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What is fitness to practise?

Fitness to practise is about protecting and enhancing the safety and welfare of people who use services.

We must be sure that people on our Register meet the standards of character, conduct and competence necessary for them to do their job safely and effectively in line with the SSSC Codes of Practice.

We investigate concerns about workers and take action where necessary.

When can fitness to practise be impaired

A worker's fitness to practise may be impaired by one or more of the following:    

  • misconduct
  • deficient professional practice
  • a health issue
  • a decision about them by another specified regulatory body
  • a criminal conviction.

Our Code of Practice sets out the behaviours and values expected of social service workers registered with us. Workers are expected to behave in a way, in or outside work, which does not call into question their suitability to work in social services.

You can see some practical examples of what is meant by impairment in our case studies.

You can read the definition of fitness to practise and impairment in rule 2 in the SSSC (Fitness to Practise) Rules 2016.

Read the Combined Fitness to Practise Rules 2017 here.

We revised our rules in July 2021. You can read the Combined Fitness to Practise Rules 2021 here.

If you want to find out more about making a referral to us,  please go to our raising a concern section.

If you wish to find out more about our process,  please go to the investigations section.

Who can raise a concern

Anyone can raise a concern if they believe that a worker’s fitness to practise may be impaired. Click here to find out more about raising a concern.

Fitness to practise documents

Find out more about fitness to practise in our factsheets and guidance documents.

View the documents

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Key Fitness to Practise statistics

View the latest Key Fitness to Practise statistics.

View the statistics

The Rules and our decisions guidance

View the documents that set out how we carry out our regulatory function and provide guidance to decision makers on when to apply the different sanctions available to them.

The Codes of Practice

The Codes of Practice set out the standards of practice and behaviour expected of social service workers and their employers.

What we publish about hearings and decisions – Fitness to Practise Public Information Policy

Read The Public Information Policy to see what information we publish in advance of our hearings, what we don’t and why.