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. 

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