30 September 2013

Review of the process of HCPC approval of practitioner psychologist pre-registration education and training programmes

On 1 July 2009, the British Psychological Society (BPS) transferred its regulatory responsibilities to the HCPC and practitioner psychologists became the fourteenth profession to join the HCPC Register.

In addition to agreeing new standards for the profession, the HCPC became responsible for all the pre-registration programmes which transferred from the Society.  Over the following three years, we visited each of these programmes to confirm their approval against our standards.

As with all new professions, we have undertaken a review of these visits to look at what, if any, key trends emerge.

From the review, we have identified that the approval process was implemented effectively and there were no outstanding issues specific to this profession. Importantly, this shows how our standards, which are designed to be broad and flexible, can be applied across different professions and education programmes.

The review also enabled us to identify where work was greatest over the past three years, if it was what we expected and what we can learn from the process. Specifically, we have used the findings of the review to develop the process of opening the Register to other new professions.

In particular, it has helped us to identify the most efficient way to transfer and utilise information about education and training programmes from previous regulatory or professional bodies. We have also been able to develop our communication with new professions and education professionals to make sure we effectively communicate who we are and what we do to ease the transition for those directly involved.

These developments have been put to good use as we have since welcomed hearing aid dispensers and then social workers in England onto the Register.

The findings in detail

It is clear from our review that no trends emerged that are specific to practitioner psychologist programmes when compared to programmes from the other professions we regulate. All 98 practitioner psychologist programmes we visited were granted approval or had approval reconfirmed.

Although the number of conditions set against each of the practitioner psychologist programmes  varied, the overall average when compared with all other programmes visited over the same period was exactly the same. The particular standards against which conditions were set also mirrored those most commonly set on programmes from other professions.
Number of conditions set on programmes between 2009 and 2012
Percentage of conditions set on programmes between 2009 and 2012

This is a very positive outcome as the results do not suggest that a profession-specific risk profile has emerged or that there are any difficulties in meeting our regulatory standards.

We will now monitor and review how practitioner psychologist  programmes interact with the established monitoring and major change processes to see if any specific trends emerge and, if so, what lessons can be learned from this.

Ben Potter
Education Manager, HCPC

Download a copy of the full  report

Detailed information on the HCPC’s approval and monitoring processes can be found here: www.hcpc-uk.org/education/processes

All HCPC- approved programmes, including practitioner psychologist programmes, appear on our register of approved programmes: www.hcpc-uk.org/education/programmes/register