UNISON takes concerns over health and care regulators fee-setting processes to the Professional Standard Authority

UNISON has raised its concerns with the Professional Standard Authority (PSA) over the ‘lack of consistency and safeguards’ in the way regulators set registration fees, today (Friday).

UNISON national officer Helga Pile said: “The way fee increases have been handled by several regulators recently is questionable and has caused a lot of outrage among professionals.

“Consultation exercises on fee increase proposals often produce strong opposition but the regulators tend to proceed anyway. So registrants are entitled to question whether their views have any bearing.

“A 12.5 per cent fee hike by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) will hit 330,000 health and care professionals. This is the latest example of a regulator pushing through an excessive increase that takes no account of inflation or ability to pay.

“The consultation was rushed and contained no detailed costing information. As a result there is a now a real risk of professionals losing confidence in their regulator. HCPC should have taken into account the impact of the long term and ongoing public sector pay freezes and pay restraint on paramedics, social workers and other professionals when reviewing its fees.

“We are now calling on PSA to review the processes regulators use to set and consult on fee increases, to ensure consistency and transparency. We are also asking PSA to explore areas where efficiencies could be made across the different regulators to spare hardworking professionals from constant fee hikes.”

Earlier this year, UNISON slammed HCPC’s 12.5 per cent proposed fee increase branding the move a breach of trust. The proposed increase followed a five per cent fee rise introduced in April 2014. This new increase brings annual registration fees up to £90 from 1 August 2015.

A survey carried out by the union showed an overwhelming 97 per cent of registrants do not support the 12.5 per cent fee increase and only 6 per cent believe their HCPC registration provides good value for money.

In their support, 94 MPs have so far signed a Westminster Early Day Motion calling on HCPC to think again.