3.1 Initial Decision Making
3.1.1 Concerns regarding the suitability of an individual student should be raised in writing with the Consortium Manager. Such concerns can be raised by anyone, including route and agency staff, fellow students, and service users (hereinafter referred to as the referrer(s)). The relevant Lead Tutor will be advised of referrals and their outcome. The Consortium Manager, or her or his representative, will discuss these with the Chair or Vice-chair of the Professional Suitability Committee normally within 7 working days of their receipt. The purpose of these discussions will be only to determine what course of action is most appropriate (e.g. no further action; a matter for assessment procedures; use of university disciplinary procedures; or use of professional suitability procedure). A brief record of all such referrals will be held at the Consortium office.
3.1.2 To aid in reaching such a decision, the Chair or Vice-chair can decide that the student should be seen by two members of the Professional Suitability Committee. The student will receive notification in writing of such a meeting no less than 7 days prior to its occurrence. This letter will provide reasons for such a meeting, the format of the meeting, and advise the student that a friend or representative can accompany them if they wish.
3.1.3 Following such a meeting the interviewers will discuss the details of it with
the Chair or Vice-chair of the Committee. The Chair or Vice-chair will then decide what
action, if any, should be taken. The student will be advised in writing of the outcome of
the meeting within 7 working days of it taking place.
3.2 Organization of Hearings
3.2.1 Where it is decided to proceed to a hearing of the Professional Suitability Committee, the Consortium office will have responsibility for organizing this. The hearing should consist of five people drawn from a pool of agency and educational institution representatives.
3.2.2 The pool should consist of all Directors or Heads of Social Work, or their nominees, preferably Senior Depute Directors, and two representatives from the voluntary sector. There should also normally be one representative from each of the universities, preferably senior members of staff who are, or have been, involved in delivering the DipSW. Where possible, effort should be made to maintain a gender balance.
3.2.3 A hearing will consist of no less than five members of the pool. The members of the hearing will include the Chair or Vice-chair. One of the members should normally be a University representative, one from the Voluntary sector, and no less than two from the Statutory sector. If an ethnic minority student or a student with a disability is considered, the Committee should have the option of seeking appropriate advice or co-opting an appropriate person to assist in reaching a decision.
3.2.4 The Consortium Policy Committee will normally select the Chair and Vice-chair from the pool of representatives. They will hold office for two years and will be eligible for re-selection for a maximum of one further year on completion of their term of office.
3.2.5 The Chair or Vice-chair will normally chair the committee. The exception to this will be where they are unable to do so because of ineligibility under 3.2.6. In cases where both Chair and Vice-chair are ineligible then an experienced current member or previous member will be asked to substitute for them.
3.2.6 Where a matter is being re-cosidered following an appeal hearing, then members of the original hearing will be ineligible to sit on the new hearing. However, if a student is referred to a hearing on a new matter then pool members sitting on any earlier hearing will be eligible. Similar, in cases of a re-convened hearing, following an adjournment, members of the earlier hearing will remain eligble (see 5.2.5).
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