Professional Standards Authority oversight of the HCPC

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The PSA (professional Standards Authority) oversee complaints made to, investigations, and findings made by the HCPC – this is relevant because it is the HCPC who regulate social workers including FCAs (Family Court Advisors) employed or contracted by Cafcass.

The PSA describe themselves thus:

 

The regulators send us all of the decisions made by their final fitness to practise committees. We read the decisions and if we have a concern, we ask for copies of all the evidence. If we continue to be concerned we can hold a case meeting with our lawyers to decide whether to refer the case to Court.

 

We only refer decisions to Court if there is no other effective means of protecting the public.The value of our review of final decisions is that it helps to improve the overall quality of the regulators’ processes and the decisions made by their committees. Our power to refer decisions to Court comes from Section 29 of the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002.

 

We promote good practice across the regulators in a number of ways, including sharing with them the ‘learning points’ that we identify from all the decisions that we review

You can read about the cases that the PSA have held case meetings for here:

LINK to recent cases on PSA website

The PSA also perform periodic reviews of the regulatory bodies that they oversee. Their latest report on HCPC covers 2015-2016. In this report they say that the HCPC failed to meet 2 of the Fitness to Practice standards set by the PSA.

The Fitness to Practice standards are as follows:

The standards of good regulation relating to fitness to practise
1. Anybody can raise a concern, including the regulator, about the fitness to practise of a registrant
2. Information about fitness to practise concerns is shared by the regulator with employers/local arbitrators, system and other professional regulators within the relevant legal frameworks
3. Where necessary, the regulator will determine if there is a case to answer and if so, whether the registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired or, where appropriate, direct the person to another relevant organisation
4. All fitness to practise complaints are reviewed on receipt and serious cases are prioritised and where appropriate referred to an interim orders panel
5. The fitness to practise process is transparent, fair, proportionate and focused on public protection
6. Fitness to practise cases are dealt with as quickly as possible taking into account the complexity and type of case and the conduct of both sides. Delays do not result in harm or potential harm to patients and service users. Where necessary the regulator protects the public by means of interim orders
7. All parties to a fitness to practise case are kept updated on the progress of their case and supported to participate effectively in the process
8. All fitness to practise decisions made at the initial and final stages of the process are well reasoned, consistent, protect the public and maintain confidence in the profession
9. All final fitness to practise decisions, apart from matters relating to the health of a professional, are published and communicated to relevant stakeholders
10.Information about fitness to practise cases is securely retained.

The PSA say that the HCPC failed on standards 4 and 6:

4. All fitness to practise complaints are reviewed on receipt and serious cases are prioritised and where appropriate referred to an interim orders panel

6. Fitness to practise cases are dealt with as quickly as possible taking into account the complexity and type of case and the conduct of both sides. Delays do not result in harm or potential harm to patients and service users. Where necessary the regulator protects the public by means of interim orders

In a Family Law system designed for combative parents there is no real allowance for the views of children and any understanding of how Family Law ultimately impacts on children most of all.

We speak for the children in Family Law so that, finally, the children have a voice.