In our annual review of performance, we found that the GOsC had not made significant changes to its practices, processes or policies during the performance review period and the information available did not give rise to concerns about its performance. Therefore, we concluded that the GOsC has demonstrated that it continues to meet all our Standards of Good Regulation.
General Standards: the regulator's processes do not impose inappropriate barriers or otherwise disadvantage people with protected characteristics
This year the GOsC looked at how to improve the quality of the EDI data it holds. It also sought to better understand the experiences of diverse groups of registrants. It met with a group of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) osteopaths who wished to share their insight about the challenges facing BAME students and osteopaths. The GOsC hopes that this initial conversation will lead to future meetings and conversations.
Guidance and Standards: the regulator provides guidance to help registrants apply the standards and ensures this guidance is up to date and addresses emerging areas of risk
The GOsC published a range of guidance to support registrants during the pandemic, including on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), infection control and advertising treatments for Covid-19. It published and kept up to date statements on osteopathic practice, advertising and remote consultations on its website.
Registration: the process for registration, including appeals, operates proportionately, fairly and efficiently, with decisions clearly explained
The GOsC made some changes to its registration process in response to the pandemic. It introduced a direct debit deferral scheme and two payment-free months at the beginning of the year rather than at the end of the year, to support registrants and to enable the smooth running of registration operations. It has continued to process registration applications in a timely way.
Fitness to Practise: anyone is able to raise a concern about a registrant
The GOsC engaged with stakeholders, including the Institute of Osteopathy and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about registrant advertising. The GOsC receives low numbers of concerns about advertising. However, we are concerned that it does not have a formal process in place to refer complaints to the ASA where a complainant does not do this themselves. We think that this is an area that would benefit from further work and guidance for regulators. Over the coming months, we will gather further evidence from the regulators and other stakeholders with a view to providing further guidance.
Fitness to Practise: the regulator's process for examining and investigating cases is fair, proportionate, deals with cases as quickly as is consistent with a fair resolution of the case
The GOsC provided information on its website about how it would manage its fitness to practise work during the pandemic. It outlined that it would review all cases and prioritise high risk cases, and planned to run Investigating Committee (IC) meetings and hearings online. It developed a Remote Hearings Protocol, which set out what to expect and how to participate in remote hearings.