Indicative Sanctions Guidance

for

Adjudication Panel, Appeal Panel and Ethics Committee Decision Making 

(UKAHPP Register of Humanistic Psychotherapists and Psychotherapeutic Counsellors)

Content

PART A: General Considerations

  1. Professional Standards
  2. Sanctions
  3. Proportionality

PART B: Mitigating and Aggravating Factors

4.  Considering Mitigating Factors

Competence and professional development

Remediation

References and Testimonials

Expression of regret and apology

Insight

5. Aggravating Factors

Lack of Insight

Previous finding of impairment

Circumstances surrounding the event

Conduct in a registrant’s personal life

 PART C: Sanctions

  1. Issuing a Warning When a Registrant’s Fitness to Practice Is Not Impaired
  2. Imposing Sanctions When a Registrant’s Fitness to Practice Is Impaired
  3. Take No Action
  4. Undertakings Agreed With the Registrant

When can undertakings be negotiated?

Deciding what the undertakings should be

  1. Improvement and conditions of Practice Orders

What are improvement and conditions of practice orders?

Applying improvement and conditions of practice orders

Deciding what conditions of practice to apply

  1. Suspension of Registration

Determining the length of suspension

  1. Dismissal Order: Termination of Registration
  2. Other Sanction Considerations

Convictions, cautions and determination allegations

Dishonesty

Failing to provide acceptable care

 PART D: Cases That Indicate More Serious Action

  1. Failure to Raise Concerns
  2. Failure to work collaboratively with colleagues
  3. Discrimination against clients, colleagues and others
  4. Abuse of professional position

Vulnerable clients

Predatory behaviour

  1. Sexual Misconduct
  2. Drug or alcohol misuse linked to misconduct or criminal offences

PART E:

  1. Review Panels
  2. Interim Suspensions and Conditions Orders

PART F: APPENDIX – UKAHPP Summary of Sanction and Interim Suspension Orders

INDICATIVE SANCTIONS GUIDANCE

Introduction

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to Adjudication and Appeals Panel members about factors they should consider when determining whether or not to apply sanctions when fitness to practice complaints have been raised against a UKAHPP Registrant because professional standards have been breached.

In order to maintain impartiality, proportionality, transparency and consistency, panel members should read these guidelines in conjunction with the:

  • UKAHPP Code of Practice and Ethical Principles
  • UKAHPP Complaints Procedure
  • UKAHPP Disciplinary Procedure
  • UKAHPP Summary of Sanctions and Interim Suspension Orders.

Familiarisation with these documents will assist panel members to maintain a consistent approach when deciding:

  • whether to issue a warning when a registrant’s fitness to practise is not impaired; and
  • whether to apply a sanction when a registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired.

A panel must exercise its own judgement when making decisions based upon the standards of good practice that have been established to protect the public and enhance public confidence in the profession.

Non-practice based concerns about UKAHPP Members, including the conduct of UKAHPP Officers, are handled under the UKAHPP Disciplinary Procedure. However, if a registrant’s fitness to practice is brought into question and could give rise to imposing sanctions or the termination of registration, such matters will be transferred for consideration under the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure. This procedure will determine what action, if any, will be taken in regard to how a registrant’s non-practice based behaviour, including the conduct of Officers, undermines public safety and public confidence in the profession and UKAHPP as a register holder.

Adjudication and Appeal panels are expected to be aware of and adhere to equality and human rights legislation.

Unless exceptional circumstances apply, all proven fitness to practice determinations that place conditions or restrict a registrant’s practice will be published on the UKAHPP website and communicated to other organisations and register holders as necessary.

Please note that the listings contained in this document are not exhaustive.

PART A: General Considerations

1. Professional Standards

1.1 The UKAHPP Code of Practice and Ethical Principles sets out professional standards registrants are expected to both familiarise themselves with and adhere to in their role as a psychotherapist or psychotherapeutic counsellor practising in the UK. The code places emphasis on:

  • working in partnership with clients based on respect and informed consent;
  • establishing and maintaining good confidential relationships with clients, their families and colleagues;
  • being a competent practitioner by keeping knowledge and skills up to date;
  • being trustworthy and acting with integrity within the law;
  • commitment to ongoing supervision and Continual Professional Development; and
  • adhering to statutory client safety and child safeguarding legislation.

1.2 Registrants must use their judgement in applying principles to situations they face, and are expected to keep a written account of difficult incidents and be prepared to explain their decisions and actions were necessary.

1.3 It is important that Adjudication and Appeal Panel Members are familiar with the UKAHPP Code of Practice and Ethical Principles when determining sanctions in order to maintain fair, informed, proportionate and consistent decision making.

2. Sanctions

2.1 Though sanctions may have a punitive effect, they are not to be imposed to discipline or punish a registrant. The purpose of sanctions is to:

  • protect the health, safety and wellbeing of the public;
  • promote and maintain public confidence in the profession and UKAHPP Register; and
  • promote and uphold professional standards for registrants.

2.2 Maintaining Public Confidence is characterised by trust in the profession and the UKAHPP Register.

2.3 Panels are to ensure that sanctions imposed are appropriate and proportionate.

2.4 Although Adjudication and Appeals Panels will take into account a registrant’s interests, the reputation of the profession as a whole is of paramount importance and greater weight will be given to these considerations.

2.5 The UKAHPP Code of Practice and Ethical Principles sets out standards of  good practice, not thresholds of unsafe practice and as such action will not automatically be taken against registrants who do not adhere to the these standards.

2.6 However, adherence to professional standards is the benchmark registrants are expected to meet subject to a mitigating or aggravating factors and action will be taken where a serious or persistent breach of professional standards places client safety at risk or undermines public confidence in profession.

3. Proportionality

3.1 When consideration is given to imposing sanctions upon a registrant, a panel must consider all of the sanctions available to them. Panels will consider sanctions in the order of increasing seriousness, starting with the least restrictive. Panels must have regard to the principle of proportionality when making decisions as the appropriate sanction, keeping in mind that the right balance must be struck between the registrant’s right to earn a living and the wider public interest.

3.2 Although an Interim Suspension Order may be applied in response to serious concerns and thereby restrict a registrant’s practice pending investigation, the Adjudication and Appeals panel must not take such Orders into account when determining the appropriate sanction to be imposed. However, Panels may take such Orders into account when determining the appropriate period of time for which the Sanction will be applied.

PART B: Mitigating and Aggravating Factors

4. Considering Mitigating Factors

4.1 A panel will consider and balance any mitigating factors presented by a Registrant whose practice is under investigation.

4.2 A panel is less able to take mitigating factors into account when the concerns at hand are of a more serious nature about patient safety, than if the concerns were solely about public confidence in the profession.

4.3 Mitigating circumstances may include (amongst others), the following:

  • admitting facts relating to concerns raised about their practice;
  • offering an apology to the client;
  • making efforts to remediate problems, failures and errors in their practice in order to prevent recurrences;
  • attention to Continual Professional Development needs, including keeping up to date with professional developments and attending to competence deficiencies;
  • the registrant’s character and previous history;
  • personal circumstances, including ill health; and
  • reflection and insight upon their actions, demonstrating that the Registrant has recognised the impact that their actions have had upon their Clients.

4.4 If a registrant presents evidence that they have attempted to remediate errors and/or failures in their practice, the panel should be aware that it is good practice for registrants to:

  • raise concerns if clients are at risk because of inadequate premises, equipment, resources, policies or systems and attempt to put matters right where possible;
  • seek advice from their manager, supervisor or colleagues and record their actions if they are concerned that a practitioner is not fit to practise and may be putting clients at risk;
  • be open and honest with clients and respond promptly if things go wrong, offering a full and honest apology where appropriate;
  • cooperate fully with fitness to practice inquiries and formal complaints procedures, providing relevant information as necessary; and
  • keep their knowledge and skills up to date and work with colleagues and clients to improve the quality of their work and promote patient safety.

Competence and professional development

4.5 Registrants embark on a steep learning curve as their career progresses. Competence and experience are therefore key developmental considerations Panels should keep in mind when determining whether a registrant’s fitness to practice is impaired.

4.6 Panels should be aware that a great number of concerns raised about a Registrants fitness to practice relate to conduct which is unintentional. Panels must take into account any attempt by the Registrant to reflect on their actions and/or has discussed the circumstances with their Supervisor so that they continue to develop moving forward.

4.7 Where the Panel is satisfied that fitness to practice is impaired as a result of intentional conduct, this is a matter that the Panel should consider especially serious given the obvious need to protect the public from such actions and to ensure public confidence in the profession. Mitigating circumstances in such situations may be of little to no benefit to Registrants.

Remediation

4.8 Remediation is a key consideration when determining the appropriate sanction to be imposed. Panels will recognise that successful remediation should minimise any lasting client harm. Examples of remedial action may be found in paragraph 4.4 above.

4.9 Panels will recognise that there are some cases where remediation will not be successful, despite a registrant’s attempt(s) to take steps to remedy any hurt. Such cases are usually indicated where additional action will be required to restore public confidence in the profession and/or to ensure the failings/errors in the Registrant’s are remedied. This is particularly important where a Registrant knew or ought to have known that they were causing harm to Clients and should have taken steps earlier to prevent this. In such cases, a panel must fully and clearly explain:

  • the extent to which issues can and cannot be remediated;
  • the steps taken by the registrant to remediate any harm and with reference to the timing of their responses; and
  • how the seriousness of the findings, including the registrant’s failure to take earlier action, informs the Panel’s decision.

References and Testimonials

4.10 Although not required as part of the UKAHPP Complaints procedure, Panels will consider any references or testimonials which the Registrant wishes to provide.

4.11 Panels will determine what weight, if any, to give to these documents. Panels also have the right to authenticate such references/testimonials by speaking with the person providing such reference/testimonial. This may include checking that the author understands the circumstances in which that reference has been provided.

4.12 When assessing the appropriate weight to give to references and testimonials provided, Panels will weigh them appropriately against the nature of the facts found proven by considering:

  • whether they are relevant and/or deal with matters relating to the issues and concerns being considered in the Complaints Procedure;
  • the extent to which the views expressed are supported by other available evidence;
  • the nature and length of the relationship between the author and the Registrant;
  • any professional contact the author has had with the registrant’s work, taking into account the context of that contact; and
  • whether there is evidence that the author has a conflict of interest in providing a reference or testimonial, such as any former contact with the Complainant and/or member of the Adjudication or Appeals Panel.

4.13 Where a Registrant chooses not to provide references and/or testimonials in mitigation, the Panel must not consider this an aggravating factor.

Expression of regret and apology

4.14 When concerns are raised about a Registrant’s conduct, Registrants should usually take such matters seriously and make efforts to understand what has happened from the client’s perspective and take steps to learn from what has happened. In appropriate circumstances, Registrants may:

  • modify their practice and procedures; and
  • be open and honest with the client and offer an apology.

4.15 Panels must note that the giving of an apology is not an admission of guilt. An apology by itself does not necessarily mean that a registrant is admitting failures in the services provided and/or liability for any physical, emotional, or financial harm that may have occurred.

4.16 Panels should note that Registrants are expected to report any concerns about their own practice to UKAHPP, irrespective of whether or not their employer is reticent to investigate.

4.17 Where a Registrant has been prevented from offering an apology by an employer and/or their insurers, Panels should not consider this an aggravating factor. 

Insight

4.18 The expression of insight through reflection on how the client has been harmed and demonstrated through an apology and remediation should be given weight by the Panel.

4.19 A registrant is likely to have insight if they:

  • accept that they should have acted differently in the circumstances of the case;
  • recognise the impact that their actions have had upon their Client(s); and
  • can demonstrate that they have taken steps to ensure that such failures and/or errors in their professional conduct do not reoccur.

5. Aggravating Factors

5.1 A panel must also consider any factors that they believe aggravate the breach(es) that they have found to be proven. Aggravating factors include (amongst others) the following:

  • lack of insight into their actions;
  • previous findings of impaired fitness to practice;
  • the particular circumstances of the breach(es);
  • personal conduct.

Lack of Insight

5.2 It is important that Panel consider the extent to which Registrants have reflected upon their conduct and the impact this has had upon Client in order that they may take remedial action to ensure that such actions do not reoccur.

5.3 A panel must be assured that the Registrant recognises the need to take remedial action to protect the public and that the purpose of Fitness to Practice/Complaints Procedures is, primarily, to assist in that process.

5.4 A registrant is likely to lack such insight if they:

  • refuse to apologise or accept their mistakes;
  • provide an undertaking to take remedial action, but fail to take any (or any appropriate) steps to do so;
  • do not demonstrate that they have given such concerns timely thought so that immediate and/or quick action may be taken to reduce the risk of harm to the public moving forward; and/or
  • the Panel are satisfied, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the Registrant has not provided truthful evidence.

Previous finding of impairment

5.5 Where the UKAHPP or another regulator has previously made findings of impaired fitness to practise and imposed a sanction on the Registrant, the panel may wish to consider this as an aggravating factor in relation to the case before it.

5.6 Panels should be aware that they must consider any similarities and differences between the current case and the aforementioned previous findings. Where the previous finding is wholly different in circumstance and fact (i.e. relates to a different aspect of the Registrant’s conduct in wholly different circumstances), Panels should be conscious that such findings are not as serious as repeated failings in the same area of conduct and/or professional practice.

Circumstances surrounding the event

5.7 Panels will be uniquely placed to make findings of fact upon which they can assess the relative seriousness of any breaches that they find proven. Panels should be guided by those findings and will have regard to the following non-exhaustive list of circumstances when determining the appropriate action to take:

  • a failure to raise concerns that the Registrant had previously identified;
  • a failure to work collaboratively with colleagues;
  • a failure to fully cooperate with the investigation process;
  • discrimination against clients, colleagues and others based upon a protected characteristic, whether or not the Client personally identifies as having such a characteristic;
  • abuse of professional position, including predatory behaviour, exploitation of vulnerable clients, and sexual misconduct; and
  • the use of alcohol and/or illegal substances.

Conduct in a registrant’s personal life

5.8 Although matters relating to the Registrant’s personal life usually fall outside of the UKAHPP’s remit. Panels should also have regard to serious matters relating to the general conduct of Registrants. Such matters include (amongst others) the following circumstances:

  • misconduct involving serious violence; offences of a sexual nature;
  • inappropriate behaviour towards children or vulnerable adults;
  • matters of serious dishonesty;
  • the misuse of alcohol or drugs, whether or not leading to a criminal conviction or caution;
  • and the active espousing of discriminatory views of a nature that demonstrates hostility towards persons with a protected characteristic.

PART C: Sanctions

6. Issuing a Warning When a Registrant’s Fitness to Practice Is Not Impaired

6.1 Where a panel finds a Registrant’s fitness to practise is not impaired, there are only two courses of action that they may take:

  • indicate that no further action will be taken; or
  • issue a Registrant with a written warning.

6.2 The Panel may only issue the Registrant with a written warning about their future conduct or performance based upon admitted facts or facts that they found to be proven based upon the evidence that they have heard.

6.3 Written Warnings may only be issued where the Panel is satisfied that, unless rectified, the Registrant may go on to demonstrate future conduct that may call into question their fitness to practice. An example may be circumstances in which the Registrant suffers from either a physical and/or mental health condition that requires treatment in order that it is made clear that remedial action is necessary in order to ensure that the Registrant’s fitness to practice does not become impaired at a later date.

6.4 A panel should give reasons for issuing, or for not issuing, a warning.

6.5 A Written Warning will remain on the Registrant’s record for a period of 12 months and will not be published on the UKAHPP website.

6.6 The UKAHPP reserves the right to advise other Registers that a Written Warning has been issued where the Panel believes it is necessary to do so.

7. Imposing Sanctions When a Registrant’s Fitness to Practice Is Impaired

 7.1 Where a panel finds a registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired, it may draw upon the following sanctions:

  • take no further action;
  • issue a written or final written warning;
  • agree to accept undertakings that have been agreed between the registrant and the panel (including any limitations on the registrant’s practice) as an alternative to imposing formal sanction;
  • impose an Improvement and/or Conditions of Practice Order;
  • suspend registration for practicing under the auspices of UKAHPP for up to 12 months;
  • Termination Order leading to the Registrant being removed from the UKAHPP Register.

7.2 Panels must consider the sanctions available to them in increasing order of seriousness. Panels must provide clear and cogent written reasons for their decision to impose their chosen sanction, making clear why they considered that a lesser sanction was not appropriate.

7.3 Where sanctions are imposed for a specified period of time, the Panel must provide clear and cogent written reasons as to the basis on which they believe the period of time is appropriate in the circumstances of the case as they have found them to be.

8. Take No Action

8.1 Where a Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired, it will usually be necessary to take action to protect the public. However, the UKAHPP recognises that there may be exceptional circumstances to justify a panel taking no action.

8.2 To find that a Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired; the panel will have determined that the Registrant’s conduct was such that at it did not afford sufficient protection to the public and/or undermined public trust and confidence in the profession.

8.3 In some cases, the Panel may find that the Registrant has showed sufficient insight and taken remedial action to such an extent that they no longer pose a risk to the public and the confidence placed in the profession is not undermined. In such exceptional circumstances, the Panel may use their discretion to take no further action against the Registrant.

8.4 UKAHPP recognises that other circumstances may arise in which the Panel wish to utilise this discretion. In cases such as those, the decision of the Panel to take no further action must be unanimous.

8.5 When taking this course of action in either of the situations identified in 8.3 or 8.4 above, the Panel must provide written reasons which cover the following matters:

  • what the exceptional circumstances are;
  • why those circumstances are exceptional; and
  • how the exceptional circumstances justify taking no further action.

9. Undertakings Agreed with the Registrant

9.1 Undertakings are agreed with the registrant. There are restrictions that limit the registrant’s practice or behaviour or commit them to undergo additional supervision or retraining.

9.2 A registrant may negotiate undertakings to remediate concerns, at the discretion of UKAHPP, via the General Secretary and Chair of Ethics Committee (or their nominated deputies) prior to or at the onset of an investigation.

9.3 Undertakings can also be agreed at the discretion of the panel at an Adjudication Panel hearing. The Panel may do so where it believes that an Undertaking is sufficient to protect the public and protect public confidence in the profession.

When can undertakings be negotiated?

9.4 Undertakings are likely to be appropriate in cases:

  • Involving the registrant’s health;
  • Involving issues around the registrar’s performance;
  • Where there is evidence of shortcomings in a specific area or areas of the registrant’s practice.

9.5 Undertakings are likely to be appropriate and of benefit where:

  • The registrant has insight that they need to restrict their practice;
  • A period of retraining and/or supervision is likely to be the most appropriate way of addressing any findings;
  • The panel is satisfied that the registrant will comply with them; and/or
  • The registrant has the potential to respond positively to remediation, retraining, or to additional supervision.

 

9.6 The panel may wish to see evidence that the registrant has taken responsibility for or has taken steps to mitigate and remediate, their actions.

Deciding what the undertakings should be

9.7 The panel may agree undertakings only if it can be satisfied that they are sufficient for public protection and that the registrant accepts that such undertakings (except those relating to a registrant’s health only) may be disclosed to:

  • The registrant’s employer, or anyone organisation they have a contractual agreement to provide a service, including voluntary arrangements;
  • Anyone the registrant is seeking employment with or to provide a service to, including voluntary arrangements;
  • Statutory and voluntary register holders.

10. Improvement and Conditions of Practice Orders

 What are improvement and conditions of practice orders?

10.1 Such orders restrict a registrant’s practice or require them to fulfil requirements. Unlike undertakings agreed with the registrant, conditions are applied by a panel.

10.2 Improvement orders prescribe specific action which the registrant must adhere to, such as additional training and supervision.

10.3 Improvement orders can be applied for a maximum of 3 years and may be renewed for a further 3 years by a review panel as necessary.

10.4 Condition of Practice Orders apply conditions allowing a registrant to remain in practice if certain conditions are observed.

10.5 Conditions of practice orders can be applied for up to 12 months and may be renewed for a further 12 months by a review panel as necessary.

10.6 The purpose of improvement and conditions of practice orders is to protect the public by allowing the registrant to:

  • Attend to competence deficiencies in their practice.
  • Deal with health issues.

Applying improvement and conditions of practice orders

10.7 Improvement and conditions of practice orders may be appropriate in cases:

  • Involving the registrant’s health needs (physical or psychological);
  • Involving issues around the registrant’s performance; and/or
  • Where there is evidence of short comings in a registrant’s practice compounded by a lack of experience and expertise in a specific area or areas of practice.

10.8 Improvement and conditions of practice orders are likely to be appropriate where:

  • The registrant has demonstrated insight;
  • A period of retraining and or specialist supervision is likely to be the most appropriate way to remedy practice deficiencies;
  • The panel is satisfied the registrant will comply with conditions;
  • The registrant has already initiated positive remediation;
  • The registrant is unlikely to a further threat to public protection; and/or
  • The registrant is likely to respond positively to conditions.

10.9 When deciding whether remedial training is possible, the panel needs to consider any evidence and or assessments of the registrant’s performance or health. Some or all of the following factors being present would indicate that conditions may be appropriate:

  • Evidence that demonstrates remediation is likely to be unsuccessful – e.g. previous conditions have been unsuccessful and or the registrant demonstrated an unwillingness to engage with them;
  • Identifiable areas of practice are in need of assessment or retraining;
  • The registrant is willing to respond positively to retraining, with evidence that they are committed to keeping their knowledge and skills up to date throughout their working life;
  • Evidence that the registrant has been and is likely to continue to be open and honest with clients when things go wrong;
  • The registrant has insight into how any health problems they have may impact on their practice and client safety;
  • The registrant is willing to comply with professional guidance about physical and psychological conditions they are experiencing; and/or
  • Conditional supervised practice is not a threat to client safety.

Deciding what conditions of practice to apply

10.10 Conditions should be fair, appropriate, proportionate, workable, measurable and consistent with conditions imposed in similar situations.

10.11 Though practice-related conditions must be published, if they relate to a registrant’s physical and or psychological health, a panel may impose specific conditions that are not published, so as to minimise their impact on the registrant.

10.12 The panel will determine and explain fully their reasoning as to when imposed conditions will take effect– immediately or as from a specified date.

10.13 The panel should clearly set out the objectives of the conditions so that the registrant knows what is expected of them. This is also important to assist review panel hearings to determine if conditions have been complied with and deficiencies resolved.

10.14 A panel does not have the authority or jurisdiction to insist that a registrant seeks treatment for physical or psychological conditions because they may impact on the quality of a registrant’s practice and client safety. Nor can a panel impose medical supervision. However, a panel may impose sanctions if it has been proven that a registrant’s physical or psychological condition is impacting on their practice and has impacted on client safety or has caused harm.

10.15 Generally it is not appropriate to impose sanctions relating to a registrant’s physical or psychological health if their practice has not been found to be impaired. An exception may be where a registrant has refused to undergo a health assessment.

11. Suspension of Registration

11.1 If it is determined that a registrant’s fitness to practice is impaired and is a threat to public safety and or confidence in the UKAHPP Register, a panel may issue a suspension order. This removes a registrant’s endorsement to practice on the UKAHPP Register and ability to practice under the auspices of UKAHPP.

11.2 Suspension Orders affirm to the profession and the public that certain behaviour and conduct is unbefitting a registrant and the profession.

11.3 UKAHPP notes that Suspension Orders are punitive in nature and may prevent a registrant from practising, but avers that the primary function of a Suspension Order is to protect the public, afford protection to the Register, and to act as a deterrent to other members.

11.4 As Psychotherapy and Psychotherapeutic Counselling are not statutory protected professions, anyone can assume these titles and set themselves up to practice, whether they are on a register or not. However, it is unlikely that any registrant who does not comply with a Suspension Order and continues in practice will be re-admitted to the register. As determinations are shared between register holders, it is unlikely they will be admitted to any other register.

11.5 A suspension order can be enforced for up to 12 months and may be reviewed by a Review Panel. It should be noted that suspensions may be indefinite in cases relating solely to a registrant’s physical and psychological health.

11.6 Suspension will be an appropriate response to misconduct that is so serious that action must be taken to protect members of the public and maintain public confidence in the profession. A period of suspension will be appropriate for conduct that is serious but falls short of being fundamentally incompatible with permanent removal from the register and where rehabilitation is likely.

11.7 A suspension order may be appropriate, for example, where there may have been an acknowledgement of fault and where the panel is satisfied that the behaviour or incident is unlikely to be repeated. The panel may wish to see evidence that the registrant has taken steps to remediate their actions to determine the appropriate length of any suspension.

11.8 Suspension is also likely to be appropriate in cases of deficient performance where the registrant currently poses a serious risk of harm to clients, but where there is evidence that they have gained insight into the deficiencies and agree to undergo a rehabilitation or retraining programme.

11.9 The outcome of a suspension order will need to be weighed against its requirements by a review panel.

11.10 The following factors would suggest that suspension may be appropriate:

  • A serious breach of practice which is not fundamentally incompatible with their continued registration meaning removal from the register disproportionate, but is sufficiently serious such that a lesser sanction would not be sufficient to protect the public or maintain confidence in the profession;
  • In cases involving deficient performance where there is a risk to client safety if registration is not suspended and where the registrant demonstrates potential for rehabilitation or retraining;
  • In cases that relate to a registrant’s health, where the registrant’s judgement may be impaired and where there is a risk to client safety if the registrant were allowed to continue to practise even under conditions, or the registrant has failed to comply with restrictions or requirements;
  • No evidence is available that demonstrates remediation is unlikely to be successful, or that the registrant is willing to comply;
  • There is no evidence of repetition of similar behaviour since incident; and
  • The panel is satisfied that the registrant has insight and does not pose a significant risk of repeated misconduct.

Determining the length of suspension

11.11 A panel may issue a suspension order for upto12 months depending on the seriousness of the registrant’s impairment, but this may be reviewed and extended by a Review Panel.

11.12 The following factors will be relevant when determining the length of suspension:

  • The risk to client safety and public protection;
  • The seriousness of the findings and any mitigating, aggravating or health factors; and
  • Ensuring the registrant has adequate time to rehabilitate.

11.13 A panel’s primary consideration is to weigh public protection against the seriousness of the proven facts.

11.14 In cases that relate solely to a registrant’s health where registration has been suspended for at least two years because of two or more successive periods of suspension, the panel may suspend their registration indefinitely – this does not constitute permanent removal from the register.

11.15 If the panel decides to direct indefinite suspension, there is no automatic further hearing of the case. However, two years after the indefinite suspension takes effect, the registrant can request a review of the suspension.

11.16 The panel must give clear and cogent written reasons as to why suspension was both necessary and necessary for the period imposed.

12. Dismissal Order: Termination of Registration

12.1 In the interest of public protection, a panel may terminate the name of a registrant from the UKAHPP register in cases of serious misconduct. This sanction is not available in relation to matters that are solely concerned with a registrant’s health.

12.2 Termination of registration may be appropriate even when a registrant does not present a risk to patient safety, but where it is necessary to take action in order to maintain public confidence in the profession. An example of such conduct may be an instance in which a registrant has shown a blatant disregard for the safeguards designed to protect members of the public

12.3 The following factors may indicate that termination of registration is appropriate:

  • Where there is a serious departure from the principles set out in the UKAHPP Code of Practice and Ethical Principles and the registrant’s behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with the responsibilities of being a registrant;
  • A deliberate or reckless disregard for client safety and the principles set out in the UKAHPP Code of Practice and Ethical Principles;
  • Doing serious harm to clients or others deliberately or through incompetence and where there is a continuing risk to clients;
  • Abuse of position, status or trust;
  • Violation of a client’s rights;
  • Client exploitation, particularly exploitation of vulnerable clients;
  • Offences of a sexual nature, including involvement in child pornography;
  • Offences involving violence – physical or psychological;
  • Dishonesty, especially where persistent and or covered up;
  • Where a registrant puts their own interests before those of their clients; and/or
  • Persistent lack of registrant insight into the seriousness or consequences of their actions.

12.4 If a panel decides that a registrant’s name should be terminated from the UKAHPP register, the panel must implement an immediate interim suspension order before publicly announcing the termination on the UKAHPP website and to other registers. Terminations will not take effect until the time has passed for a Registrant to appeal against the Termination Order; the interim suspension order will remain in force for the duration of the appeal process.

12.5 A registrant whose registration has been terminated may apply for restoration of registration five years after the date of their termination of registration has elapsed in accordance with the UKAHPP published restoration of registration procedure. If such an application is made, the registrant must first satisfy a Review Panel that they have remedied any deficiencies identified through the Complaints process that led to their removal from the Register.

13. Other Sanction Considerations

Convictions, cautions and determination allegations

13.1 Convictions refer to a decision by a criminal court in the UK, or those that take place in another country where the same and/or similar offence is known in English law.

13.2 Cautions refer to known offences committed in the UK or overseas where no court proceedings took place because the registrant admitted the offence and criminal proceedings were considered unnecessary.

13.3 Determinations refer to decisions about a registrant’s professional standing or fitness to practice made by another UK statutory or voluntary health related register holder or regulator.

13.4 Unless a panel receives contrary evidence that challenges the identity of a registrant, it must accept the determinations of other register holders and regulators.

13.5 With regards to determinations imposed by other register holders and regulators, investigation into a registrant’s fitness to practice cannot be conducted for a second time for the same offence.

13.6 As the range of sanctions applied by different register holders and regulators may vary significantly, the purpose of a panel would be to determine the degree of a registrant’s fitness to practice in respect of practice under the auspices of the UKAHPP Code of Practice and Ethical Principles.

13.7 It is a UKAHPP requirement for registrants to declare if:

  • They have been charged with or found guilty of a criminal offence; and/or
  • Another professional body has made a finding against their registration as a result of fitness to practise proceedings.

13.8 As a general principle, where a registrant has been convicted of a serious criminal offence or offences, they should not be permitted to resume unrestricted practice until they have completed their sentence.

Dishonesty 

13.9 In accordance with the UKAHPP Code of Conduct and Ethical Principles, a registrant’s must exercise honest and trustworthy conduct in respect of all aspects of their practice. This includes matters relating to finance, commercial arrangements, data protection, and conflicts of interest.

13.10 Although it may not result in direct harm to clients, dishonesty related to matters outside a registrant’s practice can have serious implications. Accordingly, such conduct can undermine public trust in the profession.

13.11 Examples of dishonesty in professional practice could include:

  • Defrauding an organisation or employer;
  • Falsifying or improperly amending client records;
  • Submitting or providing false references;
  • Inaccurate or misleading information on a CV; and/or
  • Failure to ensure that statements made in formal documents are accurate.

13.12 Research misconduct is another example of dishonesty and can include presenting misleading information and misrepresentation of findings for commercial or other reasons.

Failing to provide acceptable care

13.13 This concerns circumstances in which a registrant has not acted in a client’s best interests and has failed to provide adequate care and attention to client needs, particularly where there is a deliberate or reckless disregard for client safety.

13.14 There are cases where a registrant’s failings are irremediable. This is because they are so serious or persistent that, despite steps subsequently taken, action is needed to maintain public confidence. This might include where a registrant clearly knew, or ought to have known, they were causing harm to patients and should have taken steps earlier to prevent or remedy this.

 

PART D: Cases That Indicate More Serious Action

14. Failure to Raise Concerns

14.1 All registrants have a right to, and responsibility for, creating a professional culture which allows colleagues to openly and safely raise concerns about practice.

14.2 In order to avoid serious consequences, a reasonable and responsible registrant is more likely to raise concerns when:

  • There is reason to believe a colleague’s fitness to practise is impaired and may present a risk to client safety;
  • A client’s need do not receiving sufficient and adequate attention;
  • Clients are at risk because of in adequate premises, equipment or other resources, policies or procedures; and/or
  • There is a legal duty to respond to and report serious concerns.

14.3 Where a registrant repeatedly fails to raise concerns over an extended period, and/or has failed to raise concerns that present a serious risk to client safety, a panel should consider whether it is appropriate to remove or suspend registration in order to maintain public confidence in the profession.

15. Failure to Work Collaboratively With Colleagues

15.1 Registrants are expected to work collaboratively with colleagues to maintain or improve client care.

15.2 More serious consequences are likely if there are serious findings that involve:

  • Bullying
  • Sexual harassment
  • Physical violence towards colleagues
  • Unlawful discrimination.

16. Discrimination Against Clients, Colleagues and Others

16.1 Registrants must treat clients and colleagues fairly irrespective of any protected characteristic and/or their life choices and beliefs. This includes views about a client or colleague’s lifestyle, culture and social-economic status.

16.2 More serious outcomes are likely to be appropriate where a case involves discrimination as defined by equality legislation against clients, colleagues or other people who share protected characteristics, either within or outside their professional life.

17. Abuse of Professional Position

17.1 Registrants must not use their professional position to pursue a sexual or improper emotional relationship with a client or someone close to them.

17.2 Personal relationships with former clients or someone close to them may also be inappropriate depending on:

  • The nature of the previous professional relationship;
  • The length of time since professional contact ended – a registrant must not end a professional relationship with a client solely to pursue a personal relationship with them;
  • The vulnerability of the client; and/or
  • Whether the registrant is caring for other members of the family.

Vulnerable clients

17.3 A registrant will have greater safeguarding responsibilities when working with vulnerable clients. Some clients are likely to be more vulnerable than others because of certain characteristics or circumstances, such as:

  • presence of mental health issues;
  • being a child or young person under the age of 18 years;
  • disability or frailty;
  • bereavement; and/or
  • history of abuse or neglect.

17.4 Using their professional position to pursue a sexual or improper emotional relationship with a vulnerable client is an aggravating factor that increases the gravity of the concern and is likely to require more serious action against a registrant.

Predatory behaviour

17.5 If a registrant has demonstrated predatory behaviour, motivated by a desire to establish a sexual or inappropriate emotional relationship with a client, there is a significant risk to client safety and to public confidence. The most serious of action is likely to be taken by a panel where there is evidence of:

  • Inappropriate use of social networking sites to approach a client outside the professional relationship;
  • Use of personal contact details from medical records to approach a client outside the professional relationship; and/or
  • Visiting a client’s home without an appointment or valid professional reason.

18. Sexual Misconduct

18.1 This encompasses a wide range of conduct from criminal convictions for sexual assault and sexual abuse of children, including child pornography, to sexual misconduct with clients, client’s relatives, colleagues or others.

18.2 Any registrant who has been convicted of, or has received a caution for, a sexual offence must report the matter to UKAHPP. For the avoidance of doubt, sexual offences include accessing, viewing, or other involvement in child pornography, which involves the exploitation or abuse of a child. These offences are in breach of the principles set out in UKAHPP Code of Practice and Ethical Principles and seriously undermine client safety and public confidence in the profession.

18.3 Taking, making, distributing or showing with a view to distribute, publish, or possess, an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child is illegal and regarded in UK society as morally unacceptable. For these reasons, where there is any involvement in child pornography by are registrant, a panel should usually consider this a serious breach of the UKAHPP Codes and take the strongest of actions, including the suspension and/or termination of the Registrant’s membership.

18.4 Anyone convicted of child pornography offences will be recorded on the sex offenders register. Where Panels impose a Condition of Practice or Suspension Order, they must ensure that cases are reviewed by a Review Panel so as to allow for the extension of sanctions if appropriate.

18.5 When a Review Panel considers cases where the registrant has completed the prescribed period of registration as a sex offender (which is dependent on the nature and gravity of the offence) and is no longer required to register as a sex offender, the panel should take into account the following matters when determining whether it is appropriate for the Conditions to be removed and/or suspension to be lifted:

  • The seriousness of the original offence;
  • Evidence about the registrant’s response to any treatment or rehabilitation programme they have undertaken;
  • Any insight demonstrated by the registrant;
  • The likelihood of the registrant reoffending;
  • The possible risk to clients and the wider public if the registrant were allowed to resume unrestricted practice; and
  • The possible damage to the public’s trust in the profession if the registrant were allowed to resume unrestricted practice.

18.6 Each case should be considered on its merits and decisions should be taken in the light of circumstances relating to the case.

19. Drug or Alcohol Misuse and Misconduct or a Criminal Offence 

19.1 Registrants are expected to uphold the law. This includes matters relating to the use of drugs and alcohol. Any serious or persistent failure in this regard that puts clients at risk or undermines public confidence in the profession places registration at risk.

19.2 If a registrant suffers from drug or alcohol addiction, they must take appropriate steps to make sure this does not affect client safety.

19.3 While misuse of drugs or alcohol is serious, and not solely where linked to criminal conduct, there are certain factors that aggravate these issues. The aggravating factors that are likely to lead a panel to consider taking more serious action are:

  • Intoxication in the workplace and/or whilst attending on clients;
  • Misuse of alcohol or drugs that has impacted on the quality of a registrant’s practice and performance;
  • Where the conduct has caused serious harm to clients or places public safety at serious risk;
  • Misuse of alcohol or drugs that has resulted n violence, bullying or misconduct of a sexual nature; and/or
  • Misuse of alcohol or drugs that led to a criminal conviction, particularly where a custodial sentence was imposed. 

PART E:

20. Review Panels

20.1 It is important that no registrant is allowed to resume unrestricted practice following a period of conditional registration or suspension until a review panel considers the facts and has determined that sanctions can be removed. Where registration has been terminated by an Adjudication Panel and (where applicable) that decision has been upheld on appeal, a Review Panel must be convened prior to re-admission.

20.2 In some misconduct cases involving a short suspension or condition of re-training, there may be no value in conducting a formal review panel hearing. However, in most cases where a period of suspension is imposed and in all cases where conditions have been imposed, the public will need to be reassured that a registrant is fit to resume unrestricted practice. If a Review Panel is not so satisfied, a further period of restricted practice may be appropriate.

20.3 A review hearing will allow a panel to determine whether the registrant can produce objective evidence that:

  • They fully appreciate the gravity of the offence upheld against their practice;
  • They have not reoffended;
  • They have maintained and attended to skills and knowledge deficiencies; and/or
  • Clients will not be placed at risk by unrestricted practice or by further conditions restricting registration.

20.4 Where a panel has found that a registrant has not complied with sanctions and registration conditions, it will need to consider carefully whether this breach was deliberate or caused by other factors. If deliberate, a more serious outcome is likely to be appropriate.

20.5 Where it is clear that a registrant has chosen not to comply with sanction conditions a panel may direct that:

  • In the case of an existing Condition of Practice or Suspension order, that such orders be extended for a period of up to 12 months;
  • The registrant is referred back to the Complaints Procedure for further action to be taken, including potential removal from the UKAHPP Register.

20.6 A Review Panel may not impose a more serious sanction than that imposed by an Adjudication Panel.

20.7 In cases that solely involve a registrant’s health, a Review Panel may choose to suspend registration indefinitely.

20.8 Where a review hearing cannot be concluded before sanctions have expired, a panel can issue a short extension to allow a hearing to be convened.

20.9 When considering additional or extending sanctions, a Review Panel may take into account any written undertakings offered by the Registrant which it considers insufficient to protect members of the public and the public interest. This is provided that the registrant agrees that the UKAHPP may disclose these undertakings to the following persons/organisations:

  • Their employer;
  • An organisation with whom they are contracted to provide their professional services; and/or
  • Other professional bodies and regulators, whether or that Register is statutorily protected.

21. Interim Suspension and Conditions Orders

21.1 In exceptional cases, a Review Panel may impose an immediate order if it determines that it is necessary to protect clients or is otherwise in the public interest. Such cases are likely to relate to repeated misconduct, fitness to practice concerns or the registrant being committed of a criminal offence. Such an order may also be imposed where it is in the Registrant’s best interests.

21.2 Where such an Order is made, the Registrant must be referred back to the Complaints Procedure.

21.3 A panel should balance the factors set out in paragraph 21.1 above against other interests of the registrant. This includes their desire to work pending an Adjudication Panel and the wider public interest.

21.3 A panel will need to bear in mind that any registrant whose case is under investigation will have been made aware of the date of an adjudication hearing and the possible consequences well in advance of the hearing. Consequently, a registrant and their employer will have had adequate time to make arrangements with the registrant’s clients should an immediate order restricting the registrant’s practice be imposed. The service of a therapeutic executor to contact clients would be appropriate as a last resort for a registrant in private practice.

 

Appendix: Summary of Sanction and Interim Suspension Orders

 

Introduction

This document is to be read in conjunction with Indicative Sanctions Guidance which will be provided to all adjudication and appeal panel members by the UKAHPP Ethics Committee to assist decision making in the discharge of the UKAHPP Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures.

Though the term ‘Registrant’ is referred to in the Complaints Procedure and the terms ‘Member’ and ‘Officer’ are referred to in the Disciplinary Procedure, this is a generic document and unless stated the terms are in the main interchangeable, referring to the person whose conduct is under investigation.

In determining sanctions, a panel’s primary function is to weigh the severity of allegations made against a registrant’s fitness to practice and the proven facts. Decisions should take into account client safety and public protection, balanced against a registrant’s right to earn a living.

The following outlines the options available to panels and procedural requirements.

1. No Action and Remediation

1.1 If an Adjudication Panel believes that a complaint is false, incomplete, unproven or is exceedingly minor in nature and sanctions would be of no value to either party or of benefit to the public, it will rule that there is no case to answer and will remove all reference to the Investigation from the Registrant/Member’s personal file.

1.2 The Registrant/Member will receive a letter from the General Secretary normally within 7 days of the Adjudication Hearing confirming that there is no case to answer and that sanctions have not been applied.

1.3 In such cases, the General Secretary may assist the member to attain support and guidance if required.

1.4 If allegations are of a minor and isolated nature and if the Registrant/Member admits to the allegations, it may be suggested that the registrant offers an apology. A panel may not require the registrant to offer an apology, nor can a refusal to do so be recorded in the Registrant/Member’s personal file.

1.5 Remediation is where a registrant addresses concerns about their knowledge, skills, conduct or behaviour by acknowledging they have made an error and taking steps to rectify any client harm and damage to public confidence in the profession. This is usually marked by initiating additional training, coaching, mentoring or supervision. Where fully successful, the need for imposing sanctions is unlikely.

1.6 However, there are some cases where a Registrant’s failings cannot be remediated and additional action is required to protect the public and/or restore public confidence in the profession. This is of particular relevance when a registrant knew or ought to have known that they were causing harm to clients and should have taken steps earlier to prevent this. In such serious cases a panel must fully and clearly explain:

  • The extent to which issues can and cannot be remediated;
  • The steps taken by the registrant to remediate any harm and with reference to the timing of their responses; and
  • How the seriousness of the findings – including the registrant’s failure to take steps earlier informs the panel’s decision making.

2. Written Warning

2.1 The Adjudication Panel may issue a Written Warning if the Registrant/Member’s practice/conduct is not so serious that it poses a threat to client safety, making more severe sanctions disproportionate.

2.2 Improvement and Conditions of Practice Orders may be issued in conjunction with a Written Warning.

2.3 A Written Warning will be issued to the Registrant/Member by a Panel via the General Secretary, normally within 7 days of a hearing. It will detail the nature of the misconduct and the improvements required. The letter will also state that further action may be taken if there is no improvement in the Registrant/Member’s practice/conduct and/or a further complaint of a similar nature is received within 12 months and deemed proven through the Complaints Procedure.

2.4 A copy of a Written Warning will remain on the member’s personal file for 12 months.

2.5 The Registrant/Member will normally be informed of their right to submit in writing an appeal against a Written Warning and accompanying orders, to the General Secretary within 14 days of the order being issued stating how they believe proceedings have not been applied in accordance with the published Procedure and how they believe a Written Warning and accompanying orders are unfair or disproportionate.

2.6 A Written Warning with accompanying Improvement and Conditions of Practice Orders will appear on the public area of the UKAHPP Website and be recorded on the UKAHPP Register.

3. Final Written Warning

3.1 A Final Written Warning may be issued if a second complaint of a similar nature is received within 12 months and an Adjudication Panel believes there has been no improvement in the Registrant/Member’s practice/conduct following a Written Warning, but the seriousness of the misconduct does not justify more serve sanctions.

3.2 Improvement and Conditions of Practice Orders may be issued in conjunction with a Final Written Warning.

3.3 A Final Written Warning will normally be issued to the Registrant/Member by a Panel via the General Secretary, within 7 days of a hearing, detailing the nature of the misconduct, the improvements required, the timescale for improvement, and date of review. The letter will also state that further disciplinary action, including the suspension of membership/registration or dismissal, may be taken if improvements are not made.

3.4 The General Secretary will normally contact the Registrant/Member in writing 14 days before the specified date of the adjudication panel hearing, outlining how the review will be conducted and what evidence the member must provide. The General Secretary will also confirm the format of the review, joining instructions and who will be in attendance.

3.5 A copy of the Final Written Warning will normally remain on the Registrant/Member’s personal file for 2 years, subject to satisfactory improvement and completion of any Improvement and Conditions of Practice Orders.

3.6 A Final Written Warning with accompanying Improvement Order and Conditions of Practice Order will appear on the public area of the UKAHPP Website and be recorded on the UKAHPP Register.

3.7 The Registrant/Member will normally be informed of their right to submit in writing an appeal against a Final Written Warning and accompanying orders, to the General Secretary within 14 days of the order being issued, stating how they believe proceedings have not been applied in accordance with the published Procedure and OR how they believe a Final Written Warning and accompanying orders are unfair or disproportionate.

4. Undertakings Agreed with the Registrant

4.1 Undertakings are agreed between the Registrant and the UKAHPP Ethics Committee restricting the Registrant’s practice or behaviour, including the registrant’s agreement to undertake additional supervision or retraining.

4.2 A Registrant may negotiate undertakings to remediate concerns, at the discretion of the UKAHPP Ethics Committee, via the General Secretary and Chair of Ethics Committee (or their nominated deputies) prior to, or at the onset of, an investigation.

4.3 Undertakings can also be agreed at the discretion of an Adjudication Panel if the Panel considers the undertaking to be sufficient to protect the public.

4.4 Undertakings are a binding agreement and as such will be communicated to the registrant in writing by the General Secretary normally within 14 days of being agreed. That written communication will set out all terms and conditions of the undertaking, including any timescales and the consequences of any breach of the undertaking.

4.5 Undertakings will also be subject to review by the UKAHPP Ethics Committee upon completion.

5. Improvement and Conditions of Practice Orders

5.1 Where there is minimum risk of harm to the public and if the nature of the Registrant/Member’s practice/conduct does not warrant a Dismissal Order, a Panel may issue an Improvement Order.

5.2 An Improvement Order requires the Registrant/Member to undertake additional, training, supervision and or therapy.

5.3 An Improvement Order can be in place for a maximum of 3 years and be renewed by a Review Panel for a further 3 years as necessary.

5.4 An Improvement Order may be issued in addition to a Written Warning, Final Written Warning and Suspension Order, and in conjunction with a Conditions of Practice Order.

5.5 Conditions of Practice Orders allow a Registrant/Member to continue in practice subjects to specific conditions and restrictions.

5.6 Conditions of Practice Orders can be in force for a maximum of 12 months and can be renewed for a further 12 months by a Review Panel as necessary.

5.7 The Registrant/Member will be informed of any Improvement and Conditions of Practice Orders in writing by the General Secretary, normally within 7 days of the hearing.

5.8 The Registrant/Member will also be informed that further action may be taken if they to do not comply with the orders or if there are any further complaints about their practice/conduct.

5.9 All reference to an Improvement and Conditions of Practice Orders will normally be removed from the Registrant/Member’s personal file, 6 months following completion of all requirements.

5.10 The Registrant/Member must inform the General Secretary when all Improvement Order requirements have been complied with, providing evidence of the same.

5.11 Improvement and Conditions of Practice Orders will appear on the UKAHPP Hearings and Determination website page and be recorded on UKAHPP Register.

6. Suspension Order

6.1 If a complaint is upheld and is of a serious nature, a Panel may issue a Suspension Order preventing the Registrant/Member from practicing under the auspices of UKAHPP whilst an Improvement Order is in force.

6.2 In issuing a Suspension Order, a panel must balance the interests of the Registrant/Member and their capacity to earn a living with the organisation’s commitment to public protection.

6.3 Panels may impose a Suspension Order that is no longer than 12 months in length.

6.4 If a Suspension Order is issued as a result of a practice issue, the Order will be recorded on the UKAHHP Register and appear on the UKAHPP website.

6.4 A copy of a Suspension Order will normally remain on the Registrant/Member’s personal file for 1 year, subject to satisfactory completion of any Improvement Order and any extension that is imposed by a Review Panel.

6.5 An Improvement Order could remain in force after a Suspension Order has expired.

6.6 A Suspension Order will normally be issued to the Registrant/Member by a Panel via the General Secretary, within 7 days of the hearing, detailing the conditions of suspension and any Improvement Order requirements, timescales and date of review. The letter will also state that further action may be taken if there is no improvement, and that termination may be considered by a fresh Adjudication Panel were appropriate.

6.7 The General Secretary will normally contact the Registrant/Member in writing 14 days before the specified review date, outlining how the review will be conducted and the evidence the member must provide. The General Secretary will also confirm the format of the review, joining instructions and who will be in attendance.

6.8 The Registrant/Member will be informed of their right to submit in writing an appeal against a Suspension Order and accompanying orders to the General Secretary within 14 days of the order being issued, stating how they believe proceedings have not been applied in accordance with published Procedure and/or how they believe a Suspension Order and accompanying orders are unfair or disproportionate.

7. Termination and Dismissal Orders

7.1 In accordance with Article 4 of the UKAHPP Articles of Association: ‘The directors shall have right for good and sufficient reason to terminate the membership of any member PROVIDED ALWAYS that the member concerned shall have a right to be heard before a final decision is made’. Authority for discharging this function sits solely with the Ethics Committee in accordance with the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure.

7.2 A Dismissal Order should only be used as a last resort where there is a serious and realistic threat to public protection and other options have been exhausted or are simply not proportionate to the threat. A balance must be struck between the interests of the Registrant/Member and their right to earn a living, against UKAHPP’s commitment to public protection.

7.3 A Panel may issue a Dismissal Order if it can be proven that the Registrant/Member:

  • Is unfit to practice;
  • Is a threat to public safety as the consequence of serious, deliberate or reckless breaches of trust involving sexual, psychological, physical, racial or financial abuse – and other remedies are not appropriate; and/or
  • Their general conduct is seriously prejudicial to the good standing of the UKAHPP or to their status as a practitioner.

7.4 A Dismissal Orders for practice related issues will appear on the UKAHPP Hearings and Determinations website page and be recorded on the UKAHPP Register for a minimum of 5 years.

7.5 With regards to the UKAHPP Disciplinary Procedure, a Dismissal Order should only be issued as a last resort after all other options have been exhausted. An Adjudication Panel may issue a Dismissal Order in response to matters of gross professional misconduct under the following circumstances:

  • When an Adjudication Panel is re-convened after Disciplinary Action has failed to resolve concerns about the conduct of a Registrant/Member; and/or
  • Where the Adjudication Panel rules that an officer’s conduct or performance has been negligent, resulting in a breach of duty or breach of trust;
  • Where the Adjudication Panel is satisfied that a member has acted in a way that is seriously prejudicial to the good standing of the UKAHPP and their professional status.

7.6 A Dismissal Order may be issued removing a member from UKAHPP Office with immediate effect, but without removing UKAHPP Membership and Registration, provided that the officer concerned shall have a right of appeal against this decision.

7.7 UKAHPP Membership may also be removed with immediate effect (whether the member is registered or not) for gross professional misconduct including:

  • Deliberate falsification of expenses claims;
  • Deliberate or negligent disclosure of personal and confidential data about the association, members or service users;
  • Convictions of a criminal offence that undermine a member’s ability to carry out their role as an officer of the association;
  • Repeated acts of misconduct;
  • Use of abusive or offensive language or behaviour, including physical violence, in a professional capacity or in the performance of any official duties;
  • Bullying, harassment, physical or sexual abuse of any colleague or member of the public;
  • Actual or intended, malicious disruption of UKAHPP business and functions;
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs whilst performing official duties;
  • Theft, misappropriation or unlawful destruction of UKAHPP assets/property;
  • Deliberate or negligent misuse of UKAHPP equipment or materials;
  • Failure to abide or knowingly not abide with the UKAHPP constitution, and governance requirements including statutory and other professional requirements governing UKAHPP;
  • Misrepresenting or falsifying personal information about experience, qualifications, capabilities or performance relevant to the member’s registration, accreditation or appointment; and/or
  • Failure to declare significant conflicts of interest.

7.8 Removal of UKAHPP Membership for non-practice related issues will prevent a Registrant from maintaining ‘Registered in Practice’ status on the UKAHPP Register of Humanistic Psychotherapists and Psychotherapeutic Counsellors even though their registration status has not been compromised. On completion of any Appeal process and to avoid public confusion about whether a Registrant’s practice is still endorsed by UKAHPP, their name will be retained on the public register for 6 months, with ‘Membership Lapsed’ status. No entry will be made on the website Hearings and Determinations page.

7.9 If there is any doubt about a non-practiced related issue investigated under the UKAHPP Disciplinary Procedure impacting on ‘public protection’ and a Registrant’s ‘fitness to practice’, the matter will be handed to the UKAHPP Ethic Committee for investigation under the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure.

7.10 The General Secretary will normally confirm in writing within 7 days of the date of the Dismissal Order, confirming the reasons for the dismissal, enforcement details and the Registrant/Member’s right to submit an appeal against the decision.

7.11 An appeal must be submitted to the General Secretary within 14 days of a Dismissal Order being issued, stating how the Registrant/Member believes proceedings have not been applied in accordance with published Procedure and/or how they believe a Dismissal Order is unfair and disproportionate.

7.12 Once the deadline for submitting an appeal has expired or an appeal has been completed, the General Secretary will inform the UKAHPP Registrar of the outcome of practice related complaints, to allow for adjustment to the UKAHPP Register of Humanistic Psychotherapists and Psychotherapeutic Counsellors as necessary. The Registrar will inform other registers and agencies the Registrant has affiliation, including employers such as the NHS and Social Services.

8. Restoration of Registration

8.1 If a person’s UKAHPP Registration has been terminated under the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure, they may submit an application to re-register not less than three years after the date of their termination. The former Registrant is required to submit:

  • A statement demonstrating learning about the issues resulting in their termination; and
  • A report from a Registered Supervisor with UKAHPP Psychotherapist or Psychotherapeutic Counsellor Accreditation in support of their re-registration.

8.2 The application will be assessed by a Review Panel prior to normal verification. The committee will include:

  • UKAHPP Membership Secretary, or their nominated deputy;
  • UKAHPP Ethics Committee Chair, or their nominated deputy;
  • UKAHPP Registrar, or their nominated deputy; and
  • Two UKAHPP Registered Members.
    • Additional Members with special knowledge may be co-opted to the Review Panel were necessary.

8.4 In addition to standard requirements, the committee may apply special conditions on the ex-registrant’s practice, if re-accreditation is approved.

8.5 An ex-registrant can make one application for re-registration in any 12 month period.

9. Interim Suspension Order

9.1 In exceptional circumstances where there is a significant concern about further offences and risk to public protection, or where there is concern about a Registrant/Member pending an investigation, the General Secretary (and subsequently the Ethics Committee) may suspend a Registrant/Member from practicing under the auspice of the UKAHPP pending investigation as a precautionary measure. In doing so, they must balance the interests of a Registrant/Member to earn a living with the organisation’s commitment to public protection.

9.2 There can be no appeal against an Interim Suspension Order, but its continuation will be reviewed at each stage of a procedure.

9.3 An Interim Suspension Order will automatically be issued by the Ethics Committee via the General Secretary when a Registrant/Member Appeals against a Panel’s decision to issue a Suspension Order or a Dismissal Order, and will remain in force until the Appeals process has been completed.

9.4 The General Secretary will write to the Registrant/Member informing them of the conditions of an Interim Suspension Order.

9.5 An Interim Suspension Order is a precautionary not a disciplinary action and can be removed at any stage of proceedings.

9.6 With regards to practice issues, an Interim Suspension Order will be recorded on the UKAHPP Register and published in the public domain of the UKAHPP website with an explanatory note emphasising that due to the seriousness of allegations, the order has been served in the interest of public as a safeguarding measure whilst a full investigation is conducted.

9.7 The duration of an Interim Suspension Order will not be deducted from any substantive Suspension Order that may be subsequently issued unless the Adjudication Panel orders otherwise.

9.8 If, on completion of the investigation process, it is decided that no further Procedural action will be taken, the General Secretary will write to the Registrant/Member informing them that the Suspension Order has been removed with immediately effect, their Registration/Membership rights have been restored, and that all record of the Order has been deleted from the their UKAHPP personal file.

10. Review Panels

10.1 It is important that no registrant is allowed to resume practice following a period where sanctions have been applied a registrant’s registration without proper review.

10.2 In some misconduct cases, it may be self-evident that there will be no value in a review hearing following a short period of suspension or re-training. However, in most cases where a period of suspension is imposed (and in all cases where conditions have been imposed), the public will need to be reassured that a registrant is fit to resume practice – either unrestricted or with conditions.

10.3 Before sanctions have expired, the UKAHPP Ethics Committee will write to the registrant via the General Secretary requesting evidence of compliance with sanction conditions. Evidence may be requested from other sources as necessary.

10.4 If the evidence provided affirms compliance with sanction conditions, the Ethics Committee will confirm this in writing with the registrant via the General Secretary, normally within 14 days of sanctions expiring. The Ethics Committee will notify the UKAHPP Registrar of the fact so as to allow adjustments to the UKAHPP Register and changes to the website.

10.5 If the Ethics Committee is not reassured that sanction conditions have been complied with or if it is evident that the registrant has not complied with sanction conditions, a Review Panel will be called. The Review Panel will consist of at least:

  • one Ethics Committee Member;
  • one lay member;
  • and one UKAHPP Registered Member holding UKAHPP Accreditation.

10.6 Additional members can be co-opted as necessary.

10.7 The Review Panel may consider the matter in private or call the registrant to attend a formal Review Panel Hearing, the details of which will be communicated to the registrant normally within 14 days of the hearing and in line with provisions relating to Adjudication Panel hearings as set out in the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure.

10.8 Where a review hearing cannot be concluded before sanctions have expired, a Review Panel may unilaterally issue a short extension to allow a hearing to be convened.

10.9 The Review Panel will determine whether the registrant can produce objective evidence showing that:

  • They fully appreciate the gravity of the offence;
  • They have not reoffended;
  • They have maintained their skills and knowledge; and/or
  • Clients will not be placed at risk by resumption of practice or by the imposition of conditional registration.

10.10 Where it is clear that a registrant has chosen not to comply with the imposed conditions, a Review Panel may direct that:

  • In the case of an existing suspension order, that it is extended for a further period of up to 12 months;
  • Impose additional sanctions for a period up to 3 years; and/or
  • Direct that the matter be remitted to an Adjudication Panel to consider imposing fresh sanctions.

10.11 A Review Panel cannot impose a more serious sanction than that which has previously been imposed.

10.12 The Ethics Committee will write to the Registrant via the General Secretary normally within 14 days of the hearing outlining the Review Panel’s determinations and the consequences should the registrant not comply with them. A copy will be forwarded to the UKAHPP Registrar who will update the UKAHPP Register and website accordingly. The UKAHPP Registrar will also notify other organisations and register holders where appropriate as necessary.