concerns about the HCPC’s performance in relation to fitness to practise. Concerns related to how the HCPC was applying its ‘Standard of Acceptance’ threshold, assessing risks, considering registrants’ potential health issues, its timeliness and its decision-making, as well as its processes for discontinuing cases and/ or disposing of cases by consent. Six of the Standards were not met (Standards 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8). We carried out a targeted review of these Standards this year and concluded that the HCPC has not met them because at this point, it cannot demonstrate enough evidence of sustained improvement. However, the HCPC has made significant progress during this review period and engaged positively with our findings. It has instigated a wide-ranging action plan to address the causes of the issues we found: some of the planned activities are scheduled to run into late 2018 and beyond. You can read our full report to find out more about the issues we raised and how the HCPC is addressing them.