Fitness to Practise

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					The University of Edinburgh

Fitness to Practise
Some of the degree programmes run by the University of Edinburgh are accredited by
professional bodies and may have fitness for practise considerations. Fitness for practise is
relevant in professions where safe professional practise, conduct and competencies are
distinct from academic achievement. The University, in conjunction with the professional
bodies, has a duty to ensure the student is fit to practise while undertaking this training.



Provision Affected by Fitness to Practise

Fitness for practise is relevant to the following University of Edinburgh provision:

    •   Medicine
    •   Anaesthetic Practice
    •   Social Work
    •   Teaching
    •   Nursing
    •   Clinical Psychology
    •   Veterinary Medicine
    •   Law (Diploma in Legal Studies)

Purpose of University Fitness to Practise Procedures

The curriculum in programmes with Fitness to Practise considerations addresses key practise
skills to ensure students are exposed to the professional requirements of the relevant
profession. In addition the University of Edinburgh has procedures to enable appropriate
investigation of fitness to practise issues. Such procedures are necessary to:

    •   Comply with the requirements of the professional bodies
    •   Protect individuals the student has contact with during professional training
    •   Ensure students are appropriately prepared for entry to the profession, have
        developed professional attitudes and clearly understand and demonstrate
        professional behaviour
    •   Protect the University against a claim from an individual, or the representative
        of an individual, who has been harmed by a student in the course of that
        student’s professional training as a result of s/he being unfit to practise.


University Fitness to Practice Appeals Procedure

1.1 The University Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee provides the mechanism
through which students can appeal against a decision made by the College Committee.
Potential appellants are advised to seek the assistance of the staff of the Edinburgh
University Students' Association.

1.2 Registry Academic Services has overall responsibility for maintaining the procedures
associated with the work of the University Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee and
for collecting data to enable periodic University monitoring and recording of fitness to practise
(FTP) appeal data.

1.3 The University Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee is remitted to:
• Conduct transparent and objective investigation of appeals lodged by students against
decisions made by their College Fitness to Practise Committee.
• Receive appeals on set grounds of either -

a) Alleged incorrect procedure or conduct of the College procedure for assessing FTP. This
involves review of the way the student case was handled (not reinvestigation of the case
itself).

b) Substantial information directly relevant to the student’s case which for good reason was
not available to the College Fitness to Practise Committee when its decision was taken.
Ignorance of the requirement mentioned to in assessment regulation 16.2 of the assessment
regulations to report timeously factors which may have adversely affected a student’s
performance or assessment, or failure to report such factors on the basis that the student did
not anticipate an unsatisfactory decision by the Examination Board and possibly also by the
College Fitness to Practise Committee, can never by themselves constitute good reason.

1.4 Appeals to University Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee are handled in
the following way (normally through correspondence):

• Students lodge their appeal within two weeks of the outcome of the College decision by
writing to the University Secretary.
• Only in special circumstances may an appeal be considered more than two weeks after the
results of a fitness to practise decision have been made available to the appellant. The
decision as to whether or not special circumstances exist will be made by a University Fitness
to Practise sub-committee.
• The appeal lodged must be brief and factual. It must state the grounds of appeal (as stated
under 1.3 Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee Remit). Any supporting documents
directly relating to the appeal must be enclosed.
• On receipt of the appeal the administrator assigned to it collects a record of the College
Fitness to Practise proceedings.

• The College information and appeal letter is sent to a Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal
Sub-Committee.
• The Sub-Committee judge whether prima facie grounds have been established for the
appeal.

• Where it is judged that no grounds for appeal are established the sub-committee Secretary
writes to the student and explains why there was deemed to be no case.

• Where it is judged that a prima facie case does exist the sub-committee refers the appeal to
the University Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee.
• The sub-committee may determine that additional information is necessary to assist the
Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee’s assessment of the case. If so, this
information is gathered and sent to the student so s/he may comment on it.
• Once all the data is available the University Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee
considers the case.

• The University Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee can either uphold or not
uphold an appeal.
• If the appeal is upheld the Committee reports on its findings and recommendations to the
student and College.
• If the appeal is not upheld this ends the University’s involvement with the case and the
student is advised of the external review process (referral to the Scottish Public Services
Ombudsman).

1.5 University Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee Membership
General
• Colleges annually nominate staff to join a pool of senior academic staff consisting of at least
two senior academic members of each profession. The pool is approved by Senatus, normally
in June.
• The Secretariat for appeals is provided by an administrator appointed by Registry Academic
Services.
University Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Sub-Committee Membership
• There is no Convener at sub-committee stage.
• The University Fitness to Practise Appeal Sub-Committee comprises two academic
members of staff drawn from the professional disciplines taught in the University.
• The members of Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Sub-Committee are never the same
individuals as those involved in the College process.
• An administrative Secretary forms part of the sub-committee, primarily to produce the
decision report but also to liaise with members where views differ.
• The Secretariat for appeals is provided by an administrator appointed by Registry Academic
Services.

University Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee Membership
- The Convener is always either an academic (thematic) Vice-Principal or a Head of College.
- Two sub-committee members (neither of whom may convene).
- Three eligible staff (drawn from professional disciplines taught in the University, one of
whom may have been a member of the sub-committee).
- A representative of the University Secretary.
- An administrative Secretary is in attendance. It is possible for the University Secretary
representative to administer the Appeal.
- The selection made will ensure the Panel contains a professional majority (where
appropriate) and at least one academic member of staff from the same discipline as the
appellant
- No members will have been involved in earlier stages of the case, at College or at sub-
Committee level.

1.6 Timescale *
• Within two weeks of the outcome of the College decision students lodge their appeal by
writing to the University Secretary.
• Weeks three and four - the Secretariat for the appeal gathers a note of the College Fitness
to Practise proceedings and the College comments on the student appeal letter.
• Week five – based on the information provided the University Senatus Fitness for Practise
sub-committee considers whether a prima facie case exists.
• Week six - University Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee established.
• Week six – Any additional information required is gathered and forwarded to the student for
comment.
• Week Seven- University Senatus Fitness to Practise Appeal Committee considers the
appeal case.

* Note: at present these timescales are advisory, and subject to review.

Published by Academic Services Section
Last updated: July 2007


Other information

College specific fitness to practice guidance:

College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine
www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/medicine-vet-medicine

College of Humanities & Social Science
www.hss.ed.ac.uk/AcademicAdmin/UnderAcadeAdmin/PolicesGuidence/documents/
FitnesstoPractice.doc

				
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