Fitness to practise
Fitness to practise regulations only apply to students who are on courses that lead to registration to a professional body. This includes students in health and social care, psychology or veterinary medicine. Students on these programmes are required to abide by a professional code. Allegations of failing to do so will trigger an internal investigation in line with the regulations for fitness to practise.
Regulations for fitness to practise (PDF)
The University works with the following professional bodies:
- British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)
- British Psychological Society (BPS)
- General Medical Council (GMC)
- Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
- Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
- Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
The University will report any concerns about a student's professionalism to the relevant Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Faculty and the relevant Head of School and will investigate it as a matter of urgency. Normally a Case Officer will investigate working alongside a member of the University academic staff who is a registrant of the relevant Registration Body and is independent of the student.
Being notified about concerns
Within five working days of receiving the allegation, the Case Officer will write to you:
- Explaining that an allegation has been made about your professional behaviour
- Explaining the nature of the allegation and that it is being investigated as part of the regulations for fitness to practise (PDF), a copy of which will be supplied to the you
- Identifying which Registration Body’s professional conduct or practice requirements are applicable (a copy of which will be supplied to you)
- Inviting you to a meeting with themselves and the assisting registrant
- Explaining that you may provide a written response to the allegations within 10 working days of the Case Officer’s letter
- Explaining that you can obtain advice and support from the University of Surrey Students’ Union and/or the student’s own professional association or trades union.
Ahead of the meeting you will be provided with five working days’ notice and will be advised as to who will be present at the meeting and informed that you may be accompanied at the meeting by a friend or representative of the Students’ Union or a representative of their own professional associated or trades union. You may attend the meeting via telephone or Skype.
Length of an investigation
Normally the investigation will be concluded within 20 working days. If it takes longer than 20 working days, you will be informed of this and the reasons why.
Outcomes of an investigation
The Case Officer can come to one of four findings:
- That no further action is necessary and the issue is closed
- That no further action is necessary under the regulations for fitness to practise (PDF) but that a recommendation is made for the issue to be progressed under the University’s student disciplinary regulations (PDF)
- A Support to Study Panel is convened under the regulations for support to study (PDF) as the matter is not a fitness to practise issue but is serious enough to warrant Panel consideration
- A Fitness to Practise Panel is convened
Fitness to Practise Panels
If a Case Officer decides that a Fitness to Practise Panel hearing is necessary, this will be organised by OSCAR. The Panel hearing normally takes place within 20 working days of the decision to convene a Panel. OSCAR will send you an invitation letter with details of the Panel including the date, time and allegations for consideration.
Outcomes of a panel
- The Panel could find that you have not breached the University’s requirements for professional behaviour. No further action will be taken and the case will be concluded.
- The Panel could find that you have breached the University’s requirements for professional behaviour but, are satisfied that you can repair the breach by following a Corrective Action Plan.
- The Panel could find that you have breached the University’s requirements for professional behaviour and that, as a result, your programme of study will be terminated.
You can appeal the outcome of a Fitness to Practise Panel; grounds for appeal are contained in Regulation 54 of the regulations for fitness to practise (PDF). OSCAR will check whether the appeal identifies the relevant grounds and whether the grounds are supported by relevant evidence. If it does, a Fitness to Practise Appeal Panel hearing will be arranged.
Outcomes of an appeal
The possible outcomes are contained in Regulations 63 and 64 of the regulations for fitness to practise (PDF).