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UKIPGThe UK Inter-Professional Group

Newsletter January 2016

Transposition of Directive 2013/55/EU - General System done; Helathcare still to be finished.

National Action Plan as it relates to UK Professional Regulation - Report to European Commission.

Update on TEF and next QAA PSRB Forum on 23rd March

HE Data Inventories

Professional Doctorates and CPD Forum

UKIPG Newsletter January 2016

Welcome to the UKIPG Newsletter for the end of January, and so the start of the year 2016. It is still the UKIPG Newsletter for now, but the name / brand will change to 'Professions Together' - perhaps with a 'The Inter Professional Group' strapline alongside, when a renewed web-site is launched early in the Spring of 2016.

Last month, we held the fifth management group meeting; we are extremely fortunate in having now a committed and enthusiastic team to support our Chairman. The outcomes of the meeting, together with an explanation of how we are to move on in 'business' terms, are being circulated by the Chairman to all who have various interests in the future of UKIPG, whether existing full members, former members, those involved with the Inter Professional CPD Forum and International and European Forum etc.  Please look out for subscription fee invoices, noting that the CPD Forum Fee is invoiced separately (this fee mainly covers the preparation and running expenses for the three seminars per year).

The world has also moved on in a few other areas notably in the inplementation of Directive 2013/55/EU and the associated National Action Plan.

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International and European

Implementation of the RPQ Directive

You will know that the Professional Qualification Directive was updated in 2013, and is now completing the process which transposes it into UK Implementing Legislation. The primary work on this transposition has been completed on time by BIS, the Department primarily responsible. We now have the implementing Regulation. The co-ordinator at BIS is Laura Danilaviciute  who works to Duncan Lawson Head of EU Services. Laura has very recently provided notifies us as follows:

"With this email I wanted to update you on the transposition of the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive:

  • The Guidance to the Competent Authorities were published last year and are available for competent authorities with questions related to the implementation of the Regulations. The link can be found here:  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/417439/bis-15-254-draft-guidance-for-competent-authorities-implementing-directive-2005-36-ec.pdf  "

However, in the healthcare area, DH has been going through a similar process for what are primarily (but not totally) 'automatic recognition' professions. As you will know from the December 2015 Newsletter, on 10th December, DH produced a 'Consultation on MRPQ Transposition', and 'Draft European Qualifications (Health and Social Care) Regulations' also for consultation.  The response date was 20th January - two days after the transposition should have been completed. The DH web-site now reports 'We are now analysing your feedback'.

National Action Plan

The Transparency initiative of Article 59 of Directive 2013/55/EU was reported in several previous Newsletters as a 'possible cause for concern'. It was suggested that this was not just a technical matter on implementation of the Directive but one which was being linked nationally to the overall deregulation agenda and the continuing role of bodies incorporated by Royal Charter in the regulatory field.  Laura has provided us with a copy of the result of the 'Review of Regulated Professions' submitted to the European Commission on behalf of the UK.

UKIPG International and European Forum - Future Work

Within UKIPG, Katy Turff, Head of International at the Engineering Council, coordinates our International and European Forum. Many UKIPG members will have responded to the consultation on transposition of Directive 2013/55 into UK law, and to the letters from Ministers relating to the National Action Plan. With so much potential change in the air, members may well wish to meet to discuss and understand both the practical and 'political' aspects of the likely changes.  These will affect both directions of travel; dealing with applications to come to the UK - perhaps using the EPC; and looking after the interests of UK professionals wishing to work elsewhere, as others try to interpret the new Directive and understand any perceived changes in the UK's position.

The International and European Forum has never been exclusive to UKIPG members, and we have been glad to include others in our list of possible attenders or correspondents.  The list is maintained on our existing web-site but is always difficult to keep up to date.  It would help us all if any reader of this Newsletter would confirm to Katy Turff and the UKIPG Secretary, that they are the current contact for International and Eurpean work, or give the details of another person who is. We need a up-to-date list both to progress these current matters on RPQ and NAP, and to ensure that our new leadership team has the most up-to-date information on which to build for the future.  Some further issues for the Forum might be:

  • The provision in Art 49(a)  for Common Training Frameworks.  These were intended to bring some of the benefits of the 'automatic recognition system' to those professional areas in the 'general system' which have broadly agreed systems for mutual recognition - largely based on 'outcomes' and allowing for reasonable differences in 'process'.  This is something that the UK professions are used to, as it has been the way in which a number of 'chartered qualifications' have been mutually recognised over the years. As there is now some evidence that the Commission now wished to move forward on implementing this Article, and therefore that BIS may well now wish to see this work move forward.  It is something on which our International and European Forum and our Education and Training Group may wish to engage - and even take a lead. Some professional areas are moving ahead anyway through their Europe-wide single profession organisations (eg the submission from the E4 Group on Laboratory Medicine).  If you are already involved - or at least interested - please let us know.
  • Following the successful updating of Directive 2005/36, the European Commission has started on a review process for the Services Directive.   Of particular interest to a number of European professional bodies is how the 'Quality of Services' provision will be addressed. It was under this heading that the Commission enouraged European professional associations the develop EU-wide codes of conduct appropriate to their professional area and so  was the inspiration for CEPLIS to develop its original 'Common Values of the Liberal Professions' document.  That document has since been revised to ensure that it is as relevant as possible to any revision of the Services Directive. This work was led by our Irish colleague, John Fish - Secretary of IIPA.  There is now some concern among European colleagues that, with the new Commission and work on Art 59 (Transparency) of the RPQ Directive, the special nature of professional bodies linked to codes of conduct, might be 'watered down'. 

Professional Regulation

Health and Care Regulation

About a year ago, DH initiated a Consultation on Pharmacy Regulation in two parts; one part dealt with dispensing errors and the other with the regulation of pharmacies. DH has now published a Response to the second part of the Consultation in 'Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation: Report on responses to the public consultation othe Pharmacy (Premises Standards, Information Obligations etc.) Order 2016.'

DH Consultation of Transposition of the MRPQ Directive

As mentioned in the International and European Section, DH produced a 'Consultation on MRPQ Transposition', and 'Draft European Qualifications (Health and Social Care) Regulations' also for consultation. The DH is currently analysing the responses.   You will recall that the revised Directive enables certain health and care Competent Authorities to require applicants to the register to satisfy them that they have the necessary knowledge of English to practise safely and effectively in the UK. This is not random testing, but when there is concern that a health and carel professional does not have the necessary knowledge of English to practise, the CA must ask for evidence of their language skills or require the applicant undergo a test to evaluate their knowledge of English language skill. During last year, many UK Competent Authorities in this field consulted on this aspect of their work. It may now be worth reviewing your response in the context of the current consultation on the Transposition and Draft Regulations.  The GDC's Consultation provides but one example.

Legal Regulation

The Legal Services Board is the oversight regulator for the Legal Professions.  During 2015, it consulted on whether the regulatory arrangements for in-house lawyers needed to be the same as or those in independent practice. It has now considered the responses and published its formal response entitled 'Statement of policy on section 15(4) of the Legal Services Act 2007: regulatory arrangements for in-house lawyers'.

Inter Professional CPD Forum

The recent meeting of the Inter Professional CPD Forum was hosted by the Chartered Management Institute at 77 Kingsway, London WC2B 6SR on Wednesday 3rd February 2016.   The Programme for the Seminar led to three excellent presentations. The first two were very informative explanations of processes developed by both MCI and CIMA, the latter in a very international context.  The third was a more reflective view of motivation for learning, looking at the relevance of a number of educational psychology approaches to adult work-related learning.

In addition to the the technical material of the Seminar, it was also an opportunity for the new Forum Chairman, Chris Warman (Head of Education at RCVS) to introduce herself, and for Chris (CPD Forum Administrator) and Peter (UKIPG Secretary) to give some updates on both internal developments and some important education and training issues about to impact the professions (eg TEF, Apprenticeships - including Levy, HEDIIP and the National Action Plan.

The three sets of Powerpoint slides will soon br available on the 'Inter Professional CPD Forum' pages of the web-site to all UKIPG and Forum members with a log-in and password.  Request for passwords etc from paid-up members should be made to the UKIPG Secretary.  A summary report of the whole meeting will be added later.  The next Forum meeting is being planned for June 2016; Chris would always welcome offers to contribute to the programme.

Professional Doctorates are an advanced form of CPD for those wishing to combine academic study and advancement with professional work-related reasearch, both culminationg at Doctoral level. HEFCE commissioned a study by the Careers Research and Advisory Centre and the University of Brighton on the Provison of Professional Doctorates in English HEIs.  The Report on this Project is now available.  It is suggested that it might form a suitable item for the programme of a future CPD Forum Seminar.  The PD is essentially an advanced form of CPD.

Education and Training

The HE QA Review and TEF

The HE QA Review, which has been extensively covered in previous Newsletters throughout 2015, is now eclipsed by the 6th November Green Paper; particularly its proposals for a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) to drive up teaching standards and give students better information, but also with aspects dealing with widening participation by students from disadvantaged backgrounds, enabling students to choose from a greater range of HE providers, as a result of faster access to degree awarding powers, and a new Office for Students to promote student interests and value for money.  There were also some proposals relating to the REF in the doscument

The Green Paper was circulated to UKIPG Newsletter readers and elaborated at the PSRB Forum held with QAA on 25th November.  The briefing and subsequent discussion was led by Maddy Desforges of the BIS HE team and the BIS TEF Briefing Powerpoint was made available. The response date was 15th January 2016. The topic was discussed at the January meeting of the QAA PSRB Forum Steering Group.  Allthough the promary axis for development is between BIS, HEFCE and HEA, officials of QAA are informally in touch with developments and noted that the QAA response to the Green Paper was geberally positive, but with reservations.  Several reservations and 'sticking points' were discussed between Steering Group members.  The main issues were the proposed link between TEF outcomes and student fees, the idea that something dealing with 'excellence' should be implemented in such a rushed way, the difficulty of reliance on 'metrics' to arrive at an single overall measure of excellence for an HEI with strengths and wesknesses across many departments (a stistical validity nightmare!).

Intelligence suggests that the Green Paper may emerge as a White Paper in May or June, perhaps influenced by the Green Paper responses recieved and analysed.  There may also be a 'technical consultation' to support the policy papers, presumably to deal with statistical, assessment and possible financial matters. In the mean time, QAA has made public its Green Paper Response.  It is suggested that this is now a good time for UKIPG's Education and Training Group to discuss their own, and QAA's and other's responses, in preparation for the anticipated 'next round'.

QAA

PSRB Forum Meeting

The next PSRB Forum Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 23rd March at Woburn House, 20-24 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HQ.  The Forum is expected to:

  • explore current thinking in higher education policy, including an update from the previous forum on the Teaching Excellence Framework and its technical consultation, how the Quality Assessment Review will be integrated and the next steps to implement the Green Paper.
  • hear case studies and ask questions about: the employability agenda, from the British Computing Society; helping institutions use student information, from the Bar Standards Board; how higher apprenticeships work in practice, from CMI; and much more.
  • discuss how QAA can help your organisation with: its Concerns Scheme, understanding how others use the Quality Code, and opportunities to work with our international review work.

You can get more information and book a place directly from the QAA web-site event booking tool or contact Suzanne Foy at QAA.

Subject Benchmark Statements

QAA is conducting 'business as usual' on the review of current Subject Benchmark Statements, whilst it is looking more radically at their design and development, and where ownership and responsibility should rightly rest (as reported in the November Newsletter). Currently, as an example of this, QAA Circular Letter 01/16 is seeking input on the SBS for Sociology.

HEDIIP

The HE Data and Information Improvement Programme (HEDIIP) aims to tidy up the data lanscape in HE, provide classifications of data for use by all concerned, and eliminate lots of different data requests, by making all sources compatible and available.  Andy Youell, the Director of the Project, was again involved with the QAA PSRB Steering Group and repeated his request for help from potential data users for a 'data inventory' project.  Please see the HEDIIP letter .  In preparation for the PSRB SG meting, the UKIPG Secretary reviewed briefly the content and layout of the 'data inventory' to date. It is clearly a massive 'work in progress' - and there are several anomalies at this stage.  For example, sometimes the same PSRB inexplicably has to different serial number entries (perhaps the request had been received and actioned in different departments of a large organisation), whilst in other cases a very large and active PSRB apparently had no HE data requirements shown.  The only way ahead is for each PSRB to look for itself in the draft inventory, see that it is listed correctly and that the data requirements are accurately reflected and not duplicated.  The contact for this work is Tim Phillips.

QAA Quality Code Survey

QAA has requested that the following message be included in the Newsletter. This a repeat of a request in the previous issue, in case you missed it:

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) is looking into how its UK Quality Code is being used.  The Quality Code is the touchstone for higher education providers, articulating the sector’s key expectations in the areas of academic standards and quality, as well as information provision.

Despite regular contact with providers, students and other organisations in addition to our review activity, we do not have an informed picture of how the Code is used in practice.  It is still, at a little over four years old, a relatively new document. We are especially interested in how the Code is used to enhance quality, beyond simple assurance.  So we have launched a project to explore its real-world use, with the aim of publishing the outcomes in Summer 2016.

The recent PSRB Forum at the British Academy in London suggested that professional and regulatory bodies use the Code more than we might have thought.  If you would like to share your experiences, please complete this brief online survey - https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CodeEnhancement.  We would really appreciate your time.

Apprenticeships

There is still a lot of both guesswork and concern about how the current 'dash for apprenticeships' is going - with quite a lot of it centred around the levy proposals rather than the essence of the apprenticeships.  It would seem that the 'levy' is essentially a Treasury policy and more akin to general business taxation; it is fraught with complications and questions - not all of which have been answered clearly in the recent Government Response to the Consultation. There is an attempt to play down the significance with messages such as 'less than 2% of employers will pay the levy'  and that it will be paid by employers with paybills over £3 million.  In the December Newsletter, we reported some members' points of view.  The UKIPG Secretary hopes to hear more at an engineering-related meeting early March, and the topic may be covered (at least in the Higher and Degree mode) at the March PSRB Forum.

Member Bodies' Notices

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

The ACCA has moved office.  It is now at The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6AU; the main phone number remains the same 020 7059 5000.

Architects Registration Board

The ARB requires three new lay members to be appointed through the public appointments process of DCLG.  Below is an extract from ARB's Press Release:

'The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is recruiting three new lay Board members to join the Architects Registration Board (ARB).  ARB is the UK’s statutory regulator of architects, it maintains the Register of architects and regulates the profession to maintain standards.  The organisation’s purpose is to protect the public.  The Board holds ARB to account, ensuring that it delivers on its legal obligations.  It also sets the strategic direction for the organisation. 

The DCLG is looking for lay members.  Lay in this context means that they are looking for members of the public, and not architects or members of the profession.  These appointments are being advertised on the Cabinet Office’s Public Appointments website and lay Board Members are appointed by the Privy Council.  Board Members fulfil a public service role and sign up to abide by the principles of public life and ARB’s code of conduct.  Members are appointed for a four year term and they receive remuneration in the form of an attendance allowance of £250 per day for their time.  For more information about the role of Board Members as well as the skills required please visit the following link: http://publicappointments.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/appointment/architects-registration-board-member/  There will also be an open evening on Thursday 14 January 2016, this will be an opportunity to find out more about what the role involves.  This information session will take place at ARB’s office at 8 Weymouth Street, London, W1W 5BU.'

General Optical Council

The GOC published Issue 26 of its E-Bulletin in December, highlighting among other things the approaching deadline for meeting CET requirements a video illustrating its new Standards, and a consultation on whistleblowing. GOC has also moved office.  It is now at 10 Old Bailey, London, EC4M 7NG; the phone number remains the same – 020 7580 3898.

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

CIPD is seeking suitably experienced professionals to join Investigations and Conduct pools supporting the application of the Code of Professional Conduct and the professional standards of the Institute. The Code of Professional Conduct applies to all CIPD members and is supported by Investigation and Conduct Procedures. The arrangements involve members, and other suitably qualified non-members in considering alleged breaches of the Code. This is an opportunity to develop your skills, network with HR professionals and lay members and to make an important contribution.