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Before a hearing

Information about what happens when a case is referred to the hearings team.

Important message

In view of the current coronavirus pandemic, we have adapted our fitness to practise hearings process to ensure that we continue to meet our overarching objectives. As a result, we are holding hearings remotely by electronic means rather than at our offices. 

Read more about how we have adapted hearings in the current pandemic

If a hearing is needed to resolve a case

Last updated: 10 February 2021

If the case examiners determine that a hearing is needed to resolve a case, the case will be referred to the hearings team.

When that happens, our legal services provider will start preparing the case for hearing.

The work our legal services provider does before a hearing includes gathering information and taking witness statements from people that they believe have relevant information, such as the person who raised the concern.

If you are a social worker under investigation, you can read more about what happens if your case goes to a hearing

Pre-hearing case management

Hearings are usually scheduled around six months in advance to allow for pre-hearing case management to take place. This is to make sure hearings are not scheduled and then cancelled due to issues that could have been avoided.

You can read more about empanelment, scheduling and cancellation of hearings.

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

You can read more in our pre-hearing case management guidance.

Hearings team

The role of the hearings team is to ensure that all hearings are run in a fair and efficient manner and that anyone who attends a hearing is provided with the relevant information and guidance that they might need.

The hearings team provides an impartial service to make sure that fitness to practise hearings are fair and that the public is protected.

They do this by:

  • talking to people involved in fitness to practise hearings
  • training adjudicators and legal advisors to make robust and independent decisions that are clear, evidence-based and well-reasoned so they can be understood by everyone
  • scheduling hearings efficiently and effectively and help them run smoothly
  • gathering feedback from people to improve processes

Hearing officers talk to social workers and witnesses shortly before a hearing to ensure that they understand what to expect at the hearing and have all the relevant information.

They also make sure that any reasonable adjustments have been made for people attending the hearings.

You can read more about attending a hearing.

If you have any questions or need help, please call us on 0808 196 2273 or email [email protected].

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