Listening and responding - reflections on 2018

What’s the GCC’s contribution to developing the profession? How do we ensure the profession is trusted? What should we, the GCC, do differently to ensure we focus on outcomes, be more proportionate and embrace ‘right touch’ regulation? What do you as chiropractors find most helpful from us? What should we stop doing, what should we start? These and many other questions have been at the heart of our work at the GCC for the last nine months. 

I strongly believe that effective regulation is a positive force for good. All our work as a regulator is designed to support chiropractors, keep patients safe and give the public confidence in the chiropractic profession. 

When I joined it was very clear to me and the staff team at the GCC, that there was much more that we could do for registrants, patients and the public. The GCC needed to change. 

The need for change 

That’s why we developed a set of values for the GCC – Achievement, Accountable, Togetherness and Integrity. They are the bedrock of how we will work. 

We have been reviewing everything we do at the GCC. We needed to examine the way we work in light of new approaches to regulation and crucially, we needed to listen to you and others in the sector. 

We started thinking about a new five-year strategy and began to shape four key strategic aims: 

  1. We promote standards. We will set, assure compliance and promote educational, professional and registration standards alongside lifelong learning. 
  2. We develop the profession. We will facilitate collaborative strategic work to support the profession in its development. 
  3. We investigate and act. We will take right touch action on complaints, the misuse of the registered chiropractor title or where registration standards are not met. 
  4. We deliver value. We will be a great place to work, we will work together and deliver effective and efficient services.

This would be a strategy focused on being more proactive; to engage and collaborate more; to increase satisfaction rates with our services; to place a higher priority on prevention, learning and support; to deliver cultural and process improvements; and to support the development of the profession. 

We really wanted to listen to you and hear your views. That’s why we presented our thinking at the Associations’ conferences last autumn and sought your feedback. 

What we heard - developing a five-year strategy

We received a huge amount of feedback on our draft strategy – many of you will remember those flip charts covered with post-it notes, full of honest and constructive views. These included positive encouragement as well as challenges to the status quo and requests for new approaches from us. Put together, the views we have gathered and the changing policy context of regulation are a powerful force for change. 

Here are some of the key themes you shared with us: 

  • Change is overdue – there is overwhelming support for the GCC’s new five-year strategic aims
  • Developing the profession – you told us that the GCC should do more to support the development of the profession in line with our statutory duty. 
  • Improving our services – you’d like to see changes to some of our key strands of work including Fitness to Practise, CPD, and the way we provide guidance to registrants.   

We took all your comments and feedback into account as we developed the new strategy. It went to December’s Council meeting, alongside all the flip charts and post-it notes which were on display for Council members to read. Council approved the new 2019 – 2023 strategy and you can read a short paper on it here

Reflecting on what we heard, it’s clear to me that there is much that unites a profession that has a wide range of views and approaches. Everyone we spoke to supported the GCC’s new strategy and the need for change. There was consensus around the need to find common ground and work together to help the profession gain a clearer identity. It’s really positive that there is enthusiasm from the profession to work together and stay involved as we change. 

It’s been a privilege for me to listen to what you have to say and test ideas out with you. I enjoyed speaking at the different associations’ conferences and am very grateful to everyone who took the time to share honest feedback and ideas with us. We also engaged with your professional bodies, education providers and patient representatives. 

I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to share your views with us. Listening is important for all organisations. Feedback – positive or critical – is important. What matters now is that we continue to use that feedback to make a difference in our work. 

Delivering change in 2019 

A clear strategy is vital but, of course, implementation and getting things changed are where the real work lie. With that in mind, we have a specific business plan for 2019 – the first year of the new strategic plan. You can read it here. This means you’ll see some really important changes and benefits including: 

  • Promote standards: review and improvements to CPD processes, supporting emerging new degree providers, a campaign to promote the public choosing a registered chiropractor
  • Develop the profession: supporting and enabling work with the professional bodies
  • Investigate and act: a full review of, and changes to, our Fitness to Practice processes to enable a more ‘right touch’ approach within our current legal framework, sharing more learning from the complaints we receive
  • Deliver value: a focus on communication and engagement, further work on our culture, a new website, an upgraded registration database for an improved user experience. 

The changes being introduced, backed by the GCC’s Council, will have a positive effect. I know Nick, the new Chief Executive and Registrar and the staff team will make this a success. You as chiropractors also have an important role to play – keep engaging with us and take your own action to develop the profession, share your ideas and views as we transform the organisation, and work with us to ensure we maintain public confidence in the profession of chiropractic.