What does ‘Fit to Practise’ mean?
Fitness to Practice procedures only apply to students who are studying programmes that lead to a related profession e.g. students in Health and Social Care, Psychology or the Vet School.
The University has its own disciplinary procedures but when a student is studying on a professional related course they also have a professional code that they need to keep to, even as students.
When an allegation is made that a student might not be Fit to Practise then the University need to investigate. If they find evidence that supports the allegation they may hold a Fitness to Practise panel which can result in penalties and in serious cases, being asked to leave your course.
Fitness to Practise meetings can be difficult and threefore we recomend that you have someone with you to support you through your meeting. You can bring a friend that you trust, someone from your registering body or an academic advisor from the Students’ Union. We highly recomend that you have someone with you throughout the Fitness to Practise procedures.
What can the Students’ Union do?
It is strongly advised that you seek advice from our Academic Advice team if you have been asked to attend a Support to Study meeting. We can navigate you through the process and what questions may be asked and, we can help you understand any evidence you may be required to bring with you. Our advisors can also talk you through why the meeting has been called, what the likely outcomes may be and, ensure that the process is supportive for you.
We also understand the University regulations regarding Fitness to Practise and how this might impact you as a student. We recommend that you email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a Fitness to Practise Panel?
You will have been invited to attend the panel as allegations may have been raised around your fitness to practise their field of study. Students are usually called to a panel when there is evidence that supports an allegation that they have broken their progressional code.
The panel is your chance to respond to these allegations and present evidence to the panel.
The panel members include:
- A chair of the meeting
- Another member of University staff
- A student representative, usually a sabbatical officer
- A representative from your registering body (e.g. a representative from the Nursing and Midwifery council, or the British Psychological Society)
- A secretary to the meeting, usually someone from OSCAR
Remember that you can bring a friend, or a SU representative to the meeting and, you are able to request any other members of staff you wish to be present. If you have any evidence to mitigate the allegations against you, this should be presented to the panel.
Know your rights
- You are able to bring someone with you – a friend or a SU representative
- You have the right to reply to any comments made about or against you
- You are able to take a break at any time
- You will find out the outcome of the panel immediatley after the panel is finished or, you will be informed why the panel are unable to reach a desicision that day
What do I need to do first?
- Read the University’s Regulations for Fitness to Practise. These can be found on the web-site of the Office of Student Complaints, Appeals and Regulations (OSCAR) – https://www.surrey.ac.uk/currentstudents/study/complaints_appeals/
- Read through the fossier and evidence. Read through the allegations and make notes on the starndards of professionalism that are alleged to have been breached
- You can prepare a short statement to read out at the start of the panel meeting
- Collate any evidence that supports the points that you would like to make. Your invitation should explain when this evidence should be submitted. You can ask for an extension if required
Outcomes of a Fitness to Practise panel
Outcomes of a panel can vary, depending on the severity of the allegations and the evidence submitted. There are three possible outcomes:
- No breach of professional behaviour: The panel may decide that there is no breach of professional behaviour or standards and no further action will be taken. The matter will be considered concluded.
- Breach of professional behaviour, Corrective Action Plan: The panel may decide that there has been a breach of the University’s requirements for professional behaviour but the panel may be satisfied that the breach can be repaired via completion of a corrective action plan and that the breach is unlikely to compromise the student’s eligibility to apply for registration
- Breach of professional behaviour: The panel may decide that there has been a breach of the University’s requirements for professional behaviour and that the breach cannot be repaired. In serious cases the outcome could be that you are terminated from your course and you wont be able to continue on a programme that leads to eligibility to apply for registration.
Remember, you can appeal the outcome of a Fitness to Practise!