This annual report provides an account of our work in 2021-22 investigating fitness to practise (FTP) concerns raised with us about the 15 professions we regulate.
In 2021–2022 we continued to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we adapted by carrying out some of our hearings either fully or partially remotely.
The overwhelming majority of professionals on our Register practise safely and effectively. Fewer than one percent of the professionals we regulate had a concern raised about them in 2021-2022. The number who we ultimately removed from our Register as a consequence of a concern raised about them is a fraction of this; 52 people in this financial year. We will always listen to anyone who feels they have not had safe or effective care, or who has concerns about someone on our Register.
In December 2020, our Council approved an ambitious Fitness to Practise Improvement Plan along with funding to accelerate our improvement. Improving and modernising how we investigate FTP concerns is also a core element of our Corporate Strategy 2021-2026 and will continue to be a priority for the HCPC in 2022-23.
This year we have begun to see the impact of some of the changes we have made. The Professional Standards Authority’s* annual performance review of the HCPC recognises the improvements we have made, highlighting that our FTP Improvement Programme is focussed on the right initiatives, and noting the strong improvement in the quality of our decision making in FTP cases.
In periods of change, performance can sometimes dip. However, during this period, against the additional challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not seen a further delay in case progression, nor a backlog of cases created. In this period we:
- Launched and completed a project to implement a new Fitness to Practise Case Management IT system
- Introduced legally qualified Investigating Committee Panel Chairs to improve the quality and consistency of decision making
- Completed a pilot to ‘frontload’ our fitness to practise investigations (‘frontloading’ means gathering more evidence earlier in the investigation – helping improve the quality of investigations as we are gathering evidence closer to when an incident occurred).
- Concluded or progressed our oldest cases and concluded hearings for those cases which were postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
We have made significant progress in this financial year, however, we acknowledge that we still have work to do to meet the PSA’s five FTP Standards of Good Regulation.
We are grateful to our colleagues for all their hard work as we strive to safely reduce our caseload, whilst maintaining high standards for the professions we regulate and taking action to protect the public.
Executive Director of Regulation
* The Professional Standards Authority oversees the work of the ten professional health and care regulators in the UK.
- Annual report