Fitness to practise procedures

Guidance on how committees concerned with students' fitness to practise are carried out.


Courses affected

The regulations on fitness to practise apply to the following programmes of study:

Faculty of Medicine

  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery
  • MClinDent Orthodontics
  • MClinDent Paediatric Dentistry
  • Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy
  • DClinDent Orthodontics
  • DClinDent Restorative Dentistry – Periodontology
  • DClinDent Restorative Dentistry – Prosthodontics
  • DClinDent Restorative Dentistry – Endodontics
  • MMedSci in Diagnostic Oral Pathology
  • DClinDent Paediatric Dentistry
  • BSc/MedicalSci
  • BSc/MedSci (Surgery)
  • MBChB Medicine and Surgery
  • MMedSci Physician Associate Studies
Health Sciences School

All programmes within the Division of Nursing and Midwifery with the exception of the BMedSci Health and Human Sciences programme which is excluded from the Fitness to Practise Regulations:

  • BMedSci Orthoptics
  • BMedSci (Speech)
  • BMedSci Speech and Language Therapy
  • MMedSci Speech and Language Therapy

Faculty of Science

  • DClinPsy
  • MSc Clinical Associate in Psychology
  • PG Diploma High-Intensity Psychological Interventions
  • PG Diploma in Mental Health Practice in Education
  • PG Diploma in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Eating Disorders
  • PG Certificate Low-Intensity Psychological Interventions
  • PG Certificate in Clinical Supervision

Faculty of Social Sciences

Sociological Studies
  • BA Social Work (Degree Apprenticeship)
  • MA in Social Work
  • (DEdCPsy) Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology

Committee membership and attendance

Fitness to practise is a delicate subject. Therefore, if a student is a member of a faculty board, the University Senate or the University Council, they aren't eligible to be a member of a fitness to practise committee or an appeals committee.

However, if you're being reviewed, you can invite another student (a friend or adviser) to attend the meeting.

Fitness to practise committees are made up of three people, one of whom acts as chair. The University will appoint a secretary to the committee.

Senate appeals panels

If you choose to appeal the decision made by a fitness to practise committee, the Senate will form an appeals panel. This panel includes a chair and two other members, normally including a faculty member who is registered with the relevant professional regulator.

Members of academic staff from another University, or another relevant institution or body, can also be part of this appeals panel.

People who have already been involved in the investigation of a student's fitness to practise should not be members of either a fitness to practise committee or an appeals panel.

Faculty fitness to practise committees

If you're referred to a fitness to practise committee, you'll be sent a written document with information, including

  • a report of any concerns raised
  • details of your right to attend the faculty fitness to practise committee, to bring a friend or adviser and witnesses, and to submit documentation
  • your right to present your case in a letter to the committee
  • the procedure to be adopted. You'll also receive a copy of any notes

Before the hearing, you'll be asked to choose one of the following courses of action:

  • Attend the hearing in person, with or without a friend or adviser.
  • Make a submission by letter.
  • Withdraw from the University.
  • Have the case considered without taking any of the courses of action above.

You'll also be told the date, time and place when your case will be considered by the committee.

If you wish to call witnesses, you should provide their names in writing at least three working days before the hearing. 

If you wish to bring a friend or adviser, then you should provide their name, and say whether that friend or adviser is legally qualified.

If you wish to present papers during the hearing, you should submit them to the secretary at least three working days before the hearing.

In-person appearances

You'll be given reasonable time to prepare your case before the hearing. This is normally 15 working days. You can ask for a postponement, which the committee may grant or refuse.

Your personal data may be shared, as appropriate, with relevant professional bodies, higher education institutions and other organisations.

The secretary must give you details of all committee members before the hearing. If you object to anyone being present, you should give the secretary a reason, in writing.

The Chair will determine whether the member in question should be excluded from consideration of the case. If you object to the Chair, the other members of the committee will decide on a course of action.

At the start of the hearing, the Chair will summarise the procedure to be adopted. You'll be given an opportunity to raise any questions or ask for the meeting to be adjourned.

Order of proceedings

  1. A representative of the department will summarise the grounds for concern and any other facts relevant to the case. You and your advisor will be present, if attending.
  2. The departmental representative may also call witnesses, and a professional adviser may attend.
  3. The departmental representative (and any adviser) and witnesses may be questioned by the student, by the student's adviser and by members of the committee.
  4. You or your adviser can make a statement.
  5. You or your adviser can give any further information to the committee, and you can call witnesses. Anyone giving evidence may be questioned by the committee.
  6. Everybody, except the secretary and members of the committee, will leave the room. The committee will decide on the appropriate course of action. You won't be present while it makes its decision.
  7. No new matters will be discussed after you leave the room.

Submissions by letter

The heads of any departments concerned will be sent a copy of your written submission. They will be invited to comment in writing, attend your hearing or send a representative, as appropriate.

The head of the department, or their representative, will be asked to leave before the committee takes its decision.

Appeals made to the Senate appeals panel

Once the committee makes a decision, you have the right to make an appeal to the Senate appeals panel. You must make your appeal within 15 working days of being notified of the decision.

To make an appeal, you need to send written notice to the secretary of the Senate appeals panel, specifying what grounds listed under Regulation 14 your appeal is based upon.

Before the hearing, you'll be asked to choose whether you wish to put the case forward in a letter or appear before the panel in person. If you appear in person, you can bring a friend or adviser, as well as witnesses.

If you make an appeal, any decision made by the committee won't take effect until a decision on the appeal has been made, unless you have been suspended under Regulation 5.

Once the Senate appeals panel makes a decision, the secretary will notify you in writing.

Disclosure of findings

The University has a legal duty to share information and make referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) if

  • there's concern about harm, or risk of harm, to children or vulnerable adults in the workplace
  • a student has received a caution or conviction for a relevant offence

The University may also share relevant information and personal data with professional bodies, higher education institutions, employers and other organisations, as appropriate.

Publication of findings

A short, anonymised statement may be published via appropriate means once the fitness to practise committee makes a decision.

The decision to issue a statement, as well as its form and content, is at the discretion of the University. This will take into account any publicity surrounding the case and the interests of the student concerned, the University community and members of the public.

External review

If you aren't satisfied with the decision of the Senate appeals panel, you might be able to apply for an external review of the case by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA), providing that the case is eligible under its rules.

This is an independent review scheme, and it isn't part of the University's review or appeal procedures. The OIA will normally only review issues that have been dealt with through the University's internal procedures.

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