If someone raises a concern about you

If a fitness to practise allegation is made about you, you can expect us to treat you fairly and to explain what will happen at each step of the process. We will keep you up-to-date with the progress of our investigation and we will give you the contact details of an AHCS Case Manager, who you can contact if you have any questions.

The Case Manager will gather any relevant information required and will act as a contact for everyone involved in the case, explain how the process works and what will be considered when a decision is made.

The Case Manager cannot provide advice on what you should include in your responses or how you should represent yourself. You may want to get advice from your union (if you are a member), your professional body (if you have one) or through the Citizen’s Advice service. You can also seek advice from a solicitor.

You may find it valuable to make yourself familiar with Raising a Concern about a Registrant, which sets out how we accept concerns, how we define and assess Fitness to Practise and the kind of case that we take forward.

You should also be aware of our published Standards of Proficiency and Good Scientific Practice when we consider Fitness to Practise cases.


Assessing Fitness to Practise

Concerns and complaints about an AHCS registrant are handled in accordance with the Academy’s Fitness to Practise Rules.

Once the Registrar has confirmed that a formal allegation has been made against you as a registrant under the rules, the Academy will appoint a Case Manager who will:

  • Establish an Investigating Panel;
  • Write to tell you that an allegation or complaint has been made against you, enclosing copies of all the information we have received and how to access the AHCS rules; and
  • Invite you to respond in writing within 28 days of our letter.

The Investigating Panel

The Investigating Panel will consider your response and may send copies of written representations to the person making the complaint, inviting them to respond within 14 days. You will be sent a copy of their response.

If the Investigating Panel considers there is not a realistic prospect of a finding of impairment in relation to any of the Ground(s), you and the complainant and any interested third party will be informed that no further action will be taken, with an explanation for the decision.

The hearing will be held in private and the details of the process are set out in the Fitness to Practise Rules.


The Interim Order Panel

Where the Investigating Panel considers there is a realistic prospect of a finding of impairment of your fitness to practise in relation to any of the Ground(s), and you admit the facts of the allegation, and it would not be in the public interest to refer the matter to a Fitness to Practice Panel, it will provide written reasons for its decision and recommend a course of action to Council, in that it may:

  • Issue a warning to you;
  • Enter into a training contract with you;
  • Enter into a restriction of practise agreement with you;
  • Agree to suspend you from the register for up to 12 months; or
  • Agree to remove you from the register.

In this case, the Council will establish an Interim Order Panel to determine the course of action taking account of whether it is:

  • Necessary for protection of members of the public; or
  • Otherwise in the public interest; or
  • In your own interests.

The hearing will be held in private and the details of the process are set out in the Fitness to Practise Rules.


The Fitness to Practice Panel

Where the Investigating Panel considers there is a realistic prospect of a finding of impairment in relation to any of the Ground(s), and you wish to challenge the allegation of its recommendations, the Council will establish a Fitness to Practice Panel.

Hearings of the Fitness to Practice Panel will be heard in public unless the Chair considers it necessary to hold some or all of the hearing in private:

  • To protect the private life of any party involved; and
  • That the public interest would be furthered by holding the hearing in private.

Where the Fitness to Practice Panel finds there is impairment of your fitness to practise in relation to any of the Ground(s), except physical or mental health, it will provide written reasons for its decision and recommend a course of action to Council, in that it may:

  • Take no further action; or
  • Issue a caution to you and direct that a record of the caution is placed on your entry on the register for up to 5 years; or
  • Make an order restricting your practise (a Restriction Order) for a period of up to 3 years; or
  • Enter into a training contract with you; or
  • Enter into a restriction of practise agreement with you; or
  • Make an order suspending you (a Suspension Order) from the register for up to 12 months; or
  • Make an order to remove you from the register (a Removal Order); or
  • Revoke any Interim Order.

Where the Fitness to Practice Panel finds there is impairment of your fitness to practise in relation to the Grounds of physical or mental health, it will not invoke a Removal Order but may recommend any of the other courses of action above.

The details of the process are set out in the Fitness to Practise Rules.


Appeals

You have the right to appeal against the decisions or failure to come to a decision by the Registrar, and against the determinations of the Interim Order Panel or the Fitness to Practice Panel.

Hearings of the Appeals Panel will be heard in public unless the Chair considers it necessary to hold some or all of the hearing in private:

  • To protect the private life of any party involved; and
  • That the public interest would be furthered by holding the hearing in private.

The details of the Appeals process are set out in the Fitness to Practise Rules.


Actions and Sanctions

Where there is a finding of impairment against your fitness to practise, the Council will publish the details of the notice of decision on the Actions and Sanctions page of its website.

The Council will also notify the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) under the terms for its accredited register, and may at any time provide a copy of the notice of decision to any regulatory body or interested third party if it is in the interest of justice and the public to so do.