Fitness to Practise

Defence Lawyers for Registered Care Workers - Scottish Social Services Council

We represent professionals at all stages of proceedings from initial referral and investigation to conduct and competence hearings. This covers preliminary hearings, interim orders panel hearings, and sanction reviews.

We can arrange payment through your insurer or arrange fixed fee stages and affordable payment schemes.

We can help protect your career against even the most serious allegations.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is responsible for registering people who work in social services and regulating their education and training. Social service workers include people working in social work and social care, such as care home services for adults and children/young people in the community and early years settings such as nurseries or out of school care clubs. The SSSC's Codes of Practice for Social Service Workers and Employers sets out the standards social workers, social care, early years and young people's workers and their employers should meet.

 

The Codes of Practice can be downloaded here:

http://www.sssc.uk.com/about-the-sssc/codes-of-practice/what-are-the-codes-of-practice

 

The Code of Practice for Social Service Workers is a list of statements that describe the standards of professional conduct and practice required of social service workers as they go about their daily work. The Code of Practice for Employers of Social Service Workers sets down the responsibilities of employers in the regulation of social service workers. The Code requires that employers adhere to the standards set out in their Code, support social service workers in meeting their Code and take appropriate action when workers do not meet expected standards of conduct.

The Code dictates that Social service workers must: Protect the rights and promote the interests of service users and carers;Strive to establish and maintain the trust and confidence of service users and carers; Promote the independence of service users while protecting them as far as possible from danger or harm;Respect the rights of service users whilst seeking to ensure that their behaviour does not harm themselves or other people; Uphold public trust and confidence in social services; Be accountable for the quality of their work and take responsibility for maintaining and improving their knowledge and skills. If an SSSC Registrant is alleged to breach the Code, they may have to attend an SSSC Committee hearing to answer the allegation. The SSSC in investigating an allegation may seek an interim order to suspend the Registrant pending the outcome of an investigation. Naturally, this may have an economic impact on the Registrant in both the short term and long term.

An SSSC Registrant may oppose attempts by the SSSC to suspend them on an interim basis and the individual is entitled to be represented by a solicitor for this purpose. The test that the Committee will deploy is whether the interim suspension is necessary for the protection of the public, in the public interest or in the interests of the Registrant. If the SSSC investigators ultimately determine that there is a case to answer, the matter may be escalated to Conduct and Competence Hearing whereby, the Registrant would be invited to attend the Hearing to accept or deny allegations of misconduct and to accept or deny that such allegations impact upon their fitness to practise. If the Registrant contests the allegations, a proof will be fixed and evidence led by both parties. Evidence can be in the form of oral testimony by witnesses, documented witness statements or productions such as patient reports, progress reports, case notes, CCTV, tape recorded evidence and so on. Again, the Registrant is entitled to instruct a solicitor to represent his or her interests in a proof.

Employment Law Advice for Professionals Affected by Allegations of Misconduct

The vast majority of fitness to practise investigations stem from intial concerns brought to the attention of an employer. As such employment law advice is often required to go hand in hand with our specialist fitness to practise services. Issues such as unfair dismissal and constructive dismissal are often overlooked against the backdrop of a regulatory investigation. However, advice should be taken as often the regulator relies heavily on the findings of the employer's own disciplinary process. Your voice should be heard in that process.  

Defence Lawyers for Nurses and Midwives

 

We can represent Nurses & Midwives facing criminal investigations or disciplinary proceedings before the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). We can assist from the initial referral and investigation, at interim order panel hearings right through to full fitness to practise hearings.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is the regulator for nurses and midwives for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Islands. The NMC was established under the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 and came into being on 1 April 2002. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (Fitness to Practise) Rules 2004 dictate the standards that nurses and midwives must adhere to. "Fitness to Practise" is a person's suitability to be on the NMC register without restrictions. If it is alleged that a nurse or midwife does not meet the required standards, the NMC will investigate and, where necessary, seek to take action to safeguard the health and well being of the public. Allegations that Fitness to Practise is impaired stem from alleged incidents of misconduct, incompetence, criminality, physical or mental deterioration, or alternatively, the decisions of other regulators that an individual is not fit to practise. Nurses and Midwives have the right to defend such allegations at a hearing and are entitled to be represented by a solicitor for this purpose.

 

Further details can be found on the NMC website at https://www.nmc.org.uk/

 

Following an allegation, the NMC will investigate the matter to determine whether there is a case to answer. The NMC may take steps to impose an interim suspension order which removes the nurse or midwife from the Nursing and Midwifery Register pending the outcome of the case. To obtain an interim suspension order, the NMC must persuade the Panel that the Order is necessary for the protection of the public, and is in the public interest and the interest of the Registrant.

A Nurse or Midwife facing the prospect of an interim suspension order can oppose the granting of the order and is entitled to be represented by a solicitor. Ultimately, if the NMC, in its investigations, determine that there is a case to answer, the Registrant may ultimately face a Conduct and Competence Hearing to determine whether the alleged misconduct is proven and if so, whether this impacts upon the Registrant's Fitness to Practise. Again, the Registrant is entitled to oppose the allegations of misconduct together with the inference that he/she is no longer fit to practise. In such circumstances, a proof will be fixed and evidence led by both parties. Evidence can be in the form of oral testimony by witnesses, documented witness statements or productions such as patient reports, progress reports, case notes, CCTV, tape recorded evidence and so on. Again, the Registrant is entitled to instruct a solicitor to represent his or her interests in a proof.

Kirkcaldy Office

McLaughlin & Co

Evans Business Centre

1 Begg Road

John Smith Business Park
Kirkcaldy

KY2 6HD

 

LP-19 Kirkcaldy

 

Tel:   01592 645 772

Fax:  01592 807 067

info@mclco.co.uk

 

 

Leven Office

McLaughlin & Co

Fife Renewables Innovation Centre

Ajax Way

Leven

KY8 3RS

 

LP-19 Kirkcaldy

 

Tel:   01333 424482

Fax:  01592 807 067

info@mclco.co.uk

 

Open Saturdays, evening appointments available.

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