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Supporting professionals return to practice

Our requirements do not replace the responsibilities of you in appointing, inducting, and supporting members of staff

Returning to practice is a self-directed process. It is the responsibility of the former registrant to make sure they meet the appropriate requirements and can practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice, in line with our standards.

As an employer, you will need to set your own requirements in terms of knowledge, skills, qualifications and experience for any particular post, and assess individuals for a post to make sure you make a suitable appointment.

We expect that an induction process would follow and you would want to put in place a process of support the individual while they become familiar with practice again. This could include mentoring or using review and other support mechanisms.

Equally, you may have a specific requirement for a certain profession, or for your role, that an individual should update in a certain area, in a certain way, or to do with a certain issue, before they can work for you.

Information for supervisors and counter-signatories

  • We do not set detailed guidance for supervisors because we believe that the level of supervision needed and the tasks carried out will depend on the returner’s specific learning needs.

    Supervisors will often help returners to identify the skills and knowledge they need to update to practise safely and effectively within the scope of practice for the role they plan to return to.

    We do set requirements about who can be a return to practice supervisor. You should also only supervise activities which are within your scope of practice.

    If you have supervised a return to practice placement, you will have to confirm that the person has completed the period of supervised practice that they have declared in their supervised‑practice form.

    Your signature does not express that the returner is fit to practise.

  • We apply the same requirements about who can be a counter‑signatory as we do about who can be a supervisor. 

    A counter-signatory must:

    • have been on the relevant part of the HCPC Register for at least the previous three years; and
    • not be subject to any fitness to practise proceedings or sanctions.

    You will need to take reasonable steps to make sure that the returner has carried out the updating days and activities that they have declared in their return to practice form.

    Your signature does not confirm that the returner is fit to practise.

    If you have supervised a period of updating, you are also able to act as a counter-signatory for that individual, but there is no obligation that you do so.

  • If you have serious concerns about a returner’s fitness to practise when unsupervised after they have completed a period of updating under your supervision, or which you have been asked to counter-sign, there are two options available to you.

    • Explain your concerns about signing the form to the person to help them in planning additional updating activities.
    • Sign the form, and then raise a fitness to practise concern with us.
Page updated on: 07/02/2020