House of Lords to debate HCPC fee rise

A challenge to the 12.5% increase was tabled by Labour peer Lord Hunt

The House of Lords will debate the 12.5% fee rise proposed by social work regulator, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Labour peer, Lord Philip Hunt, tabled the motion which is due to be debated in the coming weeks.

He told Community Care the public body should have taken into account the impact of the five-year-long public sector pay freeze on social workers and not increased its fees.

Pay freeze

He said he hoped his challenge  would serve as a warning to other regulators not to follow suit.

“Obviously I was surprised by the decision of the HCPC, which has not taken into account the impacts on staff who are not paid a lot of money and are then held back by the pay freeze.

“The government didn’t take up the advice of the Low Pay Commission for a very modest 1% pay increase. Public bodies need to take that into account.”

He added he had not been in favour of the transfer of powers to regulate social workers to the HCPC in the first place, believing they needed their own regulator, although he did not intend to make this a focus of his challenge.

Damaging impact

The matter was flagged up to him by Unison, which has previously expressed concern over the damaging impact of a fee increase.

Unison head of health, Christina McAnea said: “The government has stood by and allowed an unaccountable regulator to take advantage and pile on extra increases knowing these professionals have no choice but to pay this fee to practise.”

Hunt said he hoped the matter could be debated in the House of Lords before the summer recess on 22 July.

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