HCPC Subgroup

he HCPC subgroup sits under the BPS Practice Board and is made up of members from across the protected titles.

BPS Professional Body Function

The society recognises that Fitness to Practice can be extremely stressful.

We provide advice, guidance and support to those members who contact us. This includes working with our liaison manager at the HCPC to try and resolve matters where there have been very long delays.

On this page we will aim to sign post members to relevant information and guidance, and highlight examples of support provided by professional indemnity insurers and Trades Unions.

We also work with the HCPC so that they have a better understanding of the roles undertaken by applied psychologists.

Please contact us if there are areas of difficulty or improvement we can work on with the HCPC.

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HCPC and Fitness to Practise

The types of FtP cases the HCPC considers are based upon consideration of whether a registered professional's fitness to practise is "impaired" on one of the following "grounds":

  • Misconduct – behaviour that falls short of what can reasonably be expected of a professional
  • Lack of competence – lack of knowledge, skill and judgement, usually repeated and over a period of time
  • Conviction or caution – for a criminal offence in the UK (or in another country if the offence would be a crime if committed here)
  • Physical or mental health – usually a long-term, untreated or unacknowledged condition
  • A decision made by another health or social care regulator

The HCPC have provided a number of case studies which can be found here.

Examples of why psychologists have been struck off the HCPC's register

An analysis of Practitioner Psychologists being removed the HCPC's register since 2017 is provided below.

Reason HCPC Registered Psychologists:
  • Dishonesty/Fraud = 2
  • Breached professional boundaries = 3
  • Lack of expertise / acted outside of competence = 4
  • Inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature = 5

The HCPC has recently launched a new support service for Registrants undergoing a Fitness to Practice (FTP) case.

The service provides registrants with access to emotional wellbeing support and practical advice to help registrants manage any impacts of the FTP process.

The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is free and is run independently of the HCPC.

See additional information about the FtP registrant support service

HCPC's Threshold Policy for Fitness to Practise Investigations

This document outlines the HCPC's approach to investigating complaints about registrants, their decision-making process and how their criteria are applied.

Experiences of the Fitness to Practice process

Research has found that practitioners subject to FtP experienced shame, guilt and / or anxiety, some experienced depression and or suicide ideation.

Maben found that the FtP process exacerbated mental conditions such as depression, bipolar and personality disorder.

The psychological impact of FtP left defendants feeling powerless and vulnerable, with some experiencing extreme stress and prolonged anxiety. The experience was, for a number of defendants psychologically traumatising.

HCPC Sanctions Policy

The HCPC's Sanctions Policy sets out how sanctions are applied by the HCPC Practice Committee in FtP cases .

HCPC Resources and Support

Access the HCPC's list of resources

The HCPTS is the fitness to practise adjudication service of the Health and Care Professions Council.

We are currently seeking Practitioner Psychologists (Clinical, Educational, Counselling and Health only) to undertake the role of FTP panel member for the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service.

Panels hear and determine cases on behalf of the HCPTS's three Practice Committees: the Investigating Committee, Conduct and Competence and Health Committees.

You must be registered with the HCPC and meet the criteria set out in the Information for Applicants.

We expect panel members to commit to around ten days per year to ensure skills and competencies are retained which includes training.

The length and notice for tribunal appointments are variable and can fit most diary commitments and working patterns.

We pay a rate of £206 per day as well as travel and accommodation expenses in accordance with the HCPC Partner Expense Policy.

The HCPC is committed to equality of opportunity and actively guards against unfair discrimination on any grounds (including sexual orientation, religion or beliefs, race, sex, age or disability).

Find out more about the work of HCPC Partners.

How to apply

The closing date for applications: Friday, 28 July at 1pm

Find out more about the application process

Interviews will take place between Monday 04 September and Wednesday 20 September.

Compulsory training dates are Tuesday 17 October and Wednesday 18 October.

Please note:

All applications must be submitted via our recruitment microsite to be considered. We do not accept CVs & covering letters.

We reserve the right to close the campaign early if we receive a sufficient number of applications.

The HCPC makes having professional indemnity cover in place a condition of registration. The society works with three insurers to provide preferential rates for our members.

For more details, please contact the insurers directly:

  • Tel: +44 (0)1274 760 460

Professional indemnity can provide support on understanding process, policy, types of help available, and potential outcomes of the allegation.

It is crucial that members contact their professional indemnity providers before they respond to a complaint from either a client, patient, or professional regulator.

The indemnity provider come assist in the drafting of correspondence and provide guidance of the contents therein.

Health professionals are bound by a duty of candour, this is very important. Duty of candour is relevant to mistakes, errors and misjudgements made by clinicians, including psychologists. Saying sorry does not imply an admittance of guilt.

Should a complaint progress to a hearing professional indemnity cover will ensure that solicitors, and if necessary barristers, who have usually worked in the field and understand psychology are there to help every step of the way.

Check with your professional indemnity insurer about the cover they provide, individual terms and conditions.

It should be noted that although some employers provide professional indemnity insurance for employees difficulties may arise if the person leaves the employment or is subject to some form of disciplinary process, or is dismissed by their employer. The employer will withdraw indemnity cover in these circumstances. Employers may not support employees with a complaint from a regulator.

A good number of psychologists working in the public sector join a trades union.

The society meets regularly with Unite to exchange information on policy and practice and items of mutual interest. Unite has a dedicated Applied Psychology Organising Professional Committee for its psychology members.

Unite offers support to its members at Fitness to Practise hearings. When/where members are legally represented, this is subject to having one month of membership and the issue was not a pre-existing one.

To access the service Unite members need to speak to their Regional Officer who submits the request to Unite's legal department.

Unite also offers support with submissions before any hearing. This is via Unite Professional Officers accessed through the Regional Officer.