University of Oxford Homepage


Note. An asterisk against an entry in the Contents indicates a previously published notice.
University of Oxford Crest

Oxford University Gazette, 18 May 2006: University Acts

COUNCIL OF THE UNIVERSITY

Changes in Regulations

Council has made the following regulations to come into effect on 2 June, for dealing with fitness to practise issues amongst medical students and fitness to teach amongst PGCE students.

Council Regulations 7 of 2006

REGULATIONS FOR PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH QUESTIONS OF FITNESS TO PRACTISE AMONGST MEDICAL STUDENTS

Made by Council on 18 May 2006

Introduction

1. The consideration of whether or not a student is fit to practise medicine must take place strictly in accordance with the following procedures.

First stages

2. Any allegation that a medical student may not be fit to practise medicine should be made in writing, signed and passed to the Secretary of the Medical Sciences Division ('the Secretary'). Anonymous allegations will not normally be considered.

3. The Secretary should inform the Head of the Division of Medical Sciences ('the Head of Division') of the receipt of any written and signed allegation. The Head of Division will determine whether the matter can and should be resolved informally but if after appropriate consultation he or she judges that there is a case that a medical student's conduct has been such that the student may not be fit to practise Medicine, the Head of Division shall so advise the Secretary, who will in turn inform the Proctors. If the Proctors should choose to investigate the matter separately under Statute XI of the University's Statutes, the subsequent proctorial judgement may be considered as evidence within the procedures set out below, which will not be invoked until the Proctors have concluded their investigation. The Proctors will not themselves make judgements about fitness to practise.

4. The Secretary shall write to the student concerned stating that an investigation of the student's fitness to practise is going to take place and advising the student of the grounds for launching the investigation.

5. The student's college shall be advised that an investigation will take place.

The investigation

6. The Head of the Division will refer the case to a suitably trained senior member of staff, who has had no previous involvement, for investigation and report. The investigator should interview the student concerned and the maker of the allegation and notes of these interviews should be taken. The interviewee(s) will be entitled to receive a typed copy of these notes. The investigator should be accompanied by another member of staff when interviewing the student and the student, or other person being interviewed, is entitled to be accompanied by another member of the University.

7. If the investigator concludes that there is a serious issue of fitness to practise to be determined, this should be reported in writing to the Secretary and the student informed of the next steps in the process.

The Status of the Student during the Investigation

8. The Head of the Division shall decide whether a student under investigation may, during the investigation:

(1) continue his/her studies without limitation;

(2) continue his/her studies but with specified limitations and conditions;

(3) be suspended from the Register of Medical Students or the Register of Clinical Students and therefore from the medical course;

(4) following consultation with the relevant Medical Directors, be prohibited from entering specified NHS Trust premises as a student.

9. The Head of Division may, in the light of a student's conduct when under investigation, review and change a decision regarding the student's status during the investigation.

10. A student may appeal to the Proctors against the decision of the Head of Division to suspend him or her. During the consideration of any such appeal to the Proctors, the student shall remain suspended.

The Adjudication

11. The Medical Sciences Board ('the board') shall appoint a committee of three to consider the investigator's report and adjudicate the case. The committee shall include one medically qualified person nominated by the board; one person nominated by the student, this person to be a medically qualified member of the Faculty of Clinical Medicine; and, in the chair, one senior member of staff from another faculty agreed between the board and the student or, if no agreement is reached, decided by the Proctors. No member of the committee shall have had any involvement or interest in the case or be a current teacher of the student.

12. The student will be required to attend the meeting of the committee in person and will be given not less than four working days' notice of the date and time of the meeting. If the student fails to attend without reasonable explanation, the committee will consider the case in the student's absence. The chairman shall have discretion as to what constitutes a 'reasonable explanation'. Members of the University who may have information relevant to the case may be required by the chairman to attend the meeting to give evidence. At the discretion of the chairman, the committee may also call upon other persons (whether or not a current member of the University) to provide advice on specific aspects of the case in writing or in person. The student may choose to be accompanied by a friend, relative, student representative or, where suspension or termination of the student's medical studies is being considered, including termination on completion of their Honour School examinations, by a lawyer ('the friend'). The meeting will be held in public unless the student wishes it to be held in private or the chairman considers that this is in the best interests of the student or a patient. All evidence or material submitted as part of the investigation will be regarded as strictly confidential, unless, following consideration of submissions, the committee decides otherwise.

13. The following points shall serve as a guide to the conduct of the meeting. They may be varied at the discretion of the chairman, for example if he or she considers that the matter may most effectively be resolved informally.

(1) Prior to the meeting the Secretary to the committee will ensure that the student has copies of all documents circulated to members of the committee and is aware of the proceedings to be followed.

(2) The student, the friend (if attending) and any members of staff required to attend under regulation 12 will then join the meeting.

(3) The chairman will introduce by name and explain the functions of the members of the committee, the staff and any others present. The chairman will explain the powers of the committee and will invite the Head of Division (or his or her nominee) to make an opening statement and then invite the committee to ask questions. Other staff attending will be offered the same opportunity to make a statement and may be asked questions. The chairman will invite the student or the friend to make a statement. The chairman will explain that the committee will wish to hear directly from the student in his or her own words. Members of the committee will be invited to question the student. The chairman will invite any other persons called upon by the chairman to attend the meeting to make a brief statement and will then invite the committee to ask questions. At each stage the chairman has discretion to allow reciprocal questioning by the various parties.

(4) Once the chairman is satisfied that the committee has completed its questioning and the student and staff have had a full opportunity to convey information to the committee, both the student and the members of staff will withdraw. The committee will then discuss the case. If for any reason the committee requires further clarification of any aspect of the case from either student or staff members they must all be invited back into the meeting while the questioning takes place. When the chairman so determines, they will leave the meeting again.

(5) The Chairman shall have discretion to adjourn the proceedings.

(6) The committee will make its decision. The decision and any findings of fact will be communicated to the student and the other parties (including the student's college, the Director of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education and the Director of Clinical Studies) as soon as possible. The outcome of the hearing will be published but the reasons for it will be regarded as confidential between the University, the student and the relevant regulatory bodies.

14. If at any stage in the proceedings it should become apparent that the student's alleged problems are caused by ill health, the fitness to practise procedures shall be stopped and the procedures set out in Part B of Statute XIII shall be invoked.

15. Any investigation into, or disciplinary proceedings relating to the conduct of the student cannot commence, or must be adjourned, pending the finding of the procedures under 14. Until the Proctors shall have had the time to consider any case of medical student ill health referred to them, the Director of Clinical Studies shall have the power to suspend the student from the Register of Clinical Students and hence from the clinical course. A student may appeal to the Proctors against such suspension.

16. Where the student is not found to be suffering from ill health, the matter may be referred back to the Proctors or the Head of Division, as the case may be, who may commence, or re-instate, the investigatory or disciplinary proceedings relating to the conduct of the student as referred to above.

17. Whilst the determination of the student's fitness to practise is a matter for the committee appointed under regulation 11, it will take into account any findings under regulation 14.

The Outcome of the Adjudication

18. The committee appointed under regulation 11 may, following consideration of the case:

(1) permit the student to continue with the course;

(2) permit the student to continue with the course under close supervision;

(3) suspend the studies of the student for a specified time;

(4) require the student to re-sit a specified part or parts of the course;

(5) recommend, if the student has not yet completed the BA course, that he or she be allowed to complete that course but not be admitted to the Second BM course in Oxford (or the equivalent elsewhere);

(6) recommend, if the student has completed the BA course but not yet been admitted to the Second BM course in Oxford (or the equivalent elsewhere), that he or she not be admitted to the Second BM course in Oxford (or the equivalent elsewhere);

(7) require any other action considered appropriate by the committee to enable the student's successful completion of the remainder of the course;

(8) recommend that the student be removed from the Register of Clinical Students but be allowed to pursue an alternative academic qualification.

19. A student shall have the right of appeal to the University's Appeal Court against any of the following recommendations: that the student be suspended from the Register of Medical Students; that the student be suspended or removed from the Register of Clinical Students; that the student not be admitted to the Second BM course in Oxford (or the equivalent elsewhere).

20. During the consideration of any such appeal, the student shall remain suspended.

Confidentiality

21. Any information provided by a student to a medical adviser is confidential. The medical adviser cannot use that information for any purpose other than that for which it was provided, without the student's express consent. Anyone who receives medical information about the student from the medical adviser is similarly under a duty of confidence. Exceptions to this duty of confidentiality may apply where the student appears to be at risk of self harm or poses a risk to the health and/or safety of others.

22. It is a criminal offence to disclose any information revealed by an enhanced CRB disclosure report. It is however permissible for the authorised counter-signatory to the application, in the course of his or her duties, to share the information with other members of the Department or University, if those other persons need the information for the purpose of carrying out their duties. The information can also be passed on to a Government department.

^ Return to Contents of this section


Council Regulations 8 of 2006

REGULATIONS FOR PROCEDURES CONCERNING FITNESS TO TEACH DURING THE COURSE OF THE PGCE PROGRAMME

Made by Council on 18 May 2006

1. Any determination by the Department of a student's fitness to teach as a result of a student's alleged conduct or behaviour, must take place strictly in accordance with the procedures set out below. Where, after appropriate consultation, it appears that the student's alleged conduct or behaviour may be the result of, or the student is otherwise suffering from, ill health, the procedure set out below must be followed.

2. If at any stage of the proceedings set out below it should become apparent that the student's alleged problems may be caused by ill health, the fitness to teach procedures shall be stopped and the procedures set out in Part B of Statute XIII shall be invoked.

3. A member of staff or a student of the Department, or a member of the staff of the school where the PGCE student is placed, who has concerns that a student enrolled on the PGCE is suffering from ill health, conducts him or herself in such a way as to raise concerns about, or demonstrates any traits or indicators which may affect, his or her fitness to teach is under a duty to report this to the Director of Graduate Studies (Professional Courses). These concerns should be put in writing and signed. Anonymous representations will not normally be considered.

4. If it appears to the Director of Graduate Studies (Professional Courses) that the matter is one solely of conduct or behaviour, as opposed to ill health, the Director will consider whether the matter can be dealt with informally within the Department. If it cannot and, after appropriate consultation (if necessary with the school of placement concerned), the Director considers there to be a case against the student, that, as a result of his or her conduct or behaviour, the student may have committed an offence or offences under the University Statutes, the Director of Graduate Studies (Professional Courses) will notify the Proctors of this in writing. If such matters come to the attention of the Proctors independently the Proctors will inform the Director.

5. When such a referral is made, the Director will also notify the Proctors that the outcome of any investigation and/or disciplinary proceedings may have an impact on the student's fitness to teach, and that accordingly, the Director must be notified of the outcome.

6. If the Proctors decide to investigate the matter as a disciplinary matter under Statute XI, the Department cannot make its determination of the student's fitness to teach before the outcome of disciplinary proceedings, including any appeals proceedings. A determination made under Statute XI will not amount to a judgement of a student's fitness to teach. This is a decision to be made by the Director of the Department of Educational Studies, in the light of any disciplinary determination made.

7. Before the commencement of any investigation into the conduct of a PGCE student, whether by the Proctors under the University disciplinary procedures, or by the Department under the procedures set out below, it will be for the Director of the Department of Educational Studies to determine the status of the student during the investigation.

8. In such cases, it will be for the Director of the Department of Educational Studies to decide whether the student may:

(1) continue on the PGCE course without limitation;

(2) continue on the PGCE but with specified limitations and conditions;

(3) be suspended from the register of PGCE students.

9. The student will be informed of the decision as regards his or her status when he or she is notified of the commencement of the investigation. The Director of the Department of Educational Studies may review the status of the student at any stage of the investigation.

10. The student may appeal to the Proctors against a decision by the Director of the Department of Educational Studies to suspend him or her from the PGCE. The student will remain suspended pending the outcome of such an appeal.

11. Where the Proctors decide not to carry out an investigation into the student's conduct under the University's disciplinary proceedings, an investigation will be carried out by the Department. The Director of Graduate Studies (Professional Courses) will inform the student in writing of the commencement of the investigation, the grounds of the investigation, and of the student's status during it. The student's college will also be informed.

12. The Director of Graduate Studies (Professional Courses) will refer the case to a suitably trained senior member of the Department, who has had no previous involvement with the individual concerned, to investigate the matter and to produce a report. The student, and any other persons who have relevant knowledge of the events and/or circumstances surrounding the matter, will be invited to attend an interview. The investigator will be accompanied by another senior member of the department, and the student, or other person being interviewed, is entitled to be accompanied by another member of the University. Notes of any interview will be taken and the interviewee will be entitled to receive a typed copy of these notes.

13. The investigation will be undertaken expeditiously, and in a manner that is fair and proportionate to the issues in question. In any event, the Department will endeavour to complete the investigation and notify the student of the outcome within twenty-eight days of its notifying the student of the investigation.

14. When the investigation is completed, the investigator will produce a written report of his or her findings to the Director of Graduate Studies (Professional Courses). If, in the opinion of the Director of Graduate Studies (Professional Courses) the findings of the report require further consideration, a committee will be appointed as set out below. If not, the student will be notified by the Director of Graduate Studies (Professional Courses) that the matter is at an end.

15. The Director of the Department of Educational Studies will appoint a committee of three to consider the investigator's report and to adjudicate the case. The committee shall include one member who is a Principal or Headteacher representing the partnership schools. No member of the committee shall have had any involvement or interest in the case, or be a current or former teacher of the student. The Director shall nominate one member of the committee to act as its chairman.

16. The student will be required to attend the meeting of the committee in person and will be given not less than four working days' notice of the date and time of the meeting. If the student fails to attend the meeting without a reasonable explanation, which is to be determined at the discretion of the Chairman, the committee will consider the case in the student's absence. The student is entitled to be accompanied by a friend, relative, student representative or, where suspension or termination of the student's PGCE studies is being considered, by a lawyer ('the friend'). The committee is entitled to call upon other appropriate persons to give evidence. The meeting will be held in public unless the student wishes it to be held in private or the chairman considers that this is in the best interests of the student. All evidence or material submitted as part of the investigation will be regarded as strictly confidential, unless, following consideration of submissions, the committee decides otherwise.

17. The following points shall serve as a guide to the conduct of the meeting. They may be varied at the discretion of the Chairman if he or she considers that, as a result, the matter will be dealt with more effectively.

(1) Not less than four days prior to the meeting, the Committee Secretary shall ensure that the student has copies of all documents circulated to members of the committee, and is aware of the proceedings to be followed.

(2) The Chairman will introduce by name and explain the function of the members of the committee and any others present. The Chairman will explain the powers of the committee and invite the Director (or his or her nominee) to make an opening statement, who may then be asked questions. Other members of staff of the Department attending will be invited to make a statement and may also be asked questions. The student will then be asked to make a statement, and the members of the committee may then ask questions. At each stage the Chairman has discretion to allow reciprocal questioning by the various parties.

(3) Once the Chairman is satisfied that the committee has completed its questioning, and both the student and the Department have had a full opportunity to present the information to the committee, the parties will withdraw whilst the committee considers the case. Should the committee require further clarification of any point, all the parties will be recalled whilst further questioning takes place.

(4) The Chairman shall have discretion to adjourn the proceedings.

18. Following the consideration of the case, the committee shall produce a written report. It may make one of the following recommendations to the Director of the Department of Educational Studies:

(1) that the student be permitted to continue with the PGCE course;

(2) that the student be suspended for a specified time with or without conditions attached;

(3) that the student and/or the Department be required to undertake other reasonable action considered appropriate by the committee to enable the student's successful completion of the PGCE;

(4) that the student be removed from the Register of PGCE students.

19. The decision of the Director of the Department of Educational Studies, based upon the recommendation of the committee, together with any findings of fact, will be communicated by the Director of the Department to the student and to the other parties, including the student's college and the Director of Postgraduate Studies (Professional Courses) as soon as possible. The outcome of the hearing will be published, but the reasons for it will be regarded as confidential between the University, the student and any relevant regulatory bodies.

20. If an internal university disciplinary procedure has resulted in a PGCE student's conviction of a breach of university regulations or a penalty in the light of a criminal conviction, the Proctors will provide the Director of the Department of Educational Studies with relevant information so that a procedure equivalent to that under regulations 11--17 can be followed if appropriate.

21. The student has a right to submit an appeal against a decision made by the Director of the Department of Educational Studies under regulations 1-19 to the Appeal Court. During the consideration of any such appeal, the student shall remain suspended.

Medical incapacity

22. If at any stage in the proceedings it should become apparent that the student's alleged problems are caused by ill health, the fitness to teach procedures shall be stopped and the procedures set out in Part B of Statute XIII shall be invoked.

23. Any investigation into, or disciplinary proceedings relating to the conduct of the student cannot commence, or must be adjourned, pending the finding of the procedures under Part B of Statute XIII. Until the Proctors shall have had the time to consider any case of medical student ill health referred to them, the Director of Graduate Studies (Professional Courses) shall have the power to suspend the student from the Register of PGCE Students and hence from the PGCE course. A student may appeal to the Proctors against such suspension.

24. Where the student is not found to be suffering from ill health, the matter may be referred back to the Proctors or the Director of Graduate Studies (Professional Courses), as the case may be, who may commence, or re-instate, the investigatory or disciplinary proceedings relating to the conduct of the student as referred to above.

25. Whilst the determination of the student's fitness to teach is a matter for the Director of the Department of Educational Studies, he or she will take into account any findings under regulation 22.

Confidentiality

Medical Records

26. Any information provided by a student to a medical adviser is confidential. The medical adviser cannot use that information for any purpose other than that for which it was provided, without the student's express consent. Anyone who receives medical information about the student from the medical adviser is similarly under a duty of confidence. Exceptions to this duty of confidentiality may apply where the student appears to be at risk of self harm or poses a risk to the health and/or safety of others.

Criminal Records Bureau report

27. It is a criminal offence to disclose any information revealed by an enhanced CRB disclosure report. It is however permissible for the authorised counter-signatory to the application, in the course of his or her duties, to share the information with other members of the Department or University, if those other persons need the information for the purpose of carrying out their duties. The information can also be passed on to a Government department.

^ Return to Contents of this section


COUNCIL OF THE UNIVERSITY

Register of Congregation

Mr Vice-Chancellor reports that the following names have been added to the Register of Congregation:

Gloyn, A.L., Green College

Ito, R., Balliol

Pickett, V., St Hugh's

Teh, J., Faculty of Clinical Medicine

Tseu, B.C., Harris Manchester

^ Return to Contents of this section


DIVISIONAL AND FACULTY BOARDS

For changes in regulations for examinations, to come into effect on 2 June, see 'Examinations and Boards' below.

^ Return to Contents of this section