HCPC’s digital transformation strategy was first published in April 2021. Much progress has been made since this date, and the organisation’s understanding of its digital needs has evolved.
This refreshed strategy, agreed by Council in January 2023, was developed following a careful review of progress to date and feedback from a wide range of stakeholders.
Our vision for a digitally enabled HCPC:
"HCPC will excel in the use of digital solutions and ways of working in order to provide effective regulation and prevention, and to provide a straightforward, value-adding experience for the people who rely on our services."
The work we undertake to deliver the Digital Transformation Strategy will be informed by the following principles:
All investment decisions will be made in accordance with our Benefits Framework and will need to demonstrate that the benefits outweigh the costs.
Services and solutions will be designed around the needs of the people who rely on our services, including those with specific accessibility needs, and we will actively seek their feedback on how we can improve their experience.
We will ensure that our digital solutions offer good value for money, both by being cost effective to implement and maintain, and by helping the organisation to enhance its productivity and efficiency.
We will maintain a strong preference for Cloud-based solutions that minimise the need for upfront investment, increase our resilience and simplify the end user experience.
We will break down major projects and investments into smaller chunks, learning as we go. This reduces risk and helps to ensure we keep solutions aligned with evolving organisational needs.
Consistent technical, architectural and design standards will ensure the separate solutions we put in place add up to a coherent whole.
We will always look to reduce complexity in the solutions we implement, whilst ensuring organisational objectives can be achieved.
We will build in security and privacy safeguards from the outset to protect the data we look after and ensure we use it responsibly.
HCPC will develop its digital platforms and optimise how it delivers its existing services.
We will explore discrete opportunities for reinvention to achieve truly transformative change where there is a clear need and an acceptable level of risk and cost.
During this strategy timeframe, HCPC should focus on developing its digital platforms and optimising how it delivers its existing services by taking advantage of new digital capabilities.
This approach recognises the risk appetite set by the Council, whilst still providing a wide range of opportunities to deliver tangible improvements.
Discrete opportunities to engage in digital reinvention to deliver truly transformative change will be considered where this can be done at an acceptable level of risk and cost, and where a clear need exists.
This will help us to build our digital transformation experience and skills in readiness for further potential reinvention following regulatory reform.
Building on the successes of the first two years of the Digital Transformation Strategy and the Corporate Plan, we will prioritise the following actions in 2023/24 and beyond.
These actions have been identified as key enablers for achieving our vision for a digital HCPC and the aims set out in the Corporate Plan.
The timescales for delivering these actions will be determined through the annual corporate planning and budget setting processes.
Over the past few years we have replaced the majority of our legacy on-premise applications with modern, Cloud-based solutions. In parallel, we have also migrated much of our underlying infrastructure into the Cloud in order to enhance resilience and flexibility.
Once migration to the Cloud is complete, the on-premise data centre can be largely decommissioned, retaining only the equipment necessary to run onsite services. This will make a substantial contribution to HCPC’s sustainability objectives by reducing energy usage for the head office by an estimated 33%. It will also enable us to simplify the employee and partner experience, removing a number of security layers that are only necessary to be able to access data held on site.
In recent years HCPC has made some significant and technically successful investments in new technologies. Of necessity, the solutions that have been put in place with this investment have largely been based on the need to take immediate action to address specific business issues rather than as part of a broader organisation-wide architecture.
Indeed there has been a conscious choice to adopt an approach where solutions to specific problems could be put in place rapidly without being slowed down by the inertia often experienced with traditional “monolithic” technology architectures.
The trade-off of this approach is that it can be difficult to ensure that the full value of each investment is secured, with the risk that duplicate or overlapping solutions may be introduced rather than fully leveraging existing solutions first. It increases the security and maintenance overhead, with more threat surfaces to protect, more servers to maintain, and greater complexity to manage.
By adopting a Digital Platforms approach, it is possible to have the best of both worlds. “Platform” technologies are generic solutions that can be readily configured to meet many different scenarios and needs. By standardising on to a limited number of digital platforms, HCPC can reduce complexity, increase consistency, and maximise value whilst continuing to offer individual departments the ability to innovate. They will do so by utilising the broad range of capabilities that the platform technologies can offer to develop specific “Products” that sit alongside each other on these platforms.
Only where it can be demonstrated that an existing platform is not able to meet a specific business need would there be a case for procuring a new technology. The approach also enables end user departments to move quicker, as there will be fewer technical challenges to address in each project as the Digital Platforms will already have the core infrastructure and integrations in place which can be scaled and configured to meet the new requirement.
A key principle of this refreshed strategy is that all our digital solutions must be designed around the needs of the end user (meaning registrants, service users, applicants, education providers and other key stakeholder groups). Beyond this, we will also work to ensure that the overall experience of engaging with HCPC is as straightforward and value-adding as possible. By mapping the user journeys of our key stakeholder groups, we will identify opportunities to streamline them. We will identify and remove specific barriers to access, especially for stakeholder groups with particular needs arising from issues of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
The corporate plan identifies a goal to introduce a single customer access point for HCPC. For us to become a digitally enabled regulator, this needs to move beyond the current traditional telephone-based service to offer an integrated user experience across whichever channels our registrants and other stakeholders choose to engage with us. We will investigate the potential to move to a new “omnichannel” customer service platform that ensures consistency across our online and traditional channels.
Listening to feedback is essential to improving the user experience, and we will engage with our end users and other stakeholders on an ongoing basis to ensure we hear what is working for them, and we can improve.
A major project is underway in 2022/23 to establish a modern data platform. An incremental approach is being utilised, so that the build can largely be undertaken using inhouse resources and without the need for significant upfront investment.
As a result we have already made substantial progress in increasing our ability to capture and analyse EDI information to identify any variations in outcome or experience for people with different protected characteristics as they engage with our services. This work will continue and will be taken further with the
This work will continue to be taken forward in alignment with HCPC’s Insight and Intelligence Framework so that we are not only building our technical data capabilities but also translating the data into actionable insight and analysis that informs our work as an effective regulator.
We will look to introduce self-service tools both for internal use and (in respect of our public register) by partner organisations and the general public. The opportunities offered by Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to enhance our analytical capabilities will be explored.
As well as building our data skills, becoming a digitally enabled regulator will require us to develop a number of other important skills and capabilities. Our workforce will play a crucial role in the successful delivery of this strategy, and it is important that the organisation supports our people to develop the digital skills they will need for the future.
Support and training for employees will form a key element of the rollout of new systems and solutions to make sure that new ways of working become embedded, and the benefits of the new technologies secured.
Support will also be available through the annual learning and development programme to address training needs that individual employees and their line managers have identified. The DSE assessment process will ensure that appropriate support is available for employees with specific accessibility requirements.
Some digital skills and capabilities are specific to the teams most heavily involved in delivering the solutions that HCPC’s digital transformation relies upon. We will continue to evolve our approach to programme and project management, embedding an agile approach that reduces risk and improves quality.
The Product Management function will also develop further, supporting our regulatory functions in continuously improving the solutions they use to support their day to day work. We are continuing to evolve our technology architecture and data engineering capabilities.
As we forward with this strategy, further digital capabilities will need to be enhanced, including:
- Business Partnering and Analysis: working with operational teams across the organisation to understand their evolving requirements, working alongside the Product Managers.
- Solution Design: identifying cost effective but technically robust solutions to meet business needs, leveraging the capabilities of our technology platforms.
- Platform Management: as we complete our migration into the Cloud, the work of the infrastructure engineers will evolve from maintaining our network and data centre into providing platforms that enable flexible and secure solutions to be efficiently and effectively implemented.
- IT Supplier Management: managing strategic partnerships with our key IT suppliers to ensure we secure value for money, high quality services.
- Automation: to help free up capacity with which to develop these new capabilities, increased automation (and provision of self-service solutions) for more routine aspects of the current IT workload will need to be put in place.
The timescale and nature of regulatory reform for HCPC are as yet unknown. However by increasing HCPC’s ability to respond flexibly and quickly to change, the digital transformation strategy will be a key enabler for regulatory reform.
As more clarity emerges, we will review our digital plans to ensure they will enable HCPC to make the most of the opportunities that regulatory reform will offer and will deliver at the pace required.