The consultation on our proposal to increase GPhC fees has now closed and we are in the process of reviewing all the responses received. Thank you to everyone who contributed their views and feedback.
In autumn, we will publish a report to our governing Council on the feedback received, which will be taken into consideration in any final decisions around fees. The report will be publicly available in Council papers.
As part of the consultation process, a number of responses have raised some points that we thought it would be helpful to provide further information on.
In our previous public consultation on setting fees, we sought views on our fees policy and approach including the option of introducing differential fees or a multi-year fee cycle. The report we published in 2021 outlines the consultation responses we received, where respondents were largely in favour of retaining a flat-fee structure rather than bringing in differential fees.
Differential fees have emerged in a number of responses in our latest consultation. We will consider all the points raised as part of the general feedback, including those around differential fees, before we reach a decision.
In line with our standard practice, a full equality impact assessment (EIA) of the fee proposals, including an analysis of feedback on the specific equality impact questions in our consultation, will be published when final proposals are presented to Council in the autumn. The consultation report and EIA both inform Council decision-making. Equality impact assessments for our two most recent fees consultations can seen below:
In terms of our current finances, in recent years we have worked hard to make savings wherever possible including moving to smaller premises. Before selecting our new offices, we carried out an external review of accommodation including exploring the merits of a geographic relocation. A number of sites in and outside of London were considered and the final site was selected against strict criteria including supporting the delivery of our Vision 2030, providing economic savings and minimising disruption of services to the public and registrants.
The outcomes of this review demonstrated the competitiveness of the rent in Canary Wharf which remains one of the cheapest centrally accessible London locations. This includes the fact that the GPhC accommodation arrangements continue to benefit from the VAT exemptions that apply to many buildings in the Canary Wharf area.
Overall, as a result of the accommodation move the GPhC has nearly halved its office footprint and released annual savings that equate to almost £0.8m a year. On top of this the GPhC also successfully secured a cost neutral outcome for the costs of the move and the fit out of the new offices, through commercial negotiations, which meant the relocation did not need to be funded by registrant fees. The impact of the office move in making financial savings is set out in the Annual Plan and Budget 2023-24 presented to Council at the February 2023 Council meeting.