The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has today unveiled a series of major plans for 2021, demonstrating the regulator’s commitment to meeting the Professional Standard Authority’s standards and facilitating learning, progress and innovation. The New Year will bring the launch of its five year corporate strategy, which has been developed with input from Registrants, partners and the public, as well as new initiatives to promote equality, diversity and inclusion and the health and wellbeing of health and care workers.
The organisation’s Year in Highlights report, reflects the progress made in 2019-20. Christine Elliott, Chair of the HCPC, comments on the impact of the last year and the HCPC’s plans for 2021: “We all know that, over the last eight months, the health and care sector has faced one of its toughest challenges. However, our innovations and progress have stood us in good stead to keep developing the way we work, even as the pandemic continues. We hope next year will be one of great success for the HCPC, as we begin implementing our new strategies.”
The most significant project undertaken by the HCPC in 2019-20 was the transfer of 90,000 social workers to Social Work England’s register, completed in December 2019. Following this successful transfer, the HCPC began implementing its Change Plan, signalling the start of the HCPC’s organisational transformation.
A Fitness to Practise (FtP) Improvement Programme also got underway, and a Case Management System is due to be completed in April next year. Using data analysis, the HCPC is moving towards a prevention-focused regulatory approach, addressing as many issues as possible before they get to an FtP hearing.
The regulator also strengthened its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) action plan and initiatives, and began the development of an ED&I strategy and a Registrant wellbeing strategy. The roll-out of these plans will continue in 2021.
The final months of 2019-20 saw the HCPC create a temporary register. This register was designed to enable former Registrants and students to support the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 25,000 professionals were signed up to the register, bolstering health and care services, and helping to protect the patients and service users.
Christine Elliott adds: “The last 12 months has been a year of great transition, transformation and innovation for the HCPC. We began many new initiatives, aimed at increasing our ability to protect the patients and service users, supporting our Registrants and improving our performance against PSA standards. Our temporary registers have provided a vital boost for the NHS workforce during the pandemic, and the changes to Fitness to Practise showed our commitment to enhancing the way we regulate.
We also made progress on ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion is always front of mind for the HCPC. During the pandemic, the importance of enshrining these values in health and care services has become even more apparent, and this is something which we will continue to champion in 2021.”
To address the immediate challenge of COVID-19, the HCPC adapted its Change Plan, which has been in place since January, enabling it to capitalise on the opportunities presented by COVID-19 to accelerate organisational transformation. The corporate strategy for 2021-2026 will build on the success of this plan.
John Barwick, Chief Executive and Registrar comments: “The COVID-19 period has undoubtedly been one of the greatest tests which we, alongside our Registrants and the general public, have faced. As we move into the next phase, we’re going to take forward our learning and development and build on the HCPC’s excellent work during the pandemic.
We have seen first-hand the benefits of flexible regulation, the need for innovation within our processes and for improved communication with our Registrants and partners. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, it’s given us an opportunity to reflect and make changes which will benefit the HCPC, our Registrants and the public for years to come.”
The full Year in Highlights report can be found on the HCPC website.