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Fitness to practise guidance documents and policies

Fitness to practise guide

This guidance explains our approach at Social Work England to carrying out fitness to practise investigations.

How we use personal information

This guidance explains the circumstances in which we share information outside Social Work England, and what we do to keep the disclosure of personal data to a minimum.

Witness support guidance

This document is for those appearing as a witness before a fitness to practise hearing panel.

Hearings guidance for social workers

This document is for social workers who have had an allegation made against them that is proceeding to a hearing.

Guide for employers

We have written this guidance for employers and locum agencies who employ social workers to help them decide if and when to refer a concern to Social Work England.

Suspended social workers

This document provides guidance to social workers that have been substantively suspended as part of Social Work England’s fitness to practise process.

Supervisors and reporters

This guidance outlines the roles of medical supervisors, workplace supervisors and reporters in Social Work England’s fitness to practise process.

Equality and diversity

This policy outlines Social Work England’s legal obligations with regards to equality and diversity as well as a reasonable adjustment process at fitness to practise hearings.

Glossary of terms

Our glossary of terms is intended to help provide consistency across our different formal decision making stages in our fitness to practise process.

Just disposal of transfer cases

Social Work England will need to determine how previous HCPC cases should proceed and ensure that they are handled in a risk based, just and proportionate manner.

Publications policy

The Social Workers Regulations 2018 require Social Work England to publish decisions made by its case examiners and adjudicators.

Conditions bank

This document outlines the wording that should be used when drafting conditions and should be read in conjunction with Social Work England’s glossary of terms and indicative sanctions guidance.

Sanctions guidance

Our fitness to practise powers enable us to deliver our overarching objective through proportionate sanctions where an individual social worker’s fitness to practise is impaired.

Adjudicator conflicts of interest

This policy sets out how Social Work England will manage any conflicts of interest that arise when assessing an adjudicator’s eligibility to work on a fitness to practise case.

Empanelment, scheduling and cancellation

For guidance on how the empanelment, scheduling and cancellation of hearings is managed by Social Work England’s hearing case managers.

Pre-hearing case management

For guidance on the purpose of pre-hearing case management which is to facilitate the effective and efficient running of fitness to practise panel hearings.

Triage guidance

This guidance is for Social Work England triage officers, who are trained and authorised to make decisions under the law as set out in The Social Worker Regulations 2018 and the fitness to practise rules.

Case examiner guidance

This guidance is for case examiners in fitness to practise cases. It sets out the types of concern that may require them to restrict a social worker’s right to work and the factors that should be taken into account when making these decisions.

Referral for an interim order

This guidance supports investigators and case examiners to decide whether to invite the adjudicators to consider making an interim order.

Case examiner conflicts of interest

This guidance sets out how Social Work England will manage any conflicts of interest that arise when assessing a case examiner’s eligibility to work on a fitness to practise case.

Independence of case examiners

Case examiners and other Social Work England employees have a shared responsibility to make sure the integrity of the decision-making process is maintained.

Application of regulations and rules

This guidance explains the Social Work England fitness to practise rules and social worker regulations. It aims to help everyone understand how the fitness to practise process works.

Postponements and adjournments

Guidance for adjudicators, social workers and representatives on postponements and adjournments of fitness to practise hearings.

Notices and proceeding in the absence of the social worker

Guidance for adjudicators, social workers and representatives on service of notices and proceeding in the absence of the social worker.

Supporting witnesses (special measures)

This guidance sets out how decisions about special measures are made and what special measures may be available.

Restoration to the register after removal orders

This document provides guidance to adjudicators and applicants about restoration after removal orders.

Drafting fitness to practise decisions

This document helps adjudicators, case examiners and Social Work England triage officers make well-reasoned decisions.

Self-represented social workers at hearings

This guidance is intended to help adjudicators and legal assessors manage hearings where the social workers represent themselves. It may also help unrepresented social workers to understand what to expect at hearings.

Conduct of representatives

This document sets out the circumstances and factors which may lead a panel of adjudicators to exercise its power to exclude a representative (or other person) from fitness to practise proceedings.

Voluntary removal

This guidance sets out how we will manage a request for voluntary removal from the register in circumstances where there are ongoing fitness to practise proceedings regarding the social worker concerned.

Service of notices and proceeding in the absence of the social worker

This guidance is about the provisions for serving social workers with notices of hearings and the circumstances in which the panel may proceed with a hearing in the absence of the social worker.