3.This instrument would introduce a statutory framework for the professional regulation of nursing associates (NAs) in England. NAs are a new role which, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), are to act as a bridge between unregulated care assistants and registered nurses or midwives. Under the draft Order, supervision by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) would apply to the NA profession in the same way as it does to nurses and midwives, with some exceptions in areas such as registration appeals and emergency prescription rights. Supervision will include a separate, NMC-managed register for NAs. The DHSC explains that the new framework will address current uncertainty regarding the level of regulatory oversight of NAs by ensuring that their professional standards are aligned with those for nurses and midwives. The DHSC says that the first cohort of NAs will complete training by January 2019, with the number of training places expected to increase from 2,000 in 2017, when the training was launched, to 5,000 in 2018 and 7,500 in 2020. According to DHSC, many of the new NAs will have been employed already in the NHS as care assistants and will have qualified through the apprenticeship route where they received a salary. The DHSC therefore does not expect the requirement to register with the NMC and pay an annual registration fee to deter people from wanting to become an NA.
4.These draft Regulations will commence the authorisation and supervision regime for Master Trust pension schemes under the Pension Schemes Act 2017 (the 2017 Act). Master Trusts are a form of multi-employer occupational pension scheme. Their importance has increased significantly since the Pensions Act 2008 made it compulsory for employers to automatically enrol eligible staff in a qualifying workplace pension scheme. The majority of employers has opted to enrol staff into a Master Trust scheme rather than setting up their own pension scheme. As a result, the membership of Master Trusts has grown from around 0.2 million employees in 2010 to more than 9.9 million in January 2018. There are now 81 Master Trusts in the UK with assets of over £16 billion. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says that a new authorisation and supervision regime for Master Trusts is needed to address a number of potential risk factors that are specific to Master Trusts and that are not covered by current legislation. According to DWP, not taking action could result in members of Master Trust schemes having less protection than members of other pension schemes. The new regulatory regime will include compulsory authorisation and subsequent supervision by the Pensions Regulator, using statutory criteria specified in the 2017 Act. The draft Regulations will also give the Pensions Regulator greater powers to intervene if a Master Trust is in danger of failing to meet the criteria and its financial resilience or viability are at risk.