The University has a responsibility to ensure that students studying on certain courses are fit to qualify in their respective professions, regardless of performing well in assessments and not committing a specific offence. A student’s fitness to practise may be assessed for a number of reasons, for example, a drug/alcohol related problem, mental ill health or any condition or disorder which would adversely affect the student’s performance. The University has a responsibility to deal with such students to ensure that they do not qualify to practise in a profession when they are deemed not fit to do so. This may also apply to other students working for professional qualifications, for example in other professions allied to medicine.
Previous years' regulations are available on request from the Student Casework Unit. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cause for Concern
If it is believed that a student has breached professional standards or conduct, a Cause for Concern Form should be completed and forwarded to the appropriate course leader, who will discuss the issue with the head of school. If appropriate, the matter will be escalated to a Faculty Cause for Concern Panel. The panel will determine the next steps, which could be deciding that further action is required, establishing an action plan or referral to an investigation under the Fitness to Practise Regulations.
Request for Review
Students have the right to request a review of the penalty imposed by the Fitness to Practise Committee. Requests for review can only be considered where they meet the grounds for review as detailed in the regulations. The request for review must be submitted to the Student Casework Unit on the correct form and should be received within 10 working days of the formal notification of the outcome of the Fitness to Practise Committee.
The following are key changes to the student casework regulations for the 2020/21 academic year.
Impact Statements - The inclusion of the opportunity for the Reporting Party to submit an Impact Statement, should this be considered appropriate, depending on the nature of the allegations and the circumstances of the case (section 6.28). The Responding Party has the opportunity to submit a statement for consideration by the Disciplinary Committee, in addition to being able to represent themselves in person. Other institutions across the sector are introducing Impact Statements as a means of providing the Reporting Party and other affected parties with the same opportunity to have their voice heard. Legal advice has been taken on the advisability of introducing Impact Statements and we will be producing additional guidance that will underpin the procedure.
Amendments to the list of courses governed by the Fitness to Practise Procedure (Appendix 1)
Confirmation that the student will be informed of the constitution of the Committee prior to the documentation being circulated and will be given the opportunity to raise any concerns in relation to membership, for example if they have grounds to consider that a member will be biased (section 6.24)
In circumstances where each member of the Fitness to Practise Committee has exercised their deliberative vote and there is a tie, the Chair will have the casting vote (section 6.24)
Confirmation that the Course Leader will be required to report to the Cause for Concern Panel the withdrawal of a student by a placement provider/area of practice learning under their own procedures (section 6.5)
Confirmation that a student will not be required to attend a Cause for Concern Panel meeting but will be given the opportunity to provide a written statement (section 5.13)
Confirmation that where further information comes to light during the Cause for Concern procedure that raises a safeguarding issue regarding a student’s attendance at classes, the case will be referred to a Risk Assessment Panel for consideration (section 5.10)
Confirmation that the Cause for Concern Panel may recommend that a student is suspended from their placement or area of practice learning (section 5.10)
The inclusion of a paragraph specifying the type of evidence required from the University where health concerns in relation to a student have been raised, and the support the University will provide to obtain such evidence, including paying for a report where this is deemed appropriate (section 4.5)
The addition of dishonesty to the list of unprofessional behaviours (section 4.2)
Clarification that students will, where appropriate, need to evidence any mitigating factors upon which they wish to rely (section 3.9)
Clarification that the role of a support person may involve representation of a student and advocating or speaking for them, if it has been agreed as a reasonable adjustment due to a disability (section 3.5)
Amendment to the section on the use of covert recordings to include further detail on the use of recordings as evidence in student conduct cases, where the recording was made for another purpose (section 2.7)
Clarification that anonymous allegations and witness statements will not normally be accepted by the University (section 2.5)
Confirmation that the standard of proof used in Fitness to Practise cases is the balance of probabilities and the burden of proof rests with the University (section 2.2)
Amendment to the wording regarding the protection of the University if, in future, an employer, and/or the general public and/or ex-students were to question our process and subsequent decision making (section 2.1)
The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) have now replaced the Data Protection Act. An explanation of how the University will use your data can be found here and in the Communication Plan above. Please note that in accordance with GDPR Regulations any third party supporting evidence will only be accepted if it is accompanied by a completed Third Party Consent Form.