The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has launched a new corporate plan to fast-track improvements to core regulatory functions, in particular in fitness to practise.

The HCPC’s new corporate plan comes in the wake of a damning performance report by the Professional Standards Authority last year in which the HCPC met only one of the five standards of good regulation.

The most recent PSA report on the HCPC’s performance stated:

“…despite the significant changes the HCPC has introduced, only limited progress had been made in addressing our long-standing concerns about its investigation and management of fitness to practise cases. We identified concerns about record keeping, compliance with policies, the quality of investigations completed by the HCPC, decision-making, timeliness and customer service. We established that the HCPC’s management of some cases had the potential to undermine public protection and public confidence in the HCPC as a regulator.” 

A HCPC’s new corporate plan has now been put in place to fast-track improvements to the HCPC’s core regulatory functions, in particular in Fitness to Practise, to address the HCPC’s continued failure to meet the PSA standards of good regulation.

In the new corporate plan, the HCPC acknowledge that it has “not met all the PSA’s FtP standards for a number of years.  Improving our performance is our most pressing priority this year.”

What the HCPC propose to do

The HCPC expects to deal with 1,380 new fitness to practise cases in 21/22 and is planning for 500 fitness to practise hearings.

In order to “fast track” its fitness to practise work, the HCPC said it will achieve:

  • Improved age profile of cases at each stage of our FtP process
  • Improved quality of investigations and decisions
  • Improved relationships with key FtP stakeholders and a more compassionate approach

HCPC fitness to practise Improvement Plan

The HCPC adopted a fitness to practise Improvement Plan.  Setting out 16 projects to be delivered between January and July 2021, the improvement plan aims to “improve our performance against PSA standards of good regulation and to innovate across all our regulatory functions to provide an enhanced user experience.”

The improvement plan sets out in more detail the ambitions listed above including:

  • Developing a learning and growth culture, by listening to the experiences of our stakeholders, and collaborating on solutions and improvements
  • Developing a compassionate approach, by being empathetic to Registrants and employees, and remembering that FtP investigations can be an emotionally challenging experience
  • Improving case flow and the quality of decision making by, amongst others, improving recruitment and retention through a focus on staff development

John Barwick, Chief Executive and Registrar at HCPC says:

“Our Corporate Plan marks an important step in realising the goals set out in our first ever Corporate Strategy. The Strategy marked an ambitious new direction for HCPC and so it is important that we have a clear, actionable plan to help us get there.

“Like the Strategy, this plan reflects feedback from registrants, partners and professional bodies, and other key stakeholders on what they would like HCPC to deliver for them and for patients and service users. I’d like to thank all those who have worked with us to deliver this important initiative. We will continue to engage with you over the next five years to ensure we achieve our goals.” 

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