Summary of Sanction and Interim Suspension Orders

Introduction

This summary is to be viewed in consultation with Indicative Sanctions Guidance documents available from the UKAHPP Ethics Committee. It is intended for the use of Adjudication and Appeals Panels for consistency purposes 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.

The severity of a complaint in respect of public safety and fitness to practice must be considered when determining whether Sanction Orders are to be applied. Public protection interests should be balanced against a Member’s right to earn a living. Sanction Orders are not necessarily applied chronologically.

1. No Action

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 they offer an apology – this would not be an official order or instruction and will not be recorded in the Registrant/Member’s personal file.

2. Written Warning

2.1 The Adjudication Panel may issue a Written Warning if:

  • There has been no improvement in the Registrant/Member’s practice/conduct whilst a Verbal Warning is in force.
  • Additional complaints/concerns have been received about a Registrant/Member’s practice/conduct whilst a Verbal Warning is in force.
  • The Registrant/Member’s practice/conduct is of serious concern that a Verbal Warning would be inappropriate.

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, the improvements required, the timescale for improving conduct and a review date. The letter will also state that further action may be taken if there is no improvement in the Registrant/Member’s practice/conduct.

2.4 The General Secretary will write to the Registrant/Member 14 days before the specified review date, outlining how the review will be conducted and what evidence the Registrant/Member must provide. The General Secretary will also confirm the format of the review, joining instructions and who is entitled to attend.

2.5 A copy of a Written Warning will remain on the member’s personal file for 12 months, subject to satisfactory improvement and completion of performance improvement requirements.

2.6 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.

2.7 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:

  • There is no improvement in the Registrant/Member’s practice/conduct following a Written Warning but the seriousness of the misconduct does not justify a Dismissal Order.
  • Additional complaints/concerns have been received about a Registrant/Member’s practice/conduct whilst a Written Warning is in force.
  • The Registrant/Member’s practice/conduct is of such a serious nature that a Written Warning would be insufficient and Dismissal would be too harsh a penalty.

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 suspension of membership/registration or dismissal may be taken if the required improvements are not made.

3.4 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 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. Order and Conditions of Practice Order

4.1 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.

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

4.3 An Improvement Order can be in place for a maximum of 3 years.

4.4 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.

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

4.6 Conditions of Practice Orders can be in force for a maximum of 12 months.

4.7 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.

4.8 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.

4.9 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.

4.10 The Registrant/Member must inform the General Secretary when all Improvement Order requirements have been complied with.

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

5. Suspension Order

5.1 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.

5.2 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.

5.3 A Suspension Order can be in force for a maximum of 12 months and if related to a practice issue will be recorded on the UKAHHP Register and appear on the UKAHPP website.

5.4 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.

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

5.6 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, including dismissal, may be taken if there is no improvement.

5.7 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.

5.8 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 OR how they believe a Suspension Order and accompanying orders are unfair or disproportionate.

6. Termination and Dismissal Orders

6.1 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 for no-practice based issues will be progressed in accordance with the UKAHPP Disciplinary Procedure. Fitness to practice issues will be progressed in accordance with the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure.

6.2 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.

6.3 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.
  • Their general conduct is seriously prejudicial to the good standing of the UKAHPP or to their status as a practitioner.

6.4 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.

6.5 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. A Disciplinary Panel may issue a Dismissal Order in response to matters of gross professional misconduct under the following circumstances:

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

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

6.7 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
  • Failure to declare significant conflicts of interest

6.8 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.

6.9 If there is any doubt about a no-practice 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.

6.10 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.

6.11 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 OR how they believe a Dismissal Order is unfair and disproportionate.

6.12 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.

7. Restoration of Registration

7.1 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.
  • A report from a Registered Supervisor with UKAHPP Psychotherapist or Psychotherapeutic Counsellor Accreditation in support of their re-registration

7.2 The application will be assessed by a special committee prior to normal verification. The committee will include:

  • UKAHPP Membership Secretary – or their deputy
  • UKAHPP Ethics Committee Chair or their deputy
  • UKAHPP Registrar – or their deputy
  • Two UKAHPP Registered Members
  • Additional Members with special knowledge may be co-opted as necessary

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

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

8. Interim Suspension Order

8.1 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 impeding investigation, the General Secretary and subsequently the Ethics Committee, as a precautionary measure may suspend a Registrant/Member from practicing under the auspice of the UKAHPP pending investigation. In doing so they must balance the interests of a Registrant/Member to earn a living with the organisation’s commitment to public protection.

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

8.3 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.

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

8.5 As an Interim Suspension Order is a precautionary not a disciplinary action and can be removed at any stage of proceedings. 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.

8.6 The duration of an Interim Suspension Order will not be deducted from any substantive Suspension Order that may be subsequently issued.

8.7 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 resorted and that all record of the Order has been deleted from the their UKAHPP personal file.

June 2018

 

Ref:      United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy – Indicative Sanctions Guidance

Health & Care Professions Council – Indicative Sanctions Policy

General Medical Council – Sanctions Guidance.