Social service watchdog plans misconduct changes

Regulator proposes fitness to practice hearings will only held be when requested

Wednesday 11th September 2019

Scotland’s social service watchdog is planning to switch to an “opt-in” hearing system for workers accused of misconduct.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) has announced proposals which means a fitness to practice hearing will only be held when the worker asks for one.

Under the current system, a worker can say they accept the outcome of an investigation and ask that a hearing is not held.

However if they do not request this, the hearing still has to take place – even if they accept the findings. 

The SSSC has launched a consultation on proposals which means hearings will only be held when a worker disagrees with the outcome of the investigation and asks one to resolve the disagreement.

According to figures from the SSSC, only 1.5% of workers on the register have had their fitness to practice investigated.

And of this number, only 15% have a sanction imposed on them, with most accepting the outcome of investigations.

The SSSC said it wanted the change to “focus resources and improve the fitness to practice process and the support available to those going through it.”

It added: “Our analysis shows that when the worker hasn’t engaged with the fitness to practise process, the outcome of the hearing is the same as what we initially proposed.”