Acting Fitness to Practise Director John Barwick outlines this year’s Fitness to practise (FTP) annual report and highlights key areas of work and improvement undertaken by our FTP department over the past year
The Fitness to practise annual report 2017 covers the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017. It provides information about the way we deal with allegations against our registrant’s fitness to practise their profession.
In 2016–17, the number of individuals on our Register increased by 2.5 per cent. The number of new fitness to practise concerns we received increased by 6.2 per cent to 2,259. The proportion of the Register affected still remains low with only 0.64 per cent of registrants (or one in 164) being subject to a new concern.
We have seen a significant increase in hearings activity this year, with 39 per cent more cases being concluded at a final hearing, and a 31 per cent increase in total hearings activity. This reflects the activities we have carried out to improve the time it takes to conclude cases, including our older cases.
Key areas of work undertaken in the past year:
• We have realigned the fitness to practise directorate to provide for greater specialisation in the case management process.
• We have reviewed our approach to assessing risk, including determining whether we should apply for an Interim Order.
• We have continued our focus on improving the time it takes for cases to progress through the process. This has included ensuring that our older cases are concluded at a final hearing. We have also enhanced our arrangements for monitoring performance in this area.
• We commenced the establishment of the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS) to enhance the independence of the adjudication function.
Future work in 2017-18:
• Evaluating the impact and improvements achieved following the realignment of our fitness to practise directorate, alongside the continued focus on the timely progression and conclusion of cases.
• Exploring the use and value of case examiners or screeners in the early stages of our fitness to practise process and the use of electronic bundles.
• Taking forward any actions that may emerge from the research the HCPC has commissioned into understanding the prevalence of fitness to practise cases about paramedics and social workers in England.
• We will also be closely considering the outcome of our recent Professional Standards Authority review report and identifying any further improvement activities that may be required.
Read the full fitness to practise annual report 2017 and key information document here.