Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Our strategic approach

Protecting public and professional confidence requires us to protect the foundations on which confidence is built. We believe that confidence is maintained if the core principles contained within the Human Tissue Act are adhered to. These principles are: 

  • Consent and the wishes of the donor, or where appropriate, their nominated representatives or relatives, have primacy when removing, storing and using human tissue
  • Dignity should be paramount in the treatment of human tissue and bodies
  • Quality should underpin the management of human tissue and bodies
  • Honesty and openness should be the foundation of communications in matters pertaining to the use of human tissue and bodies

The principles underpin the HTA’s regulatory framework. Applying these principles provides public protection by reducing the risk of harms, such as the transmission of disease in organ transplantation, compromised patient safety where tissue is used for human application or distress to the families of the deceased. All of these harms have the potential to damage public confidence. 

While the HTA has an influential role in promoting cultural change and good practice, public confidence cannot be safeguarded by the HTA alone. It is implicit within these principles that public confidence is also dependent on individuals and organisations undertaking acitivities within the HTA’s remit to act within professional standards.

'Right-touch regulation'

Our strategic approach to achieve adherence to these principles is founded on right-touch regulation. This means being clear on the risks we are regulating, being proportionate and targeted in regulating those risks, taking into account the role of professional bodies and other regulators, and using the minimum necessary regulatory force to achieve compliance and improvement. Effective communication is also critical to our strategic approach to ensure that professionals can readily access advice and guidance from us, and that the public is clear on what they should expect from us and the services we regulate. How we do this in our daily operation is described in the Delivery section of the Strategy.

The HTA has never been an organisation to stand still, and is continuously looking for ways it can enhance public confidence and better target our regulation. The Development section of the Strategy describes the focus for this continuous improvement over the next three years.

Neither Delivery nor Development is possible without resources. The Deployment section of the Strategy describes how we lead, manage and develop the HTA’s people, how we raise and use our finances and our plans for accommodation and other key assets. 

Last updated on: 31 May 2016