If we decide that a concern is within our remit at the triage stage, we will carry out an initial investigation
During an initial investigation we will gather relevant information about the concern. This may involve gathering information from a number of sources. We will tell you if we have commenced an initial investigation into a fitness to practise concern about you. We may also notify your employer and request information from them directly, depending on the nature of the concern.
Once we have completed our initial investigation we will assess the concern, and the information we have obtained about it, against our threshold criteria for fitness to practise investigations. This is to decide whether the concern, and the information we have gathered, amounts to an allegation that a registrant’s fitness to practise may be impaired. We will take into account whether the matter could amount to a breach of the HCPC’s standards.
If we find that the concern does meet the threshold, the matter will be referred to our Investigating Committee, who will decide if there is a case to answer or not.
If we decide that the threshold has not been met we will close the case and take no further action.
Some concerns we receive are so serious that they will meet the threshold criteria at the point we decide that a concern is within our remit. Examples of serious concerns include serious violence, sexual offences or serious or sustained dishonesty. This is not a full list.
These cases will be referred automatically to the Investigating Committee from the triage stage, without going through an initial investigation. This is because, if proven, they are likely to result in us taking action on a registrant’s registration. Further information about the serious concerns process is available in our Threshold Policy for Fitness to Practise Investigations.
What happens once the threshold has been met?
If we consider that our threshold has been met we will draft formal allegations, which will be referred to our Investigating Committee, who will decide if there is a case to answer or not. We may need to gather further information about the concern before the allegations can be drafted.
Article 25(1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 gives us the power to require a third party to provide us with information relevant to fitness to practise allegations. However this does not apply to you. You are not obliged to provide us with information if you do not want to.
Requesting your written response
Once we have drafted the allegation, we will send it to you along with a copy of the information we have gathered and will invite you to respond, in writing, within 28 days of the letter.
If you need more than 28 days to make your response you can ask for more time. We will consider all requests for an extension and may allow further time depending on the reasons for the request. The maximum extension we can grant is a further 28 days. If you need more time after this you will need to make a written application to the Investigating Committee.
You do not have to send a response if you prefer not to. However, it will help the Investigating Committee panel make a decision if they have information from you.
When we write to you we will give you some examples of what you might want to consider including in your response. For example, you may want to include a timeline of events that gave rise to the concern, and, if this applies, any learning from the events and any actions you have taken to put things right. You may want to get advice from your union or professional body (if you are a member), or seek independent legal advice, before you respond.
We will not give your response to the person who raised the concern about you. However we may need to ask them questions arising from the points you make.
We will put all the information before the Investigating Committee for their consideration.