What to do to raise a concern about an individual on the Academy Register
If you have a concern about a Registrant or wish to make a complaint
Anyone can raise a concern about a Registrant. This includes members of the public, employers and other registrants.
The Academy will provide support throughout the complaints process, whether assisting in the submission of a complaint, providing updates, and support within hearings. This support will be tailored to the needs of each individual and may include, for example, representation, expenses for witnesses, non-confrontational room layouts at hearings, separate waiting rooms, assistance for those with disabilities and so on – in each case whatever is felt to be appropriate following discussion.
If you have a concern about an individual on the Academy’s Register that you makes you question their Fitness to Practise, then you should contact the Academy team with details of the individual and the concern that you have.
We will not normally take further action if the information is provided anonymously. This is because our Register processes need to operate in a fair and clear way for all concerned. We also need to know who to contact if we need more information about a case.
However, as the Register exists to protect the public, if we believe anonymous information relates to serious and credible concerns about a registrant’s Fitness to Practise, we will still consider whether it is appropriate to take further action.
What will happen next?
We aim to acknowledge a Complaint or Appeal in writing within 10 working days of receipt, and provide information about the next steps in the process.
Each Complaint or Appeal is assigned to a Case Officer who will be the point of contact for everybody involved in the case – complainant, registrant, witnesses and any other parties – and be responsible for the case until its conclusion. The case officer will help and support you through the process, providing information as it progresses. You will receive the direct contact details of the Case Officer to ensure that they can be contacted with questions. You will be notified if the Case Officer changes.
What is ‘Fitness to Practise’?
An individual is ‘Fit to Practise’ if they have the skills, knowledge and character to practice their profession safely and effectively.
To be on the Academy Register an individual has to show that they are fit to practise at the time when they first join the Register, and to provide continued evidence of their fitness to practise whenever they renew their registration, usually on an annual basis.
Fitness to practise is not just about professional performance. It also includes acts by a Registrant that may have an effect on public protection or confidence in the profession or the regulatory process itself. This can include matters which are not directly related to professional practise.
The purpose of the Fitness to Practise process
Fitness to practise proceedings are about protecting the public. They are not a way of dealing with general complaints nor are they intended to deal with disputes between service users and Registrants.
The purpose of our Fitness to Practise process is to protect the public from those individuals who are not currently fit to practise. It is not designed to punish Registrants for past mistakes they may have made.
If we discover that a Registrant’s fitness to practise is ‘impaired’ (i.e. negatively affected) this means that there are concerns about their ability to practise safely and effectively. This could mean that:
- the individual should not practise at all
- the individual should be limited in what they are allowed to do.
We will take appropriate action to ensure this happens.
Occasionally Registrants may make mistakes that they are unlikely to repeat – in these cases it is unlikely that the registrant’s ongoing fitness to practise will be impaired. Individuals sometimes make mistakes or have a one-off instance of unprofessional behaviour or conduct. The way we handle Fitness to Practise concerns mean that we will not pursue every isolated or minor mistake.
Behaviour and conduct where we are likely to have concerns about Fitness to Practise
We will investigate and consider each case individually. However, we are likely to find a Registrant’s Fitness to Practise to be impaired if the evidence shows that that they:
- seriously or persistently failed to meet standards
- carried out reckless or deliberately harmful acts
- hid mistakes or tried to block our investigation
- failed to respect service users’ rights to make choices about their own care
- had an improper relationship with a service user
- exploited a vulnerable person
- were dishonest, committed fraud or abused someone’s trust
- have a substance abuse or misuse problem
- have health problems which you have not dealt with, and which may affect the safety of service users
- were involved in sexual misconduct or indecency (including any involvement in child pornography)
- have been violent or displayed threatening behaviour
- carried out other, equally serious, activities which affect public confidence in your profession
Assessing Fitness to Practise
Fitness to Practise will be assessed using the process set out in the Academy’s Fitness to Practise Rules. We will take account of our published Standards of Proficiency and Good Scientific Practice when we consider Fitness to Practise cases.
The types of cases that we will consider are those that question whether Fitness to Practise is impaired typically would fall into six main groups:
- misconduct (such as inappropriate behaviour, dishonesty or deliberate failings)
- competence (not having the necessary skills and knowledge)
- conviction or caution for a crime (either a crime in the UK, or a crime committed somewhere else that would be a crime in England or Wales)
- health (physical or mental)
- determination from another regulator (responsible for health or care)
- inclusion on the ‘barred list’ (preventing individuals from working with vulnerable adults or children)
We can also consider allegations about whether your entry to the Register was made fraudulently or incorrectly.