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UKIPGThe UK Inter-Professional Group

Newsletter January 2014

New RPQ Directive 2013/55/EU now in force.

CPD Forum at Law Society on 4th February

PEN at Leeds University on 'privacy' on 20th February

Several 'live' consultations

UKIPG Newsletter January 2014

Greetings and best wishes to all our readers for 2014. The UKIPG carries on supporting its members and the wider professional community both in the UK and, to a limited extent, in Europe.  Thanks to all who 'signed on' to the new arrangements and then paid their subs for 2013.  However, we do need some more members, large and small, to ensure the longer term future.  We also need some individuals from the member bodies to assist with running the organisation.  If you want to help secure the future of UKIPG, please let the Secretary know. Thank you all for your support.

International and European

Directive 2013/55/EU

Goodbye 2013; welcome 2014!  Goodbye Directive 2005/36/EC' welcome Directive 2013/55/EU Four years of work, starting with evidence gathering for an evaluation of the working of Directive 2005/36/EC in 2009, eventually brought forth Directive 2103/55/EU on 28th December 2013. The new Directive came into effect on 17th January 2014.  Members States, Competent Authorities and Professional Associations now have two years to transpose formally their legislation, regulatory functions and administrative processes to bring them into line with the requirements of the Directive. But the provisions of the Directive are effective now.

In the UK, the primary responsibility for transposition into national law rests with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), although other Departments have responsibilities to ensure that national law in their sectors is also made consistent with the Directive (eg DH for the Medical Acts and Defra for the Veterinary Surgeons Act etc).  The National Coordinator resides within BIS and BIS sponsors the National Contact points and Assistance Centres (likely to remain within UKNARIC).

The major changes introduced by Directive 2013/55/EU have been listed several times, as the text is virtually unchanged from the Post-Trilogue Compromise Text published in July.  Two of these, namely the introduction of the European Professional Card (EPC) and the Common Training Frameworks (CTF) require further collaborative development between the Commission, MS Competent Authorities and European Professional Associations to bring them fully into use. The Commission has already started looking for expressions of interest in EPCs. Two UK Competent Authorites, the GMC and the Eng Council. have shared their responses. The Commission has also started to use the Mutual Evaluation and Transparency provisions.

There are two public events following the publication of the Directive:

  • On 15th January 2014, BIS hosted a 'Stakeholder Event' at 1 Victoria Street, with Presentations from the European Commission and the UK National Coordinator, with opportunities for discussion and airing of possible issues concerning implementation.  As part of the BIS presentation, the National Coordinator specifically asked for reflection, and input to BIS, on possible difficulties foreseen by Competent Authorities and Professional Associations regarding implementation (both as a Host MS for people wanting to access UK professions, and as Home MS for UK citiizens wanting to work elsewhere). 
  • On 12th February, the European Commission is holding a Conference entitled 'Modernising the Professional Qualifcations Directive - Safe Mobility'.  This will focus on four themes:
    1. Facilitating mobility: The European Professional Card
    2. Reinforcing safeguards for citizens and patients: The Alert mechanism and knowledge of languages
    3. Facilitating qualifications: Recognition of traineeships and the importance of diversity in education systems
    4. Simplification: Common Training Principles.

The UKIPG International and European Forum

The UKIPG International and European Forum last met at the Engineering Council on 22nd August 2013. The main purpose of that meeting was to enable members to take stock, and share points of interest and concern, on the (then) recently issued Post Trilogue Compromise Text relating to 'Modernising Directive 2005/36/EC'. It was agreed that publication of the new Directive would trigger the next meeting of the Forum early in 2014.  As we see from the above, that stage has been reached and a meeting of the Forum is being planned for mid-February. The key issues will be those highlighted in the BIS presentations, particularly the questions raised by the National Coordinator towards the end of her presentation.  These have already been circulated to IEF in a shorter specific Newsletter of 20th January 2014.  It may also be useful to take stock of the Commission's work on transparency, mutual evaluation and proportionality, based on the Document COM(2013)676 of 2nd October 2013.   As there is some interest in those members of IEF who are available meeting before the Commission's Conference, we have the facility to meet on Monday 10th February at 1100 at the Engineering Council office, 2nd Floor, Weston House, 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX.  Please indicate any specific agenda items or questions in advance to the UKIPG Secretary and also confirm your intention to attend (It helps to facilitate access to this multi-occupancy building).

Commission 'Entrepreneurship' and 'Bolstering the Business of the Liberal Professions' Initiative

The UKIPG Secretary is still in touch with this initiative, not least because it keeps us in touch with a good range of contacts across other IPGs in Europe, as well as the Commission and EESC. Information was included in recent Newsletters. After the last meeting, CEPLIS sent a Formal Letter to the Office of the relevant Commissioner thanking them for setting up the Working Group but reinforcing the need for it to move on from being a useful 'talking shop' to ensure that some really useful outcomes came from the work.  A polite reply, which might offer some long term promise, has now been received.  It is unlikely that UKIPG will be able to continue with this work, except by correspondence.

Horizon 2020

Another potentially useful outcome of the 'Entrepreneurship' initiative was a briefing from Grzegorz Ambrozewicz of the the Commission's DG Research and Innovation on the Horizon 2020 project launched on 10th December.  This briefing was in reponse to pleas from several professional groups asking how they could access European Structural Investment and Innovation Funds, with particular reference to those professions which were relatively small. The funds were likely to be concentrated on Regional Policy and Research Policy, with a focus on R&D, Low Carbon Economy, ICT and Small Business Competitiveness.  It was suggested that European professional associations might use Horizon 2020 to develop co-ordination and networking systems, as these were a new category of funding introduced by Horizon 2020.  It was further suggested that this might be a useful way to try again to start up the European Institute for the Liberal Professions; a potentially useful initiative of several years ago that was 'stillborn' for lack of start up funding.  One of the members of CEPLIS (EURELPRO) has taken up the challenge to try to make this work.  Under the 'new settlement' among UKIPG members, we no longer really belong and cannot commit to take part.  However, if one of the member bodies wanted to take interest in the work, it is to be led by Mr Guy Morel, President of EURELPRO.  The call for the first meeting has just been published.

Balance of Competences Review

The previous Newsletters have drawn attention to various aspects of the Government's Balance of Competences Review (of EU legislation), eg in Healthcare, Research, Civil Judicial Cooperation, Energy, Financial Services, Agriculture, Competition and Consumer Policy, Fundamental Rights, Social and Employment Policy, and Free Movement of Services.   The Free Movement of Services goes to the heart of the Services Directive and may be especially relevant to all professions and impacts on company law.  All are available on the HMG Consultation Web-site. None seem to have been published in recent weeks.  

UK NCP and PSC

The contract from BIS has been renewed, and the not-for-profit company set up by ECCTIS to operate the UK NARIC service on behalf of BIS will continue to do so for a further 4 years. This will include the National Contact Point for Professional Qualifications under Directive 2013/55/EU.

CEPLIS

Although UKIPG has played a leading role in CEPLIS over many years, providing Executive Board Members and Officers and leading project work (eg the response to the RPQ Directive modernisation proposals), we are no longer able to do do on any formal footing.  However, despite UKIPG's inability to maintain full membership for both policy and financial reasons, we have been asked to continue with the work on the the modernising of Directive 2005/36/EC and implementing Directive 2013/55/EU which we started three years ago.  This is possible only through pro bono work and mainly electronic communication, with minimal travel.  We do contribute in kind - mainly staff work, drafting and consultations, and we will host a meeting of the Working Group on updating the 'Common Values', led by John Fish of IIPA, on 3rd February.

Transnational Education

See the QAA section below for an update on Trans National Education.

Continuing Professional Development

The CPD Forum

The next meeting is planned for the 4th February 2014 and will be kindly hosted by the Solicitors' Regulation Authority at the Law Society HQ at 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL and with the usual timings (lunch from 1245; seminar 1330 - 1630).  The Programme has been published and will include inputs from our hosts, the SRA as well as the GDC, a discussion on 'reading for CPD', and a 'CPD in Europe' item with contributions from colleagues from professional associations in other Member States. Please let the Forum Administrator, Chris Senior, know of you intentions regarding attendance.  The basic Forum subscription covers the attendance of one person - much of it goes in food and drink! Please contact Chris if you would like more than one person to attend. It is normally possible at a nominal extra charge.

Details of the September 2013 Seminar are on the CPD pages of the UKIPG web-site, and available to all UKIPG and Forum Members. The links to the presentations will work after logging in with the password allocated to all paid-up members of UKIPG and the CPD Forum. In case of difficulty, contact the UKIPG Secretary

Education and Training

QAA / UKIPG PSRB Forum

The most recent Forum took place at Hamilton House in London on Friday 6th December. with approximately 40 participants.  A Report on this Forum should be posted later on the Partners Section of the QAA Web site. There were four main topics, two of which specifically addressed the potential role of Professional and Statutory Regulatory Bodies (PSRB). The discussion was summarised in the Newsletter for November and December. The four topics were: 

  • The HE Data and Information Improvement Programme (HDIIP).  
  • The HE Review Method and the Role of PSRB. 
  • Review of Subject Benchmark Statements - and the Involvement of PSRB. You can keep up to date with this work via the 'Assuring Standards' pages of the QAA web-site.
  • PSRB Involvement with Employer Engagement.  

Quality Assurance of Transnational Education

On 16th December 2013, QAA issued Circular Letter 21/13 and a Consultation on 'Strengthening the Quality Assurance of UK Transnational Education'.  You may recall that this was the topic of the PSRB Forum in July last year; the last one reported on the Partners Section of the QAA Web site and the subject of the Overview Document published by QAA in May 2013 of UK Transnational Education in China.  To support the consultation process, QAA is also holding three Briefing Sessions, in London on 4th February (which clashes with UKIPG's CPD Forum), Cardiff on 17th February and Glasgow on 21st February.  The Consultation period ends on 10th March. Further information from Jane Holt at QAA.  Because of the other events involving the UKIPG Secretary, he would be grateful for any reports from others able to attend.

Higher Education

There is little new on the official HE web-sites (eg of BIS, HEFCE etc).  However, several items were noted in December.  In case these were missed in the run up to Christmas, some pointers are repeated here:

Further Education and Skills

AAT MOOC for India.  The Association of Accounting Technicians has participated in the launch of a Massive Open On-Line Course (MOOC) to facilitate entry to professional qualifications in India.

14 - 19 Qualifications.  Recent announcements have included a Technical Baccalaureate Measure for 16 - 19 year olds, changes to 16- 18 Core Maths, and Guidance on Vocational Qualifications for 14 - 19 year olds.

Apprenticeships. We noted in previous Newsletters that following up the Richards Report meant tearing up much of what had previously been established under the (not very old) frameworks system of SASE. In the new system, there is to be no set way of providing the learning and no set price; it is all flexible and negotiable. It is to be put in place initially via a set of eight 'Trailblazers'.  Others will be put in place within months according to the latest document 'The Future of Apprenticeships in England - Guidance for Trailblazers'.  The initial 8 sectors are aerospace, automotive, digital industries, electro-technical, energy and utilities, financial services, food and drink manufacturing, and life sciences and industrial sciences.  Note that Section 7 of the paper says: 'Professional bodies will also play an important part in Trailblazers as we want to ensure that achieving an Apprenticeship in future ensures that an individual is ready to secure professional accreditation where that is available'.  The UKIPG Secretary has some contacts in some of the engineering trailblazers projects - if anyone from the financial services or sciences area would like to be put in contact, let the UKIPG Secretary have details. Note that the implementation of all of this needs changes to primary legislation which is only at the outline stage in the Draft Dergulation Bill.

Review of Adult Vocational Qualifications in England.  This Review, by Nigel Whiitehead, Group Managing Director of BAe Systems, was set up by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), of which Whitehead is a Commissioner.  Basically, it deconstructs the present complex system and tries to establish a simpler system which has more flexibility, and can cope differently with 'initial education and training' for a business sector, and the 'continuing professional development' needs of people in work.  It gives credit to Richards and Wolf, and acknowledges the work of other bodies in the field. It has since attracted many favourable comments on the UKCES web-site.  What matters now is how / if it will be taken forward.

Awarding Organisations Operating in the Tier 4 Market

OFQUAL has been concerned about the quality and reliability of qualifications offered by some Awarding Organisations operating in the Tier 4 market.  The fact that Qfqual formally refers to a 'Tier 4 Market' perhaps indicates some cause for concern.  Essentially, Tier 4 is a non-EU immigration term applying to student visa applicants, mainly at Levels 6 and 7 (approximating to HE standard).  Ofqual conducted a full review and has published the Report. Ofqual's Review found that:

  • Two thirds of all awarding organisations included in the review had qualifications with content and assessments that did not meet the required standards for qualifications at this level
  • All of the awarding organisations included in the review  provided examples of student work which subject experts believed did not meet the level required
  • Two thirds of the student work scrutinised was found to show performance below the level required.

Several of the Awarding Organisations concerned had names which at least gave the impression that they were some form of 'professional body'.  They also award qualifcations, and use some of the same providers, for UK students.  It may well be worth bearing this report in mind when conducting accreditation of courses for professional recognition.

Regulation

Draft Deregulation Bill.  The Draft Regulation Bill has been introduced into both houses in an attempt to get some agreement to proceed.  It touches on a number of UKIPG interests ranging from apprenticehips to insolvency practice.

Directive 2013/55/EU - Mutual Evaluation of Regulation. Just in case those interested primarily in UK regulation matters skip the International and European items, it is worth noting the current activity of the Commission under the 'mutual evaluation' heading. It is worth reading the Commission Document COM (2013) 0676 of 2nd October on 'Evaluating National Regulations on Access to the Professions' to see what is involved in this activity.  

Law Commission Review of Regualtion of Health and Social Care Professionals.  There is a vast amount of information on the Law Commission web-site on the Analysis of Responses to the earlier Consultation.

GDC Statutory Rules for CPD.  The General Dental Council has launched a Consultation on amended statutory rules on the requirements for Continuing Professional Development for all Dental Professionals (ie dental surgeons, dental therapists, dental hygenists, dental technicians and dental nurses).  The new rules would enable the GDC to implement a scheme of CPD fit for on-going regulatory purposes and make an effective contribution to policies for continuing assurance of practice.  The consultation runs until 21st March 2014.

GOC Consultations.  The General Optical Council had launched two Consultations but we are now past their response dates.

Ethics, Values and Codes of Conduct

Inter Disciplinary Applied Ethics Centre, University of Leeds

UKIPG maintains a cooperative and fruitful relationship with the Inter Disciplinary Ethics Applied (IDEA) Centre at the University of Leeds, which specialises in the integration of applied ethics into HE courses for other disciplines (initially medicine, then dentistry, and then expanding more widely into engineering, accountancy, business studies etc.).  The Centre runs a Professional Ethics Network (PEN), primarily among businesses, professionals and educators in the Yorkshire area, but with occasional sorties into London for events with the UKIPG and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Evening PEN events are run regularly in Leeds; they are free to attend and include a buffet.  Events planned for 2014 include:

  • 20th February 2014 - 'Surveillance, Privacy and Ethics' led by John Cummings formerly a senior officer of the Scottish Police Service and alumnus of the Leeds centre.
  • 1st May 2014 - 'Working in the Public Interest' - led by Tony Bromley of ICAEW.

Leeds is also organising a 2-day Conference on 2nd and 3rd April 2014 at the Business School entitled 'Business Ethics, Business Schools and the World of Work'.   Further information, booking etc through Liz Melsom at the IDEA Centre. Details of all events will be published in UKIPG Newsletters and web-site.  However, you may register for information directly with PEN.

Common Values of the Liberal Professions

At the time when the Services Directive was being launched, its Article 26 'Policy on Quality of Services' encouraged service providers to take voluntary action to ensure the quality of service provision, including through: 'drawing up their own quality charter or participation in quality charters or labels drawn up by professional bodies at Community level'.  CEPLIS seized this opportunity to try to establish some common ground between 'professional bodies at Community level'. It developed collaboratively  its Statement of 'Common Values of the Liberal Professions'.  There is now a Review of these 'Common Values' to test them against the contemporary regulatory, economic and business environment, as well as new technology and legislation.  Our good colleague, John Fish, Secretary of the Irish Inter Professional Association (IIPA) has agreed to take on this work and lead the Working Group; he also has produced four Papers, which set out 'Observations on Various Options', suggestions for Amendments to current CVs, sugested Codes of Conduct for European Liberal Professions and for All European ProfessionsJohn Fish would welcome comments on or contributions to these papers, and to like to tap into the expertise of the Leeds team and get an input from UKIPG. The UKIPG has agreed to host the inaugural meeting of the Group at 1030 on 3rd February 2014 at the Engineering Council, 2nd Floor, Weston House, 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX.  

Whilst the UKIPG Secretary will attend the meeting on 3rd February as host and facilitator, it would be great if one or two people from the wider UKIPG membership, who have a particular interest in this work, could participate.  Please let us know as soon as possible of anyone who could attend.

The Future of UKIPG

UKIPG has adjusted to its new way of working, although except for the CPD Forum, it has become very dependent on the Secretary and the Newsletter. We do not have enough members to ensure continued viability in the longer term.  All it needs is some of those who regularly attend CPD Forum events, contribute information, ask questions through the web-site, and make use of the work we do, actually to become full members.  The cost is not great - £450 per annum for 'large' bodies, £250 for 'small' bodies, and a negotiable contribution from individuals and very small organisations.  Contact UKIPG Secretary in the first instance.

We will need to collect Subscriptions for January to December 2014 to meet our current obligations - although we have already assured the continuity of the web-site for the year. And please help with Purchase Order Numbers for invoices, if that is your system. 

In order to update our contact lists for the e-mailer etc, please complete and return the attached contacts form to the UKIPG Secretary.  It is in Word so can be 'typed on'; please 'save as' with the abbreviated name of your body.