18 October 2016

Have you been selected for a CPD audit?

 We put some of our more commonly asked questions from registrants about continuing professional development (CPD) and the HCPC audit process to three of our CPD Assessors Felicity Court, Dr Mick Harper and Emma Barclay. Here’s what they had to say.

What are your top tips for Registrants who have been selected for audit and who are about to embark on the process of submitting their CPD profile?

•  Firstly, it’s important not to panic. The process is not designed to catch you out. Before you begin, have a look on the HCPC website as there is a lot of great information to help you including sample profiles and video tutorials. And make sure that you refer to the ‘CPD and your registration’ document.

•  This is your chance to reflect on your learning over the last 2 years. You'll probably surprise yourself at how much you have done and learnt. Read the guidance carefully to ensure you send everything required in and take time to select a variety of activities to best demonstrate how you've met the 5 standards for CPD (link to standards). You should have a long list of all of your CPD activities that span the last two years (standard 1).

•  But ultimately less is more, select 3-4 examples of CPD activities from your list, make sure they are different types of CPD activities (standard 2) and then discuss them in relation to standards 3 and 4. Standard 5 is complete when you submit your profile.

Have you noted any improvements to the quality of profiles received?

•  The standard has always been high and we have seen it improve with each two yearly ‘round’ of assessment. A change is that the number of CPD profiles submitted electronically has increased considerably.

•  Statistics show us that many registrants pass first time. However there are still a few registrants who make some simple easily avoidable mistakes.

•  To find out about the CPD Audit facts and figures, have a look at the recently published CPD Report 2013-15 and infographic.

What do you look for when assessing a CPD profile?

•  Firstly, that it is a genuine attempt to demonstrate the standards and conduct CPD. I look for a well-structured and easy to read profile. This helps me to pick out the evidence for each of the standards and be assured the registrant has met all the standards. Often ‘less is more’. Good profiles are just a few pages long.

•  If the profile contains a 2-year list of CPD activities that are a range of different types of learning I can immediately tick standards 1 and 2. Ideally around half a dozen examples usually gives the assessors a clear picture of how the registrant has benefited from the CPD activities to see how they meet Standards 3 and 4.

•  If a particular course for example has been useful it is sufficient to enclose evidence of attendance alongside a brief programme of what was covered. We do not need to see copies of every handout you were given over a 3 day period. 

•  Ultimately we are looking for evidence of your reflections on what you learned, how you feel it has benefitted your practice and ultimately helped your service users.

What common mistakes do you see when assessing CPD profiles?

•  Not keeping or providing a dated list of all CPD activities undertaken during the registration period as part of the submitted profile. It is obvious to assessors where registrants haven’t maintained their list and are filling it in from memory.

•  It can be really frustrating if a profile is well presented but without this list. The registrant will then have to be asked for further information by the assessors as we are unable to see evidence that the registrant has participated regularly in CPD and maintained a record of this.

•  Not explicitly describing the benefits that an activity has had to the registrant and to the service users they work with. Sometimes it seems that the registrant assumes the assessor will ‘read between the lines’ when in fact we need the registrant to state all the benefits however obvious they might seem to you.

•  Read standards 3 and 4 carefully and make sure your examples describe how you have met both of these standards. A registrant can sometimes focus on one more than another leading to a request for further information.

•  Secondly, sometimes registrants try to tell us too much and this dilutes the quality of their profile, remember to just select 3-4 CPD activities that span the 2-year cycle. Be explicit-how did that activity make you better in your role, how did it benefit service users and what service users were they?

There are a range of resources available to support registrants undertaking CPD on our dedicated webpages and on our YouTube channel, visit www.hcpc-uk.org/cpd.

04 October 2016

The role of the HCPC fitness to practise panel

Registered Paramedic Mark Woolcock explains that the fitness to practise panel is there to determine whether an HCPC registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired.

During a hearing, evidence is put forward by the HCPC and the registrant, and witnesses can be questioned. The panel will then listen, evaluate and place weight on the evidence it hears before deciding whether any action needs to be taken in order to protect the public.

The Panel doesn’t represent the HCPC and we act independently of them. A fitness to practise panel is made up of three members: A chairperson who leads the hearing and speaks for the panel, a lay person who is not registered with the HCPC and a registrant member from the same profession as the person being investigated.

My role as a paramedic registrant panel member is to evaluate all available information and evidence, and assist the panel in making an objective and informed decision. I feel it is a very privileged position to be in. I have great a responsibility to ensure continued public protection and confidence in the profession, while simultaneously providing an intuitive and empirical perspective to help understand the role of the registrant. My advice to anyone involved in a process is to always attend the hearing. The panel want to hear what everyone has to say and I cannot emphasise enough how much value the panel place on attendance.

The panel work usually starts months in advance; the Scheduling Team will sort out panel member’s availability. Once a date is confirmed, the office will ensure that no conflict of interest exists and that the panel members have no involvement with parties in the case.

Once confirmed, the papers will be sent out in good time. I do two readings: firstly when the papers have arrived so I can familiarise myself with the parties (again to finally ensure no conflict of interest) and also to obtain an understanding of the issues. My final reading is the day before the panel meets, and I find this enables me to have a really good handle on all of the information and details.

After every single hearing or panel activity I have been involved in, I am always left with a huge sense of contributing to a fair and just process and the sole objective is to allow the truth to be heard.
I applied for this role because I have a strong professional conscience and believe whole-heartedly in our profession and the people carrying out our role. It would be too easy to say my only objective was to ensure continued public safety, but I do believe strongly in ensuring that any registrant going through a fitness to practise process is supported and measured against only the most objective standard. I want registrants to believe the process is fair and just, and have confidence in the panel members experience and integrity.

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