Bar Standards Board (BSB)

On 2 May 2017, the BSB launched a consultation regarding the standard of proof applied when barristers and others regulated by the BSB face disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct.

The current standard of proof used is the criminal standard which is "beyond a reasonable doubt". The BSB is seeking views as to whether it should be changed to allow the civil standard to be applied which would bring the Bar’s disciplinary arrangements in line with most other regulators. The consultation closes on Friday 21 July.

The consultation paper: https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/media/1830289/sop_consultation_paper.pdf

Financial Reporting Council (FRC)

The FRC has launched an independent review of the sanctions it imposes under its enforcement procedures. The review will be conducted by an independent panel chaired by former Court of Appeal Judge, Sir Christopher Clarke. The Review Panel has called for written submissions and evidence by 30 June 2017.

https://www.frc.org.uk/News-and-Events/FRC-Press/Press/2017/May/Independent-review-of-Financial-Reporting-Council.aspx

General Medical Council (GMC)

The GMC has revised their ethical guidance on confidentiality for doctors. In particular, this guidance covers the areas of:

  • patient consent
  • information sharing in multi-agency contexts
  • the role of those close to the patient
  • public protection responsibilities of doctors.

Charlie Massey, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, said:

Confidentiality is at the heart of medical practice but it should not be a barrier to good care. That’s why in this publication we emphasise the importance of talking, and listening, to patients about what should happen to information about them.”

The guidance: http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/good_medical_practice/contents.asp

General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

The GPhC has introduced new standards for pharmacy professionals which came into effect on 12 May 2017. There are now nine standards in comparison with the previous 57.

The new standards describe how safe and effective care is delivered through person-centred professionalism, and replace the standards of conduct, ethics and performance.

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC has now launched the Health & Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS) following in the footsteps of the GMC to launch an independent adjudication service.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

The Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs), supported by the NMC, have come together to set out what professionalism means for nurses and midwives in everyday practice.

Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said:

The world is changing, and nurses and midwives have a key leadership role in meeting current and future challenges. We all have a role to play and supporting professional development is vital. I am truly delighted to have been able to work with my CNO colleagues and the Nursing and Midwifery Council to produce this significant resource.”

The guide: https://www.nmc.org.uk/globalassets/sitedocuments/other-publications/enabling-professionalism.pdf

Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA)

The SRA has announced a major change in respect of qualification, in that Legal Practice Course (LPC) will be replaced with the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). The new qualification will have four elements. In order to qualify as a solicitor, candidates will need to:

  • pass SQE stages 1 and 2 to demonstrate they have the right knowledge and skills
  • have been awarded a degree or an equivalent qualification, or have gained equivalent experience
  • have completed at least two years of qualifying legal work experience
  • be of satisfactory character and suitability.

The SRA states that the SQE structure will benefit prospective solicitors in that it will eliminate the current problem whereby payment is made for the LPC with no guarantee of a training contract or becoming a solicitor. It is also hoped that the SQE will help widen access to the profession. The implementation date will be no earlier than September 2020.

https://www.sra.org.uk/sra/news/press/sqe-ensure-high-consistent-standards.page