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Rachel is a public law/professional regulatory lawyer with many years of experience advising various regulatory clients and acting for those who are regulated.

She has broad experience spanning the regulation of healthcare, childcare, social care and the legal professions and has been an in-house solicitor at the General Medical Council.

Rachel has also dealt with areas such as regulation of private security.

Experience

Her specialisms include:

Healthcare regulation, including dentists, GPs, nurses, midwives and NHS Trusts

Rachel has been appointed as a Legally Qualified Chair at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. She has also worked within the in-house legal team at the General Medical Council for a number of years. Her experience in healthcare regulation also includes acting for clients such as the General Dental Council , Nursing and Midwifery Council and Care Quality Commission. She also acts for healthcare providers in respect of regulatory issues. Rachel has expertise in:

  • Fitness to practise matters including interim orders and substantive hearings
  • Factual accuracy challenges
  • Representations in respect of enforcement action
  • Ratings reviews
  • Action plans to bring about improvement
  • Appeals

Childcare regulation (including safeguarding matters)

Rachel has acted for the national regulator for childcare settings for a number of years and now uses her expertise in early years regulation to act for those who are regulated by Ofsted.

Rachel has dealt with a significant number of appeals by childminders, nurseries and after school clubs including urgent suspension cases where children are considered to be at risk of harm if a childcare provider continues with the provision of childcare. Rachel is skilled in:

  • Preparing for inspection
  • Making representations about the conduct of an inspection/or adverse outcome
  • Action plans to bring about improvement
  • Appeals including against suspension and cancellation

Care sector regulation

Rachel acts for the Care Quality Commission in respect of first-tier tribunal appeals but also acts for care home providers advising on:

  • Investigations into adverse incidents
  • Preparing for inspections
  • Factual accuracy challenges
  • Representations in respect of enforcement action
  • Ratings reviews
  • Action plans to bring about improvement

Social care regulation

Rachel has previously acted as an advocate for the former General Social Care Council. Rachel can deal with:

  • Fitness to practise matters including interim orders and substantive hearings
  • Appeals

Legal and professional services regulation

Rachel has acted on behalf of the Bar Standards Board and Costs Lawyer Standards Board.

Investigations (into fitness to practise and adverse incidents)

Rachel has significant experience in the delivery of fitness to practise investigations on behalf of regulators. She has also acted for those facing investigation or enforcement action by regulators.

Advocacy

Rachel is a solicitor-advocate. She has presented numerous cases before various committees of the General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council and General Social Care Council and also the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal.

These are often contested hearings lasting a number of days. She has successfully defended subsequent appeals to the Upper Tribunal.  She can deal with interim orders and substantive hearings.

Appeals and Judicial Review

Rachel deals with High Court and First-tier Tribunal (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) Appeals and Judicial Review matters.  She has worked with five of the nine healthcare regulators in the UK, and has acted for the Professional Standards Authority in relation to Section 29 appeals.

Legal Advice

Rachel is sought out to advise regulators and those who are regulated in relation to a range of regulatory issues. Having worked in-house for the General Medical Council she has an excellent insight into the issues facing a regulator and works with her client to ensure that its decisions are robust. She can bring that insight to the advisory work that she does for those who are regulated.

Project delivery

Rachel is known for her efficient management style and over the years has managed large teams of junior lawyers in order to deliver a high quality and responsive legal service to her regulatory clients. She has overseen the delivery of significant project work for clients including:

  • Drafting of in excess of 200 sets of allegations
  • Instruction of experts to prepare a report on a large number of cases
  • Investigation of hundreds of fitness to practise cases
  • Helping a regulator to work though a significant number of cases where ratings reviews had been requested.

Private prosecutions

Rachel handles private prosecutions for regulators and has prosecuted on behalf of the General Dental Council and the Security Industry Authority.

Audit

Rachel has carried out detailed case outcome audits for regulatory clients.  Her experience in audit means that she works with her individual clients on action plans to ensure that are regulatory compliant.

Memberships / Networks

Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers

Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers

Co-opted Committee Member

Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates

Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates

Member

Pro-Manchester

Pro-Manchester

Member

Manchester Lew Society

Manchester Lew Society

Member

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What our clients say

  • "I would like to thank you personally and Ward Hadaway as a company. The service I received was certainly the best out of any legal company I have ever used.....I was so impressed with your dedication, hard work and straight talking which helped us to make our decision in this very difficult case."

Independent verdict

  • ''According to interviewees, Rachel Birks of Ward Hadaway has “great attention to detail, is on the ball, and is good at putting forward practical solutions to challenging issues.” She has a broad practice, acting for numerous regulators, with recent work for the PSA.''

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