Fitness to Practise Hearings
Where a Fitness to Practise allegation(s) is alleged against a Registrant, and following referral to a Hearing by the Screening Committee, a Fitness to Practise Hearing will be convened to consider the allegation(s) raised.
What is a Fitness to Practise Hearing?
A Fitness to Practise Hearing is convened following a concern being referred to the Hearing Panel by the Screening Committee. A Fitness to Practise Hearing will consider the evidence and decide whether the Registrant’s Fitness to Practise is currently impaired and whether a sanction needs to be imposed against their registration.
What happens at a Fitness to Practise Hearing?
A Fitness to Practise Hearing is split into three stages:
- Facts – The Panel will consider all the evidence presented to determine whether the allegations are found proven on the balance of probabilities. By ‘balance of probabilities’, this means ‘is it more likely than not’ that the alleged conduct occurred. The Panel will then retire in private to deliberate and draft a written decision on the facts.
- Impairment – In connection with any facts found proven by the Panel, the Panel will then go onto consider whether the Registrant’s Fitness to Practise is currently impaired on the grounds of public protection, public interest or both. The Panel will then retire in private to deliberate and draft a written decision on impairment.
- Sanction – If impairment is found, the Panel will then go onto consider whether a sanction is required. Any sanction imposed by a Panel must be proportionate.
What sanctions are available to the Hearing Panel?
The Hearing Panel has the following sanctions available to them:
- Admonishment (with or without conditions);
- Termination from the register;
- Removal of the Registrant from membership of a Committee, Sub-Committee, Working Group, Party, Panel or any other body on behalf of the BPC or Member Institution for a maximum of 3 years;
- A requirement for the Registrant to stop training, teaching, supervising or carrying out any other activity on behalf of the BPC or Member Institution for a maximum of 3 years.
Are Fitness to Practise Hearings held in public?
The BPC currently holds Fitness to Practise Hearings in private although the decision is published on our website in accordance with our Publication Policy (see below).
Who sits on the Hearing Panel?
A Panel of three sit as the Hearing Panel and they must consist of at least one lay person and one BPC Registrant. The Hearing Panel is assisted by a Legal Adviser, who provides the Panel with independent legal advice throughout the Hearing, and the Hearing is recorded/logged by a transcription company.
The BPC will be represented by a Barrister or Solicitor at the Hearing and they maybe referred to as Counsel for the BPC or the BPC’s Case Presenter.
Can the Registrant be represented?
The Registrant can be legally represented at any stage of the process and they can be represented by a Barrister or Solicitor at the Hearing.
Is the BPC currently holding live hearings?
Owing to COVID-19, the BPC is currently holding Hearings remotely/online via Microsoft Teams. For further guidance in connection with remote Hearings, please review our Remote Hearings Protocol & Guidance policy below.