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Reg. 34 Determination of Fitness to Practise

***Amendments to Regulation 34 were last approved by the University Council at the meeting held on 11 July 2018. The version detailed below took effect from 1 October 2018.***

Regulation Governing Determination of Fitness to Practise

Notes: Under the University’s Statutes, the Vice-Chancellor may suspend any student or exclude them from the University without notice. This provision is intended to protect members of the University and the University’s reputation. It will be invoked where a registered student is believed to pose a potential risk to themselves or to others, and pending the outcome of a University procedure, which could include Fitness to Practise.

Where a student’s registration is terminated, or the student is suspended from their course of study, and is resident in University or University-managed accommodation, the University may take further action under Regulation 27 (Residential Accommodation Regulations).

(1)(a) There shall be Fitness to Practise Committee of the Senate for all courses taught at the University, which carry, upon successful completion, accredited status in a profession regulated by a Professional and Statutory Regulatory Body. These courses are listed in Appendix A. The Fitness to Practice Committee shall decide on the fitness or otherwise of candidates put before it, and any sanctions.

(b) There shall be a Fitness to Practise Appeals Committee that shall consider appeals against decisions of the Fitness to Practise Committee, as set out by this Regulation. The Fitness to Practise Appeals Committee has the power to confirm, set aside or vary a finding, a decision of or a penalty imposed by the Fitness to Practise Committee, or refer the case back to the Fitness to Practise Committee for reconsideration.

(c) The regulation shall apply to both candidates for admission and registered students on the courses listed in Appendix A.

(d) The regulation sets out steps available to the University to ensure that candidates for admission and registered students on courses listed in Appendix A are fit to practise their chosen specialism, by attesting that individuals have the health, conduct, skills, and knowledge to practise their profession safely and effectively. When assessing the fitness to practise of a current student or candidates for admission consideration will be given to the guidance produced by the Professional and Statutory Regulatory Body for that profession.

(e) In all cases, candidates for admission and registered students shall be notified in writing that an issue of fitness to practise has been raised and be invited to make written representations to the Committee.

(f) Operational procedures for initial consideration of fitness to practise concerns and the conduct of Fitness to Practise Committee are be maintained and published by the department(s) responsible for administering fitness to practise procedures in the relevant professional disciplines.

(2) Membership of the Fitness to Practise Committee shall be as follows:

(a) For those degrees listed in Appendix A and taught at the Centre for Professional Education and the Centre for Lifelong Learning, the Committee shall consist of one member of the Committee on the Admission of Students to Courses of Study and not fewer than two additional members who are practitioners in the relevant field appointed by the Vice-Chancellor from a panel of not less than 18 members appointed annually by the Senate on the recommendation of the Director of the Centre for Professional Education and the Director of the Centre for Lifelong Learning, noting that a minimum of 6 members of the panel should be recommended by the Director of the Centre for Professional Education and a minimum of 18 members by the Director of the Centre for Lifelong Learning. The practitioners appointed to the panel should not be members of staff in the department in which the student is registered.

(b) For those degrees listed in Appendix A and taught at the Warwick Medical School, the Committee shall consist of one member of the Continuation of Registration Committee Panel, Graduate Appeals Committee Panel or Undergraduate Appeals Committee, who will act as Chair; one member of academic staff of Warwick Medical School, one member of clinical academic staff of Warwick Medical School; a senior clinician from a local NHS Trust who has undergraduate teaching responsibilities; a junior doctor. The Committee will be appointed by the Vice-Chancellor from a panel appointed annually by the Senate on the recommendation of Warwick Medical School.

(3) In cases referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee under Regulation 6.3(3) or 6.3(4) Governing Admissions to Programmes of Study, or where evidence (including but not limited to issues of: behaviour, attitudes, dishonesty, criminal conduct, or illness likely to pose a risk to the student themselves, their colleagues or others (including patients or service users)) which was not previously considered under Regulation 6.3 comes to light regarding the fitness to practise of a student during their registration on one of the degrees listed in Appendix A, the Committee may decide:

(In the case of candidates for admission)

(a) that the candidate is fit to be admitted to the course and that the application should be referred to the Chair of the Committee on Admission of Students to Courses of Study for consideration.

(b) that the candidate is not fit to be admitted to the course, and that the application be rejected, or where an offer has been made, that the offer of admission be rescinded.

(In the case of registered students)

(c) that the student is fit to practise.

(d) that the hearing will be adjourned to enable further information to be gathered for consideration of the Committee;.

(e) that there is evidence of misconduct, but fitness to practise is not impaired, and a warning should be issued.

(f) that the student’s fitness to practise is impaired and that one of the following sanctions should be applied:

(i) Warnings, conditions or undertakings, to enable the student to demonstrate that they can assure their fitness to practise as a result of taking specific actions.

(ii) Suspension from the course or withholding the award of a degree for a period of normally no longer than 60 days, until additional evidence is available, in which case the Committee will reconvene to consider the evidence.

(iii) Termination of registration of the student if their behaviour or health is fundamentally incompatible with continuing on the course or practising in the profession.

(iv) Transfer to an alternative non-practising qualification appropriate to the learning of the student (as listed in Appendix B).

(v) Withholding of the award of the original degree from the student and consideration being given by the relevant Board of Examiners for the award of an alternative qualification, on the basis of the student’s academic performance.

(4) In all cases, the decision of the Fitness to Practice Committee shall be communicated in writing to the student.

Appeals

(5) A candidate for admission has no right of appeal against the decision of the Fitness to Practise Committee.

(6) If the Fitness to Practise Committee decides that a registered student’s fitness to practise is impaired, as set out in (3)(f) above, the student may appeal against the Committee’s decision, within ten working days of the date of the letter of formal notification. The appeal should be made via the Academic Registrar for consideration by a Preliminary Review Panel comprising two of the following: a Pro-Vice-Chancellor; the Chair (or Deputy Chair) of the Board of Graduate Studies; the Chair (or Deputy Chair) of the Academic Quality and Standards Committee; the Chair (or Deputy Chair) of a Faculty Board or Faculty Education Committee, as appropriate.

(7) The Preliminary Review Panel will consider the appeals of students against decisions made by the Fitness to Practise Committee where:
(a) There is evidence of procedural irregularities in the conduct of the Fitness to Practise Committee.
(b) There is evidence of unfair discrimination or bias in the conduct of the Fitness to Practise Committee.
(c) The student has relevant evidence that s/he was not able to present at the meeting of the Fitness to Practise Committee and can provide good reasons for not having made the Committee aware of this evidence at that time. Appeals made on these grounds will be rejected if the student does not provide an explanation for the lack of availability of the evidence when the Fitness to Practise Committee reached its original decision.
(d) The decision of the Fitness to Practise Committee appears to be unreasonable on the evidence considered.

(8) The Preliminary Review Panel may decide:
(a) that a prima facie case for appeal exists, in which case the appeal shall be referred to a Fitness to Practise Appeals Committee for consideration.
(b) to reject the appeal on the basis that evidence provided does not constitute grounds for appeal, as set out in (7)(a) to (d) above.
If the appeal is rejected the appellant shall be notified of the reasons for the decision.

(9) The appellant shall be notified in writing of the outcome of the Preliminary Review Panel and the reasons for its decision.

(10) The Fitness to Practise Appeals Committee shall be appointed by the Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) following the rules for the Fitness to Practise Committee constitution as set out in (2) above, with the exception that the Appeals Committee will be Chaired by one member of the Preliminary Review Panel. No member of staff in the department concerned may serve on the Appeals Committee, except for Warwick Medical School where the composition of the Appeals Committee shall follow the rules set out in (2) above. No member of the original Fitness to Practise Committee which considered the case of the appellant, may serve on the Appeals Committee.

(11) The Fitness to Practise Appeals Committee may seek advice on the interpretation of professional guidelines from the professional body or department concerned. Any such correspondence shall be made available to the appellant.

(12) The Fitness to Practise Appeals Committee has the power to confirm, set aside or vary a finding or decision of or penalty imposed by the Fitness to Practise Committee.

(13) Appeals by F1 trainee doctors

(a) An MB ChB graduate who has entered foundation training year F1 and has met the requirements to apply for full registration with the General Medical Council will receive a Certificate of Experience issued by the relevant deanery/foundation school. In any case where the deanery/foundation school declines to issue a Certificate of Experience, and the appeals process within the deanery/foundation school has been concluded, the graduate may make an appeal to the Fitness to Practise Appeals Committee.

(b) For this purpose, the Fitness to Practise Appeals Committee shall consist of three members appointed by the Vice-Chancellor none of whom shall have had previous dealings with the case. The Appeals Committee Chair will be one of the following: a Pro-Vice-Chancellor; the Chair (or Deputy Chair) of the Board of Graduate Studies; the Chair (or Deputy Chair) of the Academic Quality and Standards Committee; the Chair (or Deputy Chair) of a Faculty Board or Faculty Education Committee, as appropriate. The second member will be from the relevant deanery/foundation school will be invited to be a member, and the third member will be a medical practitioner with appropriate clinical experience.

(c) The Fitness to Practise Appeals Committee may seek advice on the interpretation of professional guidelines from the professional body or department concerned. Any such correspondence shall be made available to the appellant.

(d) The Fitness to Practise Appeals Committee has the power to confirm, set aside or vary a finding or decision of the relevant deanery/foundation school. It may also refer the case back to the deanery/foundation school in the event of a finding of a procedural issue in the conduct of the deanery/foundation school's proceedings.

(14) The decision of the Appeals Committee is final.

(15) Where a student is expelled or temporarily withdrawn from the University, the University will notify governmental or other Professional and Statutory Regulatory Bodies, as required.

(16) Where an applicant for a degree apprenticeship programme or a student enrolled on a degree apprenticeship programme is subject to a procedure or process under Regulation 34, the University may be required to communicate information about this to the proposed or current employer.

Appendix A

List of degrees governed by this regulation:

Certificate in Education and Training

Diploma in Education and Training

Diploma in Education and Training (English Literacy)

Diploma in Education and Training (Mathematics Numeracy)

Diploma in Education and Training (Teaching Disabled Learners)

Diploma in Orthodontic Therapy

Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma courses in Specialist Social Work (Adults) and Specialist Social Work (Children and Young People, their Families and Carers)

Diploma in Teaching Disabled Learners

Diploma in Teaching English: Literacy

Diploma in Teaching Mathematics: Numeracy

Diploma in Teaching Functional English

Early Years Initial Teacher Training (Core & Employer)

Foundation Degree/BA in Person Centred Counselling and Psychotherapeutic Relationships

MSc in Psychotherapy and Counselling

MA Social Work

MBChB

PGCE

Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Further Education and Skills Sector)

Appendix B

List of Relevant Non-Practising Degrees

BMedSci (to be considered for students on the MB ChB)

MA in Applied Social Sciences (to be considered for students on the MA Social Work)

Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Studies (to be considered for students on the Postgraduate Certificate in Education)