On 10 September 2020, the Education and Training Committee (ETC) agreed we should continue to undertake approval visits virtually. The paper can be viewed here.
We started to undertake virtual approval visits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and our move to remote working. As part of the new approach to approval visits:
- stakeholder meetings were held via video or audio conferencing;
- the requirement for meetings with service users and carers was removed and other ways of assessing 'physical resources', such as presentations or questioning in other meetings, were explored;
- the education provider arranged all the meetings, except the HCPC private meetings; and
- meetings were chaired by the education provider where there were multiple groups present.
In considering whether this approach should continue, feedback was sought from visitors and education providers who had participated in a virtual visit. This feedback showed it has been possible to reach decisions at the same level as on site visits. As the approach has been proven to work, it was considered that returning to the existing way of working may be seen as a step back, or applying additional burden to stakeholders.
As such, the ETC agreed the Executive should run virtual approval visits as standard, until the introduction of the new Quality Assurance model which is due to roll out for the start of the academic year 2021-22. The roadmap to the implementation of the new model can be viewed here.