05 December 2016

A breakdown of the HCPC Fitness to Practise Annual Report 2016

John Barwick, Head of Fitness to Practise Operations at HCPC, discusses the findings presented in this year’s Fitness to Practise (FtP) Annual Report and highlights key areas of work and activities undertaken by our FtP department.

The Fitness to Practise Annual Report 2016 covers the period of 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. The report provides information about the way our FtP department deals with allegations against our registrant’s fitness to practise their profession.

Here, we provide an overview of the statistics relating to those allegations, the work we do in progressing cases through our FtP process and highlight key activities undertaken in order to continually improve and review our procedures.

In 2015-16, the number of individuals on our register increased by 3.3 per cent from 2014-15. However over the same period there was a decrease of 1.9 per cent in the number of new cases, with 2,127 cases received in total. That equates to 0.62 per cent of our registrants, or one in 162, being subject to concerns.

In 2015-16:
• 1,661 cases were closed before they were considered by a panel of the HCPC’s Investigating Committee (ICP) as they did not meet our Standard of Acceptance.
• 787 cases were considered by an ICP.
• 320 final hearings were concluded. Of these, 84 were discontinued or not well founded, five resulted in no further action and two resulted in the registrant being removed from the register due to fraudulent /incorrect entry. Imposed sanctions included 33 cautions, 42 conditions of practise orders, 60 suspensions and 69 strike-offs. 25 cases resulted in voluntary removal.
• 346 interim order and review hearings were concluded.

The number of cases considered by an ICP and the number of final hearings decreased from 2014-15. This reflects the increase in the number of cases that were closed at the initial stages of the fitness to practise process for not meeting the standard of acceptance, and the fact that there was a higher volume of cases going to an ICP in 2014-15 following a 25 per cent increase in the number of cases received in 2013-14.

Key areas of work and activities undertaken in 2015-16

• We have completed a review of our Standard of acceptance policy, the purpose of the review was to ensure the policy reflected the changing nature of the cases we receive. We also developed a Standard of acceptance explained fact sheet.
• We have updated our referral forms to provide more guidance on the information that should be provided by the complainant. We have also updated our How to raise a concern brochure.
• A continued focus on developing information sources for employers has been undertaken, with the revision of our brochure for employers and the development of FtP specific website content.
• We signed a new Memoranda of Understanding with NHS Protect and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority in Northern Ireland.
• In January 2016 we acquired a new building which now provides a dedicated hearings centre for FtP hearings.

Future work

• We have been developing proposals for further enhancing the independence of the adjudications which will be considered by HCPC’s Council in 2016–17.
• Ensuring the continued timely progression and conclusion of cases, whilst ensuring ongoing public protection, will be a strategic focus for 2016–17. The primary focus of our workplan in the coming year is the introduction of greater specialisation in the management of cases through the FtP process.
• We will continue engagement with organisations where we have a common objective of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of members of the public.
• We will continue to develop our case study material as well as updating our What happens if a concern is raised about me? brochure.