Fitness to Practise Procedure  

 

If we receive an allegation about your behaviour we will send it to the relevant Course Leader who will decide whether to start an investigation.

We take a risk-based approach to investigating allegations. If we consider that you are at risk or pose a risk to others, we may impose restrictions on your access to campus or on your university activities. If we decide to impose restrictions, we will explain why.

There are deadlines within this procedure and we expect you to keep to these unless you have compelling independent evidence to show why you could not do this. We are also expected to meet our deadlines but there will occasionally be times when we are unable to do this for good reason. If so, we will let you know why and keep you informed of progress.

You must provide all evidence, information and details of witnesses at the earliest possible opportunity. You should give this information to us as part of our Cause for Concern investigations. If you do not do this, we might not be able to take your information into account at later stages. Exceptionally we may allow you to bring new evidence or witnesses with you to a hearing if you have good reason why this could not have been provided during our investigations.

If an allegation raised under this regulation would be more appropriately dealt with using a different University procedure, we will advise you which procedure to use and why. If someone raises an allegation under another procedure, we may choose to consider it as a disciplinary matter instead. If so we will explain why and confirm the correct procedure to be used.

 

Stage 1 - School-level investigation

 

The Fitness to Practise Lead (or appropriate nominee) will investigate the allegation(s) and will not normally have prior involvement in the case. If you are studying at a Collaborative Partner, your case will be investigated by a nominee at your Institution. The purpose of the investigation is to try to establish the facts.

When we invite you to meet with us we will email you and we will tell you about the allegation that has been made and provide you with a copy of the evidence that we have received. You will have the right to be accompanied by a supporter. This is someone who can support you during your meetings but will not be able to talk on your behalf or to represent you unless approval has been given prior to the meeting. You should seek independent advice from the Students’ Union Advice Centre because they have experience of supporting and advising students during fitness to practise proceedings. You can be supported by one of their advisers at any stage of the procedure.

If you are unable to attend the meeting with the investigator then you must have independent evidence to confirm why and you must have informed the investigator before the date of the meeting. If your meeting can be postponed, you will be advised of the new date and time once it has been rearranged.

If you fail to attend your meeting with the investigator without having contacted them to postpone your meeting, they will report this to the Dean and Head of Department.

Once the investigator has met with all the relevant parties and concluded their investigation a report will be provided to the Dean (or their nominee) who will make a decision based on the report and advise you of their decision. If there is to be any delay in completing the investigation and/or submitting the report, you will be advised.  We will conclude our investigation as soon as possible, however, individual cases may differ.

 

Possible outcomes from the School-level Investigation

You will be advised of the outcome of our decision by email. The possible outcomes from the school-level investigation include:

  • Referral to a Cause for Concern Panel
  • No Case to Answer*

*If during the investigation you were restricted from any activities, the restriction will be lifted and you will receive confirmation via email.

 

Stage 2 - Cause for Concern Hearing

 

If the Dean (or nominee) believes that, on balance of probabilities, there is enough evidence that there has been an alleged breach of professional standards or professional conduct a Cause for Concern Panel will be convened.

This is a formal school level hearing to consider the alleged breach of professional standards or conduct.  You are expected to attend and will be given at least 5 working days’ notice of the hearing and provided with the following documentation:

  • The time, date and location of the hearing;
  • The members of the panel;
  • The details of the allegation(s) and the evidence received, including the details of the investigation;
  • A copy of this procedure.

You are entitled to have a supporter with you at the panel.  A supporter will normally be a member of the Students’ Union Advice Centre, a member of academic staff or a member of staff from Student Services.  A supporter will not normally be able to speak on your behalf and is there to support you. You must provide the name of any supporter who will attend the panel with you at least 2 working days in advance of the panel date.

If you have any mitigation, written statements, or witness statements for the panel to consider you must provide this at least 2 working days before the date of the panel. If you would like witnesses to attend the panel it is your responsibility to inform your witnesses of the panel date and ensure that they can attend. You should also email your School to confirm the names of your witnesses at least 2 working days in advance of the panel date.

The Cause for Concern Panel membership is expected to include:

  • a senior member of staff with appropriate knowledge of professional Codes of Conduct;
  • a member of academic staff drawn from the professional field in the School;
  • an elected officer of the Students’ Union.

Panel members and Chairs will receive appropriate training before they can sit on a panel and make decisions about fitness to practise matters.

Other attendees who are not members of the Cause for Concern panel may include:

  • the student;
  • the student’s supporter;
  • the investigator;
  • the Course Leader/ Fitness to Practise Lead from the school;
  • witnesses for the school or the student;
  • a note taker.

If you want the panel to hear your version of events, we expect you to attend the panel meeting. If you do not want to attend the panel and present your version of events you can submit a statement no later than 2 working days before the date of the panel. Please be aware that if you decide not to attend you will not able to answer any questions that the panel may want to ask you.

If you indicate that you will be attending the Cause for Concern panel but you are prevented from doing so for good reason, which can be evidenced, and you advise the School before the panel date then the meeting may be postponed to a later date.

If you indicate that you will be attending the Cause for Concern panel but fail to attend and do not inform the School prior to the panel date, then the meeting will go ahead and a decision will be reached based on the information available to the panel.

If you fail to confirm your attendance and all attempts to contact you have failed, then the panel will go ahead and a decision will be reached based on the information available to the panel.

In exceptional circumstances, the panel may adjourn for a short period of time to obtain additional evidence or clarification before reaching a decision. If this happens, you will be informed by email and kept updated.

If your case is considered to be very serious in nature, then it may be reasonable to send the case directly to a Fitness to Practise Hearing, once the investigation has taken place. If this happens we will tell you why.  

 

Possible outcomes from the Cause for Concern Hearing

You will be advised of the outcome of our decision by email no later than 5 working days of the date of the panel. The possible outcomes from the Cause for Concern Panel include:

  • No Case to Answer*
  • A Non-Serious Breach has Occurred**
  • Referral to Fitness to Practise Hearing

*If you were restricted from any activities the restriction will be lifted and you will receive confirmation of this via email.

**You will be issued with a warning and reminded of the relevant professional standards or Code of Conduct. The case will be closed but a record of the investigation will remain on your University record but will not be reported externally to a PSRB nor will it appear on your transcript.

 

Stage 3 - Fitness to Practise Hearing

 

The Fitness to Practise hearing is the formal University-level hearing held to consider the alleged serious breach of professional standards or conduct. 

You will be given at least 5 working days’ notice of the hearing and provided with the following information via email:

  • The time, date and location of the hearing;
  • The members of the hearing panel;
  • The details of the allegation(s) and the evidence received, including details of the investigation and the Cause for Concern process;
  • A copy of this procedure.

You are entitled to have a supporter with you at the hearing.  A supporter will normally be a member of the Students’ Union Advice Centre, a member of academic staff or a member of staff from Student Services.  A supporter will not normally be able to speak on your behalf and is there to support you. You must provide the name of any supporter who will attend the hearing with you at least 2 working days in advance of the hearing date.

If you have any mitigation, written statements, or witness statements for the panel to consider you must provide this at least 2 working days before the date of the hearing. The names of service users or any other means of identifying service users should not be included in any material you provide as evidence.  You should not share any personal details of patients, pupils or other service users as part of your evidence. If you do, this may well constitute a Fitness to Practise breach in itself, which may be considered as part of the case.

If you would like witnesses to attend the hearing it is your responsibility to inform them of the hearing date and ensure that they can attend. You should also email FitnesstoPractise@hud.ac.uk  to confirm the names of your witnesses at least 2 working days in advance of the hearing date.

The Fitness to Practise panel membership for the hearing will include:

  • A Fitness to Practise Lead or equivalent from another School (Chair);
  • An external practitioner drawn from the relevant profession;
  • An internal member of academic staff drawn from the profession; and
  • an elected officer of the Students’ Union.

Panel members and Chairs will receive appropriate training before they can sit on a panel and make decisions about fitness to practise matters.

Other attendees who are not members of the panel may include:

  • the student;
  • the student’s supporter;
  • the investigator;
  • the Course Leader/ Fitness to Practise Lead from the school;
  • witnesses for the school or the student;
  • a note taker.

If you want the panel to hear your version of events we expect you to attend the hearing. If you do not want to attend the hearing and present your version of events you can submit a statement no later than 2 working days before the date of the hearing. Please be aware that if you decide not to attend the hearing you will not able to answer any questions that the panel may want to ask you.

If you indicate that you will be attending the Fitness to Practise Hearing but you are prevented from doing so for good reason, which can be evidenced, and you advise the Fitness to Practise Team at FitnesstoPractise@hud.ac.uk before the meeting date then the hearing may be postponed to a later date.

If you indicate that you will be attending the Fitness to Practise Hearing but fail to attend and do not inform the Fitness to Practise Team at FitnesstoPractise@hud.ac.uk prior to the meeting date then the hearing will go ahead. A decision will be reached based on the information available to the panel and you will waive your right to appeal against the decision.

If you fail to confirm your attendance and all attempts to contact you have failed then the hearing will go ahead. A decision will be reached based on the information available to the panel and you will waive your right to appeal against the decision.

In exceptional circumstances, or if you name someone or an organisation, as part of this procedure, they have a right to respond to any statements you make.   The panel may adjourn for a short period of time to obtain additional evidence or clarification before reaching a decision. If this happens, you will be informed by email and kept updated.

 

Possible outcomes from the Fitness to Practise Hearing

You will be advised of the outcome of our decision by email no later than 5 working days of the date of the panel. The possible outcomes from the Fitness to Practise Hearing include:

  • No Case to Answer*
  • Warnings - A warning may be issued if the panel concludes that a breach of professional standards or conduct has occurred but that your fitness to practise is not impaired to the point of requiring a more serious sanction. Warnings are formal statements that indicate that your behaviour represents a departure from the standards expected of you and should not be repeat Warnings are not declared to the professional body.
  • Conditions - A condition is applied when the panel decides that a breach of professional standards or conduct has occurred and your fitness to practise is impaired but they are satisfied that you have displayed an insight into your behaviour and would respond to support. The condition will be determined by the panel and will be based upon the circumstances of the individual case. Conditions will be clearly explained so that you understand what is expected of you, and you will be asked to complete these within a reasonable timescale. The criteria for the conditions to be met will be explained to you and recorded so that a future panel can reach a decision when reviewing if the conditions have been met. You are required to report any conditions to your PSRB at the point of registration, where required, and will remain on your student record.
  • Temporary restriction from the course - If the panel decides that a serious breach of professional standards or conduct has occurred and your fitness to practise is impaired then the panel may temporarily restrict you from the course you are registered on. This is appropriate when the panel considers that, due to either your behaviour or health, temporary restriction from the course is the only way to protect the public, other students or staff. A temporary restriction will be used to allow you time to reflect and learn from the allegations with a view to demonstrating your suitability to return to the course at a later date. You are required to report any restrictions to your PSRB at the point of registration, where required, and will remain on your student record.
  • Permanent withdrawal from the course - If the panel decides that a serious breach of professional standards or conduct has occurred and your fitness to practise is seriously impaired then the panel may decide to permanently withdraw you from the course you are registered on. Permanent withdrawal from the course is appropriate when the panel considers that withdrawal from the course is the only way to protect the public, other students or staff because of your behaviour or health. You will not be permitted to continue with your course. You may be able to apply to an alternative, non-accredited version of your course (if available), or a different non-accredited course within the University. You are required to report permanent withdrawal to your PSRB at the point of registration, where required, and will remain on your student record.
  • Permanent exclusion from the University - If the panel decides that such a serious breach of professional standards or conduct has occurred and your behaviour has been deemed so serious that both your fitness to practise and ability to continue as a student with the University is seriously impaired then you may be permanently excluded from the University. Permanent exclusion from the University is appropriate when the panel considers that withdrawal from the course is the only way to protect the public, other students or staff because of your behaviour or health. You will not be permitted to study with the University at any point in the future. If you are permanently excluded from the University, you must report this to the PSRB and this outcome will remain on your student record.

*If you were restricted from any activities the restriction will be lifted and you will receive confirmation of this via email.

 

 

Stage 4 - Fitness to Practise Appeal

 

You can request a review of the decision made at the hearing if you can evidence one or more of the following grounds:

  • You can demonstrate that a material irregularity occurred during the hearing;
  • You can demonstrate that the panel reached an unreasonable decision and/or the penalty was disproportionate;
  • You have exceptional circumstances which for good reason you could not tell us about at the hearing;
  • That there was a bias or reasonable perception of bias at the hearing.

Disagreement with the severity of the penalty imposed by the panel is not a ground for a review.

You must request a review within 10 working days from the date that we send you the hearing outcome, by completing the Fitness to Practise Appeal Form and sending it to FitnesstoPractise@hud.ac.uk  

If we receive your request after the deadline has passed and you have not provided a good reason, with independent evidence, about why your request is late we will reject your request on the basis that it has been submitted late.

Once a review request has been lodged and accepted, no outcome will take effect until the review procedure has been completed unless you have been temporarily suspended, withdrawn or excluded which will remain in place.

We will decide, within 20 working days, whether to uphold the original decision or hold another hearing. If we decide to uphold the original decision then this decision will be final and will bring to an end the University’s internal procedure. There are no further stages of appeal and we will issue you with a completion of procedures letter at this stage.

The reviewer will either decide to uphold the original decision or hold another hearing. If the reviewer decides to uphold the original decision this decision will be final and will bring to an end the University’s internal procedure. There are no further stages of appeal and we will issue you with a completion of procedures letter.

If we decide to hold another hearing, we will ensure that the panel contains new members who have not been involved in the previous decision. The investigator will be the same person as before. The note taker may also be the same person as before. Please note that it is the panel that makes the decision, not the investigator or the note taker.

The hearing will follow the procedure as set out above and the decision of this panel will be final and will bring to an end the University’s internal procedure. There are no further stages of appeal and we will issue you with a completion of procedures letter at this stage.

 

Independent review of student complaints

 

You can request an independent review of our final outcome. You will need to send your completion of procedures letter to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) within 12 months of the date of the completion of procedures letter.

 

The courses covered by this procedure include:

 

With Placement:

BSc (Hons) Optometry

MPharm

CertEd/ProfGCE/PGCE/PgDipE Lifelong Learning Pre-service

CertEd/ ProfGCE/PGCE/PgDipE Lifelong Learning In-service

PGCE Secondary Education with QTS (including School Direct, g. employment based and Apprenticeship routes)

PGCE Primary Education with QTS (including School Direct, employment based and Apprenticeship routes)

BA(Hons) Primary and Early Years Education with QTS

BA(Hons) Youth and Community Work/Studies

MA Professional Studies (Youth Work) (full-time)

MA Professional Studies (Guidance) (full-time)

BA(Hons) Early Years

BA(Hons) Learning Support

BA(Hons) Education and Professional Development

MA Professional Studies (Youth Work) (part-time)

MA Professional Studies (Guidance) (part-time)

BA(Hons) Childhood Studies

EYTS Course

BA(Hons) Secondary Music Education

BA(Hons) Secondary Religious Education

BA (Hons) Education

BA Early Childhood and Education

BA(Hons) Special Educational Needs, Disability & Inclusion (full time)        

BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice

BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy

BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy

BSc (Hons) Podiatry FT and PT

BSc (Hons) Social Work

MSc Social Work

BSc (Hons) Nursing Child/Adult/Mental Health/Learning Disabilities

MSc Pre-registration Nursing

BSc (Hons) Midwifery Studies

MSc Advanced Clinical Practice

MSc Community Nursing Practise (District Nursing)

PG Cert/MSc Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

MSc Public Health Nursing Practice

Nursing Associates (FDFC Degree Apprenticeship) (added to list ‘with placement’)

BSc (Hons) Nursing (Degree Apprentice) (added to list ‘with placement’)

MSc Paramedic Science (Pre-registration)

 

Without Placement:

Independent Prescribing for Pharmacists

EdD

Education and Professional Development MA Suite (all routes)

BA(Hons) Religion & Education

Independent & Supplementary Nurse Prescribing

BSc (Hons) Perioperative Studies

MSc Podiatry

MSc Theory of Podiatric Surgery

Supplementary Prescribing for AHP

Cervical Screening

Forensic Podiatry PG Cert

MSc Child Welfare and Safeguarding

BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (Top up, distance learning)

Supporting Learning in Practice

MA Child Safeguarding