Fitness To Practice
The fitness to practise procedure applies if you are enrolled on a course leading to professional registration and/or a licence to practise. This will apply to you if you are a Nursing, Midwifery, Radiography, Paramedic, or Social Work student for example.
Concerns about your fitness to practise can come from any source and could include a member of staff, other students, a member of public or other agencies such as the Police or Social Services. However, being under investigation is not indicative of your guilt and your SU is here to provide support.
What does being fit to practise mean?
You adopt the appropriate professional attitudes and display a high standard of behaviour in practise.
You are suited to the profession. This may also show in the behaviour you display outside of practise.
Concerns about the student’s fitness to practice can include:
Actions that have the potential to harm service users, other members of the public or service providers
Actions that are likely to constitute an unacceptable risk to the student or others
Failure to disclose information about previous matters relating to your professional suitability prior to registration on the course, including health, previous convictions and cautions
Concerns raised as a result of action under the Academic Misconduct Policy about professional issues such as lack of honesty or integrity
Contravention of the relevant professional code of conduct
Allegations of inappropriate behaviour
Alcohol, drugs or substance misuse
Concerns about health, disability or wellbeing, including a failure to seek appropriate medical treatment or other support; unreasonable failure to follow medical advice or care plans and treatment resistant conditions which might impair fitness to practise. This does not include pre-existing medical conditions or disabilities that have been disclosed.
Allegations, primarily occurring in placement settings, of repeated failures to achieve competence despite opportunities to develop, practise and rectify faults.
What Happens if a Concern is Raised? Formal stage pt1
If a concern has been raised, your Head of Department will evaluate the risk posed to the public, clients and you. If it’s a minimal risk, your Head of Department may choose to monitor you or take no further action. A moderate of major risk will lead in suspension until the investigation is completed (this does not automatically mean that you’re guilty!) The FTPG will then meet.
At this meeting a risk assessment will take place based on the evidence. You will receive information of the action to be taken and the procedure for dealing with the allegation. You will also be required to respond to the allegations with a statement and evidence within 10 working days.
Once the evidence has or hasn’t been submitted, the FTGP will determine if and what risk there is. You will be informed of the outcome and any further action within 5 days of the meeting.
If they decide that the risk is moderate or major, an investigating officer will be appointed. They may interview you and others involved in the allegations, and you will be allowed either a member of staff or officer from the SU, member of staff, or student from your course to attend with you. The Investigating Officer will then submit their report to the FTGP within 20 working days, who will decide if there is enough reason to progress your case to part 2 of the formal procedure.
The Formal Stage pt2
This is when the fitness to practise committee will meet to discuss your case. You will be asked to attend this in person, as will any witnesses that either yourself or the Chair nominate to attend. If you nominate a witness, you should inform OSACC at least 5 working days before the meeting.
Following your attendance at the meeting, you will usually be notified of the decision within 5 working days.
If the allegation is unproven, the case will be dismissed. However, if the allegation is proven the committee may do one of the following:
Permit you to continue on your course with no further action required
Permit you to continue on your course with adjustments
Issue a formal warning
Discontinue the placement and make arrangements for an alternative placement
Require you to intercalate (take a break) from the course for an agreed period
Require you to withdraw from your course because you are unfit to practice
Impose other appropriate actions, which must be in accordance with the assessment regulations for your course.
If you are not happy with the outcome of your hearing, you could appeal the case by submitting a written appeal to OSACC within 5 working days, which must meet at list one of the grounds listed in the policy.
If there is grounds for appeal, a Fitness to Practice Appeal Panel (FTPAP) will be appointed. The panel will review all documents considered by the FTPC, along with the written statement you submitted setting out your grounds of appeal.
What if I’m still not happy?
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your appeal, you may be able to seek a review by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA).
Fitness to Pratise Procedure
Student Guide to Fitness to Practise procedure