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Prioritising Leadership in our Standards of Proficiency

20 Hyd 2020
  • Our standards

Olivia Bird

Policy Manager, HCPC Policy and Standards

With just under two weeks left until our consultation on our Standards of proficiency closes, we are continuing to look at some of the key changes we’ve suggested, and dig deeper into what it means for our Registrants. In this blog, we look at the changes we’re proposing to our leadership standards.

Our previous standards focused on leadership in the health and care sector as something which is specific to being in a managerial or leadership role – registrants were required to know about what leadership is, but were not expected to use that knowledge from the beginning of their careers. 

Advancements in modern day practice have meant professionals require to demonstrate leadership at all levels. The COVID-19 pandemic has only strengthened this importance. To reflect this, our suggested standards call on all Registrants to not only understand what leadership means and how it applies to practice, but to understand the qualities, behaviours and benefits of leadership and be able to apply these in the context of their practice.  

The other key change in the consultation is to move the leadership standard from Standard 13, which is focused on knowledge, to Standard 9 which focuses on being able to work appropriately with others. This is something which is central to the way in which NHS Education for Scotland  design and create their  educational resources supporting leadership, which we’ll be exploring in this blog.

Susan Shandley, Programme Lead, AHP Practice Education Programme comments:

“Delivering high quality integrated health and social care services to the people of Scotland depends on effective management and the ability of our staff at all levels to demonstrate leadership. We’ve seen throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the value of having leadership at all levels.

To support and enable development and application of leadership capabilities for all staff, including Allied Health Professionals, a series of programmes and initiatives previously developed continue to support and encourage leadership in all its many forms, at different levels of experience.”


We’ve outlined just three of the many different programmes and initiatives which NHS Education for Scotland offer which ensure leadership remains encompassed at all levels.

Flying Start

All AHPs, along with nurses and midwives, in Scotland are strongly encouraged to undertake Flying Start NHS. Within the first year of practice, a practitioner is expected to create a professional portfolio demonstrating they have met the learning outcomes of NES’ four pillars of practice, one of which is leadership. Flying Start NHS is designed to support the development of newly qualified AHPs through flexible work-based learning and embed strong habits of continuing professional development. The leadership unit focusses on developing the knowledge, skills and behaviours to enhance leadership abilities, similar to the revised HCPC standard. This unit carries the strong message that it is never too early to focus on and cultivate effective leadership skills, a message which the HCPC strongly support and are keen for more of our registrants to understand and incorporate into their way of working.

NES NMAHP Career Framework

The NES NMAHP Career development framework encourages the development of leadership skills at every level of practice from practitioner to consultant level. Moving up through the levels is associated with deepening and broadening knowledge, widening engagement and increasing responsibility, with each level of practice building on the one before.

AHP Career Fellowships scheme

The AHP Careers Fellowship Scheme supports the development of leadership skills and values through work-based learning and creating the opportunity for reflection, peer support and engagement in practical workshops and sessions. The scheme is open to the AHP workforce in Scotland at all level of practice and all Fellows are seen as leaders in their own right, planning, designing and delivering their own project locally, regionally or nationally. This programme enables AHPs to work on and fine tune their leadership skills in a project they are passionate about, something which more AHPs across the country should be encouraged to do.

Case study: Ruth McLauchlan, Fife Health and Social Care (Physiotherapy)

In 2019, the Fife adult musculoskeletal physiotherapy service was looking to expand its delivery options beyond the one to one appointments or group exercise therapies traditionally offered. Rather than deciding what the new options could be, Ruth used her leadership skills and values to explore and co design potential delivery options. 

This involved leading a partnership approach to understand and value the perspectives of people who use services, people who could use services (but perhaps don’t access them), people who refer, staff who deliver services and other stakeholders. She supported others to see and do things differently, promoting and supporting creativity and innovation. The aim was to develop new ways of delivering adult MSK physiotherapy services and facilitate a strong shared vision for services.

What does this mean for HCPC?

We believe that it is important for those not just in managerial and leadership positions, but across all levels, to be able to demonstrate leadership, whether that be through suggesting innovative solutions, encouraging and helping their colleagues or sharing a new skill.

To do this, it’s important that those in established leadership roles continue to encourage employees, prompting them to sign up to initiatives or programmes like those established by NES, or to share their knowledge.

Our employer hub provides general advice for managers on supporting registrants to meet our standards, particularly through supervision. Ultimately, our new standards give more priority to leadership – something that we will expect Registrants to back and support.

Tudalen wedi'i diweddaru ymlaen: 20/10/2020