Government announces review of the fit and proper person test

Last month, the Department of Health and Social Care announced the arrangements for the review of the Fit and Proper Persons Requirement, which will be led by Tom Kark QC from the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry. The review is due to start this month with the full report expected in the autumn.

The review is one of the recommendations made by Dr Bill Kirkup in his report into Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust, which included a review into the operation and purpose of the fit and proper test following concerns raised over allegations of bullying managers and a blame culture. The test was introduced in response to the recommendations made in the Francis report. 

The Fit and Proper Persons Regulations were designed to reinforce individual and board accountability for the quality and safety of care by providing a framework for trusts to ensure that executive and non–executive directors are suitable individuals to hold their positions. While the CQC has provided guidance to support trusts complying with the regulations, it does not specifically provide guidance on how trusts should undertake investigations which has caused trusts “some difficulties” reports NHS Providers.

The review will consider the scope, operation and purpose of the fit and proper person test as a means of specifically preventing the re-deployment or re-employment of senior NHS managers where their conduct has fallen short of the values of the NHS, as well as relevant managers in the independent healthcare and adult social care sectors.

It will also look at amendments to secondary legislation as a means of improving the operation and purpose of the test and extending the operation of the test to a full range of NHS bodies “beyond providers”.

Other areas of focus include what constitutes “misconduct” within the test, such as:

  • the failure to cooperate with an investigation;
  • the loss or falsification of records;
  • bullying and harassment;
  • inhibiting or discouraging whistleblowing; and
  • the failure to notify relevant bodies of “settlement agreements”.

You can read the full terms of reference here.

Do get in touch with Jog Hundle or Stuart Craig if you require support with implementing the FPPR and meeting the CQC’s expectations.

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