The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has said in its initial response that the Government’s fitness to practise reform proposals would make regulators “investigator, prosecutor, judge and appeal court.”

In its first look at the Government consultation, the PSA said “We are worried, though, that some of the proposals could inadvertently reduce public protection, transparency, and accountability.”

It said the Government’s proposal to drop “an independent body responsible for challenging any unsafe accepted outcomes” would put public protection, transparency, and accountability at risk.

It said the new model that would allow ‘anyone’ to ask for a review “…would make the regulator not only investigator, prosecutor, and judge, but also appeal court – a return to the system of 20 years ago which was widely criticised.”

This approach to fitness to practise, the PSA said, would seem to put the regulators’ flexibility ahead of what is needed for public protection.

Section 29 powers

The PSA proposed the retention of its section 29 powers as a “simple solution” to redress the balance and protect the public.  Retaining section 29, it said, would:

  • give it the flexibility to appeal as few or as many cases as are needed to protect the public
  • cost no more than what is in place now
  • increase transparency, accountability and public protection
  • be simple to bring into law
  • be consistent with the Government’s objectives for reform

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