Cases where our investigation does proceed

Reference: INV-5e

Last Updated 28/07/2017

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In cases where we decide that our investigation should go ahead, we will consider whether we should identify a later point in our own process at which we will hold our case, to allow the investigation by the other organisation to conclude, before we would then allow our case to proceed onwards. This point will most often be when the case is ready to be considered by case examiners.

In cases where our investigation is likely to be put on hold at some point, the best approach will often be to take witness statements at the outset and then to contact witnesses to reconfirm them once the case is no longer on hold. The effect that the passage of time can have on the quality of evidence will be a key consideration in whether we put our completed investigation on hold. Some evidence, such as reports about the nurse or midwife’s health, tend to be more useful when they have been gathered relatively recently. However, evidence about what people saw or heard when an alleged incident took place is usually most valuable when it is gathered as soon after the incident as possible.

The potential impact of the outcome of the other investigation on the nurse or midwife’s fitness to practise will be considered when deciding whether a stopping point should be put in place. The key factors we take into account are:

Could the outcome of the other investigation mean we may need to revisit a decision by case examiners?

  • The likely length of time until the conclusion of the other investigation may be an important factor. If there is any possibility that the other investigation could cast doubt on a decision to close the case, or could mean we are asked to reopen the case, and that investigation is likely to conclude quickly, it will normally be better to wait for it to conclude before we progress our case.
  • On the other hand, if the other investigation has no end in sight or its conclusion is still a significant length of time away, it is likely to be appropriate to conclude our investigation in the meantime.
  • Any time we recommend a case be closed while another organisation’s investigation is ongoing, we should take care to avoid giving any party the impression that the matter has been finally dealt with. In some cases we can reconsider allegations where new information has surfaced, including outcomes of other investigations.

Where we intend to proceed with a case, could the outcome of the other organisation’s investigation have an impact on our case?

  • An example of this could be where another investigation finds major systemic failings within the nurse or midwife’s place of employment. The result of this could be that the Fitness to Practise Committee is far less likely to find that the nurse or midwife’s fitness to practise is currently impaired.
  • If this is a real possibility, it will rarely be appropriate to conclude our investigation until the third party investigation has finished.