Suitability Procedure

The suitability procedure applies to students that lead directly or indirectly to a professional qualification or the right to practice a particular profession.

This policy is usually only applicable to students who are studying on courses that are accredited by a professional body. For example these rules may apply to courses in teaching, social work, counselling and psychology, healthcare/nursing among others.

The procedure is invoked where the alleged behaviour of a student “renders them not fit to be admitted to and practice that profession” and therefore deems them “ineligible to gain the award for which they are enrolled”.

 

Where doesn't the suitability procedure apply?
Why is there a suitability procedure?
When does the university decide to bring forward a case?
What happens if a prima facie case is found?
The suitability procedures has been invoked against me. What happens next?
I agree with the findings in the report, what is the next step?

I do not agree with the findings in the report? Stage 2 (Investigation Panel)
Who will attend the Investigation Panel?

What happens at the Investigation Panel?
What happens if you don’t attend the Investigation Panel?
What penalties can be imposed?
I do not agree with the penalty, can I appeal?
When can I make the appeal?
What happens at the Review Panel Stage?

What happens if I do not agree with decision of Review Panel?

 

Where the suitability procedure does not apply?

  • Fitness to Study Regulations: this applies when you have health or disability-related concerns that affect your ability to study or is in breach of the code of conduct, or the student’s behaviour is a risk immediate continuing danger to others. Although, the university can be refer you back to the suitability procedures, if the fitness to study regulations do not apply.
     
  • Disciplinary Procedure:  this procedure is used in non-academic cases involving a misconduct. The disciplinary procedure is not an academic process. Outcomes of the disciplinary procedure could lead to you being referred to the suitability procedure. You can find more advice about the disciplinary procedure here.

Back to top

 

Why is there a suitability procedure?

It is an academic process, the suitability procedure is invoked where your behaviour or your action renders you unfit to practise. An example of this would be

  • If your behaviour or action puts yourself at risk
  • If your behaviour or action puts other students staff or members of the public;
  • If your behaviour or action is unsuitable which disallows you from receiving your professional award or being recognised by a professional body.

Back to top

 

When does the university decide to bring forward a case?

A report can be made by any person (students, staff or members of the public) about a student’s current or past actions that they are concerned about which could render the student unsuitable to practice.

The report should be made to the Department Coordinator. The Department Coordinator will consider whether there is a prima facie case. This means whether, on face value, is there enough evidence to bring forward a case against a student under the suitability procedure.

Back to top

 

What happens if a prima facie case is found?

The university can decide to do one of the following:

  1. Continue the investigation under the suitability procedures;
  2. Continue the investigation via another academic procedure;
  3. Continue with the investigation via the disciplinary procedures;
  4. Continue with the investigation via the Fitness to Study procedure. Although the student can be referred back to the suitability procedures if the fitness to study regulations do not apply.

Back to top

 

The suitability procedures has been invoked against me. What happens next?

There are three stages under suitability procedure at UEL.

The first stage is the investigation stage where interviews are carried out by the relevant parties. This can include members of the public where necessary.

You will also be interviewed and your side will be heard. We would suggest you seek the support of one of our Advisers before attending this meeting. You can find out how to book an appointment here. 

The Head of School will decide whether there is enough evidence (on the balance of probabilities) to suggest that you are unsuitable for professional practise.

In some cases you can be suspended until further notice. This only occurs if your behaviour or action puts you and others at risk or has an adverse effect on other students, staff or members of the public.

The Head of School will produce a report within 15 working days after a prima facie case is established. You will be sent a copy of the report.

The report will conclude whether there is evidence to suggest you are unfit to practise.

Back to top

 

I agree with the findings in the report, what is the next step?

You can decide to accept the finding of the reports. If this is the case, you should inform the Head of School as soon as possible.

You can be transferred to another programme that does not lead to professional practise or is accredited by the Professional Body.

However, if you disagree with the finding in the report. You can challenge this by through Stage 2 Investigation Panel Stage.

Back to top

 

I do not agree with the findings in the report? Stage 2 (Investigation Panel)

The second stage is at the investigatory panel. This would consist of a senior member of staff, a university staff and a member of a representative from the Students Union.

You simply need to ask for an investigation panel to take place, you do not need to justify your request.

Back to top
 

Who will attend the Investigation Panel?

  • The Chair, who will be a member of senior university staff.
  • Two other members of staff
  • If necessary two other members appointed from partner bodies linked to the delivery of professional training.
  • A student representative (a sabbatical officer from the Students' Union)
  • A Secretary will be appointed to take minutes of the meeting

You can bring a friend or an Adviser from the Student Union. We cannot always attend panels due to demand so you should contact us as soon as possible.

Back to top
 

What happens at the Investigation Panel?

Normally the panel will follow this format:

  • The Chair of the Investigation Panel will introduce all attendees.
  • The case against you will be delivered in a statement by the School.
  • You will be able to question the member of staff from the School delivering this statement, and the panel will also ask questions.
  • You will be invited to present your statement in your defence. The member of staff from the School will be able to ask you questions, as will the panel.
  • The Investigating Panel has the right to call and question any of your witnesses.
  • You have the right to call and question any investigation panel’s witnesses.

The Student Representative (for instance Student Union Adviser or friend/family) will be given an opportunity to speak on your behalf (with your permission)

Back to top

 

What happens if you don’t attend the Investigation Panel?

If you cannot attend the meeting, you should inform the Secretary as soon as possible. The Investigation Panel can still go ahead in your absence.

Back to top

 

What penalties can be imposed?

The Panel can decide on a number of possible outcomes:

  • Based on the evidence there is sufficient grounds to demonstrate that you are unsuitable for professional practice;
  • Based on the evidence there is sufficient grounds to prove that you are unsuitable for professional practice and that you should be excluded from the programme;
  • You are indefinitely suspended from your studies unless you can provide evidence to prove that you are mentally and/or physically fit to resume studies.
  • The university can make other recommendation such as referring you to counselling.

Back to top
 

I do not agree with the penalty, can I appeal?

If you do not agree with the decision you can appeal to the Deputy Vice Chancellor, which would be within 14 days from when you received the letter notifying you of the outcome.

You can only appeal against the decision of the investigating panel on two grounds:

  1. The university did not follow the correct procedures.
  2. You have new evidence that was unknown to you and you could not provide this at the time of the investigation panel.

Back to top

 

When can I make the appeal?

You must submit your appeal (in writing) to the Deputy Vice Chancellor within 14 working days from when you received the decision letter.

You should submit any new evidence you wish to rely on in the appeal.

The university will inform you within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal whether there is a prima facie case to convene a review panel.

Back to top

 

What happens at the Review Panel Stage?

The Deputy Vice Chancellor will appoint a fresh panel, members of staff who were in the Investigation Panel cannot be appointed at the Review Panel.

The Review Panel will have the same composition as the Investigation Panel Stage and will follow the same format.

 The Review Panel will consider the new evidence.

Back to top

 

What happens if I do not agree with decision of Review Panel?

If you would like to challenge the final decision, you will need to take a complaint to an external higher education complaints body called the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).

The OIA is an independent adjudicating body which reviews the outcome of the university complaints. The OIA would look at whether UEL’s decision was acted fairly, and whether the decision made was reasonable in the circumstances.

To take a complaint to the OIA the student will first need to request a ‘completion of procedures’ letter which confirms that UEL do not wish to allow the student to appeal internally.

Please book an appointment with us and we will provide further guidance.

Back to top

Stratford Campus:

UEL Students' Union (UH - The Dome)
University of East London
Water Lane
London
E15 4LZ

Reception: 0208 223 4209


University Square Stratford (USS):
1 Salway Road
London
E15 1NF

Reception: 020 8223 3043

General Enquiries: uelsu@uel.ac.uk

Docklands Campus:

UEL Students' Union (NB.G.01)
University of East London
4-6 University Way
London
E16 2RD

Reception: 0208 223 7025

Registered Charity Number: 1173994
Company Number: 10820498
© UEL Students' Union 2018
Powered by MSL