Look at any Council agenda from HCPC and you will see our focus is largely on signing off on new plans, strategies and appointments. Our Corporate Strategy strongly concentrates on delivering forward-looking regulation and sets ambitious goals for the next five years.
To achieve our aims, it is important that the Council, HCPC and registrants reflect back on the last year, so that we can learn and build on the insights we have gathered. This is something which Council in particular must continue over the next five years, thoroughly scrutinising the decisions we make and being transparent when things don’t go the way we’ve planned.
On a more personal level, it is also important to think about those we have lost, and those who have suffered losses over the last year. This month’s Council meeting took place on the National Day of Reflection for COVID-19, and centred around the sharing of council members’ experiences over the last year, following on from a minute’s silence. I shared some key thoughts on what has happened over the past year, more of which can be found here: HCPC Council marks National Day of Reflection
After taking some time to reflect, we supported a number of important strategies and initiatives. All of these build on the learning and understanding we have gained over the last twelve months or so, and will help us ensure that this knowledge is not lost as we implement new approaches and plans.
The first annual Corporate Plan under the new Corporate Strategy 2021 – 26, was approved by Council. This plan sets out how we intend to achieve our aims, and states clear and deliverable objectives. The intention of the plan is to ensure we consolidate and embed the progress made over the last year. This includes: fast-tracking improvements to our core regulator functions, particularly Fitness to Practise; reaching out to our registrants and key stakeholders through improved communication and collaboration; and building the foundations that are needed to enable us to deliver our longer term strategic objectives.
This plan reflects the interactions with registrants, professional bodies and other key stakeholders we have had over the last year and clearly shows our priorities for the next year. It will be published in full on the website shortly, so all our stakeholders have a clear view of what it means for them.
EDI is something that we have prioritised to improve on over the past year. The formation of our EDI Forum which first met in September 2020 has been a real asset for helping us to create this strategy, and for highlighting some of the important issues faced by registrants on a daily basis. Findings from our first ever Diversity Data survey also contributed to the strategy, and we are pleased to see that this year 18% of registrants provided responses.
The approval of this strategy will help us to achieve our vision to be recognised as an actively anti-discriminatory organisation that upholds and promotes best practice in equality, diversity and inclusion and be active allies for change.
New materials for reflective practice
To help our registrants with their own reflective practice, Council approved a set of online materials which provide registrants with practical assistance and demonstrate the importance of reflection to their practice. These materials will form part of Meeting Our Standards section of the website, and will be available from April.
Maintaining the COVID-19 temporary register
One of the big successes for HCPC over the past year has been the establishment and continuation of our COVID-19 temporary register. This register enables former registrants to return to practice, to provide a much needed boost to the health and care workforce. With the Government extending the Coronavirus Act by a further six months, this register will remain in place. The Council agreed that:
- Those who left the permanent Register more than three years ago will be removed from the temporary register, unless they confirm they have previously or are currently practising in a role related to the COVID-19 pandemic
- The register will remain closed to new applicants
- Maintaining or removal of those who meet these criteria will be carried out every six months whilst the temporary register remains operational. The first of these checks will be carried out in April
This reflective Council meeting was truly unique in the amount of time we spent remembering and thinking over what has happened over the past year. It demonstrated the importance of the Council being open and accountable in our decision-making; accessible to the public we protect, our registrants and those we work alongside, such as Professional Bodies.
Ultimately, it showed the true benefit of looking back to move forward, both as individuals, and as an organisation.