21 August 2015

6 things you should know about the HCPC’s Education and Training Committee

Education Manager, Tracey Samuel-Smith, explains the key roles of our Education and Training Committee (ETC) and how their decisions can impact education providers.

The ETC is a statutory committee of the Council, and advises on matters relating to education, training and registration. Members of the Committee make up the Education and Training Panels who deal with visitor’s reports from the approval and monitoring processes. Their decisions directly impact education providers so it’s important to understand their role. 

Here’s six things that, as an education provider,
you should know about the ETC:

1. The Education and Training Committee consider recommendations from appointed visitors about whether a programme has met the appropriate standards.

2. The Education and Training Committee comprises six members of Council - three registrant and three lay members (in accordance with our Code of Corporate Governance). As such, not all of our regulated professions are represented on the Committee. Therefore they use visitor recommendations to make a final decision on programme approval and ongoing approval.

3. The Education and Training Committee will consider input from education providers, who have the opportunity to contribute to the decision-making process by submitting observations on any condition or recommendation in a visitors’ report. 

4. The Committee can vary any condition or recommendation in a visitors’ report. For example when they decide a condition exceeds threshold or is not relevant to a standard.

5. The Committee can withdraw approval from any education or training programme that closes or no longer meets our standards.

6. The Education and Training Panel sits ten times per year. Dates of panel meetings are available on the HCPC website. These dates should be considered by education providers planning a visit or undertaking a significant change to a programme.

For more information about the HCPC’s Education and Training Committee, visit www.hcpc-uk.org/aboutus/committees

14 August 2015

What happens if a concern is raised about me?

8 things you should know if a concern is raised about your fitness to practise.

1. The fitness to practise (FtP) process is not designed to punish registrants for past mistakes.

Rather, the process is designed to protect the public from those who are not fit to practise. Finding that a registrant’s fitness to practise is ‘impaired’ means that there are concerns about their ability to practise safely and effectively. In 2013-14, 1.2 per cent of social workers in England were subject to an FtP concern; a very small percentage, indicating that the vast majority of registrants are practising safely and effectively.
2. Your case will be allocated to a case manager.

If you find yourself the subject of a fitness to practise allegation, the case will be allocated to a case manager, who will remain neutral. They can explain how the FtP process works and what panels will consider when making their decisions. However they cannot advise you what to include in your response or how you should represent yourself.

3. We will give you an idea of how long our enquiries will take.

We understand that it can be stressful when an FtP concern is raised, and we will provide you with an idea of how long our enquiries will take at each stage of the process. In 2013-14 the length of time of cases referred for a hearing to conclude was an average of 17 and a median of 14 months from receipt of the allegation.

4. You can respond to the allegation in writing within 28 days. It is important to engage with the process so that you can give your side of events.

Once we have all the information we need, we will write to you with full details of the allegation that has been made plus copies of the documents we have collated. You are then invited to respond in writing within 28 days. If you need more time, your case manager can offer a 28-day extension, and if further time is required you can make a written application to the panel. 

5. You may find it helpful to get advice from your union, professional body or a solicitor at the earliest opportunity.

They will be able to provide advice on what to include in the response to the allegations which will be provided to the Investigating Committee Panel.

6. You are entitled to be represented throughout the process.

If the case is referred to a hearing, registrants are entitled to be represented, or can represent themselves, throughout the process. Information and guidance on the fitness to practise hearing process is available on our website, and explained in this useful YouTube video.

7. Cases are scheduled up to four months before the actual hearing.

We try to give registrants at least 60 days’ notice of the hearing date. We will also give you the material that we plan to rely on at the hearing 42 days beforehand. We ask registrants to provide their material 28 days before the hearing date.

8. Details of the hearing and allegations are published four weeks before the hearing is due to start.

We put this information on our website as the hearings are held in public. We do not put the information on the website more than four weeks before the hearing date to make sure we are acting fairly and balancing your rights with our role of protecting the public.

For more information download our brochure information ‘What happens if a concern is raised about me?’ or visit www.hcpc-uk.org/complaints/registrants