Issue 1 – Fitness to practise newsletter for social service employers
Our fitness to practise newsletters give you information about our processes and highlight particular issues.
In our first issue we talk about what you need to know about referring a worker, checking the SSSC Register when you’re recruiting and some of our fitness to practise procedures.
Do you know what you should refer to the SSSC?
If you’re not sure what you need to refer to our Fitness to Practise Department and when you need to refer it, visit the Fitness to Practise section of our website which has simple guidance for employers.
Making a referral is easy
The forms on our website tell you the information we need to begin our investigation. Completing them in full should minimise the number of times that we need to get in touch with you for more information. Please make any referrals using the form and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome any feedback about the forms, which you can provide through our website.
Are you recruiting? Have you checked if the person you are thinking of employing is suspended from the Register?
When we’re investigating a worker we sometimes obtain an interim suspension order or an interim conditions order. There is a list of all workers subject to an interim order on our website. If a worker has an interim suspension order that means that they cannot work in that role. If a worker has an interim conditions order it may mean that they have a condition which restricts what they can do. Visit our website for more information.
Our Conduct Sub-committee hearings
In the most serious cases we hold a formal Conduct Sub-committee hearing to make a decision about the worker’s registration. We put information about the charges the worker faces on our website before the hearing. If a worker has a formal sanction imposed on their registration (either by an SSSC officer with the worker’s agreement, or at a hearing) details of this will also be available on our website. This information may identify your care service and whilst we take all possible steps to avoid identifying people who use services, they or their family members may recognise the circumstances of the case.
These cases sometimes attract media attention. We try to let employers know in advance of information we put on the website so that they can take any action they think is necessary to warn people who use their service or their family members. There is more guidance about the information that we put on our website in our Publicity Policy.
Giving evidence at a hearing
We sometimes ask you or members of your staff to attend our hearings and give evidence. We don’t have the power to force people to attend and give evidence but hope that social service workers and their employers recognise the responsibility to protect the public that comes with being a member of a regulated profession. In serious cases we may consider that a social service worker’s failure to attend could in itself be a breach of the SSSC Code of Practice and is misconduct. We may consider that an employer’s failure to co-operate with us is a breach of the Code of Practice for the Employers of Social Service Workers and refer that matter to the Care Inspectorate.
Employers breaching the Code of Practice
If in the course of our investigation we think an employer has breached the Code of Practice for Employers of Social Service Workers we may make a referral to the Care Inspectorate. Examples of when this might happen are if an employer hasn’t been referring child protection or adult protection concerns appropriately, has been employing people who have not applied for registration on time, or doesn’t co-operate with our investigation. If we do make a referral to the Care Inspectorate we will let the employer know that we have done so.
Outcomes of conduct cases
In cases where we impose a formal sanction, either for public protection purposes or in the wider public interest, we publicise the decision and reasons for it on our website. This information highlights behaviour or practice which falls below the standard expected of social service workers.
Do you want to know more about fitness to practise?
We must make sure, as far as possible, that workers are fit to practise in social services. We must be confident of the good character, conduct and competence of the people on our Register. Find out about our fitness to practise role on our website.