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Home > Your registration > Professional indemnity

Professional indemnity

The UK Government has introduced legislation which requires registrants to have a professional indemnity arrangement in place as a condition of their registration with us.

This requirement does not apply to social workers registered with us, or social workers registered with their respective regulators in other parts of the UK.


Meeting the requirement

The majority of our registrants will already meet this requirement and will not need to take any further action. They will either work in an employed environment where their employer will indemnify them, and / or if they undertake self-employed work, they will have already made their own professional indemnity arrangements.

However, some registrants may need to take steps to make sure that they have a professional indemnity arrangement in place.


Introducing the new requirement

By law, registrants (other than social workers in England) must have a professional indemnity arrangement in place as a condition of registration with us. As of 1 April 2015, we require applicants who apply for registration with the HCPC to make a professional declaration about the professional indemnity arrangement they have or will have in place when applying for admission to the Register. For those already HCPC registered, we have incorporated a similar professional declaration as part of the renewal process.

We have published guidance on the new requirement along with an accompanying flow diagram which can be downloaded below.

Professional indemnity and your registration - Guidance

Meeting the professional indemnity requirements as a condition of HCPC registration

We have also updated our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ to explain how the new requirement affects registrants and applicants for registration.


Frequently asked questions


Why has the Government introduced this requirement?

The UK Government has introduced this requirement as part of implementing European Union legislation. The requirement has been introduced so that if a service user is harmed in some way because of the negligence of a registrant, the service user will be able to recover any compensation they may be entitled to.

The requirement to have in place a professional indemnity arrangement applies to all registrants (other than social workers in England) and to all aspects of professional practice.


What does the new requirement mean for registrants?

The new requirement means that registrants (apart from social workers in England) are required to have a professional indemnity arrangement in place as a condition of their registration with us. The arrangement must provide appropriate cover.

This requirement does not mean that all registrants need to take out separate professional indemnity insurance. The requirement to have a professional indemnity arrangement in place can be met through one or more of the following.

  • A professional indemnity arrangement through your employer.
  • A professional indemnity arrangement as part of being a member of a professional body, trade union or defence organisation.
  • A professional indemnity arrangement obtained directly through an insurer.

We anticipate that many registrants will already meet this requirement and will not need to take any additional action.


What does appropriate cover mean?

Now that the requirement has been introduced, you need to make sure that the professional indemnity arrangement you have in place provides appropriate cover.

This means that the arrangement you have in place will need to provide cover appropriate to your practice, taking into account the nature and extent of its risks.

This level of cover will need to be sufficient to meet any liability that may be incurred if a successful claim is made against you. What is appropriate cover for you may depend upon a combination of factors, including, for example, the following.

  • The practice area or areas you work in.
  • The service users you work with.
  • The risks involved with your practice.

We expect you to make your own decisions about the level of cover which is appropriate to you and your practice, seeking advice as appropriate from your professional body, trade union, defence organisation and / or insurer.


I am employed. What does the requirement mean for me?

If you only work for an employer, then your employer is very likely to have professional indemnity arrangements in place which will provide appropriate cover for all the relevant risks related to those activities that you perform as part of your job.

Arrangements may, however, vary between different employers, so if you are unsure, you should always check with your employer.

An employer’s arrangement will only provide cover for activities performed by an employee as part of their duties during the course of that employment.


I am self-employed. What does the requirement mean for me?

If you are self-employed you need to make sure that you have put in place your own arrangements for professional indemnity.

Many registrants who undertake self-employed work will already have a professional indemnity arrangement in place and need not take any additional action.

Some professional bodies, trade unions and defence organisations offer professional indemnity cover as part of their membership or for an additional fee.

Alternatively you can arrange your own cover directly through an insurer.


I undertake a combination of employed and self-employed roles. What does the requirement mean for me?

If you are an employee and you also undertake some self-employed work, you need to ensure that you have arrangements in place for your self-employed work, as this will not be covered by any arrangements put in place by your employer.

You need to make sure you have arrangements in place which provide appropriate cover for all parts of your practice.


I am an educator and do not have any contact with service users. Do I need to have a professional indemnity arrangement in place?

Yes, the requirement to have a professional indemnity arrangement in place applies to all our registrants (other than social workers in England) and to all aspects of professional practice. If you are employed, your employer or education provider is very likely to have made professional indemnity arrangements which will provide appropriate cover for all the relevant risks related to those activities you carry out as part of your job.

Arrangements may, however, vary between different employers or education providers, so if you are unsure, you should always check with your employer or education provider.

For further profession-specific advice or support, you should consult your professional body, trade union, defence organisation or insurer, in order to make reasonable, informed decisions about the level of cover appropriate to you and your practice.


I need to secure a professional indemnity arrangement for my practice and / or check that my existing level of cover is appropriate. Where can I find further guidance or support?

The HCPC does not provide indemnity insurance as part of registration – and this continues to be the case under the new arrangements. However, we expect registrants to have an appropriate professional indemnity arrangement in place to cover all their professional activities as a condition of registration with us. What might be appropriate cover for one registrant may be inappropriate for another registrant. You need to make sure that you consider the risks which may arise from your own practice and make sure that you have a professional indemnity arrangement in place which provides cover which is appropriate to those risks. Therefore we cannot advise about the level of cover that you need. For further profession-specific guidance or support, you should consult your professional body, trade union, defence organisation or insurer, in order to make reasonable, informed decisions about the level of cover appropriate to you and your practice.


Neither my employer nor my professional body provides appropriate professional indemnity arrangements for my practice. Where can I secure a professional indemnity arrangement which provides appropriate cover?

As referred to in the previous question, the HCPC does not provide indemnity insurance as part of registration, but we expect registrants to have an appropriate professional indemnity arrangement in place as a condition of registration with us. We consider that you are best placed to make reasonable informed decisions about the level of cover that is appropriate to you and your practice. Therefore we cannot advise you about the level of cover that you need. If your employer or professional body does not provide appropriate professional indemnity arrangements for your practice, you will need to consult an insurer directly. Although your professional body may be able to recommend a profession-specific insurer.


I am registered with the HCPC but not practising at the moment. What does the requirement mean for me?

We recognise that professionals may sometimes be registered with us but not be practising for short periods of time. For example, they might be on a career break or looking for employment.

If you are registered with us, but not practising, we do not expect you to have a professional indemnity arrangement in place. However, we do expect you to have such an arrangement in place when you begin to practise again.


I am registered with the HCPC and have made my own professional indemnity arrangements. I am not practising at the moment. Do I need to maintain my own professional indemnity arrangements?

As referred to above, in general we do not expect registrants who are not practising for short periods of time to have a professional indemnity arrangement in place. This is particularly the case if you work or have worked in an employed environment and are on a career break or between jobs.

If you have made your own professional indemnity arrangements, but are no longer practising and considering cancelling your arrangement you need to think about this carefully. Our guidance explains that if you have made your own arrangements, you need to understand how your cover will work. This includes having in place appropriate ‘run-off’ cover, in order to ensure that a service user will be able to recover any compensation they may be entitled to, even if you are no longer practising at the point at which a claim is made.

If you have made your own professional indemnity arrangements but are no longer practising and are considering cancelling your cover, you should consult whoever provides your professional indemnity arrangement (e.g.an insurer or a professional body) directly so that you can make sure that any necessary arrangements for run-off cover are in place.


I am a registered with the HCPC as a social worker. Why won’t the requirement apply to me?

The legal requirement to have in place a professional indemnity arrangement as a condition of registration does not apply to social workers in England (or social workers registered with their respective regulators in other parts of the UK).

This is because this requirement has been introduced by the UK Government to implement European legislation which applies to all the other professions registered by us but does not extend to social workers.


I am a student on an approved education and training programme. Do I need to have a professional indemnity arrangement in place for practice placements?

If you are a student, you do not need to have a professional indemnity arrangement in place. The requirement to have a professional indemnity arrangement in place only applies to registrants (other than social workers in England) who have completed their education and training programme and who are now registered with us.


How will the HCPC check that a professional indemnity arrangement is in place?

When you renew your registration with us (every two years), we ask you to make a number of declarations. For example, we ask you to confirm that you continue to meet our standards for continuing professional development.

As of 1 June 2015, we require all our registrants (other than social workers in England) to make a declaration about the professional indemnity arrangements they have in place as part of the renewal process. You need to confirm that:

  • you have a professional indemnity arrangement in place which provides appropriate cover; or
  • if you are not practising at that time, you understand the requirement and will have an arrangement in place when you begin to practise.


We won't ask you to routinely send us certificates or other evidence of your professional indemnity arrangements. However, we may ask you for evidence if, for example, there is concern that you may not have a professional indemnity arrangement in place or that it may not provide appropriate cover.

As having a professional indemnity arrangement in place is a condition of your registration, if you are unable to complete the declaration you will be unable to renew your registration with us and will be removed from the Register.


What information do I need to give to the HCPC if my professional indemnity arrangements change?

You do not need to tell us about routine changes in your professional indemnity arrangements. This includes routine changes in professional indemnity providers, and times when you are no longer practising, for example, taking a career break, or going on maternity and paternity leave.

However, you need to inform us immediately by writing to our Registration Department if:

  • at any point when you are registered with us you stop having a professional indemnity arrangement in place which provides appropriate cover;
  • you are practising without an appropriate professional indemnity arrangement at any time;
  • you have had any restrictions in your professional indemnity cover imposed by your insurer; or
  • you have had to change insurers because you have been refused cover with an insurer due to your claims history.


I am applying for registration with the HCPC. What does the requirement mean for me?

We recognise that applicants for registration may not have yet secured employment, or been able to arrange a separate professional indemnity arrangement. You will still be able to register with us, subject to completing a declaration.

From 1 April 2015, when you apply for registration with us you need to confirm that:

  • you understand the requirement to have a professional indemnity arrangement in place which provides appropriate cover; and
  • you will have an arrangement in place when you begin to practise.

As having a professional indemnity arrangement in place is a condition of registration, if you are unable to complete the declaration you will be unable to register with us.



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