David Kidney, Executive Director at the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR), explains why it is consulting on the introduction of a revalidation scheme for registrants.

When UKPHR was set up in 2003, it had clear eligibility criteria for registration and applicants have always been checked rigorously to ensure that our criteria are met. This approach has enabled UKPHR to say over the years that, on admission to our register, the competence of registrants is assured.

This assurance of competence is a benefit to registrants and the public – it gives confidence of safe and ethical public health practice. It is also a benefit to employers of the public health workforce and commissioners of public health services because employees and providers who are on our register can be trusted to deliver quality services.

What the General Medical Council’s (GMC) introduction of a compulsory scheme for revalidation of doctors on its register told us was something that should be a fundamental feature of all registers. That is that we check competence for admittance onto our registers, but do we have ongoing means of checking that subsequently competence is maintained and quality of service is improved?

Revalidation is one means of embedding regular checks of continuing competence. However, it should not be seen as a single test at a point in time. Revalidation is, or it should be, a continuous process which maintains a focus – for registrants and for registers – on competence and improved service.

At UKPHR we very strongly support this approach, which is why we are currently consulting on the introduction of a revalidation scheme for our registrants. We have looked in detail at the GMC’s arrangements. We have also studied the more recent revalidation scheme established by the Nursing & Midwifery Council. Now we are ready to introduce our revalidation scheme.

We want our revalidation scheme to be workable, effective and “right touch”. It wouldn’t work if it were too mechanistic or “tick box”. It wouldn’t work if it were too burdensome. It shouldn’t be a reason for a regulator to increase registration fees nor an imposition of unreasonable new costs of compliance placed on registrants.

So we are consulting on a draft revalidation scheme in order to get views from as many people and organisation as possible to help us get the design right from the outset. We will not introduce our scheme until we have received and considered those views and, if necessary, made adjustments to meet good points made by respondents.

We are building on what should already be regular good workforce development practices, namely appraisal, personal development planning and continuing professional development. Already UKPHR requires all registrants to comply with mandatory CPD standards and to make an annual declaration about their practice.

New requirements, such as professional appraisal (or what some in Wales already term “revalidation appraisal”), feedback from colleagues about quality of service and reflective comments from registrants, build on and reinforce these existing steps.

Please tell us what you think of our proposal for a revalidation scheme. You can also read the draft revalidation scheme and associated draft guidance to find out more.

Thank you for reading my explanation of this consultation. I do urge you to take part. You are welcome to contact me if you have any comments or queries about our revalidation consultation.