No5’s Philip Vollans discusses the growing requirement for individuals to be reminded of the new normal working practices as the regulatory professional bodies continue to catch up with the backlog.

Regulators have seen a change to the normal working practices following on from the global pandemic, with the excel spreadsheet and proforma’s now taking precedence over the paper records, and there is an increasing demand for employers to be able to access your professional records throughout the year. As such it is necessary that all professionals look to reflect on their working practices.

The reflection record is a regulatory requirement for many health care professionals including the NMC, GMC, GDC and for teachers falling within the TRA. Following the introduction of the Building Safety Act, there is now a significant development by the ARB for Architects to create comprehensive records and detailed reflective statements for their continuing professional developments. Reflections need not only be on an individual’s practices, but an understanding of the wider implications facing the profession as a whole. This demonstrates a broader understanding of the material issues, and a means of avoiding such complications in the future. Following the Grenfell tragedy all Architects are encouraged to re-evaluate their knowledge of fire regulations, and ensure that these are sought to be addressed as part of their CPD and is advisable that these are considered within their reflective journals.

When a breach of a practitioner’s code has been identified, the regulatory body will soon expect to see the reflective journal along with any supporting documentation. Whilst the natural questions that will arise are How did this happen? Why did it happen and what could you have done differently? Such information should be clearly recorded, and steps identified in order to address the practitioners working practices following the alleged breach.

Should the matter proceed to a legal review, and any disciplinary proceedings, these reflective journals or professional experience development records are a key tool in providing any panel the way in which you responded. As such many regulators will wish to see the following:  

  • Background details including Location/Date/Time/Job Title/Supervising practitioner;
  • Situation in which the professional found themselves;
  • The act that followed which was subject to the breach;
  • An awareness as to what part of the code was in breach;
  • How did the regulator/practitioner allow the breach to occur?
  • How does the regulation and practitioner seek to ensure that this does not occur again?
  • What implementation or awareness is being provided to the regulator/practitioner about these issues, and for how long will the awareness reviews be implemented before it is enshrined in policy or codified elsewhere?
  • Is the issue particularly novel that the matter ought to be raised and (where possible) adopted by the regulating body? If so how?
  • What CPD courses are available on this issue, and what are they seeking to address? How will a CPD plan adapt to account for the practice issue.
  • Date of the next reflective journal entry

Though some practitioners may find the approach of embracing social media, and  establishing forums and engaging in key practices a useful reflective tool; it is necessary that individuals do not fall into the trap of disclosing confidential information, and failing to make a record of the discussions held with others. It is self-evident that an organised journal is a means of addressing concerns raised by the regulator if poor and/or inaccurate records were previously suggested; but is also a way of recording discussions and demonstrating an awareness of practice standards.

For many individuals the continuation or new implementation of reflection may come with relative ease; however it is necessary that all practitioners embrace a reflective practice in their journals as a means of improving industry standards, building public confidence and complying with their regulatory code.

Should you have a matter you wish to raise regarding non-compliance or disciplinary proceedings please do noy hesitate to get in touch with the Regulatory team.