BWB Blog Update : Regulation & Legal SIG

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At last week’s Regulation SIG at Bates Wells, participants and speakers shared experiences, ideas, and debated some of the key issues of the day.

We kicked off with a panel session on certificates of good standing. The panellists led an interesting and very helpful exchange of experience and ideas. We discussed the relevance of who was making the request, the nature of the information in the possession of the organisation being asked, and the age of that information. We also spoke about the right to erasure of personal information.

After the panel, Paul Seath of Bates Wells led a session on data subject access requests, followed by a lively discussion. Two key themes came out. First, how to approach the huge requests often made as part of a dispute or complaint, with particular focus on when a request can be refused or narrowed so as to make it manageable. Second, how best to deal with third party data and when it is appropriate to withhold it. The group agreed there is a clear need to be bold, assertive and robust in the position we adopt.

Carolyn Hirst brought a research and mediation perspective to a discussion on the effects of complaints on staff.

Bates Wells’ Nicole Curtis led a section looking at some of the common misunderstandings about the nature of the evidence required to prove an allegation. This included how to approach hearsay evidence, evidence obtained or held unlawfully (for example without the consent of the person concerned) and circumstantial evidence.

The day concluded with a round up from Geoffrey Hudson (Bates Wells) of hot topics in the field of professional regulation. We looked briefly at the private/public hearing debate, the introduction of the NMC’s Public Support Service and its new Fitness to Practise approach, the GDC’s “Moving Upstream” review, the GMC’s request for information on registrants’ protected characteristics, the High Court’s treatment of dishonesty in the context of mental health and, finally, regulators’ various approaches to giving advice in anticipation of a Brexit outcome.

The next session takes place 18th September – please contact <[email protected]> if you’ve got any suggestions for topics for the agenda.

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