Employers often ask us what they should report to us about a worker and when, and sometimes we get referrals from employers that they don’t need to make. Here we give you a summary of what to tell us and what not to tell us about, and when to do it. You can find full details of this on the website in our referrals guidance.
There are some circumstances when employers must refer an employee to us immediately.
You must make a referral to us in the following circumstances.
What do you need to tell us?
- That you have suspended, dismissed, demoted a social service worker.
- That a social service worker has resigned during a disciplinary investigation where the employer would have considered dismissal.
- Anything you would refer to Disclosure Scotland.
- That a worker has been charged or convicted of a criminal offence.
- In any other circumstances where you are concerned that the behaviour or actions of a worker raises a serious concern about their fitness to practise (see list A for guidance).
When should you tell us?
Immediately if the:
- behaviour is serious
- worker is suspended
- worker resigns and dismissal was likely outcome
- worker is charged with a criminal offence.
If a worker has left your organisation you should still make a referral to us even if you think that the worker may not look for other work in social services. You should not wait until your organisation’s own disciplinary investigation has concluded before referring the matters in list A.
Lists A and B
We have two lists to help you easily and quickly see what matters you need to refer to us immediately and what matters you don’t need to refer.
List A is a list of behaviours that are likely to call into question a worker’s fitness to practise and you should refer to us regardless of the outcome of any disciplinary/performance/criminal process.
List B is a list of behaviours which are unlikely to call into question a worker’s fitness to practise and should not be referred to us.
List A: Behaviours that are likely to call into question a worker’s fitness to practise and you should refer to us regardless of the outcome of any disciplinary/performance/criminal process:
- dishonesty, fraud, abuse of trust
- exploitation of a vulnerable person
- failure to respect the rights and choices of people who use services
- health which is not being managed and affects the safety of people who use services
- hiding mistakes/blocking investigation
- improper relationship with a person who uses services
- reckless or deliberately harmful acts
- serious or persistent failure to meet standards
- sexual misconduct or indecency (including child pornography)
- substance abuse or misuse
- violence or displayed threatening behaviour
- other serious activities which affect public confidence.
List B: Behaviours which are unlikely to call into question a worker’s fitness to practise and should not be referred to us
- Lateness, poor timekeeping or abandoning post unless it has a direct impact on people who use services.
- Personality conflicts provided there is no evidence of bullying or harassment.
- Sickness or other absence provided there is no impairment of fitness to practise and the registrant is managing their health.
- Misuse of social media where it does not relate to the worker’s practice or display discriminatory views or raise any other serious concern.
- Smoking tobacco contrary to an employer’s policy.
- Misuse of work property for personal use.
- Minor student plagiarism.
- Removal from course for academic reasons.
- Fixed penalty notices unless people who use services are involved.
- Medication failings which are minor and/or administrative.
If you have taken action which is less than suspension, dismissal or demotion and it is not on the above list you then need to decide if the behaviour or actions of a worker raise a serious concern about their fitness to practise (see list A for guidance). A pattern of behaviour may be an indicator of seriousness.
If you are in any doubt as to whether you should refer a worker please check with us. Our Fitness to Practise Team will be happy to offer referral advice on a case by case basis.
What about non-registered workers
If a worker is not registered you must tell us if:
- you dismiss a worker
- a worker resigns and, had they not done so, you would have considered dismissing them
- a worker abandons their job and, had they not done so, you would have considered dismissing them.
You should let us know when your own disciplinary process ends.We will not carry out any further investigation although we may request information from other relevant bodies such as the police, Disclosure Scotland etc.
If you need any advice please contact our Fitness to Practise Team at firstname.lastname@example.org