Regulatory Press Round-Up: November 2013

11 November 2013

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

  • The NMC laid its annual report, accounts and fitness to practise report for the period 2012 – 2013 before Parliament on 14 October 2013.  Among other things these documents notes that on 31 March 2013 there were:
  • 673,567 nurses and midwives on the NMC register
  • 79 approved education institutions and 999 approved education and training programmes

The NMC also drew attention to the fact that it has:

  • Met its met performance indicator to impose 80% of interim orders within 28 days of receiving a referral.
  • Completed investigations within 12 months in 86% of cases, and that average completion was within 11 months
  • Concluded 1,377 cases at adjudication an increase of 55% from last year.
  • The NMC welcomed the review of the NHS hospitals complaints system (‘Putting patients back in the picture’) and pledged to ensuRe complaints handling is an integral part of nursing and midwifery.

General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

  • On 4 November 2013 the GPhC rolled out a prototype inspection approach across Britain. The new approach seeks evidence from owners, superintendent pharmacists and the pharmacy team as to how standards are being achieved and what procedures are in placein respect of patient safety. 

    Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, responded to the Independent Commission into Future Models of Care’s Report – ‘Now or Never: shaping pharmacy for the future’ which highlights a need to ‘de-mystify’ pharmacy so that patients, the public and the rest of the health service understand the extent of the role that pharmacists do, and can have, in providing direct care by stating that the GPhC’s new strategic plan requires, ‘A completely new form of interaction between the pharmacy regulator and the public who use pharmacy services’. He went on to outline a commitment to working with patients and other users of pharmacy services, and with pharmacy professionals and their leaders and representatives, to build together a vision for patient-centered professionalism in pharmacy.

Security Industry Authority (SIA)

  • On 7 October 2013 the SIA published its initial guidance on applications for Business Licenses. They propose to start accepting applications on 7 April 2014 and it will become a legal requirement on 6 April 2015.

    To qualify for an SIA business licence, a security business must demonstrate that it is 'fit and proper' to supply security industry services. When processing a business licence application, the SIA will consider: identity; criminality; financial probity; integrity; business competency (including British Standards).

    A business licence will last for five years. To maintain a business licence businesses will be required to comply with the conditions of the licence, provide a yearly return evidencing its continued compliance, and pay an annual subscription fee.

    It seems likely this will be a UK wide initiative with the Scottish Government and Department of Justice for Northern Ireland indicating support for a consistent UK wide regulatory regime.

Bar Standards Board (BSB)

  • The new Code of Conduct for barristers contains new rules that allows the BSB to disqualify lay employees working in Chambers.All employees of BSB regulated persons are to be subject to disqualification if they breach - or cause an authorised person to breach - the regulatory rules which apply to them and it is in the public interest to prevent them from working for a BSB authorised person.

    Additionally it will be a breach of the BSB Handbook to employ a person so disqualified.
  • From January 2014 all Chambers will be required to participate in new supervision arrangements, with Chambers receiving a rating of high to low risk depending on their:
    • Internal governance;
    • Client service;
    • Consideration of equality and diversity;
    • Complaints handling;
    • Financial management, and;
    • Pupillage training.

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

  • The SRA appointed Crispin Passmore as Executive Director with responsibility for Policy. He joins the SRA’s senior management team on 6 January 2014 and is currently Strategy Director at the Legal Services Board, a position he has held since 2009.
  • 153 firms have failed to secure professional indemnity insurance cover and have been moved into the cessation pool. These firms have until 6 November 2013 to notify the SRA of their insurance position and until 29 December 2013 to gain new insurance cover or they will have to close.
  • Currently the SRA is responsible for the regulation of SRA firms carrying on consumer credit activities under the group licence issued by the OFT. The FCA will not be continuing the group licence regime, so SRA-regulated firms will need to consider how the ending of the group licensing regime will affect them.

    Firms will need to consider whether they will meet the criteria set out in Part 20 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (see sections 327 and 332(4)) (FSMA) and therefore be exempt from the need to hold a consumer credit permission from FCA. Firms that do not believe that they will meet the Part 20 criteria will need to consider whether they wish to apply for an individual OFT consumer credit licence.

Further News:

  1. Kate Jane Lumsdon (2) Rufus Taylor (3) David Howker QC (4) Christopher Hewertson v  Legal Services Board [2013] EWHC 3289 (Admin)

By a claim issued on 6 September 2013 the claimants, practising barristers and members of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA), seek a declaration that the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) approved by the defendants on 26 July 2013 is unlawful. Permission was granted to seek judicial review was granted on 4 October 2013.

The claim as lodged included an application for a Protective Costs Order (‘PCO’) with a cap of £15,000. The initial decision on the PCO was that the Claimants were granted a PCO on the terms that they should not be liable for aggregate costs exceeding £150,000.

The immediate case sought to reduce the PCO to a level closer to that previously suggested by the claimants but this was rejected in view of the fact that the claimants were not private individuals in truth but rather that the case was avowedly brought by them on behalf of the CBA as a whole.

*All information correct at time of press and can be accessed on each of the individual regulators websites*

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