FOI Request Revealed That The Health & Care Professionals Council Spent £17,000 On ONE Christmas Party

As with many of the stories which we share with you, this one was sent into our team by one of our followers. We always welcome our followers to send us information, stories or blogs which they believe people might want to see.

In this particular case, a follower (who requested to remain anonymous) shared with us the details of a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) that was processed back in 2016.

It shows that the Health & Care Professional Council (HCPC) spent just over £17,000 on ONE christmas party as well as giving details on previous years’ spending for previous Christmas parties.

It would appear that, for the period in question, £17,000 was the ‘average’ spend for a night of festivities….

In light of the revelation, correspondence was sent to the HCPC by a concerned individual, asking them to clarify, amongst other things, where the money had come from.

It said:

“Dear Health and Care Professions Council,

With regard to the Christmas party for which the council paid £17,052.15 for a single evening’s entertainment, please tell me

1) from where the money came – ie government grant, loan, registrant’s fees 
2) who authorised the payment 
3) how much of this bill represented alcohol and if so, the cost of wine and champagne per bottle and number purchased 
4) how many hours of paid time it took to arrange 
5) the venue location 
6) whether none HCPC members were paid for – partners, spouses, employees of law firms and service providers 
7) total number of attendees 
8) total amount spent on Christmas parties in the past 5 years

Yours faithfully,

Simon Hoyle”

In response, the HCPC said:

“Dear Mr Hoyle,

Thank you for your recent information request regarding the HCPC’s 
employee Christmas lunch. Your request has been handled under the Freedom 
of Information Act (FOIA) (2000).

I have set out your questions and the HCPC’s responses below.

1) from where the money came – ie government grant, loan, registrant’s 
fees

Expenditure for the Christmas lunch is allocated within the communications
budget. Like other health and care professional regulators, HCPC’s
operational costs are funded through registration fees.  We regard the
Christmas lunch as an important part of our engagement programme for
employees.

2) who authorised the payment

The Christmas lunch was authorised by the Director of Communications.

3) how much of this bill represented alcohol and if so, the cost of wine 
and champagne per bottle and number purchased

The agreed cost of the lunch was £72 per head including VAT, which
included 1 glass of sparkling wine on arrival, a 3 course meal, a third of
a bottle of wine or 1 soft drink, hire of a public address system with
microphone and staffing of a cash bar if HCPC employees wanted to purchase
more drinks. A further 37 bottles of wine were provided on the day at a
cost of £145.15 including VAT.

4) how many hours of paid time it took to arrange

We do not hold this information.

5) the venue location

The Christmas lunch was held in a function room at the Kia Oval, the
Surrey County Cricket ground.

6) whether non HCPC members were paid for – partners, spouses, employees 
of law firms and service providers

There were no partners, spouses or employees of law firms or other HCPC
suppliers.  The only attendees were HCPC employees and the Chair of HCPC.

7) total number of attendees

224

8) total amount spent on Christmas parties in the past 5 years

The amount spent on the all employee Christmas lunch for past five years
is as follows:

2015: £17,052.15

2014: £17,224.36

2013: £17,173.10

2012: £13,547.68

2011: £9,891.90

The above information was taken from the following website: WhatDoTheyKnow.com – click here to read the full correspondence

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15 comments

  • I find this article of interest they use our fees to eat drink and be merry.I belive it is so dishonest it does not say any where that they steal money from registrants to be dishonest to registrants lie to registrants to manipulate registrants professional of course you are hcpc. I think this will defiantly bring the profession in to the spot light. Hcpc you should be ashamed of yourselfs preaching to registrants to open honest kind caring and have professional standards.

  • Unbelievable
    How dare this lot use registrants hard earned money to pay for their jollies
    No wonder the fee is so high
    Is this not fraud?
    Disgusting misappropriation of funds

  • I contacted the HCPC via twitter and they replied with this….
    HCPC: “Good afternoon. For information, 2016 was the last year the HCPC held this event and we no longer organise an all-employee Christmas party of this nature. “

    • Oh, well, if it wasn’t *today* that they stole my money then that’s fiiiiiiiine …

    • Does that mean they organise smaller parties funded in the same way instead?

      • That’s exactly what we do 🙂 Lots of little small team parties. Probably costs the HCPC MORE money, but because big man simple Simon Hoyle likes causing trouble we had to make some changes. The amount of work we do, we deserve it.

  • So for 26 of the 28 years I have been paying my HCPC fees you have been using my money to pay for your Christmas lunch, that’s just not on. It’s been a very long time since NHS staff got a free Christmas lunch and that never (understandably) included alcohol.

    • You couldn’t possibly have been paying fees to the HCPC 9or the prior HPC) for twenty-six years as it was only established in 2003 (fifteen years ago) and at that time did not cover so many professions supplementary to medicine as it now does. Initially it regulated Operating Department Practitioners and Paramedics. Prior to that was the CPSM (Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine) which was quite ineffective, with less scope and which regulated fewer professions.

      Kindest regards,

      JR

  • Would love to know what the SoR think to this…maybe they should be asking the HCPC some questions on behalf of their members!!??

  • Firstly, way to go in keeping your source anonymous as requested.

    Also when you consider how many members there are its way less that £1 per member. Im not phased by it or upset in the slightest. Most NHS trusts hold a yearly awards ceremony. Some of which is paid for by public cash (although mainly sponsors). Its a good way to boost morale.

    • it states that there where 224 attendees, £17,000 total, £72 per meal. how did you work this out?

    • Kelly Fideo-White: what morale problems could they possibly have compared to, let’s say, frontline paramedics and it hasn’t done much for MY morale.

  • Simon Hoyle just likes causing the HCPC and HCPTS trouble. The organisation treats him as a joke and has caricatures of him around the office. Simon Hoyle was a failure as a Paramedic and he is a failure as ‘Representative’. The HCPC/HCPTS no longer have staff lunches or Christmas dinners because of this moron. Luckily they found away around it and the staff can still enjoy some time together.

  • Anonymous HCPC Registrant

    This use of registrant’s fees for successive lavish personal parties by members of staff of the HCPC is utterly outrageous and indefensible, It likely too represents misappropriation of monies and resources by a public body. It certainly falls far short of conduct expected by those in public office as laid down by the Nolan Commission.

    I have worked in the NHS and private healthcare sector since 1980 in positions from the lowest to Trust board governance level. I have attended many festive and team-building and post-training event parties. But for each and every one we attendees stumped up our own money. To take money out of the organisation would be utterly unthought of. It very much calls into question the integrity of HCPC staff who essentially have misappropriated money and resources. They didn’t even conduct a costing or risk assessment exercise into the hours of deployment of paid staff hours in arranging these events. Again, this is scandalous.

    Had it been one of we fee-paying registrants who had done this then we’d be before a professional conduct committee hearing and accused of bringing the profession into disrepute, irrespective of how long ago the offence took place. I note that the HCPC respondent says that such expenditure ceased in 2016, which just happens to coincide with the timing of the FOI request. Evidently they knew they were doing wrong and had been found out. This matter needs to be referred to the police as a criminal investigation into organised fraud and prosecutions ensue thereafter. I hope police officer members of this forum will take this onboard.

    Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s I was an ardent campaigner for bringing my own profession under statutory regulation and was eventually appointed as an advisor to the DoH steering committee on registration. The public have a right to be protected and assured that they are treated by competent professionals of the utmost standing and integrity. This philandering by senior staff within the HCPC will do little to inspire public confidence,

    J

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