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The Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service
Independence in the adjudication of fitness to practise hearings has been an important topic at the HCPC for many years and reflects the clear role separation that the Council has sought since it was established.
There is already a high degree of functional separation within the FTP Department, which ensures that individuals do not perform functions relating to both the investigation of fitness to practise allegations and their adjudication.
At its meeting in July 2016, Council agreed to the creation of the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS) to enhance this separation.
What is the HCPTS?
The HCPTS is the hearings service of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Although not a separate organisation to the HCPC, it reinforces the role separation by providing a distinct identity to highlight that the adjudication of FTP allegations is undertaken at arm’s length from the HCPC, by independent panels.
Why the change?
The change has been led by government’s intention that regulatory bodies adopt systems with a greater separation between the investigation and adjudication of fitness to practise hearings. We are the second regulator to make this change, the first being the General Medical Council who established the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.
The creation of the HCPTS provides reassurance to registrants that the Panel making a decision on allegations about them are at arm’s length from the organisation that initially investigated the matter.
What will the change mean?
The establishment of the HCPTS will ensure a high degree of independent decision making by FTP panel members and enables transparency in the independent appointment of decision-makers.
Although the HCPTS will be operating in the same way, it will have enhanced separation, new governance arrangements and dedicated services. Below is a list of some of the key products that will created as a result of the launch of the HCPTS.
• New Tribunal Centre – We have a dedicated Tribunal Centre in Kennington, South London. Our Tribunal Centre is fully accessible and our hearing rooms have a range of resources that can facilitate the logistical and technical needs for our hearing participants. Our hearings rooms are equipped with video conferencing and teleconferencing facilities. We also have a separate private video conferencing room that connects to the main hearing rooms, which help to facilitate the needs of our most vulnerable hearing participants.
• The Tribunal Advisory Committee (TAC) – The TAC is a non-statutory committee of the HCPC. The TAC’s main role is to advise the Council on the recruitment, training and assessment of Tribunal panellists, panel chairs and legal assessors. The TAC is also responsible for issuing guidance to the Tribunal on practice and procedure.
• HCPTS website – There will be a new HCPTS website with sections including: About us, Attending a hearing; Hearings and decisions; Legislation, Participant information and a Virtual tour of the Tribunal Centre.
• New logo and brand – We have created a new logo and brand which utilises elements of the HCPC whilst providing a distinct identity to highlight the separation between the investigation and the adjudication of the hearings function.
When will the HCPTS be launched?
The HCPTS will be fully operational by Friday 28 April 2017.
We will be contacting key stakeholders before this date to promote the role of the HCPTS, highlight key changes and flag the planned launch date.