Fitness to Practise User Group (Student Conduct)

Background

The intention of the termly Fitness to Practice User Group meetings is to discuss and share best practices and try to encourage consistency across campus, compliance with University procedures, and equity in decision-making when dealing with fitness to practise concerns and investigations.

Summary of initiative

A termly two hour forum facilitated by the Student Conduct Office. The meetings involve academic and academic-related staff from Fitness to Practise programmes within a number of Schools and others from the University who are involved in supporting students and ensuring quality processes/risk management in dealing with these issues, eg Student Support and Legal Services.

Who was involved?

  • Sara Anderson (Student Conduct Office)
  • Deborah Warren (Legal Services)
  • Jean Turner (Student Support)

What was the impact?

It is difficult to measure the impact of these events, but new members of staff involved in fitness to practise investigations have commented that they find the user group useful. It is a way for staff in Schools to ensure the processes they are following are correct, ask questions, and give feedback on legislative changes. User group members also have the opportunity to contribute to future legislative changes which increases their 'ownership' of the legislation and correct application of it. The user group reduces the isolation of staff dealing with fitness to practise issues and facilitates access to legal advice. In addition, Student Support and Legal Services have an increased awareness of the issues that arise on fitness to practise courses which can inform future changes to the Regulations.

It is anticipated that the issues discussed will hopefully lead to fewer problematic appeals to the University Fitness to Practise Committee and reduce risks to the University.

The project cost was approximately two hours of staff time for attendance plus preparation/arrangements time for Student Conduct.

As a result of discussions at the user group, a webpage for those involved in fitness to practise investigations was created and this contains useful guidance documents and templates for staff.  

Lessons learned

Academics on Fitness to Practise programmes deal with the investigations on top of an already busy schedule and so not all staff members are able to attend the user group. We will be using a doodle poll in future to try and schedule meetings whereby greater attendance is possible.

Feedback examples

One attendee commented that the way the legislative changes for the Code of Practice had been presented and highlighted in hand-outs was incredibly useful and that they wished it had been done in this format previously. User group members have also expressed that they feel more confident to seek advice once they know who to contact.  

Learn more

You can visit the following websites for more information on this initiative:

  • Background to Fitness to Practise
  • Information for staff