The GCC has met 17 of our 18 Standards of Good Regulation. It did not meet Standard 3 because we considered it had not yet embedded thinking around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion into all aspects of its work.
The GCC's response to the Covid-19 pandemic
The GCC responded well in managing the risks presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and demonstrated a clear focus on protecting patients from harm. It published guidance to help registrants to provide safe and effective care and provided signposting to guidance published by other relevant organisations. It took a pragmatic and proportionate approach to consultation during the pandemic, engaging with stakeholders as appropriate.
The GCC maintained its Education Standards but allowed education providers a reasonable degree of flexibility in how they assessed student performance. Similarly, it maintained its Continuing Professional Development requirements, encouraging registrants to make use of remote and informal learning opportunities. It acted quickly to remove misleading advertising which claimed chiropractic could prevent or treat Covid-19.
The GCC used technology effectively to reduce the impact of the pandemic on its core functions, by holding Council meetings, fitness to practise hearings and quality assurance visits to education providers remotely.
General Standards: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
The GCC stepped up its efforts around issues of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) during this performance review period. It published a draft EDI policy statement, organised training for staff, Council and committee members, and started routinely conducting Equality Impact Assessments. It also took action to improve its understanding of diversity of its registrants, for example by collecting robust EDI data in its registrant survey. These were all positive developments.
There was still evidence, however, that the GCC had not yet embedded EDI thinking in its work. It could have made better use of its EDI data: it collected and analysed EDI information about applicants for committee membership and registrants subject to fitness to practise complaints, which indicated some potential differences which we thought the GCC should have identified and reflected on. It also did not conduct an Equality Impact Assessment for the introduction of remote interviews for the Test of Competence. In light of these weaknesses, we concluded the GCC had not met Standard 3 for this performance review period.
Fitness to Practise: Timeliness
As was the case for many other regulators, we saw some deterioration in the key timeliness measures for the GCC’s fitness to practise process. The Covid-19 pandemic was a factor: delaying access to case files; slowing production of expert reports; and disrupting hearing schedules.
We also recognise that, as a smaller regulator, the GCC has less scope to redeploy its staffing resources and that its performance can be skewed by a small number of complex cases. We therefore concluded that the GCC had met Standard 15 for this performance review period. We do, however, expect performance in this area to improve in 2021/22 so that cases are progressed and resolved more quickly.