21 September 2016

Key findings from the continuing professional development (CPD) audit report for 2013-2015

Natalie Berrie, HCPC Registration Manager highlights the key findings from the continuing professional development (CPD) audit report for 2013-2015.
This is the fourth report on our CPD audits and we are delighted that, once again, the results are very positive. Our registrants are becoming increasingly familiar with the CPD process and our Standards are also being well understood.

During the period 2013-2015 we randomly selected 8,164 registrants across all 16 professions regulated by the HCPC, to submit their CPD profiles. In the majority of cases the quality was high, with registrants demonstrating they had met the Standards.
Here are our top 7 observations from this year’s report:
1.    Nearly 81% of profiles met the CPD standards, demonstrating links between ongoing learning and benefits to practice and service users.
2.    No registrants were removed because their profile was assessed as not meeting the Standards.  
3.    Most of the profiles submitted were of a high standard and accepted by our assessors after their first assessment. This is particularly good news as it shows that despite the growth in our Register and the number of profiles submitted, registrants are continuing to maintain these higher standards.
4.    Only a small 0.3 per cent, that’s 22 people of the 8,164 selected for audit, were removed from the Register. The decision to remove those individuals was made because they had failed to submit either a CPD profile or provide further information in support of their profile despite being given several opportunities to do so.
5.    Our initial analysis is that there are no significant differences between outcomes in different professions. This was the first time social workers were audited and the report has shown that their results are in line with the other professions.
6.    Out of the fifteen professions that have been audited more than once, nine have seen an increase in the number of profiles accepted compared to their previous audit.
7.    10.7 per cent of those selected chose to defer their audit profile. This was consistent with the level of registrants who deferred in our previous report. The most common reasons for deferring were being, or having been on maternity leave, or due to health issues. 
We are currently undertaking a review of our CPD process and the results of this report will be used to help inform our future guidance which will be consulted on in October 2016.
Whenever a profession renews its registration, we randomly audit the CPD of 2.5 per cent of registrants from that profession. Those that are selected must submit a CPD profile to show how they met our Standards. This is an on-going requirement for everyone on the Register to be able to practise in their chosen profession.
If you have been selected for CPD and have concerns about going through process of submitting your profile, take a look at our dedicated webpages which have a range of resources designed to help.
Visit www.hcpc-uk.org/registrants/cpd for more information.


15 August 2016

12 months on since I joined HCPC as Council Chair

HCPC Council Chair Elaine Buckley reflects on her first year in office.


12 months into my tenure as Chair of the HCPC, a busy and very interesting year. I thought I knew a fair bit about regulation, but I have learnt a great deal more with more still to come.

Since July 2015, I've had the pleasure of meeting many interesting people: Ministers, civil servants, and professional bodies. There is a great deal of consensus about the need for professional regulation, but also healthy debate about how this is best achieved. It is important for the HCPC to continue its relentless work meeting stakeholders, listening, as well as advising.


One of the great highlights of the past year has been travelling around the country meeting registrants. I have attended 6 events and met over 400 registrants, some in major cities; such as Manchester, London and Belfast. However HCPC feels it is very important to visit those areas slightly less accessible so we visited Stornaway, Fort William and Dalton on Furness. This is a crucial activity for the organisation, as it is essential that we stay in touch with all our registrants and listen to their views and comments, as well as providing opportunities for HCPC regulated professions to meet our employees and Council members. The theme for this year's events is our refreshed Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics. These have been received very positively and we have had some rich discussions about how valuable the Standards are in providing a framework for the supervision of students, appraisal conversations and peer support. Keep an eye on our website for events  and in our newsletter 'In Focus'.


This year we welcomed a new registrant member of Council; Maureen Drake, an OT working at the Community Healthcare Trust, in Leeds. We also continue to enjoy the support from over 800 partners, who are registrants from all parts of the register and who undertake vital work and make key decisions within our regulation model. These include membership of fitness to practice panels, continuing professional development portfolio assessors and education programme visitors. As a former partner for more than 8 years, I found working with the HCPC both rewarding and insightful and it helped me appreciate the work of a regulator and most importantly understand the benefits for me as a registrant. See the opportunities to work with the HCPC.


The coming year is gearing up to be equally busy with the Government currently planning a consultation about the future shape of regulation in the Autumn and the proposals  for the regulation of social workers are becoming clearer. I have a presentation at the Malaysian regulatory conference already in the diary. But most of all I am looking forward to meeting many more registrants, managers and education providers, as I attend the ambitious programme of events already planned, across the UK.


Hope to see you there!

06 June 2016

Focus on Standard 7: Reporting and escalating concerns

Michael Guthrie, HCPC’s Director of Policy and Standards talks about what our standards of conduct, performance and ethics say about the need for registrants to report concerns about the safety of service users.

What does the standard say?

Standard seven says that registrants must report any concerns about the safety or wellbeing of service users promptly and appropriately. They must also follow-up their concerns where necessary. This includes supporting others to report concerns and acknowledging and acting on concerns reported to them.

Why is the standard important?

The reports of inquiries into failings in health and social care services in recent years have emphasised the importance of individuals reporting concerns they have about the safety of service users and the importance that organisations are responsive to these concerns.

The previous version of the Standards already required registrants to protect service users from harm but our specific expectations were scattered throughout the standards. We have created a dedicated standard and revised the language we have used to make our expectations as clear as possible. We have also included a new requirement that in addition to raising concerns themselves, registrants should support others to raise concerns and, where appropriate to do so, should act on concerns raised to them. This is particularly important for registrants who are in management and leadership positions.

We want to contribute to creating a culture that actively encourages registrants to report concerns and take appropriate action where necessary to keep service users safe.

What does this mean for registrants?

We are asking registrants that when they are concerned about the safety or well-being of service users they take prompt and effective action. For registrants who are employed this might include raising the issue in the first instance informally with their immediate line manager or discussing the issue with their trade union, for example. Most employers will have whistleblowing policies that registrants should be aware of and follow where possible.

For very serious concerns and where no or ineffective action has been taken, we would expect registrants to use their professional judgement, by following-up on their concerns (in line with any whistleblowing policy if there is one) and considering escalating them where necessary. This means passing on their concerns to someone who is better able to act on it, for example a more senior colleague or manager. In some circumstances this might also include passing information to us, to another regulator or to the police.

We know that health and care professionals can understandably be reluctant to raise concerns because they are worried about the consequences for others involved or for their own careers. We want the standards to provide positive encouragement for registrants to use their professional judgement in raising and escalating concerns they have for the benefit of service users and the public.

We have published further advice about raising and escalating concerns on our website. This includes a process diagram to follow when thinking about raising concerns, and suggestions of further sources of advice and support.

Further information about the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics is available here.

For more information about Standard 7, or to address any queries you may have, join in our TweetChat on Tuesday 21 June at 6.00pm using the hashtag #my_standards

09 May 2016

Pass lists: why are they important?

Registration Manager Paul Robson explains the importance of pass lists for new graduates applying to join the HCPC Register.

May signals the start of a particularly busy period for our Registration Department as we receive an influx of new applications to join the HCPC Register from students who have completed one of our approved education and training programmes.

In order to confirm that the individuals applying to our Register have successfully completed an approved programme, the Registration Department relies on checking that applicants are on pass lists for the relevant programme sent to us by education providers.

So just why are pass lists so important?

Here’s six things that education providers should be aware of… 

1. We are unable to process an individual’s application for registration without a pass list.

2. If you do not submit a pass list in a timely manner, students’ registration may be delayed.

3. You should send us a pass list when you are satisfied that all your award requirements have been fully met and conferred.

4. We will only register applicants if their full name and date of birth matches those on the pass list so accuracy of data is very important.

5. We accept pass lists at any time of the year. If a pass list is updated, an updated version should be sent to us.

6. Pass lists should be sent to xpl@hcpc-uk.org in the format we require.

Without pass lists, we are unable to process applications for registration. This means that failure to submit them will result in individuals experiencing delays in their registration, affecting their ability to use the relevant protected title.

Therefore, we ask education providers to submit their pass lists as soon as practically possible to prevent any delays in registration.

For more information visit www.hcpc-uk.org/education/providers/passlists

05 May 2016

The 5 W’s of mediation

Head of Case Management, Eve Seall, provides an overview of the HCPC’s mediation pilot including how it can resolve fitness to practise (FtP) cases and avoid a contested hearing, whilst still ensuring public protection.

What... is mediation?

Mediation is a confidential process for people who have been involved in a dispute. They can meet, discuss issues and reach a solution with the help of a neutral mediator. It is a voluntary process; both parties must be willing to participate for it to work.

The mediation process is flexible and depends on each situation. Normally, the mediator meets each side separately and asks them to explain how they see the situation, how they would like it to change and how they feel it could be settled. This is then followed by a joint meeting involving both sides. It can take place in person or online.

Where... does mediation fit in with the HCPC’s role as a regulator?

Our role is to maintain high standards in the professions we regulate and to protect the public. As part of this, we want to provide a range of ways to settle disputes.

Mediation is a way of settling cases which promotes understanding between professionals and service users who have been in disagreement. This alternative approach avoids a contested hearing, whilst still ensuring the public is adequately protected.

When... can fitness to practise cases be referred to mediation?

Criteria have been set to ensure that only suitable cases are referred to the mediation process.

A case can be referred to mediation at the following stages of the fitness to practise process:

a) When a no case to answer decision is made by the Investigating Committee Panel where there is a realistic prospect of the facts being proved, but not the grounds or impairment.

b) When a case to answer decision has been made but there is a reasonable chance that mediation may resolve the concerns. The Committee can include a timeframe for attempting mediation and direct that the case be referred back should mediation be unsuccessful.

Why... can mediation be beneficial?

Mediation can have a number of benefits, including:
  • In instances where there is no case to answer, it can provide a way of dealing with issues that were not considered serious enough to form part of the allegation, but still need to be settled.
  • In instances where there is a case to answer, it can provide an alternative way to settle a case.
  • It can help the professional understand why a concern was raised, what led to it and whether there are things that can be done to prevent fitness to practise investigations in the future.
  • It can help both sides understand the situation from another point of view.
  • It can help everyone involved in a disagreement reach a solution together.
  • It can make both sides feel more involved in the decision-making process. This can mean that both sides are satisfied with the outcome.

Who... is the mediator?

We provide independent and experienced mediators who are trained and qualified. These individuals are not employed by HCPC.

The mediator listens to both sides and helps to manage the discussion. They do not take sides, give advice or make decisions - their role is to help all those involved reach an agreement which is acceptable to all.

A word from Council

“I am so pleased that the HCPC is providing mediation as one way of resolving cases. It fits well with our responsibility to both maintain standards and safeguard the health and wellbeing of service users. I have worked as a mediator in the past, so I know from experience how helpful mediation can be for all those involved.”

Jo Mussen, HCPC Council Member

For more information about the mediation process visit www.hcpc-uk.org/complaints/mediation

04 May 2016

9 things you should know about our Education Annual Report

Education Manager Ben Potter highlights key findings presented in the 2015 report, providing insight into our work in approving and monitoring UK education and training programmes.

1. 2014-15 marked the third and final year of the 93 scheduled approval visits to social work programmes in England following the transfer of regulatory functions from the General Social Care Council (GSCC) to the HCPC in 2012. We also undertook the final year of the 20 scheduled approval visits to post-registration programmes for approved mental health professionals (AMHP) following the introduction of the approval criteria for this entitlement in 2012-13. As a result, we have seen an anticipated reduction in our approvals work and an increase in our monitoring activity. Moving forward, our monitoring processes – including major change and annual monitoring – will increasingly be the main way in which we continue to assess approved programmes.

2. In contrast to previous years, approval visits continued into the summer months of July and August. Typically it takes three months after an approval visit for the process to finish and for a final decision about a programmes’ approval to be made. Because of this, the timing of summer visits may impact on programmes’ ability to recruit students if they want to start in September. To ensure there is sufficient time for any conditions on approval to be met before a September start date, we prefer to avoid visits in late summer. Education providers should also be aware that we require at least six months’ notice of a visit to a new programme to ensure effective preparation.

3. The most significant increase in approved programmes was in the paramedic profession where there was a 20% increase in 2014-15. This is linked to workforce planning for the profession which led to reactive commissioning, the creation of new programmes and an increase in student numbers for existing programmes. Whilst many programmes engaged with us early and we organised visits in good time, some did not until later in the year. This contributed to the high number of conditions placed on paramedic programmes, and meant that some education providers had to revise their initial estimated start dates.

4. Over the year, 796 conditions were set across the 100 programmes visited; an average of eight per programme. The majority of conditions set related to programme management and resources (SET 3) and practice placements (SET 5). Our guidance document provides further information about how we assess programmes against our standards.

5. We received 416 major change notifications; a 32% increase on last year and more than in any previous year. This indicates that our model of open-ended approval is achieving the task it was set out to do; preventing the need for cyclical re-approval visits where possible.

6. We also considered 653 annual monitoring submissions - more than ever before. However 99% of programmes showed sufficient evidence of continuing to meet our Standards of education and training (SET) in 2014-15. This result demonstrates that our model of approval works and that programmes can continue to demonstrate how they continue to meet our standards via documentary submissions. 

7. As part of the 2015-16 annual monitoring process, education providers are expected to provide evidence to meet our new SET about service user and carer involvement. To assist with this, we have amended our communications to emphasise the additional evidence requirement. We will also increase the number of assessment days to enable us to minimise the number of submissions that will be considered via correspondence.

8. The percentage of programmes subject to concerns has remained below 1% in 2014-15. This is positive and highlights the fact that there are very few approved programmes that people have concerns about. It also emphasises the role our approval and monitoring processes play in ensuring that programmes continue to meet the SETs.

9. In 2014-15, following receipt of all the required documentation regarding a major change submission, it took on average just over two months for the process to be completed and the education provider notified of the outcome. This means that education providers were given a clear, unambiguous answer regarding their programme’s ongoing approval within a short timeframe, appropriate to the changes they had made.

The 2015 Education Annual Report is now available to download here.

For more information about our approval and monitoring processes for UK education and training programmes visit www.hcpc-uk.org/education

01 April 2016

Focus on Standard eight: Be open when things go wrong

Michael Guthrie, HCPC’s Director of Policy and Standards talks about a new standard which requires registrants to be open and honest when things go wrong.

What does the new standard say?

Standard eight says that registrants need to be open and honest when something has gone wrong with the care, treatment or other services that they provide. This includes letting service users and carers know; apologising; and taking action to put matters right if they can. The standard also says that registrants need to support service users and carers to raise concerns and be helpful and honest in their responses to complaints.

Why a new standard and why is it important?

The reports of inquiries into failings in health and social care services in recent years have emphasised the importance of organisations and individuals being open and honest when service users are harmed or could have been harmed, as a result of errors or mistakes in the care or treatment they have received. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘duty of candour’. In England, there is now a statutory duty of candour which some organisations in health and social care have to meet, and similar requirements are being introduced in the other UK countries.

The previous version of the Standards already required registrants to be honest and to protect service users from harm. The new standard builds on this to set out clearer and more specific expectations. We do not use the term ‘candour’ because of feedback that this term was not always understood.

The other UK wide regulators of health and care professionals either have or are introducing a similar standard for their registrants. We all want to make a small, but important, contribution to creating a culture that supports professionals being open and honest with service users and carers about mistakes and errors and one which is open to, and acts on, feedback – both positive and negative.

What does this mean for registrants?

We are asking registrants to be transparent in their work and to act appropriately to make sure that service users and carers are not kept in the dark when something goes wrong.

The work that health and care professionals do is very often highly pressured and rarely risk free. The standard isn’t about penalising registrants when inevitably mistakes happen or where outcomes are not as beneficial as they had hoped. But it is about expecting registrants to act appropriately when they identify that something has gone wrong. This includes letting the service user know but also, for example, making sure that any records are completed accurately. For registrants who are employed, this includes making sure that they use their employer’s incident reporting arrangements where appropriate.

The Standard includes an expectation that registrants will apologise when something goes wrong. Service users and carers have fed back to us about the power of apologies – that though simple and easy to give, they make a huge difference to the service user, and to their relationship with the professional, even where the person apologising had not made the mistake. We know that sometimes professionals can be reluctant to apologise for fear of the consequences. We are very clear that an apology is a positive thing and not an admission of liability or wrongdoing.

As with any of our standards, we expect registrants to use their professional judgement. For example, some registrants will work in teams where it might be more appropriate for another professional to inform a service user or to make an apology. We expect registrants to adhere to the principles of these standards and that they are able to justify their decisions and actions if asked to.

Further information about the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics is available here.

For more information about Standard eight, or to address any queries you may have, join in our tweetchat on Thursday 21 April at 6.00pm using the hashtag #my_standards