Lasting Powers of Attorney: recent key developments
Press Round-Up: Regulatory and Professional Discipline October - November 2021
On 17 November 2021, the FCA announced that they are consulting on proposals to ban debt packager referral fees in order to protect consumers. The FCA estimates that 54,000 people sought advice from a debt packager in the year to March 2020, and demand for debt advice is rising. The FCA wants debt advice firms to provide a high quality service to consumers, helping them to manage their debts and access a suitable debt solution where appropriate. Further information on the proposals is available here.
The GDC has commissioned new independent research on the continued impact of COVID-19 on dental professionals. A survey has been sent to all Registrants and will seek to identify the impact of the pandemic on matters such as financial circumstances, mental health and the ability of dental professionals to provide services to the public. The findings of the research are expected to be published in early 2022.
On 21 October 2021, the GMC published future professional standards for Physician Associates (PAs) and Association of Anaesthesia Associates (AAs) which will take effect once the regulation of these two professions begins. This is part of the GMC’s programme to prepare for future regulation and to help the public, employers and other members of healthcare teams to better understand these important roles.
The GPhC is consulting on continuing to hold remote hearings in the future and is seeking feedback on a proposed permanent change to the procedural rules. This would give the regulator an express legal power to conduct hearings and meetings by teleconference or video link. The consultation is open until 8 February 2022.
The GPhC has also published its new strategy: Delivering equality, improving diversity and fostering inclusion: Our strategy for change 2021 – 2026. Following feedback from its consultation, the strategy sets out three key themes to help transform the pharmacy regulator’s approach to equality, diversity and inclusion:
1. To make regulatory decisions that are demonstrably fair, lawful, and free from discrimination
2. To use our standards to proactively help tackle discrimination and to make sure everyone can access person-centred care, fostering equality of health outcomes.
3. To lead by example and demonstrate best practice within our organisation, holding ourselves to the same high standards we expect of others.
Full details of the new strategy can be found here.
On 12 October 2021, the HCPC launched a perceptions survey in order to understand how their stakeholders view the organisation and how they are performing against their values. The survey is open until 30 November 2021 and can be accessed here.
The BSB has announced the minimum pupillage award that will apply from 1 January 2022. This follows the BSB’s introduction of new Bar Qualification Rules in 2019 requiring a minimum award to be paid to those undertaking pupillage or any other form of work-based learning.
The SRA has launched a consultation on their approach to financial penalties for law firms and solicitors where they fall short of the expected professional standards. The aim is to resolve cases more quickly, thus saving time and costs for everyone involved. The consultation is seeking views on proposals to increase the maximum fine the SRA can issue to £25,000 and to take into account the turnover or income of firms and individuals when setting fines. The SRA are also considering introducing a schedule of ‘fixed penalties’ of up to £1,500 for less serious issues. The consultation period ends on 11 February 2022 and can be accessed here.
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