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Fee review consultation FAQs
Why are you proposing to increase the fees?
As an independent regulator we are self-financing and our operating costs are funded by registrant fees entirely. We do not receive any regular funding from government.
Based on our projections of future activity levels and to ensure a balanced budget, our renewal fee will increase from £76 to £80 from 1 April 2014. There will be a similar increase to the other fees we charge.
The HCPC’s registration fees were last increased in 2009. As a result of feedback from our stakeholders, we agreed that we would take an incremental approach to fees, making every effort to avoid large and unplanned increases. This is consistent with that commitment.
This increase also compares favourably to the increase in inflation over the last four years. If the fees had risen in line with inflation since 2009, we calculate the renewal fee would be £86.95.
How will the increase benefit the HCPC?
It is important that we have the correct level of income to deliver our processes effectively, but also to meet rising costs and to continue to develop the service we provide in protecting the public.
The increase will ensure we have sufficient funds to do this. It is also consistent with good financial management, ensuring that we can avoid unplanned increases in our fees.
Most respondents to the consultation disagreed with the fee increase. Why are you increasing the fee anyway?
We consulted on the increase to the fees from Wednesday 10 July 2013 until Tuesday 1 October 2013. You can read a summary of the responses here.
Many respondents argued that an increase was unfair at a time when registrants had not seen their wages rise with inflation and some respondents further argued that the HCPC should be able to make cost savings instead of increasing fees. Although we are sensitive to these concerns, the fee is necessary in order to allow us to continue to work effectively.
A small number of respondents (15%) agreed with the proposed increase, arguing that it was a small increase which was below the rate of inflation. Others who agreed with the increase in this fee commented that the increase was necessary to uphold current standards.
How did you come to your predicted costs?
Our fees are based on our projections of future activity levels. These are set out in the five year plan which is considered by the Finance and Resources Committee.
In reviewing our fees, we are mindful that because we register each profession on a two-year cycle, it will take two full financial years before the increase in the renewal fee has full effect.
We forecast that without the proposed increase to our fees we would make an unsustainable deficit.
How do you manage your costs as effectively as possible?
We make every effort to manage our costs as efficiently as possible. This includes a rigorous budgeting process and regular financial monitoring. The annual budget and five year plan is approved by the Finance and Resources Committee and Council, and our financial performance is regularly scrutinised by Committee and Council.
We are very aware of the need to manage our costs efficiently whilst improving the effectiveness of what we do. For example, in the area of fitness to practise (which accounts for a significant proportion of our expenditure) we have further developed our processes for disposing of cases via consent, which avoids where appropriate, costly and unnecessary contested hearings.
We have also enhanced our use of pre-hearing case management processes to ensure the smooth and timely running of hearings. We have invested in IT systems which has improved the efficiency of what we do and saved money. For example, we introduced online renewal which is now used by the majority of registrants when they renew, and which has clear benefits both for registrants and for us in more efficiently managing our resources.
We are always looking for ways to improve efficiency, whist ensuring we still meet our statutory duties set out in legislation.
When will this take effect?
The changes to the fees will be effective from Tuesday 1 April 2014. Existing registrants will pay the new renewal fee when their profession next renews its registration after that date.
Don’t you receive government funding?
We do not receive regular funding from government. The only occasion we have done so is to cover the costs associated with bringing a new profession onto the Register.
Does the HCPC offer any discount on fees?
No. However, the fees are tax deductible for standard rate UK taxpayers. This means that the £80 renewal fee would be reduced by 20 per cent to £64. For more information see www.hcpc-uk.org/registrants/fees
Registrants can also spread the cost by paying the fee in instalments by direct debit every six months.
Newly qualified registrants get a 50 per cent discount on the renewal fee for their first two years of registration with us
What if I work part time?
The renewal fee is the same for all registrants, including those who work part time. We do not offer a discount for part-time working because our costs in undertaking our role as a regulator are the same, regardless of whether someone is working full- or part-time.
We also consider that the increased costs associated with establishing such a system and introducing measures to check whether people who registered as ‘part-time’ were not working over a certain number of hours, would be disproportionate and prohibitive.
How does the proposed fee compare with other regulators?
We continue to have the lowest renewal fee of all the statutory regulators overseen by the Professional Standards Authority.
Social workers have already had to pay more than double the amount they paid to the General Social Care Council and you said you wouldn’t increase the fee in 2012. Why are you increasing it?
The registration fees we charge pay for all our operating costs. This is unlike the former GSCC which received funding from government. This meant that the fees paid by social workers to the GSCC were heavily subsidised by the taxpayer. As an independent regulator, we do not receive any regular funding from government.
We need to set our fees at a level which ensures that we have sufficient income so that we can continue to operate as efficiently and effectively in our public protection role. If we were to continue without this increase we would make an unsustainable deficit.
When will the proposed new renewal fee apply for my profession?
Existing registrants will pay the renewal fee from their next renewal after 1 April 2014. This means that the new fee will be charged to registrants whose professions enter their renewal period after this date. Below are the dates when the new renewal fee will apply to existing registrants.
Profession - Renewal period starts
Dietitians - April 2014
Hearing aid dispensers - May 2014
Chiropodists / podiatrists - May 2014
Social workers in England - September 2014
Operating department practitioners - September 2014
Practitioner psychologists - March 2015
Orthoptists - June 2015
Paramedics - June 2015
Clinical scientists - July 2015
Prosthetists / orthotists - July 2015
Speech and language therapists - July 2015
Occupational therapists - August 2015
Biomedical scientists - September 2015
Radiographers - December 2015
Physiotherapists - February 2016
Arts therapists - March 2016