How the government decides which professions should be regulated
The most up-to-date statement of Government policy on professional regulation is 'Enabling excellence – Autonomy and accountability for health care workers, social workers and social care workers'. This says that the Government will in future only consider regulating further groups ‘in exceptional circumstances’, where there is a ‘compelling case’ and where voluntary registers are considered insufficient to manage the risk involved.
The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) holds a list of accredited voluntary registers which they have independently assessed against their own standards. They cover professions that are not regulated by law, with professionals working within and outside the NHS.
Professions previously considered for statutory regulation
In 2007 government announced it intended to introduce statutory regulation for this group, but Anne Milton, MP, confirmed in 2011 that they no longer intended to proceed with this approach.
In 2011 government announced that it intended to introduce statutory regulation for this group. However, after convening a working group they agreed that there was insufficient evidence to justify statutory regulation.
In chapter seven of its Enabling Excellence paper, the government announced that the Department of Health would explore the possibility of a the HCPC holding a voluntary register of adult social care workers in England. A voluntary register means that it would not be compulsory to be registered (and there would not be any titles or functions protected in law).
In 2012 the Secretary of State for Health announced plans to regulate public health specialists that are not medically qualified. The Department of Health confirmed their intention for the HCPC to regulate this group in its Transforming Public Health bulletin. However, in 2015 the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State announced that the government did not think it was necessary to extend statutory regulation to this group.
Previous applications considered by Council
The following lists the applications we considered which resulted in a recommendation by the Council.
|Date of Council Meeting
|Council reference paper
|2 April 2003
|The Association of Operating Department Practitioners
|Operating Department Practitioners
|Paper HPC 37/03
|4 June 2003
|The British Psychological Society
|Paper HPC 50/03
|17 September 2003
|The Society of Clinical Perfusion Scientists of Great Britain
|Clinical Perfusion Scientists
|Paper HPC 76/03
|8 October 2003
|The Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists
|Paper HPC 111/03
|2 March 2004
|The Association of Dance Movement Therapy
|Dance Movement Therapists
|Paper HPC 3/04
|13 May 2004
|The Voluntary Register of Clinical Technologists
|Paper HPC 29/04
|14 September 2004
|The Institute of Medical Illustrators
|Paper HPC 94/04
|13 September 2005
|The Institute of Maxillofacial Prosthetists & Technologists
|Maxillofacial Prosthetists & Technologists
|Paper HPC 108/05
|1 March 2006,
11 May 2006 &
10 February 2011
|The Society of Sports Therapists
|Paper HPC 4/06 (March)
Paper HPC 36/06 (May)
Enclosure 7 (February)
|10 September 2009 &
7 October 2009
|Society and College of Radiographers
|10 September 2009
|Association of Genetic Nurses and Counsellors
|Enclosure 09, paper reference: 13.09/147
* Sonography was identified in the draft health and care workforce strategy for England as one of the key workforce gaps . In 2018 Health Education England commissioned the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) to assess the risk of harm arising from the practice of sonographers using the PSA’s Right-touch assurance model, and to provide advice on the most appropriate form of assurance for the role.