Professional regulation: Nordoff Robbins policy position

Nordoff Robbins is the UK’s largest music therapy charity and the largest employer of music therapists: we also train musicians to become music therapists on our own Master of Music Therapy programme, approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and validated by Goldsmiths, University of London.

Professional regulation: Nordoff Robbins policy position

Nordoff Robbins is the UK’s largest music therapy charity and the largest employer of music therapists: we also train musicians to become music therapists on our own Master of Music Therapy programme in London, Newcastle and Manchester, approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and validated by Goldsmiths, University of London. We also invest considerable time and resources in ensuring the continuing professional development (CPD) of our therapists – this is part of how we demonstrate quality in all we do.

Our training programme pre-dates professional regulation of music therapy in the UK, but the introduction of regulation has been helpful above all for actual and potential users of music therapy services because it sets clear standards for music therapists’ training and their CPD. It also holds them to account for their professional behaviour and competence.

We broadly support the response of the UK government and the devolved parliaments to the recent review of regulation, and in particular we support the principle of a more flexible and proportionate approach to regulation in general, and to fitness to practice processes in particular. We understand the reasoning for a potential future move towards a smaller number of multi-profession regulatory bodies and regard the HCPC as a positive model for how this might be achieved. It should be noted that the regulation of music therapy in the UK is cost-free to the taxpayer as all costs are met by fees charged by the HCPC to registrants, so there is no economic argument for its abolition.

The government’s response also contains (Section 5.26, p. 19) a suggestion that some professions might be removed from statutory regulation, but we would oppose any proposal to remove music therapy from statutory regulation. The reasons for this are as follows:

  • Music therapists work with particularly vulnerable populations, often as part of a multi-disciplinary team. It would be wrong for music therapists to be less accountable for their work with these populations than their colleagues.
  • Music therapy can be a powerful experience for people and there is therefore a risk of harm.
  • Deregulation would make it more difficult for potential users of music therapy to understand who is properly trained and complying with the demands of regulation such as CPD.
  • Removal of the HCPC’s Standards of Education and Training and their Standards of Proficiency would make it much more difficult for us as a training organisation to benchmark our training programme and to demonstrate its quality both to service users and to other potential employers.
  • Around the world, the UK is widely hailed as a leader in the field of music therapy precisely because of HCPC regulation.

Reference: Department of Health and Social Care (2019). Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation. Government response to the consultation.

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