I’m told, on the best authority (knowing nothing about football) that England has a reputation for keeping its goalkeepers until they are well past their best. As I stand down from my role as Chair of HCPC after nine years, I hope very much that I am not in that category. I have had a fascinating and privileged time at HCPC, and have been part of huge growth and change. I am grateful to my colleagues on the Council and to the employees of HCPC, many of whom I have worked with over many years. It gives me great pleasure to welcome Elaine Buckley, from Sheffield Hallam University, who will step into the role on the 1 July, and I can think of no-one who comes to the job with more enthusiasm, commitment and clear understanding of what regulation is for.
At its best, professional regulation exists for one purpose; to safeguard the public, to make sure professionals are doing their job to a consistent standard, so that the public know what to expect and get what they expect. Regulators are the gatekeepers, the patrols and the judges of the professions. It is for others to be the promoters, advocates and educators. Most of the time, this collaborative approach works well. It would be foolhardy to suggest that there are not many challenges along the way, and tensions will always arise between those who regulate and those who are regulated. For me, the essential components of success are embedded in values. Values define the personality of an organisation, and if people have clarity of purpose in what they do they are less likely to become distracted and pulled towards work that is best carried out by others.
And finally, I would want to add one more observation. I believe that the HCPC has never, and will never, settle for the status quo. It will always be changing, moving forward, recognising that whilst change is unsettling, it is part of the discomfort that goes with improvement.
Anna van der Gaag