22 September 2021

GOC's hearings and indicative sanctions guidance consultation

We've responded to the GOC's hearings and indicative sanctions guidance consultation.

Summary

The aim of the GOC hearings and indicative sanctions guidance is to assist members of the Fitness to Practise Committee (FtPC) to understand their individual and collective responsibilities. The College supports the updates but have requested specific amendments to ensure a fair process for stakeholders with specific characteristics.

Find out more about the consultation.

Our response

1. To what extent do you agree that the updated guidance achieves our aim of assisting members of the Fitness to Practise Committee to understand their individual and collective responsibilities, leading to the making of fair and just decisions?

Agree

2. Is there anything unclear or missing in the updated guidance?

Yes.

  1. We agree that the Fitness to Practise Committee should consider setting a date of expiry for warnings. However, we believe that some guidance should be given to members of the Fitness to Practise Committee on how to set the length of a warning, possibly with reference to a benchmark tailored according to the severity of a registrant’s impairment and aggravating or mitigating factors.
  2. We note that there is no guidance for registrants or student registrants with physical disabilities who may want to attend hearings in person at a physical venue. Physical disabilities are only considered when the Committee decides whether there should be a remote hearing. We suggest adding the following guidance: “If the registrant, witness or other participant requires any reasonable adjustments due to a physical disability or other need which will support them taking part in a hearing in person at a physical venue, they should contact their liaison officer and/or the hearings team who will be able to assist.”


3.  Are there any aspects of the guidance that could have a negative impact on stakeholders with specific characteristics? (Please consider age, sex, race, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy, or maternity, caring responsibilities, or any other characteristics.) 

Yes.

See point two in our response above.

4. Are there any aspects of the guidance that could have a positive impact on stakeholders with specific characteristics? (Please consider age, sex, race, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy, or maternity, caring responsibilities, or any other characteristics.)

Yes.

The inclusion of Guidance on remote hearings could have a positive impact on stakeholders with specific characteristics, in particular disability, pregnancy or maternity/paternity, and caring responsibilities, as it will offer them the opportunity to attend hearings if they cannot attend in person at a physical venue.

However, we reiterate our recommendation made under question 2 point 2 above.

5. Are there any other impacts or benefits of the updated guidance that you would like to tell us about?

No.

 

Submitted: September 2021

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