Stage 1 – Initial Action by the Department
- Any allegation of concern that a student may be unfit to Practise must be submitted to the Head of Department in
- Upon receipt of an allegation, the Head of Department should decide within seven days whether the issue can be resolved informally or whether it needs to be addressed using Stage 2 procedures. In certain cases, immediate action may need to take place in order to safeguard all parties while preliminary investigation takes
- The student should be made aware of the precise nature of the behaviour that has caused these concerns to be raised, including, if appropriate, reference to the level of perceived risk presented by the student as measured by the risk assessment process. The member of staff will attempt to resolve the matter through discussions with the student. The student should be given the opportunity to explain their own views on the matter, and be encouraged to think about using one or more of the support services offered by the University or available outside the University. It may also be appropriate to look into the possibility of making special arrangements to enable the student to remain within the placement
- It is hoped that in most cases issues can be resolved at this level, and that students will respond positively, cooperating fully with the process and taking advantage of the support available.
- A review period should be determined as part of the risk assessment to allow the student to consider their own behaviour and seek advice from the support services available. At the end of this period a meeting should be held to discuss any steps taken by the student to address the concerns. If the concerns have been addressed satisfactorily, this will be noted. If, however, the concerns have not been addressed, a further review period may be agreed, or the case will move to the next stage of the
- The informal discussions, advice and any undertakings made by the Department and / or the student should be documented for the benefit of both the department and the
- If a student is unable to cooperate with the above process or modify their behaviour, they should be informed that more formal action under Stage 2 of this policy may be considered appropriate. In certain cases (usually associated with perceived risk to clients/patients or others, or when serious professional misconduct has been alleged), it may be necessary for the University Secretary to recommend temporarily suspending the
- Temporary Suspension from the Placement element of a Programme normally has immediate
- A Suspension may be appropriate when:
- the student denies the allegation in spite of the evidence
- there is a lack of insight into health concerns
- the student’s behaviour or health issue is serious and, where relevant to the nature of the misconduct or health, a period of reflection and rehabilitation would be appropriate
- the conduct is such that an indication of strong disapproval is required
- the student has almost reached the end of the programme and a ‘Warning’ would have little impact
- the behaviour or health issue is incompatible with immediate return to or continuation on the professional
- A Suspension may be given for any specified period (eg 4 weeks, 12 weeks, 5 months etc) and is not to exceed one year in the first instance. All parties will be clear as to when the period of Suspension starts and
- Although the length of the Suspension will be indicative of the measure of disapproval of the behavior, conditions for any future return must be clearly specified in the direction, if appropriate. A review of the student’s case must be carried out by the Head of Department (or representative, this might be the Fitness to Practise Officer, for example) prior to the student’s return, normally four weeks before return depending on the length of the Suspension; a formal action plan for a return to the professional programme may be
- A Suspension may be appropriate when:
- The University may be required to notify a professional body of cases at the point when an allegation is first investigated, when it is referred to the University Fitness to Practise Panel, or when a student is suspended from a programme of study. This includes the Disclosure and Barring Service for breaches of safeguarding
Stage 2 – Fitness to Practise Panel
- If the action taken under Stage 1 has not been successful, it is felt that the case is too serious to be dealt with informally; Stage 2 of the policy will be invoked. A Fitness to Practise panel shall be convened by the Head of Department, or delegate and include the respective Head of College. A representative from the Placement may also attend for information and advice if felt
- When a case is referred to the Fitness to Practise Panel, the Head of Department will send the following documentation to the panel:
- The investigation report
- Any additional comments about the student’s conduct with a statement of how the concern has progressed to fitness to Practise panel
- Any relevant factual information about the student’s professional progress on the course
- The student will be given at least 7 days’ notice of the Fitness to Practise Meeting and informed of the purpose of the meeting. They will also be provided with any documents which will be considered by the Group, and asked to provide any documentation they may wish the Group to consider in good time for the
- The student may be accompanied at the meeting by a Student’s Union representative, a fellow student, or other advisor. Disabled students may also be accompanied by a support worker if
- The purpose of the meeting will be:
- to make the student aware of the nature of the concerns that have been raised
- to hear and consider the student’s views
- to agree the best way to proceed
- to ensure that the student is fully aware of the possible outcomes if difficulties remain.
- The Fitness to Practise Panel will order its proceedings at its own discretion and may invite other staff including Student Experience staff working with the student, and institute enquiries to assist its
- The Fitness to Practise Panel may decide:
6.7.1 That the student is fit to Practise and is:
- permitted to continue with the programme without further action
- permitted to continue with the programme under supervision as defined/required by the Panel
- permitted to continue with the programme but that a formal warning be placed on his or her file/ record; or
- subject to any other action considered appropriate by the Panel to enable the student’s successful completion of the remainder of the
6.7.2 That the student is not fit to Practise and:
- is required to suspend his or her studies for a specified period of time, following which the Panel will review the conditions set and decide whether to re-admit the student to the programme, and the decision be recorded on his or her file/ record
- the student’s continuation on a programme leading to a professional qualification is terminated and the decision is recorded on his or her file/ record; but recommend that the student may seek advice to be admitted to an alternative programme within the University
- the student’s studies be terminated and the student to exit the University with an interim award which should not enable the student to Practise and the decision recorded on his or her record
- the student’s studies be terminated and the student be required to withdraw from the University without an award; the decision will be recorded on his or her file/
- The decision of the Fitness to Practise Panel, together with a concise record of the meeting, should be sent to the student within 7 working days from the date of the meeting, and a copy kept on the student’s personal file within the Department.
- In making their judgment on a sufficient outcome or sanction, the Fitness to Practise Panel must have regard both to proportionality and to:
- Protection of patients or clients
- Declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct
- Maintenance of public confidence in students of the Profession
- Maintenance of confidence in the ability of the University to deal appropriately with fitness to Practise issues of students on professional
Stage 3 – Formal Review Panel
- This stage of the procedure will only be implemented following a referral from a Stage 2 Fitness to Practise Panel, or if in the opinion of the University Secretary (having consulted as appropriate) initial concerns are raised which are sufficiently serious as to warrant the consideration of the student’s suspension, exclusion or expulsion (e.g. if they pose a potential threat to the health and safety of themselves or others, or disruption to the working of the placement institution and/or University).
- Pending the hearing by the Review Panel, the University Secretary shall consider whether interim suspension of the student pending further action is
- The University Secretary, in consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, shall then convene a Review Panel which shall be chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor or nominee. This will normally comprise the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Head of Department, the Director of Student Affairs and a member of Senate. If judged appropriate, the University Secretary or the University’s Legal Adviser may also be in attendance.
- The University Secretary’s Office will fix a date for a formal meeting of the Formal Review Panel to hear the case and invite the student to attend to discuss the concerns and all relevant issues. A member of the University Secretary’s Office will act as Secretary to the Panel.
- Wherever possible the student will be given at least 7 days’ notice of the meeting of the Formal Review Panel. The student will be informed of the purpose of the hearing. The student will also be provided with any documents to be considered at the meeting and asked to provide any documentation they may wish the Group to consider in good time for the
- The student may be accompanied at the meeting by a Students’ Union representative, a fellow student or other supporter. Disabled students may also be accompanied by a support worker where
- The purpose of the meeting will be to consider the evidence available, including the student’s perception of these concerns and to reach an appropriate decision, action plan or other
- The Formal Review Panel will order its proceedings at its discretion and may call witnesses and institute enquiries to assist its deliberations, including Student Affairs staff working with the student, which may include requesting further medical assessments of the student’s fitness to Practise. It will also consider an updated risk assessment where appropriate.
- The Panel’s decision shall be made by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor or nominee, having received the advice of other members of the
- The student shall be notified of the decision within 7 working days of the meeting of the formal Review Panel. This may include one or more of the following (but not restricted to):
- To formally monitor the student’s progress for a specified period of time. In this case the Panel will provide the student with an agreed action plan, outlining any steps which the student will need to take and/or any support to be provided to the student to address the concerns identified. Regular review meetings with the student will need to be arranged with a nominated member of staff (to ensure that the action plan is being appropriately followed and/or that reasonable support to enable the student to study effectively is being provided). The student will also need to be informed of the consequences of any breaches of the action plan
- To recommend that the Deputy Vice-Chancellor exercises their statutory power to suspend or exclude the student
- To refer the case to the Senate with a recommendation that Senate should exercise its statutory power to expel the student from the University
- Any other action considered to be appropriate
Return to Placement
- In any case where a student returns to placement following the implementation of the Fitness to Practise procedure, the University may decide that there should be regular review meetings with the student that can be used to monitor and support a return to Practise plan. If so, the student must provide their continued cooperation in this respect and such review meetings may continue for part or all of their remaining time at
- For ITT placements, the timing of any process may well necessitate a discussion concerning whether it is possible to return to the same placement or to restart the placement at a future time. This will be decided by the Programme
Right of Appeal
- A student who wishes to appeal against a decision regarding Fitness to Practise Stage 3 may do so in writing to the University
- However, appeals may only be based on one of the following grounds:
- that relevant new evidence which was not available at the time of the Stage 3 Panel can be provided;
- that there has been a failure of due process; or
- that the Panel has misapplied some element of the Fitness to Practise process so that the outcome might have been substantially affected by that
Appeals on any other grounds will not be accepted.
- A student wishing to appeal must notify the University Secretary of their intention to do so within 14 working days of receiving official notification of the Panel’s
- The notice of appeal must be accompanied by a concise written statement from the student that identifies precisely the grounds upon which the appeal is based, and a summary of the appeal case itself. Appeals advised without this information will not be taken
- The University Secretary, in consultation with other senior staff with no previous connection to the case, will determine whether the appeal has met the requirements for grounds and will advise the student within 14 working days of receipt of
- The decision whether to grant leave to appeal will not itself subject to further appeal.
If consideration of an appeal is allowed, the University Secretary will convene an Appeal Panel to consider the appeal. The decision of the original Panel shall nevertheless hold until an appeal has been considered by an Appeal Panel, and only varied if so decided by that the decision of the Appeal Panel will not itself subject to further.
- Any of the functions of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor under this Policy may be delegated to a Deputy Provost or a Pro-Vice-Chancellor either generally or in respect of a particular
- The University will take account of relevant legislation such as the Data Protection Act, the Disability Discrimination Act and the general rights and expectations of a student of confidentiality.
- The University acknowledges that as a result of implementing this policy it will receive personal sensitive data and data of a confidential nature pertaining to the student and other third parties, and shall ensure that all such data is handled, processed and stored accordingly.