14 July 2015

Fitness to practise: advice for employers and managers

HCPC's Head of Fitness to Practise Service Improvement, Sarita Wilson, highlights 10 things you should know if you have concerns about an employee’s fitness to practise.

1. If a registrant is ‘fit to practise’ this means that they have the skills, knowledge and character to practise their profession safely and effectively.

Fitness to practise (FtP) isn’t just about professional performance; it also includes acts by a registrant which may affect public protection or confidence in the profession. For example, if a registrant has been cautioned or convicted for a criminal offence.

2. The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) will consider cases which question whether a registrant’s fitness to practise is ‘impaired’, or negatively affected.

This could be by misconduct, a lack of competence, a caution or conviction, the registrant’s physical or mental health, or a decision made by another regulator responsible for health and social care.

3. Incidents involving employment issues which don’t affect the safety or wellbeing of service users do not need to be referred to HCPC.

For example: lateness or poor time-keeping (unless it has a direct effect on service users); personality conflicts (as long as there is no evidence of bullying or harassment); sickness or other absence from work.

4. Concerns should be reported to the HCPC if…

…the behaviour or actions of a registrant have raised concerns about their fitness to practise; you have dismissed or suspended a registrant; you have taken the decision to downgrade the status of a registrant (for example, you place them under supervision).

5. Fitness to practise and employment processes are different and can result in different outcomes.

Issues that cause you as an employer or manager to take disciplinary action may not result in the HCPC placing any sanction on the registrant. In other cases, HCPC may take more serious action than you, which means that the registrant may not be able to work in their profession or has restrictions placed on their practice.

6. Letting HCPC know about your concerns does not necessarily mean that fitness to practise proceedings will begin immediately.

Neither does it mean you would have to suspend or end your own procedures. In many instances it will be more appropriate for HCPC to wait until you have finished your procedures. Even if HCPC does not immediately pursue an allegation, they are better placed to protect the public.

7. To raise a concern you should fill in an employer referral form.

This can be downloaded at www.hcpc-uk.org/complaints/
employers/raiseaconcern and emailed or posted to HCPC. Anything sent to HCPC will be copied to the registrant you are referring so that they can respond. If there is anything you would prefer not to be sent to the registrant, you should notify HCPC.

8. If you raise a concern with HCPC you can expect everyone involved to be treated fairly and be given an explanation as to what will happen at each stage.

You will also be given details of a case manager who you can contact should you have any questions.

9. You may be required to provide a witness statement or give evidence.

If the case is referred to a final hearing, you or members of your staff may need to meet with the HCPC’s solicitor to provide a witness statement. You may also be required to come to the hearing and give evidence. HCPC will organise your travel and accommodation if this is the case.

10. Employing a registrant who is the subject of a current FtP investigation.

Being the subject of an FtP investigation does not automatically make a registrant unsuitable for employment as they can continue to practise unless the HCPC has imposed an interim order preventing them from practising or placing restrictions on their practice. You can find out if a registrant has an interim order made against them by searching the HCPC Register.

For further information and advice for employers and managers visit


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