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New consultation on service user involvement in education and training programmes approved by the HCPC

03/09/2012 - 11:26

New consultation launched

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has launched a new consultation on service user involvement in education and training programmes. We are seeking the views of stakeholders on a proposal to amend the standards of education and training (SETs) and supporting guidance to require the involvement of service users in the programmes we approve.

The SETs are generic standards that apply to education and training to ensure that anybody who completes an approved programme meets our standards of proficiency. The SETs cover such areas as admissions, assessment standards and practice placements. Students who successfully complete approved programmes are eligible to apply for registration.

We have been actively reviewing our approach in this area for a number of years. Although the SETs and training guidance already support and encourage education providers to provide evidence of service user involvement in their programmes as part of showing us how they meet our standards, the involvement of service users is not currently a requirement of the standards themselves. Therefore, an amendment to the SETs would allow us to formalise service user involvement in approved education and training programmes.

We recognise that service user involvement is already well-established in social work education and there is a great deal of research in this area. To help us consider whether we should strengthen our requirements, we commissioned Kingston University and St George’s (University of London) to undertake some research for us looking at the current involvement of service users in the design and delivery of programmes we approve for our other professions.

One of the key findings of the research was that there were no HCPC education providers, approved programmes or professions that did not currently involve service users in some way but that the extent of this involvement varied between providers. The research also found a variety of benefits from service user involvement for service users, students and the programmes themselves. These included professionals who are more able to involve service users in decisions about care or services, giving students a ‘real world’ link between theory and practice, and programmes that better reflect the needs and wishes of service users.

Once the consultation closes, we will consider the responses we receive and decide whether we should amend our proposals. Results of the consultation and any changes to the SETs will be published on our website.

If a new standard was agreed, we anticipate it would be in place in the late spring of 2013. We would propose that the standard should become effective from the 2015-16 academic year to allow programmes time to adjust. Any new programmes would have to meet the standard in order to be approved from this date. Existing approved programmes would have to provide evidence of meeting the standard as part of the annual monitoring process.

The consultation will run from Monday 3 September 2012 to Friday 7 December 2012.

The consultation is available here: www.hcpc-uk.org/aboutus/consultations/index.asp?id=150

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