29 September 2015

A reflection on my first 100 days with The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC's new Council Chair, Elaine Buckley, reflects on her first 100 days in office.

Following the 100th meeting of HCPC’s Council in my first 100 days it’s a good time to reflect on my experience of joining the organisation as Chair. I would therefore like to share with you some of the key elements of my reflections as I approach this key milestone.

In common with many colleagues, I have worked in both health and social care provider organisations and higher education institutions, one thing both sectors have in common is the unrelenting pace of change. I therefore took up the role of Chair of the HCPC wondering if it is possible for regulation to enable change rather than act as a barrier. The evidence I have gathered over my time at the HCPC is moving me towards a conclusion that it (regulation) can, and in fact should, enable change.

The rationale for my conclusion is multifaceted; as a regulator of 16 professions working across a range of sectors, the HCPC has an outcome model of regulation, using a framework of standards relevant to all. This enables registrants to apply them to their own context. Recent work carried out to evaluate our CPD standards provides robust evidence to support this theory. Our programme of education visits also demonstrates that innovative programme design and delivery is possible within the framework of our standards of education and training.

Partnership is another key feature of how we work at the HCPC, whether that be with professional bodies, registrants, service users, employers or education providers. For example, we have recently worked with and launched a campaign to highlight the benefits of using arts therapists to employers. The organisation also has a broad programme of events and consultations, aimed at either gathering opinion or sharing evidence and good practice. We recently consulted on the revised standards of conduct, performance and ethics and guidance for disabled people wanting to become health and care professionals both which will be launched in the coming months. I am also very much looking forward to my first series of public events in Scotland next month. We are committed to being 'in touch' with the professions that we regulate and these events provide a vital opportunity to share and also hear what is happening.

Continuous quality improvement dominates the culture of the HCPC. That could be in response to stakeholder feedback through our regular research activities. It could also be through a cyclical programme of standards review, to ensure they remain relevant and current or our on-going work to further engage with members of the public, service users and patient safety groups. 

I have been fortunate to join a very effective and efficient organisation, but it’s by no means complacent. There is much work we need to do in order to ensure that the model of regulation we adopt delivers its ultimate objective; public protection, but in doing so enables our stakeholders to respond to the changing demands within their operating environment, whenever and wherever that might be.

Activity for the coming months includes refreshing the strategy for 2016 and beyond, publication of the new standards of conduct, performance and ethics and beginning work on reviewing the standards of education and training as well as improvements to our fitness to practise processes and our registration systems.

I look forward to working with my colleagues over the coming months and years to continue to strengthen the evidence base for regulation and build even stronger engagement among our stakeholders. 

02 September 2015

Students: what you need to know about the HCPC

Welcome to all those embarking on one of our approved education and training courses this autumn. Here’s 11 things all new students should know about the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).  

1. We are a UK multi-profession regulator created to protect the public
The HCPC was created by legislation - the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 - and is independent of government, professional bodies and trade unions. We currently regulate 16 health and care professions.

2. We keep a Register of health and care professionals who meet our standards for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health
Those registered are called ‘registrants’. Registrants must be HCPC registered in order to use one of our legally protected titles, for example ‘Physiotherapist’, ‘Paramedic’ and ‘Social Worker’. This applies to those working in both public and private sectors.

3. In order to remain registered with us, registrants must continue to meet the standards that we set for your profession
There are four key sets of standards: Standards of conduct, performance and ethics; Standards of Proficiency; Standards of education and training; Standards of continuing professional development. These standards determine registrants’ ‘fitness to practise’.

4. Standards of conduct, performance and ethics set out the behaviour and conduct expected of our registrants
These standards apply to both registrants and prospective registrants. We have produced guidance on conduct and ethics for students based on these standards, which will enable you to familiarise yourself with them prior to registration with us.

5. Students’ behaviour whilst studying can impact on their ability to register with HCPC
While we do not register students or trainees, our Standards of conduct, performance and ethics apply to those studying to join a profession regulated by HCPC.

6. Every registrant must meet the Standards of proficiency for their profession
Meeting these standards is a requirement in order to become registered and to remain on the HCPC Register. Students must be able to meet these standards when they complete an approved programme.

7. Standards of education and training must be met by education providers
These standards ensure that all those completing an approved programme meet the standards of proficiency.

8. Standards of continuing professional development (CPD) must be met by all registrants
CPD is the way registrants continue to learn and develop throughout their careers so they keep their skills and knowledge up to date and are able to work safely, legally and effectively. Registrants must maintain a continuous and accurate record of their CPD activities.

9. The HCPC’s fitness to practise (FtP) process is designed to protect the public from those who are not fit to practise.
We can take action when there are concerns about a registrant’s conduct or competence. It is important to remember that only a very small percentage of registrants are ever subject to FtP concerns. Of the 322,021 registrants on the Register, just 0.64% were subject to FtP concerns last year.

10. Once you have successfully completed your training, you will need to register with HCPC before you are able to start work using a protected title
Your education provider will notify HCPC that you have successfully completed your programme. You can then apply to join the Register at www.hcpc-uk.org/apply. Your application must include: a character reference; certified copies of two forms of ID; the registration fee. Students currently receive a 50% discount on the first two years registration.

11. You must renew your HCPC registration every two years
We will notify you three months before your registration ends. The quickest and most convenient way to renew your registration is online.

Students can find out more about the HCPC via the website at www.hcpc-uk.org. Visit the ‘students and prospective registrants’ section for relevant information and guidance.