As Chair of HCPC’s Education and Training Committee, I’ve been closely following the HCPC’s review of the Standards of Proficiency.
Since October 2020, when we closed the Standards of Proficiency consultation, the Policy Team has been busy reviewing consultation responses and updating the standards. This blog post will provide an update on the review, and our plans for implementation.
The Standards of Proficiency (SOPs) are the professional standards necessary for the safe and effective practice of each of the professions on our Register. They set out what someone must know, understand and be able to do by the time they have completed their training, so that they are able to apply to register with us.
Our standards underpin everything we do as a regulator, setting out our expectations for the professions on our Register and explaining to members of the public what they should expect of a HCPC registered professional. It is therefore important that we ensure our standards remain up to date and fit for purpose.
In March 2019, we commenced a review of the Standards of Proficiency. We ran workshops to develop consultation proposals, then went out to a public consultation in June 2020.
The review predominately focused on the generic standards, which apply across all 15 professions. We also wanted to review our approach to equality diversity and inclusion, registrant wellbeing, service user involvement, digital skills and technologies and leadership in the standards.
Where are we?
The consultation closed on 30 October 2020. Since then, the Policy Team have been busy analysing the consultation response and preparing new revised standards for all professions.
We received fantastic engagement on the standards, and we carefully considered comments on our proposals. This has allowed us to make detailed amendments to the standards, which we believe will have a positive impact on the future training and education of our professions.
We’ve proposed significant updates to the generic standards to strengthen our approach on equality, diversity and inclusion, registrant wellbeing and leadership. We will be sharing further updates about the proposed changes to the standards once these have been approved by Council.
Whilst overall we’ve been able to implement stakeholder feedback, and update the standards, there were some areas of feedback where we require additional information. These related to key profession-specific standards, and about whether certain proposed standards are threshold, meaning all students would be able to achieve the standards upon completion of their pre-registration training, and be able to join our Register.
It’s important that we set the Standards of Proficiency at the right level, so that they reflect what is required for safe and effective practice but no further, so they do not present unnecessary barriers for registration. We will therefore be taking these areas to key stakeholders representing the professions, their practice and the education sector, to identify whether certain proposed standards are threshold or not.
We will be holding discussions with these professions over the coming weeks, to finalise the standards.
Once we have completed key stakeholder engagement this Autumn, we will finalise the standards and seek Council approval of our proposed changes. This will take place at the Council’s March 2022 meeting.
In the meantime, we will consider implementation timescales for registrants, education providers and applicants. We will publish further information about our plans, and relevant guidance and support we will be issuing on the amendments later this year.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has engaged with this review to date. The changes to the standards will shape our professions’ practice and continue to ensure we are effectively protecting the public. We look forward to sharing further updates on this shortly.
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