HPC changes name to HCPC


On Wednesday 1 August 2012 the Health Professions Council (HPC) changed their name to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

The decision to change the name was made by government and is being brought about by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which will also see the HCPC taking on the regulation of social workers in England. Although not everyone registered with the HCPC works in ‘health’ or ‘care’ the new name will better describe the diverse range of professions the organisation regulates.

Although the name was chosen by government, the HCPC had the opportunity to offer suggestions. To help the HCPC with this, they commissioned independent quantitative and qualitative research to gauge perceptions of possible names, which included telephone and online interviews with around 2,500 individuals, and discussion-based focus groups of between seven and eleven members.

The HCPC were particularly keen to understand the perceptions of members of the public, who are the potential service users of the professionals they regulate. One poll showed that 81 per cent of the general public felt that ‘Health and Care Professions Council’ could best reflect the role of a regulator of many different professions; another showed that 76 per cent of the general public associated the term ‘care professional’ with ‘social worker’. In the focus groups ‘Health and Care Professions Council’ was the preferred option with both the public and the professionals the HCPC currently regulate. Both groups viewed it as the most suitable name to cover the range of professions to be regulated. This was a unanimous outcome.

The HCPC have previously used the strapline ‘Protecting the public; Regulating health professionals’ on a number of their communication materials. This will no longer be appropriate and instead they will use ‘Regulating health, psychological and social work professionals’. In developing this strapline they considered both the diversity of professions that they currently regulate (including practitioner psychologists who joined the Register in 2009) and the groups that the HCPC may regulate in the future (including public health professionals and healthcare support workers). It was not felt to be appropriate to name any one profession in the HCPC’s strapline; instead they have referred to some of the broad categories in which the professionals that they regulate work.

The HCPC will use this new strapline on all the materials which currently bear their strapline, including their website and social media platforms, public information posters and leaflets and on the banners and display materials which they take to professional and public-facing conferences, exhibitions and events. The HCPC will use the strapline on their most public and prominent materials, with particular emphasis on materials which will be accessed by members of the public, to reinforce who they are and what they do.

The HCPC will be the same organisation and will continue to undertake the same functions. Current registration certificates and cards will remain valid and the HCPC standards will be unchanged.

The new HCPC web address will be http://www.hcpc-uk.org and their email addresses will end in ‘@hcpc-uk.org’.

The change to the organisation’s name – and taking on the regulation of social workers in England – is not being funded from registration fees. This means that registrants are not paying for the necessary amendments to their materials due to the change of name or the work to allow social workers in England to join the Register. The HCPC has received a grant from the Department of Health to cover the cost of this work.

Article by Simon Lucas