Unqualified psychologists using loop holes to practice "corruption" in the family courts

S. Prichard (Account suspended) made this Freedom of Information request to Health and Care Professions Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

S. Prichard (Account suspended)

Dear Health and Care Professions Council,

An article has been brought to our attention an article published by www.researchingreform.net and mentions Private Eye. Although the article was published on 10th August 2016, it is very fundamental to family court proceedings that are happening 5 years on.
Our team, made up of former professionals, want transparency and honesty in the family courts and are appealed what we hear; some of us have experienced the “corrupt” family courts ourselves.
We have been informed of the conduct of these so called “expert witnesses” that have used this loophole with no knowledge of what they cite their opinionated evidence on, including not knowing the medical signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse; the children often are removed from the protective parent and placed with the abuser.
Another expert witness has said if their report favours the parent then the LA will stop using their services. This loophole must be stopped.
1. Going back to August 2015, we would like to know what plans has the HCPC done to protect individuals from professionals exposing this loophole?

2. Has the HCPC lobbied the Government to close this loophole? What were the results and when?

3. How many complaints in the last 2 years have the HCPC had about psychologists that have used this loophole?

4. Out of these complaints, how many allegations were there of child sexual abuse where the psychologist recommended the placement of the child with the abuser?

5. How many complaints have there been where psychologists have falsified their qualifications?

6. Are there any limitations of practice made against psychologists not registered with the HCPC? I.E. can psychologists cite opinions in court they are not qualified for.

7. Are there any conflicts of interest made against psychologists not registered with the HCPC if so, what are they? I.E. are they obliged for their reports to favour their pay masters?

8. Between 10th August 2016 and today (19th August 2021), what changes in law or HCPC guidelines have been implemented to stop this unscrupulous practice?

Many thanks for the source

https://researchingreform.net/2016/08/10...

Yours faithfully,

S. Prichard

FOI, Health and Care Professions Council

Dear S. Prichard

 

Thank you for your email of 19 August 2021, in which you ask for
information in relation to using loopholes to practice.

 

We are treating this as a request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA).

 

We will deal with your request as promptly as possible and at the latest,
within 20 working days of receiving it, as required by the FOIA. If you
have any queries about your request please do contact us using this email
address.

 

The reference number for your request is FR07223.

 

Kind regards

 

Freedom of Information

 

Health and Care Professions Council

Park House, 184 - 186 Kennington Park Road

London SE11 4BU

[1]www.hcpc-uk.org

 

Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

Correspondence is welcome in English or Welsh / Gallwch ohebu yn Gymraeg
neu Saesneg.

 

 

show quoted sections

FOI, Health and Care Professions Council

Our Ref. FR07223

 

 

Dear S. Prichard

 

Thank you for your email of 19 August 2021, in which you ask for
information in relation to using loopholes to practice.

 

Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(FOIA).

 

In the UK, professions are regulated by title. Statutory regulators, like
the HCPC, are created by Governments to regulate a set list of protected
titles. This makes it a criminal offence for someone to use a protected
title without HCPC registration. However, titles which are not listed in
our legislation are not covered under our remit. In some cases, voluntary
registers are created, which mimic the functions of regulators and provide
some assurances to the public. However, the criminal sanctions and powers
that HCPC and other regulators hold do not exist in voluntary models of
regulation. This means anyone can use these titles, without being
registered with a regulatory body.

 

For psychology in particular, when psychologists were regulated by HCPC,
Government chose to only regulate a set list of protected titles. This
means certain psychology titles are not regulated by HCPC and we cannot
register them. This is the ‘loophole’ the article you speak of refers to.

 

HCPC only has legal powers to regulate the professions in our legislation
and so is unable to take action against individuals off our Register. We
would encourage you to highlight these concerns with your MP, if you would
like the law to change and more titles to become registered.

 

 

 1. Going back to August 2015, we would like to know what plans has the
HCPC done to protect individuals from professionals exposing this
loophole?

 

The HCPC can only take action against professionals who are on our
register or any person who uses one of our protected titles without
permission.

 

The UK Government and Parliament decide which professions will be
regulated and which protected titles professionals are allowed to practise
under. Decisions about whether statutory regulation should be introduced
for professions rests solely with the UK Government and Parliament.

 

2.       Has the HCPC lobbied the Government to close this loophole? What
were the results and when?

 

The HCPC has not lobbied the government to increase the range of protected
titles that appear on the HCPC’s register. As a regulator the HCPC does
not lobby for new statutory regulation of professions. Where members of
the public or representatives of unregistered professions approach the
HCPC about registration, we advise them to approach their MP in order to
start such a process.

 

In 2011, the Government published a Command Paper entitled 'Enabling
Excellence' in which they outlined their preference for a system of
voluntary registration. This means that the government will only consider
statutory regulation in exceptional circumstances where ‘voluntary
registers are not considered sufficient to manage the risk' and where it
is possible to demonstrate a 'compelling case' on the basis of public
safety risk.

 

3.       How many complaints in the last 2 years have the HCPC had about
psychologists that have used this loophole?

 

None. The HCPC would only handle concerns raised against professionals on
our register. Where someone is not practising under a protected title, the
HCPC is not empowered to investigate concerns raised against them.

 

Our Standards of conduct, performance and ethics require registrants to be
honest about their experience, qualifications and skills. If a concern was
raised about a person on our Register who was lying about their skills or
practising outside of their scope of practice, our Fitness to Practise
team would be able to investigate. However, as the loophole in question is
about people who are not on our Register, we are unable to investigate
those individuals.

 

 

4.       Out of these complaints, how many allegations were there of child
sexual abuse where the psychologist recommended the placement of the child
with the abuser?

 

N/A

 

5.       How many complaints have there been where psychologists have
falsified their qualifications?

 

No fitness to practise cases found in the reporting period.

 

There have been 122 [1]Protection of Title (POT) cases about Practitioner
Psychologists in the reporting period (401 since 2004), however we do not
hold reportable data about allegations for POT cases to determine whether
any were about falsified qualifications. To provide you with accurate data
would require that we conduct a manual review of each case. This would
exceed the appropriate cost limit under Section 12 of the FOIA, that being
£450. Staff time can be charged at £25 per hour, this equates to 18 hours
before the limit is met.

 

To access each case and extract the information requested would take 10
minutes per case. 122 multiplied by 10 minutes equates to 20 hours,
therefore exceeding the cost limit.

 

6.       Are there any limitations of practice made against psychologists
not registered with the HCPC? I.E. can psychologists cite opinions in
court they are not qualified for.

 

The HCPC is not empowered to regulate individuals who are not regulated by
the HCPC or not misusing one of the HCPC’s protected titles.

 

7.       Are there any conflicts of interest made against psychologists
not registered with the HCPC if so, what are they? I.E. are they obliged
for their reports to favour their pay masters?

 

The HCPC is not empowered to regulate individuals who are not regulated by
the HCPC or not misusing one of the HCPC’s protected titles.

 

8.       Between 10th August 2016 and today (19th August 2021), what
changes in law or HCPC guidelines have been implemented to stop this
unscrupulous practice?

 

The HCPC takes seriously the important role played by expert witnesses in
the court system. This is why we [2]welcomed the release of guidance on
expert witnesses from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in 2019.

 

Where a professional is registered with the HCPC, we demand that they meet
all of their HCPC standards. This would include ensuring that they work
only within their knowledge, skills and experience and that they are
honest and trustworthy.

 

Internal review

 

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been
handled, you can request a review by writing to:

 

Governance Department

Health and Care Professions Council

Park House

184 - 186 Kennington Park Road

London

SE11 4BU

 

Email: [3][email address]

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint,
you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Email: [4][email address]

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

Kind regards

 

Freedom of Information

 

Health and Care Professions Council

Park House, 184 - 186 Kennington Park Road

London SE11 4BU

[5]www.hcpc-uk.org

 

Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

Correspondence is welcome in English or Welsh / Gallwch ohebu yn Gymraeg
neu Saesneg.

 

 

 

show quoted sections