Over the past two years, we’ve been busy working on improvements to our performance review process.
We carried out two consultations, and the stakeholder feedback we received helped shape our new process.
We’ve now started rolling out the new process with the first reviews well underway.
What is the performance review?
The performance review is essentially our check on how the health and social care regulators are working to protect the public – we assess the regulators against our Standards of Good Regulation. We have specific periods of review for each regulator, so we look at how they’ve performed within that set timeframe.
What have we changed?
Up until now, we have followed an annual cycle, with a similar process for each regulator every year. The main change we’ve made is that we now follow a three-year cycle. Although we will examine each regulator every year, the new process means that this will be a detailed ‘periodic review’ every three years, with ‘monitoring reviews’ in between.
The periodic review
The periodic review will be a comprehensive check of the regulator’s performance. We’ll look at any areas of risk – including where any Standards were not met the year before. We might also look at areas where we need to develop our knowledge of processes and explore any changes the regulator has made. A periodic review is likely to be more intensive than a monitoring review, but it’ll still be risk-based – we won’t do detailed work unless we think we need to.
The monitoring review
In a monitoring year, we’ll examine the same evidence that we look at in a periodic review, but when deciding whether to do more detailed work, we’ll focus on areas of risk – this will likely mean that monitoring reviews will be less intensive than periodic reviews. We might consider carrying out more detailed work:
- where Standards were not met in the previous year
- where we become aware of new risks, or
- where a regulator has made a change and we need to understand the impact of this on public protection.
The benefits of a three-year cycle
This move to a three-year cycle allows us to focus our resources more sharply on areas of risk. When we followed an annual cycle, we found that in some areas, performance did not significantly change year-on-year. We also know that when regulators have failed standards, it can take them several years to improve their performance.
We know that some stakeholders were concerned that a move to a three-year cycle might mean we took longer to identify and act on risks. Because we’ll be monitoring the same evidence in both monitoring and periodic reviews, we don’t think that this will be the case. It is important to emphasise that we can - and will - do detailed work in a monitoring year, if we think we need to. We’ve also built in an option to undertake a periodic review sooner than planned if we need to.
Along with this, we’ve improved our evidence base, and we’ll be engaging much more with stakeholders – this will also help us identify risks in a timely way.
We will still report on each of the regulators every year – so stakeholders will have an annual update on how the regulators are performing. As you might expect, the reports on periodic reviews will usually be more detailed than reports on monitoring reviews.
We’ve also changed our process so that we do the work – gathering and analysing evidence – during the period under review. We’ve made this change because we knew it was taking us too long to report on the regulators’ performance. We’ll decide whether the Standards have been met or not shortly after the end of the period under review, and let the regulator know what our decision is. This means that if we do have any concerns, the regulator can start to work on addressing those. We then expect to publish our report within three months of the end of the review period, giving a more up-to-date picture of a regulator’s performance.
We’ll be publishing our first reports from the new process by the end of June 2022 – these will be on the HCPC and the GOsC. The HCPC and GOsC reviews were monitoring reviews this year; the first periodic reviews published will be on the GDC (expected by the end of December) and GOC (expected by the end of March 2023). Our reports will look different under the new process – we wanted to make them more accessible, clearer and concise.
We will continue to develop and improve our processes, and particularly welcome feedback to help us do this. If you would like to get in touch, please contact Graham Mockler, Assistant Director of Scrutiny and Quality at firstname.lastname@example.org.