The Northern Ireland Social Care Council (Social Care Council) can investigate serious concerns about a Registrant’s fitness to practise that have occurred inside and outside the workplace. To help you decide if your concern is appropriate to raise with the Social Care Council, we have developed guidance called ‘Standard of Acceptance: Fitness to Practise Allegations’. This guidance can be found on our website and should be read before completing a referral form. The types of concerns or allegations the Council may investigate are likely to involve cases where the Registrant has:
- been dishonest, committed fraud or abused someone’s trust;
- exploited a vulnerable person;
- failed to respect service users’ rights to make choices about their own care;
- had an improper relationship with a service user;
- carried out reckless or deliberately harmful acts;
- seriously or persistently failed to meet standards;
- been involved in sexual misconduct or indecency;
- been violent or displayed threatening behaviour.
There is normally a five year time limit in relation to making an allegation, however the Council can consider cases where events may have taken place several years beforehand if it is in the public interest to do so. To enable the Council to secure the best evidence possible, it is preferable if the allegation is made as close to the time of the incident as possible.
The Social Care Council will not usually be able to consider:
- cases about social workers or social care workers who are not registered with us;
- lateness or poor time-keeping (unless it has a direct impact on service users, such as delaying handovers or leaving service users at risk);
- personality conflicts, provided that there is no evidence of bullying or harassment;
- sickness or other absence from work, provided that there is no impairment of fitness to practise and the Registrant is managing his/her own health.
What concerns should you tell us about?
Whether or not you tell us about a concern will depend on the circumstances and the seriousness. However, you should tell us if:
- the behaviour or actions have raised concerns about their fitness to practise;
- you have dismissed or suspended a registrant;
- you have redeployed or downgraded the role/status of the Registrant (i.e. you restrict the work they can do, place them under supervision or you move them to a lower skilled role);
- a Registrant has resigned during an investigation which may have resulted in one of the above actions by the employer;
- you have become aware of a criminal charge or conviction against the worker.
If you are unsure about whether we need to be informed please contact the Fitness to Practice team who will provide general advice on a case-by-case basis. Email email@example.com or call 028 9536 2940.