Providing a witness statement for the SSSC
If you've been asked by the SSSC to provide a witness statement, this section will explain what it involves.
We may ask you to provide a witness statement if:
- you have reported an incident about a social service worker
- your name has been given to us as a possible witness by your employer or another person
- we think you have other information that is important.
This helps us understand the facts and circumstances of each case.
Witness information is vital to our investigations. Without information from witnesses we might not be able to take action to protect the public, or maintain public trust and confidence in the social service profession.
We understand that this process may be difficult and worrying. The caseholder will discuss any concerns you may have with you before taking your statement.
If you are a registered worker we expect you to follow our Code of Practice for Social Service Workers, which includes cooperating with our investigations. This means providing statements or other information we request to allow us to investigate. If you fail to follow the Codes we may investigate this.
We will phone or write to you. If you are a social service worker, we may contact your employer first so that they are aware and can support you.
We usually take statements over the telephone. But if we decide, or you feel that a meeting is appropriate, we may make arrangements to meet with you in person.
We will always try to do this on a date, at a time and/or at a place that is convenient for you.
The caseholder will explain the fitness to practise process and tell you why they need to speak to you. They will let you know that we will take a note of any responses.
The caseholder will ask for your contact details and employment history, and may ask about your experience and qualifications, if relevant to the case. This helps us understand about roles and responsibilities. You will also be asked questions about what you saw, heard or did. Some of our questions may be detailed as we need to have the clearest picture of what took place, so that our investigation is fair. To achieve this, we need you to tell us as much as you can about what happened.
You may also be asked to provide documents.
After the call or meeting, the caseholder will send your statement to you to check and to sign. It is important that our record of what you said is accurate and correct. We will ask you to return it to us as soon as possible to avoid any delay in our investigation.
The worker will know that an investigation is being carried out. We will usually tell them if we are taking witness statements but will not normally list all witness names. However, they may already be aware of this from their employer’s investigation.
Your signed statement will allow us to progress our investigation. If we decide that your statement is relevant to the case, we may send it to the worker because it is very important that the worker being investigated knows what information we have about them, and how we are going to use it. This allows the worker to answer the case against them and give their own explanation.
We may invite you to attend a Fitness to Practise Panel hearing to give evidence based on your statement.
We must carry out our own independent investigations to establish whether the information we have received affects a worker’s fitness to practise.
A statement that you have given to an employer will be relevant to their process which will have a different purpose to ours.
Yes. You can have a person supporting you during the call or meeting if it makes you feel more comfortable. This cannot be the worker or another witness in the case.
The person supporting you will not be allowed to have any input into your statement.
It is important for you to tell us all that you can remember and in your own words. The caseholder will not expect you to remember every detail.
The caseholder will help you by asking questions, and have copies of documents available which may help you.
You can contact the case holder who is asking you to provide a witness statement if you would like more information or if you would like to discuss the evidence in your statement.