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A view from Council: Caring and strong regulation to protect the public and promote professionalism

17 Dec 2020

Christine Elliott

HCPC Chair of Council

At HCPC, protecting the public and supporting our registrants to be the best professionals they can, has always been our first priority. The Council, which is responsible for ensuring the HCPC fulfils its mission and plan, is held in public, with our minutes and papers publicly shared on our website.

We have started this blog as a way readily to update registrants and the public on the most important elements from our Council meetings. From our most recent meeting, these include the progress of our Corporate Strategy, the registrant health and wellbeing strategy and the approval of our Professionalism and Prevention framework.

Corporate Strategy

The development of our first Corporate Strategy has been a significant milestone for HCPC this year. This strategy will guide us over the next five years, and so it was crucial that we undertook a thorough consultation process, to ensure we heard from registrants, professional bodies and wider stakeholder community. The consultation stage of the process has now concluded and, at the December Council meeting, we considered the outcomes from our survey and focus groups and discussed our next steps.

There has now been a further review of the language used in the strategy, following the feedback received in the consultation and a final version will be published in January 2021. This strategy will be used by the executive to produce a Corporate Plan, which will set out our committed actions and priorities in 2021-22, putting us on the right track for achieving the strategy’s key objectives and aims.  

FtP Improvement

Delivering Fitness to Practise improvements has been a top focus for HCPC this year, despite the complications of the pandemic. Ideally, we should be addressing issues before they reach the Fitness to Practise stage. However, our number one priority must remain meeting all the Professional Standards Authority Standards. Therefore, at this month’s Council Meeting, the Council agreed additional resources to accelerate this work. As you may have noticed, we have appointed Andy Smith, who comes from a background of professional regulation, most recently for KPMG, to the new role of Executive Director of Regulation and he will strengthen our efforts in this area.

Registrant Health and Wellbeing

Improving user experiences of our regulatory processes is a key focus within our proposed Corporate Strategy 2021-26. In July 2020, SMT and Council held a workshop to discuss the findings from the ‘Experiences of the Fitness to Practise Process’ research by The University of Surrey. The outputs of this research have informed our first ever Registrant Health and Wellbeing Strategy and action plan.

At December’s Council Meeting, the Strategy and action plan were approved, and we will begin implementing them in early 2021. This will benefit all our registrants, as it will help us to embed a more human-centred approach to regulation, across HCPC.

Professionalism and Prevention framework

Changing the way we regulate, adopting an approach which enables us to support registrants to achieve the highest standards and help to prevent harm, has been a focus this year. The Professionalism and Prevention Framework was created to help achieve this goal. It outlines what we plan to achieve in the next two years and provides clear objectives, deliverables and a delivery timeline. At this month’s Council meeting, this framework was approved and so the executive team will begin to deliver the plan in 2021, building on our current work in this area.


The Council approved the launch of two public consultations, in January 2021. The first of these will be on revising the level of qualification for entry to the Register for Operating Department Practitioners, from diploma level to degree level.

The second consultation which the Council approved, is on amendments to the Guidance on Health and Character. We have undertaken extensive work to update the Guidance in a number of ways, and we hope that registrants will provide us with their views on the proposed revisions, when the public consultation opens in January 2021.

Committee Structure

The Council has undertaken a comprehensive review of our Committees and their Governance Structures to ensure they are best positioned to support HCPC for the challenges ahead. A new People and Resources Committee has been established to provide oversight and assurance on the HCPC’s most important asset, our people, as well as the other assets we hold, to ensure these are utilised to their potential.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The draft Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy has been thoroughly discussed by the Council. In early 2021, HCPC’s executive will meet with professional bodies to discuss the strategy and a detailed action plan will be developed. This will then return to Council for approval. The Strategy will set out short, medium and long term aims and priorities and will provide a vision for what we want to achieve and how we would like to improve, as a diverse, fair, and modern employer and regulator. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our EDI forum for their invaluable contributions to this Strategy, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the New Year.


As you can see, it has been a busy year for HCPC and there are a number of significant initiatives due to begin in 2021. We will keep you updated on progress, through this blog series. The next Council meeting will take place on the 25th February.

Council Apprentice – an exciting innovation

Council has strongly supported the creation of a Boardroom Apprentice role to enhance Council’s commitment to valuing difference and enrich its thinking with new perspective and insight. Last month, we began our search for our first ever Council Apprentice, which will provide a unique opportunity for a talented individual. I am pleased to report that the campaign gained great interest with many strong applications received. We will seek to appoint the apprentice in early 2021.

Meanwhile, stay safe, be well and may I wish you a restorative holiday season, insofar as possible.

Page updated on: 17/12/2020