Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 4 2018 - Page 10

FEATURE 6 Principles of Right Touch Regulation 1. P  roportionate Regulators should only intervene when necessary. Remedies should be appropriate to the risk posed. 4. Transparent Regulators should be open, and keep regulations simple and user friendly. 2. Consistent Rules and standards must be joined up and implemented fairly. 5. Accountable Regulators must be able to justify decisions, and be subject to public scrutiny. 3. Targeted Regulation should be focused on the problem, and minimize side effects. 6. Agile Regulation must look forward and be able to adapt to anticipate change. Source: Professional Standards Authority proponents of the framework sug- gest it is a very dull instrument for promoting behaviour change. Right touch regulation should see regula- tors only intervene when necessary and remedies should be appropriate to the risk posed. It is an evidence-based frame- work that has found favour with this College. “We need to change our mindset and work to identify how much regulatory force is actually needed to achieve a desired effect,” said Dr. Nancy Whitmore, College Registrar and CEO. “We can’t target everything with the same amount of energy. The matters with the greatest urgency in terms of public safety must be our biggest priority,” she said. Originating with the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) in the United Kingdom, right touch regu- lation ensures that the level of regu- lation is proportionate to the level of risk to the public. A frequently used analogy is finding the right balance on a set of scales. “When 10 DIALOGUE ISSUE 4, 2018 weighing something on balancing scales, nothing happens until you reach the desired weight, at which point the scales tip over,” states a paper authored by the PSA. “Once they have tipped any further, weight added to the other side is ineffectual. So the right amount of regulation is exactly that which is needed for the desired effect,” stated the paper. Too little is ineffective; too much is a waste of effort. It is a concept that underlies our new approach to investigations, which is to triage complaints on the basis of risk of harm to the public and to consider managing lower risk complaints through an alterna- tive dispute resolution process (See page 12). The framework recognizes that there is no such thing as “zero risk” and that all decisions about what and how to regulate will involve a trade-off between different risks and competing benefits. Dr. Whitmore says that a key role for regulators in right touch regula- tion is to provide clinicians who may