Accreditation for Case Managers: IRCM
IRCM Mission: To safeguard people who use case management services, by setting and upholding standards for registered case managers.

Since 2010, members of BABICM, CMSUK and VRA have been progressing the development of a professional body for case managers. This was based on the responses to surveys and research – related to the views of case managers and other stakeholders – regarding the need for regulatory mechanisms, underpinned by standardised training and a professional pathway that includes an educational framework.

There has been extensive work via members and leaders of BABICM, CMSUK and the VRA to develop a professional pathway for case managers in the UK. This was based on the “strong evidence in support of the need for a professional pathway that includes an educational framework.” In addition, evidence suggested that partnership working between case management organisations would be the most effective way of implementing any change.

Building on the joint work of BABICM and CMSUK which resulted in the development of the Joint Code of Ethics (revised 2017 and amended to reflect the inclusion of the VRA), this tripartite working party has been continuing its’ common goal of achieving the highest quality of case management services alongside the protection of service users and the public. Professor Edgar Meyer, Associate Dean at Imperial College Business school and specialist in the Development of Education programmes and Education quality was appointed as a facilitator and has continued to support the direction and development of the goals.

Research related to accreditation models and processes identified that current UK Government policy is only to regulate further groups in exceptional circumstances and where voluntary registers are insufficient to manage the risk involved. The tripartite group undertook an extensive review of a number of alternative mechanisms for accreditation, which included Chartership, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) and schemes such as the one operated by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). Following this review, it was agreed that the PSA was the most suitable route.

The PSA is an independent body accountable to the UK Parliament and responsible for the oversight of the nine health and social care regulators who maintain professional registers such as NMC and HCPC. They assess the standards and processes that a professional association (such as CMSUK, BABICM and VRA) uses to determine whether a practitioner should be on their register, in order for that register to be accredited (or quality assured) by the PSA. They also review fitness to practice decisions as part of their oversight function. The individual practitioner gains some gravitas from being accepted then onto that PSA accredited register.

In light of this decision, the group obtained legal advice related to the legal structure and the business and tax implications for both the new entity and BABICM, CMSUK and VRA. The advice obtained was that any new entity which would be a not for profit organisation and separate from the three main organisations should be a company limited by guarantee. Such a structure allows rights of membership and would have a board inclusive of representatives of BABICM, CMSUK and VRA.

Following the approval of all three Boards:

  • A new company was established trading as the Institute of Registered Case Managers (IRCM)
  • An initial Vision and Mission has been agreed
  • An application will be submitted to the PSA

The group worked tirelessly to review each organisations’ standards of practice alongside those in existence with other professional groups. They have utilised internationally recognised research undertaken by Sue Lukersmith to create first draft technical standards for its’ process of accreditation with the PSA. These technical standards will be supported by an education strategy to develop joint training events that underpin the standards and potentially offer a way of raising funds to support the accreditation process. Business standards including finance, governance, PR and marketing are currently being developed.

The group is actively seeking to include case managers in other sectors as well as those working within the medico-legal/insurance industry.

IRCM Mission: To safeguard people who use case management services, by setting and upholding standards for registered case managers.

IRCM’s plans

IRCM will deliver its mission:

  • by setting standards for case managers’ practice;
  • through publishing a public register of people who meet our requirements and commit to practising in line with our standards; and
  • by providing a process through which concerns can be reported, and then investigating and taking action where registered case managers do not meet our standards.

A certificate of proficiency in case management is being established by IRCM and it will also develop accreditation for education and training opportunities that meet its standards.

IRCM is currently in its set-up phase and anticipates opening for registration soon. It will be seeking accreditation from the Professional Standards Authority under its accredited register scheme in parallel with this. Becoming a register accredited by the PSA will validate IRCM’s commitment to high standards and public protection and service users will be able to have confidence when choosing services from someone who is not otherwise regulated for their case management practice.

You can find out more about IRCM on its website where it has published a number of core documents including standards and an FAQ.  It also holds regular interactive check-in sessions covering different aspects of work and plans.

VRA members will be kept up to date with IRCM’s activities and how eligible members can engage with the register once it is ready to go live.

IRCM Vision We will be fair, proportionate and effective in administering a nationally recognised register, ensuring protection of service users and the public by promoting and upholding high standards of practice and ethical conduct for the case management profession.