Controlling and Coercive Behaviour: Widening the Net
General Dental Council (GDC)
The GDC launched its consultation on changing its Fitness to Practise process, specifically in relation to the introduction of “Case Examiners”.
Case Examiners, comprising of both dentists and lay people, will look at cases prior to the Investigating Committee (IC) stage and will have powers to either conclude a case without further action; issue a letter of advice; issue a warning letter; or refer a case to one of the GDC’s committees. It is hoped that the use of Case Examiners will reduce the number of cases referred to the IC.
The consultation opened on 07 February 2012 and ends on 30 April 2012.
General Optical Council (GOC)
The GOC are carrying out a consultation on a proposed change to the Fitness to Practise (FTP) Rules. The change is for Case Examiners, rather than the GOC’s Registrar, to review decisions made not to refer cases to the FTP committee.
The GOC anticipate that the Case Examiners will be implemented in 2013 and accordingly are seeking around 12 people, whether optometrists, opticians or lay people, to fulfil that role.
General Osteopathic Council (GOsC)
The GOsC is inviting patients and the public to join a new “Patient and Public Partnership Group” to offer a patient perspective on the work carried out by the GOsC and to assist with communication materials.
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
New Fitness to Practise Rules for the NMC have come into force this month. There are a number of changes to the rules regarding interim orders and investigations.
With regards to interim orders, the new rules allow the NMC to directly refer appropriate cases to an interim order hearing, which will allow these orders to be implemented more quickly.
With regards to the rules on investigation, there are a number of changes, including the provision of detail in the Notice of Referral and the service of documents. The new rules, with the changes highlighted, can be found here.
Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
The SRA is warning solicitors about the fines imposed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) evasion schemes.
The evasion schemes seek to negate or reduce the SDLT payable by clients when buying houses. HMRC are currently challenging SDLT returns and if a solicitor is found to knowingly provide information in support of a tax return which is incorrect, they may be fined up to £3,000 per submission. Solicitors are therefore warned to ensure they comply with the SRA’s Code of Conduct.
Financial Services Authority (FSA)
The FSA is to introduce a twin peaks regulatory model for all banks, building societies, insurers and major investment firms in April 2012. The twin peaks model will divide the supervision into two areas: the first will be prudential supervision and the second will focus on conduct.
Whilst these two supervisors will have different objectives, the FSA propose to allow for information sharing to take place between the supervisors to ensure that information is only collated once. It is hoped that this move to a twin peaks style of supervision will create a behavioural shift in that people will adopt a pro-active (rather than reactive) approach to regulation.
Charles Irvine, Legal Assistant
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