Psychotherapy Bill - continued        House of Lords
Professional conduct and fitness to practise - continued

back to previous text
 
Interim suspension powers of the Investigating Committee.     21. - (1) This section applies where, under section 20, the Investigating Committee is investigating an allegation against a registered psychotherapist.
 
      (2) If the Committee is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in order to protect members of the public, it may order the Registrar to suspend the psychotherapist's registration.
 
      (3) The order shall specify the period of the suspension, which shall not exceed two months beginning with the date on which the order is made.
 
      (4) The Committee shall not-
 
 
    (a) make an order in any case after it has referred the allegation in question to the Professional Conduct Committee or the Health Committee; or
 
    (b) make more than one order in respect of the same allegation.
      (5) Before making an order, the Investigating Committee shall give the psychotherapist concerned an opportunity to appear before it and to argue his case against the making of the proposed order.
 
      (6) At any such hearing the psychotherapist shall be entitled to be legally represented.
 
Consideration of allegations by the Professional Conduct Committee.     22. - (1) Where an allegation has been referred to the Professional Conduct Committee under section 20 or by virtue of any rule made under section 26(2)(a), it shall be the duty of the Committee to consider the allegation.
 
      (2) If, having considered it, the Committee is satisfied that the allegation is well founded it shall proceed as follows.
 
      (3) If the allegation is of the kind mentioned in section 20(1)(c), the Committee may take no further action if it considers that the criminal offence in question has no material relevance to the fitness of the psychotherapist concerned to practise psychotherapy.
 
      (4) Otherwise, the Committee shall take one of the following steps-
 
 
    (a) admonish the psychotherapist;
 
    (b) make an order imposing conditions with which he must comply while practising as a psychotherapist (a "conditions of practice" order);
 
    (c) order the Registrar to suspend the psychotherapist's registration for such period as may be specified in the order (a "suspension order");
 
    (d) order the Registrar to remove the psychotherapist's name from the register.
      (5) A conditions of practice order must specify one or both of the following-
 
 
    (a) the period for which the order is to have effect;
 
    (b) a test of competence which must be taken by the psychotherapist.
      (6) A conditions of practice order shall cease to have effect-
 
 
    (a) if a period is specified in the order for the purposes of this subsection, when that period ends;
 
    (b) if no such period is specified but a test of competence is so specified, when the psychotherapist passes the test; or
 
    (c) if both a period and a test are so specified, when the period ends or when the psychotherapist concerned passes the test, whichever is the later to occur.
      (7) At any time while a conditions of practice order is in force under this section or by virtue of a recommendation under section 31(8)(c), the Committee may (whether or not of its own motion)-
 
 
    (a) extend, or further extend, the period for which the order has effect;
 
    (b) revoke or vary any of the conditions;
 
    (c) require the psychotherapist concerned to pass a test of competence specified by the Committee;
 
    (d) reduce the period for which the order has effect; or
 
    (e) revoke the order.
      (8) Where the period for which a conditions of practice order has effect is extended or reduced under subsection (7), or a test of competence is specified under that subsection, subsection (6) shall have effect as if-
 
 
    (a) the period specified in the conditions of practice order was the extended or reduced period; and
 
    (b) the test of competence was specified in that order.
      (9) At any time while a suspension order is in force with respect to a psychotherapist under this section or by virtue of a recommendation under section 31(8)(c), the Committee may (whether or not of its own motion)-
 
 
    (a) extend, or further extend, the period of suspension; and
 
    (b) make a conditions of practice order with which the psychotherapist must comply if he resumes the practice of psychotherapy after the end of his period of suspension.
      (10) The period specified in a conditions of practice order or in a suspension order under this section, and any extension of a specified period under subsection (7) or (9), shall not in each case exceed three years.
 
      (11) Before exercising its powers under subsection (4), (7) or (9), the Committee shall give the psychotherapist concerned an opportunity to appear before it and to argue his case.
 
      (12) At any such hearing the psychotherapist shall be entitled to be legally represented.
 
      (13) In exercising its powers under subsection (7) or (9), the Committee shall ensure that the conditions imposed on the psychotherapist concerned are, or the period of suspension imposed on him is, the minimum which it considers necessary for the protection of members of the public.
 
      (14) The Committee shall, before the end of the period of twelve months beginning with the commencement of this section, and at least once in every succeeding period of twelve months, publish a report setting out-
 
 
    (a) the names of those psychotherapists in respect of whom it has investigated allegations under this section and found the allegations to be well founded;
 
    (b) the nature of those allegations; and
 
    (c) the steps (if any) taken by, the Committee in respect of the psychotherapists so named.
      (15) Where the Committee has investigated any allegation against a psychotherapist under this section and has not been satisfied that the allegation was well founded, it shall include in its report for the year in question a statement of that fact if the psychotherapist so requests.
 
Consideration of allegations by the Health Committee.     23. - (1) Where an allegation has been referred to the Health Committee under section 20 or by virtue of any rule made under section 26(2)(a), it shall be the duty of the Committee to consider the allegation.
 
      (2) If, having considered it, the Committee is satisfied that the allegation is well founded, it shall-
 
 
    (a) make an order imposing conditions with which the psychotherapist concerned must comply while practising as a psychotherapist (a "conditions of practice order"); or
 
    (b) order the Registrar to suspend the psychotherapist's registration for such period as may be specified in the order (a "suspension order").
      (3) Any condition in a conditions of practice order under this section shall be imposed so as to have effect for a period specified in the order.
 
      (4) At any time while a conditions of practice order is in force under this section or under section 30 or by virtue of a recommendation under section 31(8)(c), the Committee may (whether or not of its own motion)-
 
 
    (a) extend, or further extend, the period for which the order has effect; or
 
    (b) make a suspension order with respect to the psychotherapist concerned.
      (5) At any time while a suspension order is in force with respect to a psychotherapist under this section or under section 30 or by virtue of a recommendation under section 31(8)(c), the Committee may, (whether or not of its own motion)-
 
 
    (a) extend, or further extend, the period of suspension;
 
    (b) replace the order with a conditions of practice order having effect for the remainder of the period of suspension; or
 
    (c) make a conditions of practice order with which the psychotherapist must comply if he resumes the practice of psychotherapy after the end of his period of suspension.
      (6) On the application of the psychotherapist with respect to whom a conditions of practice order or a suspension order is in force under this section or under section 30 or by virtue of a recommendation under section 31(8)(c), the Committee may-
 
 
    (a) revoke the order;
 
    (b) vary the order by reducing the period for which it has effect; or
 
    (c) in the case of a conditions of practice order, vary the order by removing or altering any of the conditions.
      (7) Where a psychotherapist has made an application under subsection (6) which has been refused ("the previous application"), the Committee shall not entertain a further such application unless it is made after the end of the period of twelve months beginning with the date on which the previous application was received by the Committee.
 
      (8) The period specified in a conditions of practice order or in a suspension order under this section, and any extension of a specified period under subsection (4) or (5), shall not in each case exceed three years.
 
      (9) Before exercising its powers under subsection (2), (4), (5) or (6), the Committee shall give the psychotherapist concerned an opportunity to appear before it and to argue his case.
 
      (10) At any such hearing the psychotherapist shall be entitled to be legally represented.
 
      (11) In exercising any of its powers under this section, the Committee shall ensure that any conditions imposed on the psychotherapist concerned are, or any period of suspension imposed on him is, the minimum which it considers necessary for the protection of members of the public.
 
Interim suspension powers of the Professional Conduct Committee and the Health Committee.     24. - (1) This section applies where-
 
 
    (a) an allegation against a registered psychotherapist has been referred under section 20, or by virtue of any rule made under section 26(2)(a), to the Professional Conduct Committee or the Health Committee and the Committee has not reached a decision on the matter; or
 
    (b) the Professional Conduct Committee or the Health Committee reaches a relevant decision on any such allegation.
      (2) The Committee concerned may, if it is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in order to protect members of the public, order the Registrar to suspend the registration of the psychotherapist concerned.
 
      (3) An order under subsection (2) (an "interim suspension order") shall cease to have effect-
 
 
    (a) in a case falling within subsection (1)(a), when the Committee reaches a decision in respect of the allegation in question; and
 
    (b) in a case falling within subsection (1)(b)-
 
      (i) if there is no appeal against the decision, when the period for appealing expires; or
 
      (ii) if there is an appeal against the decision, when the appeal is withdrawn or otherwise disposed of.
      (4) Before making an interim suspension order, the Committee shall give the psychotherapist in question an opportunity to appear before it and to argue his case against the making of the proposed order.
 
      (5) At any such hearing the psychotherapist shall be entitled to be legally represented.
 
      (6) Where an interim suspension order has been made, the psychotherapist concerned may appeal against it to the court.
 
      (7) Any such appeal must be brought before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which the order appealed against is made.
 
      (8) On an appeal under subsection (6) the court may terminate the suspension.
 
      (9) On such an appeal the decision of the court shall be final.
 
      (10) In this section "relevant decision" means an order under section 22(4)(c) or (d), or an order under section 23(2)(b).
 
Revocation of interim suspension orders.     25. - (1) On an application made by the psychotherapist concerned, in a case falling within section 24(1)(a), an interim suspension order may be revoked by the Committee which made it on the ground that a change in the circumstances of the case has made the order unnecessary.
 
      (2) Where a psychotherapist has made an application under subsection (1) which has been refused, he may appeal to the court against the refusal.
 
      (3) Where, in relation to an interim suspension order-
 
 
    (a) an appeal has been made under section 24(6) against the making of the order, or
 
    (b) a further application for the order to be revoked has been made after an unsuccessful appeal under this section against the refusal of an earlier application,
       leave of the court shall be required for any appeal under subsection (2) in relation to that order.
 
      (4) Except in a case falling within subsection (5), no application under subsection (1) shall be entertained by the Committee concerned if it is made before the end of the period of six months beginning-
 
 
    (a) with the date on which the order was imposed; or
 
    (b) where an unsuccessful appeal against the order has been made under section 24(6), the date on which the appeal was dismissed.
      (5) Where a previous application has been made under subsection (1) in relation to an interim suspension order, no further such application shall be entertained by the Committee concerned if it is made before the end of the period of six months beginning with the date on which the previous application was finally disposed of.
 
      (6) Any appeal under subsection (2) must be brought before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which notice of the refusal is sent to the psychotherapist.
 
      (7) On an appeal under subsection (2) the court may terminate the suspension.
 
      (8) On such an appeal the decision of the court shall be final.
 
Investigation of allegations: procedural rules.     26. - (1) The General Council shall make rules as to the procedure to be followed by the Professional Conduct Committee or the Health Committee in considering any allegation under section 22 or 23.
 
      (2) The rules shall, in particular, include provision-
 
 
    (a) empowering each Committee to refer to the other any allegation which it considers would be better dealt with by that other Committee;
 
    (b) requiring the psychotherapist to whom the allegation relates to be given notice of the allegation;
 
    (c) giving the psychotherapist an opportunity to put his case at a hearing if-
 
      (i) before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which notice of the allegation is sent to him, he asks for a hearing; or
 
      (ii) the Committee considers that a hearing is desirable;
 
    (d) entitling the psychotherapist to be legally represented at any hearings in respect of the allegation;
 
    (e) securing that-
 
      (i) any hearing before the Professional Conduct Committee is held in public unless the Committee decides that it is in the interests of the person making the allegation, or of any person giving evidence or of any patient, to hold the hearing or any part of it in private; and
 
      (ii) any hearing before the Health Committee is held in private unless the Committee considers that it is appropriate to hold the hearing or any part of it in public;
 
    (f) requiring the psychotherapist to be notified by the Committee of its decision, its reasons for reaching that decision and of his right of appeal;
 
    (g) requiring the person by whom the allegation was made to be notified by the Committee of its decision and of its reasons for reaching that decision;
 
    (h) empowering the Committee to require persons to attend and give evidence or to produce documents;
 
    (i) about the admissibility of evidence;
 
    (j) enabling the Committee to administer oaths.
      (3) No person shall be required by any rules made under this section to give any evidence or produce any document or other material at a hearing held by either Committee which he could not be compelled to give or produce in civil proceedings in England and Wales.
 
Legal assessors.     27. - (1) The General Council shall appoint persons to be legal assessors.
 
      (2) They shall have the general function of giving advice to-
 
 
    (a) any person appointed in accordance with rules made under section 20(4),
 
    (b) the Investigating Committee,
 
    (c) the Professional Conduct Committee,
 
    (d) the Health Committee, or
 
    (e) the Registrar,
       on questions of law arising in connection with any matter which he or (as the case may be) the committee is considering.
 
      (3) They shall also have such other functions as may be conferred on them by rules made by the General Council.
 
      (4) To be qualified for appointment as a legal assessor under this section, a person must have a 10 year general qualification (within the meaning of section 71 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990).
 
      (5) The General Council may pay such fees, allowances and expenses to persons appointed as legal assessors as it may determine.
 
      (6) In the case of a legal assessor who is also a member of the General Council or of any of its committees, any such payment made to him in his capacity as a legal assessor shall be in addition to any to which he is entitled as such a member.
 
 
previous section contents continue
 
House of Lords home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 22 December 2000