5.1 Prior to Hearing
5.1.1 A student will receive written notification of any hearing of the Professional Suitability Committee called to consider her/him. This notification will normally be received no later than 14 days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing. It will include a summary of the reasons for the procedure being invoked and details of the alleged concerns. The student will be advised of the process adopted for such hearings and their rights in relation to it. The student will be invited to indicate whether or not s/he wishes to attend and whether s/he wishes to be accompanied by a friend or representative. The student will also be asked whether s/he wishes to submit a written statement to the hearing. If the student does, then this must be submitted no less than 3 working days prior to the hearing.
5.1.2 Similarly, the referrer(s) will be asked if they wish to submit any further written materials prior to presenting their case to the hearing. These must be submitted no less than 3 working days before the hearing.
5.1.3 Written submissions may be supported by oral evidence where necessary. Both parties will be able to invite relevant individuals to attend the hearing to provide evidence in person. Details of any such individuals should be provided no less than 3 working days prior to the hearing. Responsibility for making arrangements for the attendance of any such person lies with the relevant parties.
5.1.4 The Consortium Manager or her/his representative will have responsibility for gathering all such evidence from the relevant parties (including details of any individuals called to give evidence in person). This documentation will normally be available for the members of the hearing 2 working days prior to the hearing itself. Similarly, it will also be made available to the student and the referrer(s).
5.2 Conduct of Hearing
5.2.1 The Chair of the hearing will have responsibility for ensuring that it is conducted in line with the documented procedures. The hearing will normally begin with an introduction on the details of the concerns, the results of any initial investigations and the reasons for proceeding to the professional suitability hearing.
5.2.2 Following this introduction, the referrer(s) will be asked to speak to her/his written submission(s) and present any individuals s/he have called to give evidence in person (in accord with 5.1.3). If there is new information that s/he wishes to add to her/his earlier submission then this must be provided in written form and may result in an adjournment. The student or her/his representative will be given the opportunity to challenge any of the written evidence and to ask questions of anyone presenting evidence.
5.2.3 Following this presentation by the referrer(s) the student will be asked to speak to her/his written submission(s) and present any individuals s/he have called to give evidence in person (in accord with 5.1.3). If there is new information that s/he wishes to add to her/his earlier submission then this must be provided in written form and may result in an adjournment. The referrer(s) will be given the opportunity to challenge any of the written evidence and to ask questions of anyone presenting evidence.
5.2.4 The five members of the hearing will be able to ask questions of either party regarding the written evidence and of anyone who attends the hearing. Where it appears that either party has called an individual(s) to give evidence that is not necessary to support their written submissions then the members of the hearing will have discretion to limit the presentation of such evidence.
5.2.5 In exceptional circumstances, the Chair can decide to adjourn the hearing if s/he believe it to be necessary to ensure a fair hearing of the relevant evidence. The resultant specially re-convened hearing will take place within 28 days of the original hearing and involve as many of the original hearing members as possible. The procedure adopted for the operation of such reconvened hearings will be the same as the procedure that applied for the original hearing.
5.2.6 Administrative support to hearings will normally be provided by Consortium office staff, with an administrator present at hearings. A record of each hearing will be kept, which will include; those in attendance; all written evidence submitted; a note on all verbal evidence given; the decision taken and the reason(s) for it.
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