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Revisions to the standards of proficiency (SOPs)

The standards of proficiency (SOPs) are our threshold standards for safe and effective practice that all registrants must meet. All HCPC approved programmes must ensure that individuals who complete the programme meet the SOPs.

The SOPs contain generic standards relevant for all registrants, and profession-specific standards that set out the different requirements for specific professions. We revised and restructured the generic standards early in this review process however, in the new structure of the standards, most will be profession-specific.

We have now completed the consultations and have approved new profession-specific standards for 16 professions. To view the public consultations for the reviews, click here.

The reviews were an opportunity to make sure the SOPs continued to be relevant to each profession. No relevant standards were lost, however there were some language changes to ensure the appropriateness and currency of the standards for each profession.


Revised standards of proficiency – impact for education providers

As the revised SOPs were published for each profession we needed to ensure that the revised standards are being met. The Education and Training Committee determined how the revised standards are being implemented across currently approved and new programmes at its meeting on 15 November 2012. For further information the paper can be found here (enclosure 11).

We expect that the scale of amendments to the SOPs across the professions will not require whole-scale changes to approved programmes in order to meet the revised standards and that if changes are required these should be reported to the HCPC through the annual monitoring process. However, if significant changes are required to your approved programme in order to meet the revised SOPs you can submit a major change notification form to us. Find out more about which professions will be assessed through the annual monitoring process in 2014-15.


Processes for assessing the revised SOPs

Due to the scale of changes that are likely to be required to programmes the Committee determined that the annual monitoring process would be used in the main to ensure that the revised SOPs are being met.

As each set of revised profession specific SOPs has been published have, and will continue to use the following framework for the programmes in that profession:

In academic year 1 following the publication of the revised SOPs

Plan programme change
Education providers will be required to plan the incorporation of the revised standards into their programmes either in the academic year that they are published in or the following academic year.

Approval visits to programmes
Programmes subject to an approval visit will be assessed against the revised standards, wherever possible.

In academic year 2 following the publication of the revised SOPs

Delivery of revised SOPs
Education providers will be expected to deliver their approved programme to all new students starting the programme using the revised SOPs.

In academic year 2 and 3 following the publication of the revised SOPs

HCPC assessment of SOPs
The incorporation of the revised standards into the programme will be assessed through annual monitoring audits.


We have provided further information to all education providers about the implications of the revised profession specific SOPs through targeted communication (such as letters and emails), as well as regularly publishing articles in Education Update as each set of SOPs are revised and published.


Academic year 2012-13

We published revised SOPs for the following professions in the 2012–13 academic year. Following the publications of each profession specific revised SOPs, we sent further information to education providers about the implementation of the revised SOPs. Any changes to programmes due to the revisions will be dealt with through the framework agreed by the Education and Training Committee in November 2012.

Arts therapists

Orthoptists

Dietitians

Physiotherapists

Occupational therapists

Radiographers


Academic year 2013–14

We published revised SOPs for the following professions in the 2013–14 academic year. Following the publications of each profession specific revised SOPs, we sent further information to education providers about the implementation of the revised SOPs. Any changes to programmes due to the revisions will be dealt with through the framework agreed by the Education and Training Committee in November 2012.

Chiropodists / Podiatrists

Prosthetists / Orthotists

Operating department practitioners

Speech and language therapists


Academic year 2014–15

We published revised SOPs for the following professions in the 2014–15 academic year. Following the publications of each profession specific revised SOPs, we sent further information to education providers about the implementation of the revised SOPs. Any changes to programmes due to the revisions will be dealt with through the framework agreed by the Education and Training Committee in November 2012.

Biomedical scientist

Paramedic

Clinical scientist

Practitioner psychologist

Hearing aid dispensers


Academic year 201617

We published revised SOPs for the following professions in the 2016–17 academic year. Following the publications of each profession specific revised SOPs, we sent further information to education providers about the implementation of the revised SOPs. Any changes to programmes due to the revisions will be dealt with through the framework agreed by the Education and Training Committee in November 2012.

Summary of changes to Social workers in England SOPs

Social workers in England