Before the hearing
If a hearing is needed, the Head of School will form a hearing panel which will include a minimum membership of:
- A chair who will be a senior member of staff from a different school/department from you, but with a professional background in healthcare, social work or teaching.
- A representative from the profession you’re studying (with current registration).
- A member of academic staff from the same profession who has had no or minimal involvement in teaching, assessing or supporting you during your course
- A representative or service user authorised by you (if required by the professional body)
No panel member should have any prior involvement with you. In the rare case that a staff team is very small, an exception may be made.
You will be given at least 5 clear working days’ notice to attend. You can also be accompanied by a supporter (this could be a member of Beds SU staff) and you may bring any witnesses. You need to inform the panel coordinator who will be attending with you (if necessary) and inform them of the names of any witnesses at least 1 working day before the meeting.
During the hearing
The meeting format will be as follows:
- The chair will make introductions and summarise the purpose and the structure of the hearing.
- Any prior involvement by panel members with the student will be declared.
- The investigator will outline their investigation, and the impact of the action upon others, calling any witnesses as appropriate.
- You will be given an opportunity to cross examine both witnesses and the investigator.
- You will then be invited to put forward your case, calling any witnesses.
- The investigator and the chair will be given an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification from you and the witnesses
- The chair will then ask the Investigator, and then you, to summarise.
- You, the investigator, and any witnesses will then leave the panel to deliberate on the evidence.
Please note that the chair may at any point in the proceedings decide not to hear further evidence from a witness or witnesses on either side.
After the hearing
The panel must deliberate the case and decide the following:
- what the facts of the case are
- whether those facts amount to a breach of the relevant professional code of conduct
- whether that breach means your ‘fitness to practise’ (ability/suitability) is impaired
These discussions will be summarised in the note.
The panel may decide:
- On the balance of probability, that your ‘fitness to practise’ is not impaired.
- To suspend the hearing if further evidence for or against you is needed (normally for no more than one week).
- On the balance of probability, that your ‘fitness to practise’ is impaired
If the panel decides that your ‘fitness to practise’ is not impaired, they will write to inform you of this and the matter is closed. They will copy this letter to the investigator, to the Head of School, and to the person who made the original complaint.
If the panel decides to suspend the hearing, then you and the investigator will be informed during the hearing or, if not practical, in writing.
If the panel finds that your ‘fitness to practise’ is impaired, it will then consider one of the following outcomes:
- No further action other than to record the finding on your record.
- A written warning with recommendations as to your future conduct.
- A final written warning with conditions, including your continued presence in practice and/or on the course.
- A recommendation to the exam board to issue an award without professional status or to make an alternate award where this is not possible.
- A recommendation that the Vice Chancellor suspends you from practice and/or the course for a fixed period of time or pending a certain outcome (e.g. the conclusion of a criminal investigation).
- A recommendation that the Vice Chancellor dismisses you from the course, or from both the course and the University.
The panel will consider the least serious outcome first and if necessary, work down the list until the appropriate outcome is identified. The notes will record a summary of the reasons for selecting the outcome and why lower-level sanctions were not appropriate.
How can the SU help?
Beds SU have a group of advisors who are independent from the university. They are here to help you navigate through university processes and talk through your circumstances. They are also available to attend any hearing with you. They are unable to advocate (speak for you on your behalf), but they can help align your thoughts before, during and after any proceeding, and be on hand to ensure the hearings are being carried out in accordance to policy.
If you decide that you would like assistance from an advisor, they can be contacted via:
- booking an appointment online
- or attending a drop-in session (see below)
‘Drop-in’ to one of our academic appeals, Zoom Sessions. These run on a ‘first come, first served basis’, every Monday and Wednesday from 10.30am-12:00pm:
To Join our Zoom Meeting
- Meeting ID: 925 2058 5552
- Passcode: 636962
- Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aqjHPyHzQ