How the government decides which professions should be regulated
The most up-to-date statement of Government policy on professional regulation is 'Enabling excellence – Autonomy and accountability for health care workers, social workers and social care workers'. This says that the Government will in future only consider regulating further groups ‘in exceptional circumstances’, where there is a ‘compelling case’ and where voluntary registers are considered insufficient to manage the risk involved.
The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) holds a list of accredited registers, including the HCPC, which they have independently assessed against their own standards. They cover professions that are not regulated by law, with professionals working within and outside the NHS.
Professions previously recommended for statutory regulation
In 2007 government announced it intended to introduce statutory regulation for this group, but Anne Milton, MP, confirmed in 2011 that they no longer intended to proceed with this approach.
In 2011 government announced that it intended to introduce statutory regulation for this group. However, after convening a working group they agreed that there was insufficient evidence to justify statutory regulation.
In chapter seven of its Enabling Excellence paper, the government announced that the Department of Health would explore the possibility of a the HCPC holding a voluntary register of adult social care workers in England. A voluntary register means that it would not be compulsory to be registered (and there would not be any titles or functions protected in law).
In 2012 the Secretary of State for Health announced plans to regulate public health specialists that are not medically qualified. The Department of Health confirmed their intention for the HCPC to regulate this group in its Transforming Public Health bulletin. However, in 2015 the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State announced that the government did not think it was necessary to extend statutory regulation to this group.