Hearings under the 2017 Rules

Information on the different types of panel hearings and the decisions they make if you’ve been referred to a hearing under the 2017 Fitness to Practise Rules.

Interim orders panel

Interim order panels usually meet in private.

The registered person is invited to attend the hearing. They can be represented and they can call witnesses to give evidence.

Interim orders panels decide if it’s necessary:

It’s our duty to make sure this information is public.

Fitness to Practise panel

The Fitness to Practise panel considers each case in three steps:

  • Are the facts of the case proved?
  • If they are proved, is the registered person's current fitness to practise impaired?
  • If they are impaired, what should be imposed?

Hearings are usually held in public. But, when they’re considering medical evidence, the hearing is private.

The registered person is invited to attend the hearing. They can be represented and call witnesses to give evidence.

Fitness to practise may be seen as impaired on:

  • deficient performance
  • serious misconduct
  • inclusion on a ‘barred list’
  • a determination by a relevant body
  • adverse physical or mental health
  • a conviction or caution in the UK for a criminal offence
  • a conviction or caution somewhere else for something which would be a criminal offence in the UK.

Disposals available

If the Panel finds their fitness to practise isn’t impaired, they can:

  • close the case with no further action
  • issue a warning
  • refer to specific standards in the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care.

If they find their fitness to practise is impaired, they can impose a disposal.

The disposals (actions) available are:

  • Removal by agreement
  • Undertakings
  • No further action
  • Warning – about future conduct or performance
  • Conditional Registration Order (ICRO)
  • Suspension Order (ISO)
  • Removal Order.

A removal order means the registrant can’t work. Their name’s taken off the Social Care Register. They also can’t use their professional title like Social Worker.

It takes 28 days after the registered person has been informed for a ICRO, ISO or a Removal Order to take effect.

This is to gives the person time to appeal.

The Panel can make an immediate suspension order or immediate conditional registration order which starts immediately. This covers the 28-day period.

Registration appeals panel

If a worker’s application for registration has been refused by us, they can appeal this decision.  The appeal will be considered by the Registration Appeals Panel.

If a worker who was removed from the Register by a Fitness to Practise Panel more than five years ago, they are able to apply to get back on the Register. This application will be considered by the registration appeals panel. 

How is the panel made up?

A panel always has three people on it:

  • a chair
  • social care member
  • lay member.

Chair - leads the panel and makes sure everyone who is taking part in the hearing is given an opportunity to speak.

Social care members – come from different social care backgrounds. They come from mental health, social work, care home settings and others. They have various levels of experience and knowledge.

Lay members – come from a variety of backgrounds, for example, education, human resources, private business, research, housing, postal service.

Panel members are appointed for four years. They can be reappointed for another four years but can’t sit for more than eight years.

We have a list of all of our panel members’ interests and review it each year. You can access the list below. 

How are decisions made?

Decisions are always made by vote, that's why panels have three people.

Who is at each hearing?

All hearings have the same structure:

  • the panel
  • legal adviser – they can’t vote but advise the panel on legal issues
  • clerk – they also can’t vote but make sure hearings runs smoothly and write up decisions.

When the panel are discussing a case, only the legal adviser will be present.

Other people may be present:

  • a presenter – presents the case to the panel
  • the Fitness to Practise Officer – who investigated the allegations and advises the presenter
  • the registered person – whom the case is about
  • representative – to support the registered person.
Last updated: 30 October 2017