The news in May 2010 that the Government intended to review a number of public bodies was soon followed by the announcement that the Standards Board for England and the General Teaching Council for England were to be abolished.
A few weeks later it was announced that the Financial Services Authority would be disbanded, with plans to hand new powers for bank regulation to the Bank of England. The FSA would continue its role until 2012, when it would be dismembered with responsibility for regulating financial institutions transferred to a new subsidiary of the Bank of England, the 'Prudential Regulatory Authority'. There are also plans for a new companies' regulator, to be created by merging the Financial Reporting Council with the UK Listing Authority.
In healthcare regulation, the new Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator was to become operational in April next year when the GMC transferred its adjudication function to the new body. The General Optical Council was set to follow suit in 2012.
But in late July, the Government announced that it was not persuaded that the creation of another body was 'necessarily the most appropriate and proportionate way forward in terms of adjudication' and instead suggested that existing systems within the GMC could be strengthened and modernised to deliver substantially the same benefits as OHPA. The proposals are due for consultation.
Also in July, the Department of Health's report Liberating the NHS – a review of its arm's-length bodies recommended that the General Social Care Council (with over 100,000 registrants) would cease to exist and its regulatory function be transferred to the Health Professions Council (currently regulating 205,000 registrants from 15 professions).
Others bodies facing abolition or transfer of functions include the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the National Patient Safety Agency and the Health Protection Agency.
The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence avoided abolition, but the Liberating the NHS report proposed that it should become self-funding, by charging a levy on those it regulates.
In September 2010, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) replaces the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) as the regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises, taking over statutory responsibility for all regulatory matters, including fitness to practise proceedings. The new GPhC will hold dual investigatory and adjudication functions, as did the RPSGB.