Case closed! Investigation Committees

Investigation Committees (IC) decide whether there is a case to answer in a fitness to practise allegation and have the power to close a case with no action.

Understanding Investigation Committees

Investigation Committees (IC) decide whether there is a case to answer in a fitness to practise allegation and can close a case with no action.  ICs are usually made up of a panel of three or four, a mix of professionals and lay people.

The panel must be reasonably satisfied that:

  • the facts of an allegation can be proved, and that if proved
  • those facts could lead to a finding that your fitness to practise is currently impaired.

Investigation Committees usually meet in private (with the exception of the GMC) to consider all the supporting information, including evidence you might have submitted.

Investigation Committees have a range of powers, including to:

  • issue warnings
  • conclude with no action
  • refer the case to a  full Fitness to Practise Committee.

Your right to respond

You will have opportunities to respond to the allegation(s) and complaints made against you.  This forms part of the fitness to practise investigation and the evidence considered by the IC when deciding what action, if any, is necessary.

You should seek legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity.  Early engagement with an expert fitness to practise defence lawyer will mean that your responses will be comprehensive, well considered and submitted at the right opportunity.

How does the committee reach a decision? The real prospect test

When deciding on the outcome, the IC will decide whether there is a real prospect of an allegation being proven before a Fitness to Practise Committee. This is the ‘real prospect’ test.

The panel must be reasonably satisfied that:

  • the facts of an allegation can be proved, and that if proved
  • those facts could lead to a finding your fitness to practise is currently impaired.

In applying the real prospect test, each of the allegations will be considered in turn in light of the evidence. 

It is important to note that the real prospect test does not seek to prove that the complaint(s) or allegation(s) are true.  The test merely seeks to ensure the evidence which supports the complaint(s) or allegation(s) would be sufficient to prove the allegation.

The key point here is that a fitness to practise allegation or complaint should not be referred to a full Fitness to Practise Committee unless there is a real prospect (that is, a real possibility) of the facts being proved will show current impairment.

Insight and remediation

Since the ‘real prospect’ test considers current impairment, Investigation Committees will consider your insight and steps taken to remediate.  It is at this stage of the process where you can often have the greatest impact on the decision-making.  Evidence of real insight and remediation can result in an investigation being closed at an early stage.

However, it is vital that you seek legal advice on the right strategy and approach when considering insight and remediation in the context of the real prospect test.  

Kings View offers Insight Works Training, unique and practical courses focusing on impairment, reflection, insight, and remediation at highly competitive prices.

What you can expect when instructing us?

Kings View are specialist medical defence barristers.  For over a decade, we have represented hundreds of health and care professionals facing fitness to practise investigations and hearings.

We pride ourselves on complete transparency and all quotations are given with fixed fees for preparation and representation, agreed in advance and payable in stages. No hidden costs ever.

If you are facing fitness to practise investigation, speak to one of our expert barristers today for a free, no obligation case assessment.

Insight Works Training

Disclaimer: This article is for guidance purposes only. Kings View Chambers accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken, or not taken, in relation to this article. You should seek the appropriate legal advice having regard to your own particular circumstances.

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