Sections 125 – 130 – Investigation
182.Sections 125-130 provide for allegations of impaired fitness to practise to be investigated by SCW, or investigated by persons acting on SCW’s behalf. SCW could for example provide that all or particular kinds of investigations are to be carried out by staff members or by other individuals appointed for that purpose. Alternatively, it could establish an investigation committee for conducting investigations. SCW will also be able to appoint advisors such as health advisors. This might be necessary when investigating allegations that a registered person’s fitness to practise may be impaired due to a health condition and an understanding of the condition is required or an assessment of their capacity.
183.Upon the conclusion of the investigation, SCW must refer the matter to a fitness to practise panel if the matter satisfies the realistic prospect test in section 126(2)(a) and it is in the public interest to refer the matter.
184.Where a case is not referred to a fitness to practise panel, SCW will have a range of options available to it to dispose of the case; these are set out in section 126. Where SCW decides that warning the registered person about their behaviour may be appropriate, the registered person has a right to request an oral hearing. This is to provide the person with an opportunity to make representations if they feel that a warning is not appropriate: a warning that has been issued can be recorded on the entry in the register relating to that person. SCW can also agree undertakings with registered persons. This could be, for example, an agreement that the registered person must complete a training course where the investigation has revealed that he or she may benefit from additional training.
185.There is provision in section 130 for introducing mediation as a means of disposing of cases referred for investigation. Mediation can be introduced only if provision is made by regulations made by the Welsh Ministers. Mediation could, for example, be beneficial in cases where allegations do not amount to impaired fitness to practise but there is a need to resolve issues between the registered person and the complainant which are likely to have an ongoing and detrimental effect to an ongoing relationship. If mediation were to be introduced a draft of the regulations would need to be approved by the National Assembly before being made (see section 187(2)).