What is a hearing
A hearing is a formal meeting where a panel of people look at the evidence gathered as part of an investigation by our fitness to practise team into a registered person's behaviour.
The hearing panel will decide whether the registered person should continue to work in social care or not.
Hearings can be held in public or in private. The registered person will be asked to attend so that their evidence can also be heard, this ensures that all evidence collected as part of the investigation has been looked at carefully and fairly.
Members of the public, media and press can only attend public hearings.
What hearings do we hold
Fitness to practise
Fitness to practise hearings look at cases where a registered person's fitness to practise may be impaired, this means that they may not be working to the high standards expected of them as set out by The Code of Professional Practice for Social Care Workers.
Watch this video about fitness to practise, what it means and what happens at a fitness to practise hearing.
The interim orders panel decide whether or not to place an interim order on a registered person's registration if they believe that they are a risk to the public, or it is in the public’s interest while an investigation is ongoing.
The interim orders panel will look at cases under the 2017 and 2018 rules.
If a worker’s application for registration or renewal of registration has been refused by us, they can appeal our decision. The appeal will be considered by the Registration Appeals Panel.
The panel can;
- confirm the original decision
- make another decision
- send it back to us with instructions on how we should settle it.
The applicant or registered person is invited to attend the hearing to explain in person why they feel their application should be granted. They can also be represented at this hearing.
Being a witness at a fitness to practise hearing
At some hearings, Social Care Wales or a registered person may ask someone to attend the hearing as a witness.
A witness is someone who will answer the panel’s questions about the allegation or concern to support either Social Care Wales or the registered person’s evidence.
Hearing panels and their roles
A panel will decide the outcome of the hearing based on the evidence presented to them.
A panel always has three people on it, this is because decisions are always made by vote. Panel members are appointed for four years, but they can apply to be reappointed for another four years but can’t sit for more than eight years.
We have a list of all our panel members’ interests and review it each year.
Who is present at hearings?
When a hearing takes place there may be several people present. They include;
- the panel
- a legal adviser – they can’t vote but advise the panel on legal issues and makes sure the hearing is fair. When the panel is discussing a case, only the legal adviser will be with them.
- medical adviser – if the panel is considering medical evidence, the medical adviser provides advice to the panel on medical matters.
- a clerk – they can’t vote but make sure hearings run smoothly and makes sure the decisions are sent to the registered person and that the Register is updated, if necessary the clerk is the main point of contact for everyone attending a hearing.
Other people who may be present
- a presenter – presents the case to the panel. This person may be a solicitor
- the Fitness to Practise Officer – who investigated the allegations and advises the presenter
- the registered person – whom the case is about
- a representative – to support and present the registered person’s case to the panel
- the public – including the press and media. The public can only be present to observe Fitness to Practise Panel final hearings, if the hearing is held in public.
Information we make public
The Workforce Regulation Policies and Procedures sets out the kind of information we will include on our Register and the length of time it will remain on the Register.
It also sets out the information we will include in our list of persons removed from the Register and the information we will publish about fitness to practise proceedings on our website.
How to appeal a hearing decision
If a registered person wants to appeal against a decision made by a panel, they should contact the (First Tier) Care Standards Tribunal.
There will be a time limit for when an appeal can be made, therefore a registered person should contact them as soon as possible after our hearing.