Our Returning to practice guidance provides information on the process applicants will need to complete to return to practice and the form itself has additional guidance.
However, below we have set out some top tips to help applicants complete the returning to practice form as easily as possible.
- Make sure your counter-signatory (the person who signs the cover sheet) is the same profession as you and registered with the HCPC
Supervised practice section
- Supervised practice does not have to be solely in clinical practice, but could be done, for example, in teaching, management, research or wherever your supervisor practises their profession.
- Make sure your supervisor is the same profession as you, has been registered with the HCPC for at least three years and has not been subject to fitness to practise action
Private study section
- Private study can include using online information, libraries or journals (and lots more!)
- Private study can only make up half of your updating period (for example, 15 of your 30 days updating, or 30 of your 60 days updating).
Formal study section
- Formal study is a period of structured study which is provided by a person or organisation. It typically includes:
- ‘return to practice’ programmes run by educational institutions, health trusts, health boards or other organisations;
- relevant ‘continuing professional development’ courses;
- relevant content from programmes run by educational institutions; or
- relevant content from professional organisations.
- Formal study may be impacted by COVID-19 so if you have other examples you consider are formal study, include these on your form, outlining why you think they should be taken in to account under this heading.
Processing your information
We provide forms for you to give us information about your period of updating, such as which activities you have carried out and for how long.
When you have completed your period of updating, you need to ask someone on your part of the Register to countersign your form, to confirm that you have carried out the period.
Your counter-signatory does not need to supervise your updating activities and they do not need to confirm that you are fit to practise. They just need to take reasonable steps to be sure that you have carried out the number of days required.
For example, they might ask to see a certificate from any formal study, or they might ask to see any notes from your private study.
If you carry out supervised practice as part of your updating, you can ask your supervisor to be your counter-signatory too. However, these are two separate roles.
If you have carried out supervised practice as part of your updating activity, you will need to fill in a supervised practice form. This needs to be signed by your supervisor, who must confirm that you have completed that period of supervision. Your supervisor does not need to confirm that you are fit to practise.
We will check the information you send us to see that you have completed the required number of days. We may contact you or the organisations or individuals that you work for to get more information, or to check the information that you have provided.
For example, if you carried out supervised practice, we will look at our Register to check that your supervisor is registered with us and does not have any fitness to practise action against them.
We may also contact the organisation that provided your formal study, to check that they have a record of your attendance and that you have completed the course.
Information for supervisors and counter-signatories
We do not set detailed guidance for supervisors because we believe that the level of supervision needed and the tasks carried out will depend on the returner’s specific learning needs.
Supervisors will often help returners to identify the skills and knowledge they need to update to practise safely and effectively within the scope of practice for the role they plan to return to.
We do set requirements about who can be a return to practice supervisor. You should also only supervise activities which are within your scope of practice.
If you have supervised a return to practice placement, you will have to confirm that the person has completed the period of supervised practice that they have declared in their supervised‑practice form.
Your signature does not express that the returner is fit to practise.
We apply the same requirements about who can be a counter‑signatory as we do about who can be a supervisor.
A counter-signatory must:
- have been on the relevant part of the HCPC Register for at least the previous three years; and
- not be subject to any fitness to practise proceedings or sanctions.
You will need to take reasonable steps to make sure that the returner has carried out the updating days and activities that they have declared in their return to practice form.
Your signature does not confirm that the returner is fit to practise.
If you have supervised a period of updating, you are also able to act as a counter-signatory for that individual, but there is no obligation that you do so.
If you have serious concerns about a returner’s fitness to practise when unsupervised after they have completed a period of updating under your supervision, or which you have been asked to counter-sign, there are two options available to you.
- Explain your concerns about signing the form to the person to help them in planning additional updating activities.
- Sign the form, and then raise a fitness to practise concern with us.