The British Government has announced that it is to replace the United Kingdom Central Council (UKCC), the disciplinary body for nurses, midwives and health visitors, and the five national boards that oversee education. Two years ago, public disquiet over revelations that the UKCC had allowed convicted sex offenders to return to work after a brief suspension, and the lack of action that the Council has been able to take against a nurse accused of murdering a colleague in Saudi Arabia, prompted the government to commission a report on the regulation of nurses.
The report, an independent review of the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act, was unveiled in February 1999 and the government is expected to accept most of the recommendations. These include limiting the new body's membership to 27 (as opposed to the current 60), a minimum of a third of which will be made up of public members. The report also states that the standard of evidence required before nurses can lose their licenses are currently too high (beyond a reasonable doubt, while the civil courts require a balance of probabilities). It suggests the withdrawal of a license when a case is proved beyond a reasonable doubt, while the option for a reprimand remain if the standard reached is the balance of probabilities. The report also advocates giving the UKCC's replacement wider powers, including the ability to subpoena documents at the investigation stage, and the imposition of suspension and conditional registration of members.
Professional and regulatory communities face a series of significant issues as a result of increased interdependency around the globe. As professionals become more mobile, technology constantly improves, practitioners, regulators and policymakers alike are faced with changes to the regulatory landscape. As part of its mission of service to the professional and regulatory communities, CLEAR's newly established international office will keep abreast of these developments and form a framework for a range of activities to bring the benefits of global integration and cooperation to its membership.
Based in the United Kingdom and staffed by Adam Parfitt, the office will initially focus on four key areas: broadening CLEAR's membership and network of contacts in the global regulatory community; marketing CLEAR's products and services; monitoring the changing nature of professional regulation; and encouraging an international dialogue on issues of interest to the regulatory community. Adam can be contacted via phone at (606) 269-1701 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.