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Fitness to practise - CS101902

Before starting a social work course, a student had been employed in an education setting. As a result of an incident at work, their employment was terminated. Their former employer and a professional body started an investigation into whether they were fit to practise.

The student did not mention the incident or the investigation when applying for the social work course or when they joined the course.  A few weeks after starting the course, the student suspended their studies but did not tell the provider about the investigation at this time. The provider found out about the investigation while the student was suspended. 

The external body decided that the student’s fitness for practise was impaired, and imposed a temporary suspension from its professional register.

The provider carried out a fitness to practise investigation and decided that the student should not be allowed to continue on the course. The student appealed, explaining some recent difficult personal circumstances, and arguing that the outcome was disproportionate. The provider rejected the appeal. The student complained to us that this decision was not reasonable.

We decided that the complaint was Not Justified. The procedures had been run in a fair and transparent way. The panel had looked at all of the student’s circumstances carefully, but concluded that the student would not have been offered a place on the course if they had disclosed the workplace misconduct at an earlier time. We were concerned by one aspect of the provider’s investigation. The provider needed to establish whether it was likely to be able to offer the student placement opportunities later in the course, given the events it now knew about. We accepted that was reasonable, but the provider should have made these enquiries without disclosing the student’s name. We were satisfied that the fitness to practise panel’s decision didn’t rely upon information gathered about placement opportunities.