Fitness to Practise

The University operates a Fitness to Practise Procedure (.pdf) which applies to students on courses that include a practical professional placement and/or where successful completion can lead to registration with a professional/regulatory body. 

If relevant, you can also view the 2020-21 procedures.

Which courses the Procedure applies to 

The Procedure typically applies to courses that relate to health, social work or education.

You'll be notified on registration if your course is subject to the Fitness to Practise Procedures. However, if you are unsure if the Procedures apply to your course, you should contact your school/department.

What Fitness to Practise means

Students on these courses have additional responsibilities placed upon them regarding their conduct and professional suitability as outlined in the relevant regulatory or professional body codes of practice.

Where a student fails to meet these responsibilities the University may investigate and take action under the Fitness to Practise Procedure (.pdf). Concerns considered under the Procedure may relate to either conduct or health.

The Fitness to Practise Procedures do not replace the Student Membership and Disclosure and Barring Service Check Policy and Procedure (.pdf), Code of Student Conduct or academic offences procedures, but you should be aware that the outcome of cases investigated under any of these procedures may result in concerns being raised regarding a student’s fitness to practise.

What happens if a concern is raised

Any concerns raised about a student under the Fitness to Practise Procedures are initially considered and investigated within the relevant school or department by the school/department’s Professional Suitability Group (PSG). If, following an investigation, the PSG decide that there is a case to be answered, a referral will be made to a Fitness to Practise Committee.

The Fitness to Practise Committee will meet with the student and consider the evidence and will decide if the case is proven. If a case is proven, a Committee has a range of actions available to them. These include the power to require a student to undertake activities to support them in becoming fit to practise or to issue formal warnings. In serious cases, a Committee can require a student to withdraw from their course.

Advice and support

SU Advice are able to provide free, independent support students having cases considered within the Fitness to Practise Procedures. This could include:

  • providing support during an investigation and assisting a student to prepare a response to a case
  • helping a student to present their case at a meeting of a Fitness to Practise Committee
  • assisting a student with submitting an appeal against the decision of a Fitness to Practise Committee.

Students can also contact the Student Services Hub for information about wellbeing support.

Reasonable Adjustments

If you have a disability or an ongoing medical condition, and you are having difficulties in taking part in these procedures, then we can also consider making individual arrangements for you. To find out if this is available for you, please contact the Student Wellbeing and Disability Service via the Student Services Hub.

Appeals against the decision of a Fitness to Practise Committee

If you wish to appeal against the decision of a Fitness to Practise Committee you must do so within ten working days of the written notification of the decision. Appeals must be submitted in writing using a Fitness to Practise Appeals Form (.docx). Email the completed form together with relevant evidence to appeals@essex.ac.uk.

Reporting a concern about a student’s fitness to practise

Concerns about a student’s fitness to practise may be reported from any source, including any member of staff, student, placement partner, member of the public, the Occupational Health Service or other agencies such as the Police or Social Services.

If you need to report a concern regarding a student’s fitness to practise, then you should contact the student’s school/department at the earliest opportunity.

Contact us
Contact us
Student Progress Team For general enquiries about the Fitness to Practise Procedure.