16 March 2015

AMHP training and education programmes: how can the conditions set during 2013/14 approval visits inform and guide education providers?

This was one of the key questions considered by our education team following the first year review of approval visits to AMHP programmes. Education Manager, Ben Potter, explains.

As part of the transfer of the General Social Care Council’s (GSCC) regulatory functions to the HCPC in August 2012, we became responsible for approving and monitoring AMHP education and training programmes in England.

All approved AMHP programmes are required to meet our criteria and conditions can be placed on programmes that do not. These conditions must be met before we can approve or continue to approve a programme.

During the 2013-14 academic year we considered 17 programmes at 11 education providers. We are scheduled to visit a further ten transitionally approved programmes at eight providers in 2014-15.

All AMHP education and training programmes visited in 2013/14 have now demonstrated how they have met any conditions placed on them – thus demonstrating how they meet our criteria – and are now approved.

To help, inform and guide education providers for the future, here we consider the two areas that incurred the highest number of conditions so that we can provide further understanding of certain aspects of our approval criteria. Our full report – Review of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approval visits to approved mental health professional (AMHP) education and training programmes in the 2013-14 academic year – is available to download.

Practice placements

As an education provider, you need to own and manage practice placements, including policies and procedures around approval and monitoring of placement settings; the staff in place; and ensuring that placement settings provide a safe and supportive environment.

When setting conditions in these areas, we often found that education providers would not own the policies, or would make assumptions that the placements were well-resourced in terms of staff, due to them being in statutory settings.

There were also assumptions by education providers that placements were providing a safe and supportive environment for students, due to the post registration nature of these programmes meaning that students were often employees of the organisation that provided their placements.

When we applied conditions in this area, education providers had often not considered that these employees / students need to be supported differently when undertaking activities to support their AMHP training in their place of work, when compared to how they need to be supported when carrying out their day to day role.

Documentation

Documentation underpins how programmes run in every area. We require documentation to communicate expectations about how a programme will interact with its stakeholders – including students, placement providers, and staff – and that it clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of all parties in the running of the programme.

As an education provider, if your documentation is of a poor standard, we are unable to make a well-informed judgement about whether particular criterion are met. When we are unable to fully assess and reach a decision, we need to apply a condition to ensure that the criterion is met.

How can understanding these key issues help to inform a future approval visit?

As an organisation, we have learnt a great deal from these visits and about how we will aim to help, inform and guide education providers participating in future visits.

You can find a range of guidance about our approval visits on the HCPC website. There are also online resources, featuring case studies and presentations from our seminars delivered to education providers in autumn 2014.

If your AMHP programme is being approved in 2015, or if you would like advice about the AMHP approval criteria, you can contact the member of our team allocated to manage your approval visit, or you can email education@hcpc-uk.org.


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