09 May 2016

Pass lists: why are they important?

Registration Manager Paul Robson explains the importance of pass lists for new graduates applying to join the HCPC Register.

May signals the start of a particularly busy period for our Registration Department as we receive an influx of new applications to join the HCPC Register from students who have completed one of our approved education and training programmes.

In order to confirm that the individuals applying to our Register have successfully completed an approved programme, the Registration Department relies on checking that applicants are on pass lists for the relevant programme sent to us by education providers.

So just why are pass lists so important?

Here’s six things that education providers should be aware of… 

1. We are unable to process an individual’s application for registration without a pass list.

2. If you do not submit a pass list in a timely manner, students’ registration may be delayed.

3. You should send us a pass list when you are satisfied that all your award requirements have been fully met and conferred.

4. We will only register applicants if their full name and date of birth matches those on the pass list so accuracy of data is very important.

5. We accept pass lists at any time of the year. If a pass list is updated, an updated version should be sent to us.

6. Pass lists should be sent to xpl@hcpc-uk.org in the format we require.

Without pass lists, we are unable to process applications for registration. This means that failure to submit them will result in individuals experiencing delays in their registration, affecting their ability to use the relevant protected title.

Therefore, we ask education providers to submit their pass lists as soon as practically possible to prevent any delays in registration.

For more information visit www.hcpc-uk.org/education/providers/passlists

05 May 2016

The 5 W’s of mediation

Head of Case Management, Eve Seall, provides an overview of the HCPC’s mediation pilot including how it can resolve fitness to practise (FtP) cases and avoid a contested hearing, whilst still ensuring public protection.

What... is mediation?

Mediation is a confidential process for people who have been involved in a dispute. They can meet, discuss issues and reach a solution with the help of a neutral mediator. It is a voluntary process; both parties must be willing to participate for it to work.

The mediation process is flexible and depends on each situation. Normally, the mediator meets each side separately and asks them to explain how they see the situation, how they would like it to change and how they feel it could be settled. This is then followed by a joint meeting involving both sides. It can take place in person or online.

Where... does mediation fit in with the HCPC’s role as a regulator?

Our role is to maintain high standards in the professions we regulate and to protect the public. As part of this, we want to provide a range of ways to settle disputes.

Mediation is a way of settling cases which promotes understanding between professionals and service users who have been in disagreement. This alternative approach avoids a contested hearing, whilst still ensuring the public is adequately protected.

When... can fitness to practise cases be referred to mediation?

Criteria have been set to ensure that only suitable cases are referred to the mediation process.

A case can be referred to mediation at the following stages of the fitness to practise process:

a) When a no case to answer decision is made by the Investigating Committee Panel where there is a realistic prospect of the facts being proved, but not the grounds or impairment.

b) When a case to answer decision has been made but there is a reasonable chance that mediation may resolve the concerns. The Committee can include a timeframe for attempting mediation and direct that the case be referred back should mediation be unsuccessful.

Why... can mediation be beneficial?

Mediation can have a number of benefits, including:
  • In instances where there is no case to answer, it can provide a way of dealing with issues that were not considered serious enough to form part of the allegation, but still need to be settled.
  • In instances where there is a case to answer, it can provide an alternative way to settle a case.
  • It can help the professional understand why a concern was raised, what led to it and whether there are things that can be done to prevent fitness to practise investigations in the future.
  • It can help both sides understand the situation from another point of view.
  • It can help everyone involved in a disagreement reach a solution together.
  • It can make both sides feel more involved in the decision-making process. This can mean that both sides are satisfied with the outcome.

Who... is the mediator?

We provide independent and experienced mediators who are trained and qualified. These individuals are not employed by HCPC.

The mediator listens to both sides and helps to manage the discussion. They do not take sides, give advice or make decisions - their role is to help all those involved reach an agreement which is acceptable to all.

A word from Council

“I am so pleased that the HCPC is providing mediation as one way of resolving cases. It fits well with our responsibility to both maintain standards and safeguard the health and wellbeing of service users. I have worked as a mediator in the past, so I know from experience how helpful mediation can be for all those involved.”

Jo Mussen, HCPC Council Member

For more information about the mediation process visit www.hcpc-uk.org/complaints/mediation

04 May 2016

9 things you should know about our Education Annual Report

Education Manager Ben Potter highlights key findings presented in the 2015 report, providing insight into our work in approving and monitoring UK education and training programmes.

1. 2014-15 marked the third and final year of the 93 scheduled approval visits to social work programmes in England following the transfer of regulatory functions from the General Social Care Council (GSCC) to the HCPC in 2012. We also undertook the final year of the 20 scheduled approval visits to post-registration programmes for approved mental health professionals (AMHP) following the introduction of the approval criteria for this entitlement in 2012-13. As a result, we have seen an anticipated reduction in our approvals work and an increase in our monitoring activity. Moving forward, our monitoring processes – including major change and annual monitoring – will increasingly be the main way in which we continue to assess approved programmes.

2. In contrast to previous years, approval visits continued into the summer months of July and August. Typically it takes three months after an approval visit for the process to finish and for a final decision about a programmes’ approval to be made. Because of this, the timing of summer visits may impact on programmes’ ability to recruit students if they want to start in September. To ensure there is sufficient time for any conditions on approval to be met before a September start date, we prefer to avoid visits in late summer. Education providers should also be aware that we require at least six months’ notice of a visit to a new programme to ensure effective preparation.

3. The most significant increase in approved programmes was in the paramedic profession where there was a 20% increase in 2014-15. This is linked to workforce planning for the profession which led to reactive commissioning, the creation of new programmes and an increase in student numbers for existing programmes. Whilst many programmes engaged with us early and we organised visits in good time, some did not until later in the year. This contributed to the high number of conditions placed on paramedic programmes, and meant that some education providers had to revise their initial estimated start dates.

4. Over the year, 796 conditions were set across the 100 programmes visited; an average of eight per programme. The majority of conditions set related to programme management and resources (SET 3) and practice placements (SET 5). Our guidance document provides further information about how we assess programmes against our standards.

5. We received 416 major change notifications; a 32% increase on last year and more than in any previous year. This indicates that our model of open-ended approval is achieving the task it was set out to do; preventing the need for cyclical re-approval visits where possible.

6. We also considered 653 annual monitoring submissions - more than ever before. However 99% of programmes showed sufficient evidence of continuing to meet our Standards of education and training (SET) in 2014-15. This result demonstrates that our model of approval works and that programmes can continue to demonstrate how they continue to meet our standards via documentary submissions. 

7. As part of the 2015-16 annual monitoring process, education providers are expected to provide evidence to meet our new SET about service user and carer involvement. To assist with this, we have amended our communications to emphasise the additional evidence requirement. We will also increase the number of assessment days to enable us to minimise the number of submissions that will be considered via correspondence.

8. The percentage of programmes subject to concerns has remained below 1% in 2014-15. This is positive and highlights the fact that there are very few approved programmes that people have concerns about. It also emphasises the role our approval and monitoring processes play in ensuring that programmes continue to meet the SETs.

9. In 2014-15, following receipt of all the required documentation regarding a major change submission, it took on average just over two months for the process to be completed and the education provider notified of the outcome. This means that education providers were given a clear, unambiguous answer regarding their programme’s ongoing approval within a short timeframe, appropriate to the changes they had made.

The 2015 Education Annual Report is now available to download here.

For more information about our approval and monitoring processes for UK education and training programmes visit www.hcpc-uk.org/education