As an independent statutory regulator our role is to protect the public
We do this by setting standards for professional skills, training and conduct and keeping a Register of professionals who meet these standards. We also approve education programmes that lead to registration and take action if people fall below our standards.
Recent market research we conducted found not all registrants fully understood the purpose of regulation. Whilst the majority demonstrated a good understanding, some believe we promote the professions we regulate or represent the views of regulated professionals – in reality, these are the functions of professional bodies. This was a view echoed in the recent consultation on proposals to increase our registration fee.
Our primary purpose is to protect the public, but there are benefits to being a regulated profession.
You can demonstrate that you have the skills and knowledge to practise in your profession safely and effectively
Each profession has standards of proficiency which set out safe and effective practise in the professions we regulate. They are the threshold standards we consider necessary to protect members of the public. They set out what a student 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. Once on our Register you must meet those standards of proficiency which relate to the areas in which you work.
Service users are clear on what they can expect of you
Your registration demonstrates to service users the behaviours they can expect of you. This is because we set standards of conduct, performance and ethics that you must meet. These include, for example, treating service users and carers with respect, communicating appropriately and effectively and respecting confidentiality. The standards also require you to be honest and trustworthy, report concerns about safety and be open and honest when things go wrong.
You benefit from continuous learning and development
Continuing professional development is a requirement of your registration, which means you need to meet the standards of continuing professional development we set. By keeping your skills and knowledge up to date, you can demonstrate you are able to practise safely and effectively in your profession. Our standards are flexible, which means you can identify your own development needs and how best to meet them. They are focused on outcomes, in particular the impact your learning has on the quality of your practice and the benefits to service users.
You can be confident only applicants who are fit to practise can join the Register
This is because we approve education programmes within the UK for the professions we regulate. Anyone who has successfully completed an HCPC-approved programme will meet our standards of proficiency and be eligible to join the Register following an assessment of their health and character.
We maintain public confidence in your profession
The majority of registrants practise safely and effectively and are trusted by service users. However, on the rare occasion when things do go wrong, we can take action if we find that a professional has breached our standards. The fitness to practise process is designed to protect the public from those who are not fit to practise, rather than punishing registrants for past mistakes. Every case is considered objectively and independently, and we will take the most appropriate course of action which could mean taking no further action, setting conditions of practice (for example, working under supervision or having more training), or in the most serious of cases removing an individual from the Register.
We can also take action when someone who is not on our Register uses a protected title. This is because the professions we regulate have one or more designated titles that are protected by law and professionals must be registered with us to use them. Anyone not on our Register who uses a designated title may be breaking the law and could be prosecuted.
Decisions affecting your registration are made by professionals
We use Partners to help us in our decision-making processes. These are HCPC registrants, members of the public and legal professionals who contribute independent oversight and expertise to key regulatory decisions, for example:
- visitors, who help assess education programmes to decide whether they meet our standards and whose work helps the Education and Training Committee make decisions about approving programmes;
- registration assessors, who look at applications from professionals who have trained abroad to decide whether the application meets our standards;
- CPD assessors, who review the CPD profiles of our registrants against our CPD standards; and
- panel members, who deal with concerns raised about registrants.
You have the opportunity to shape our work
As a registrant, you can help inform the way we regulate. By responding to consultations on our standards and guidance, for example, you can help ensure our standards are kept up to date and based on the best practise of your profession.
We support you to meet our standards
Our standards are now online in a responsive, print-friendly format so you can access them from anywhere. You can also use our guidance on meeting our standards to make sure you’re up to date and practising safely.