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Background information and context

We set and maintain education standards and assess, approve, and monitor education providers and programmes against these standards.

Our standards are outcome focused, to ensure those who complete programmes meet our requirements for registration – namely the profession specific standards of proficiency, and are able to meet our standards of conduct and performance and ethics.

We quality assure education providers and programmes which have the capacity to deliver 40,000 new registrants per year via our UK registration route. This role is a statutory function of the HCPC. We make decisions about the approval of education providers and programmes, then monitor them on an ongoing basis. All of this work is linked to our education standards.

We maintain a list of approved programmes which meet our standards. These programmes ensure those who complete programmes meet our requirements for registration.


Summary of how we changed our education quality assurance approach

Prior to the launch of our current education quality assurance model, we approved and monitored education programmes in the same way for over 10 years. Our previous model was not explicitly risk based and adopted a one size fits all approach.

In 2020, we decided to pilot a new approach to education quality assurance. We reviewed the way we worked because much had changed since the adoption of our previous education quality assurance model, which was increasingly out of step with modern quality assurance practices. We intended to be a leader in this area, to deliver flexible, intelligent, data led, and risk-based quality assurance of education providers and programmes.

When piloting our new approach, we defined strategic objectives to be met before adoption. Following success through the pilot, we decided to fully implement our current model from September 2021, based on those strategic objectives being met.


Underpinning principles of the model

Our quality assurance model:

  • Achieves risk-based outcomes which are proportionate and consistent;
  • Operates efficient and flexible quality assurance processes; and
  • Uses a range of data and intelligence sources to inform decision making.

The following four principles underpin the way we work. We embedded these principles when we defined processes, and consider them when we undertake assessments through our work.

  • Institution / programme level assessment – We focus on the right areas at the right time, and avoid duplication and inconsistency. We do this by assessing at the institution where we can, which sets understanding and context for professional level assessments.
  • Flexibility – We apply ‘right touch regulation’ in the education quality assurance space, delivering flexibility in our activities, and focusing our attention on areas which require it. We do this by considering what we see, past interactions, and externally sourced data and intelligence to understand the ‘problem’ before jumping to the solution.
  • Data and intelligence – We are proactive, risk-based, and proportionate through our activities. We do this by embedding the use of data and intelligence from sector bodies, in our work, through key process points and to provide ‘triggers’ to act when needed.
  • Four nations / regional approach – We inform our regulation and assessment with our understanding of national and regional context. We do this by building and sustaining positive working relationships with education providers and other national / regional stakeholders, understanding what is happening in the sector, and supporting others to understand our priorities.

We involve profession / modality specific partners in our assessments, to make recommendations on outcomes to the Education and Training Committee (Panel), which has the final say on outcomes. We also involve a service user partner, to provide the service user view at appropriate points within assessments.


How we deliver our intentions and statutory function

We have three main operational processes to quality assure education providers and programmes. Each of these processes enable us to consider alignment with our standards.

EP report background.PNG


Rollout and adoption of the model

From September 2021, the current model became effective for all approval assessments, and monitoring requirements changed for existing education providers. We undertook scale up activities from September to December 2021, with the model becoming fully operational from January 2022.

The model successfully scaled for full implementation in January 2022. Scale up included working with 141 education providers to establish key contacts across different levels, and planning when education providers would engage with our performance review monitoring activities across a three-year programme of assessment.


Continuous improvement

The model does not stand still. Continuous improvement is embedded into the way we work, with internal structures in place to inform areas where we should improve. We have delivered larger scale reviews with our internal quality assurance team, which have resulted in recommendations for improvement, and we have acted on those recommendations. We also have mechanisms to capture stakeholder feedback, which has influenced many of the areas reported below.

Since rollout in September 2021, we have developed our model and the way we work in the following ways:

  • developed existing and further guidance and templates to facilitate engagement and understanding;
  • developed process report templates, and introduced clear guidance to deliver high quality reports;
  • developed internal capability to identify ‘exceptional’ cases which are at risk of exceeding service levels;
  • developed quality assurance measures including first line checks, to integrate monthly checks based on a series of clear metrics, to improve processes and the application of those processes;
  • added a ‘ceiling’ of two years for first engagement with our performance review process, once education providers / programmes are approved through our approval process – this enables us to take a risk-based view on new education provider performance at an earlier stage than what was potentially possible (a five-year review period);
  • refreshed our focused review process, to ensure we are capturing granular concerns / triggers and making a documented decision whether to progress to a full investigation in all cases;
  • updated our internal systems and introduced guidance to capture whether concerns raised to us are whistleblowing concerns;
  • introduced a higher bar for accepting learner concerns, including a clear requirement that learners have exhausted internal concerns mechanisms before raising concerns to the regulator;
  • documented our programme records change process through clear internal guidance, and added a governance step where there are records changes; and
  • added a feedback mechanism on conclusion of assessments for education providers and partners, use feedback to improve processes, and report on feedback through governance structures so we have a clear measure of stakeholder experience.
Tudalen wedi'i diweddaru ymlaen: 17/04/2024