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This section provides information about what higher education institutions (HEI) should refer to us about a student and when. To make a referral please see the HEI Referral Guidance and download the HEI Referral Form.

HEI referral flowchart

See our flowchart showing when to make a referral.

What to refer about a student?

If you are concerned that a student’s fitness to practise may be impaired, you should refer them to us.

You should do this even if the student is no longer enrolled on the course as they may enrol at another HEI or apply to work in a social care setting.

You must refer a student to us if they:

  • have their place on the course terminated on the grounds of misconduct or capability due to professional practice or health
  • withdraw from a social work programme during your own fitness to practise or disciplinary investigation
  • are suspended from a social work programme pending the outcome of your own fitness to practise or disciplinary investigation
  • are charged or convicted of an offence.

You should also refer to us if the matter is one you would tell Disclosure Scotland about or where you are concerned that the behaviour or actions of a student raises a serious concern about their fitness to practise. For more information about the types of behaviours or actions this may include, please see our HEI Referral Guidance.

When to refer a student?

You should refer immediately if the:

  • behaviour is serious
  • student is suspended
  • student withdraws from a social work programme and you would have considered termination
  • student is charged with or convicted of a criminal offence.

Otherwise, let us know at the end of your disciplinary/performance/capability process.

Why do you need to refer?

To comply with course approval requirements in the Rules for Social Work Training 2003 you must:

  • tell us about anything that may call into question a student's suitability for registration
  • tell the student that you have made a report
  • cooperate with our investigations and hearings
  • respond appropriately to our findings and decisions and cooperate with any action we take.