Governments in all four nations have set out plans for easing lockdown and similarly, we have begun implementing our ambitious plans for life after COVID-19
As measures ease, we are cautiously optimistic about what the next year has in store, with plans for a number of improvements discussed at our February council meeting.
As registrants are aware, we recently shared an update on the progress of our proposed fee increase, which is currently laid in the UK and Scottish Parliaments. I hope this blog provides additional insights into how the money will be spent, ensuring we are able to make the vital improvements needed to become a more nimble and responsive regulator.
Fitness to Practise Improvement Plan
Central to achieving our goals is the acceleration of our Fitness to Practise Improvement Plan. We recognise that FtP processes can be disruptive and stressful for those involved. Our plan will help us reduce the number of unnecessary cases and speed up the case handling process.
To hold ourselves visibly accountable for the success of this programme, and to ensure we are all aware of the progress being made, the improvement plan is now a standing item on Council agendas. There were several important updates at our Council meeting that I want to share here with registrants.
The first area of those is the work being done to progress the oldest cases we have at threshold stage. We are currently piloting a new process with these cases which, if successful, will improve the quality and timeliness of case progression.
We have a recruitment campaign underway for the Investigating Committee Panel (ICP) to have legally qualified Chairs. Subject to a successful outcome, we will transition to having legally qualified Chairs for ICP by May 2021. Training is currently being designed for delivery in March and April 2021.
We are recruiting 18 case managers to boost our team’s capacity. At the same time, we are developing a programme of coaching and development for members of FtP staff, to better equip them with the tools and skills to instil in our teams a continuous improvement mindset, improved team working, and to boost productivity.
Finally, we are about to implement a technological improvement to our FtP process, with a new system due to go live in April 2021. This incorporates our new risk assessment tool that will be used to assess and monitor the risk on all our cases. This will enhance the management information Case Team Managers and Operational Managers have available to plan and forecast workloads.
To help deliver on our overall goals as a regulator, we are making good progress in creating our corporate plan for 2021/22. The plan focuses not only on the delivery of FtP improvement, but also on the enabling work that is needed to deliver on our corporate strategy over the next five years. At this month’s Council meeting, a draft version of the plan was discussed in the private session and a final draft of the plan will come back to Council at its March meeting in public session for approval.
Our new Deputy Registrar
The appointment of Andrew Smith, Executive Director of Regulation, as a Deputy Registrar was approved by Council. Andrew joined the HCPC last November and has fast become a key member of the team, helping us to implement our five-year corporate strategy.
Our Council apprentices
This was the first Council meeting attended by our new Council apprentices, Pameleta Ricketts and Nicola Hunt. As we announced at the end of January, these members bring with them diverse skills, experiences, and abilities to our Council. I was delighted to welcome them, and I very much look forward to continuing to work with them. You can read more about them and their role here: Appointment of Council apprentices brings new voices to HCPC
The last year has been one of big changes and tough challenges, for all our registrants. With the lessons we have learned during the pandemic, we are ready to start implementing new ways of regulating, which will allow us to become a more caring and compassionate regulator. I am grateful for all the hard work and dedication from the Council, the HCPC team and our registrants, and look forward to continuing to work with you over the next year.