The Professional Standards Authority has published its annual performance report of the HCPC, citing improvements.

For the period of 22/23, the HCPC has met 16 out of the 18 Standards. The PSA commented that:

“We are pleased that the HCPC has met three of the five Standards it did not meet last year. In particular, we have seen the HCPC’s fitness to practise improvement plan resulting in it meeting two of the four fitness to practise Standards that have not been met for several years.”

Following problems the PSA reported last year, it said it has “seen an improvement in the time taken for the HCPC to process international applications to join the register”, saying:

“This was particularly welcome in view of the significant increase in applications the HCPC received this year. For some individuals, however, it is still taking longer than expected to become registered with the HCPC, and we encourage the HCPC to continue to engage with its stakeholders about the international registration processes to ensure any concerns are discussed and addressed.

“We have previously had significant concerns about the HCPC’s fitness to practise systems. We have continued to monitor the HCPC’s implementation of its fitness to practise improvement programme, and as part of our performance review this year, we audited a sample of cases closed by the HCPC to assess the impact of the improvement programme. Although there is still much work to be done, it is clear that performance has improved this year.”

In particular,the PSA noted that:

  • The HCPC has continued to make progress in embedding processes which are designed to improve the quality and timeliness of its investigations. Some of these measures are starting to take effect and we are encouraged by what we have seen. However, this year’s audit showed that some weaknesses remain, and it was still taking too long for investigations to conclude. Therefore, the HCPC did not meet Standard 15 for timeliness and quality of investigations in fitness to practise.
  • Our audit identified improvements in the quality of decision-making at the early stages of the fitness to practise process, and we continued to see a noticeable improvement in the quality of decisions-making in cases we reviewed when considering whether those decisions are sufficient to protect the public. We determined that the HCPC met Standard 16 on decision-making in fitness to practise.
  • We also saw a noticeable improvement in the quality of risk assessments, following the changes made by the HCPC to its risk assessment process. We determined that the HCPC met Standard 17 on identifying and acting on risk to patient and service user safety.
  • Although we saw some improvement in the support provided to parties participating in the fitness to practise process, the feedback we received from HCPC stakeholders, and the findings from out audit, demonstrated that the HCPC still has improvements to make. The HCPC therefore did not meet Standard 18.

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