Drafting of allegations / Charges

Aug 30, 2022 | Buddy Scheme, Fitness to Practice, Regulation, Resources | 1 comment

The NMC outlines why they have guidance on drafting of charges and it is fundamentally to ensure clarity, they state:

“When we draft charges, we need to be consistent and transparent.

It’s important that we are consistent and transparent when we draft charges in fitness to practise cases.”

It also publishes guidance on every step of the FtP process including this document entitled “Jargon buster”

They then move on to explain how they structure charges and what teams should be thinking about when they put the charges together .

So why is there always such confusion when a nurse or midwife receives the charges, surely with all this information available it should be very clear…??

You will be in a state of shock when you receive the charges from the NMC, no doubt a certain element of denial as to why you are where you are or indeed anger and frustration if the allegations are not true or a misrepresentation of the truth. Despite all the information available out there you are likely to be able to absorb, digest and understand that information because of the grief type response you are likely to be experiencing.

This is why it is important to have representation but also have a buddy who can help explain and decipher multiple pieces of information in a way you can understand – email us to find out more about our buddy program on: support@nmcwatch.org.uk

As recently as this week we have observed poor drafting of charges – many of which were not an actual charge but more like a statement of an event that happened, making it impossible for the registrant to answer anything but “Yes” when in fact a charge such as this should be challenged and removed, being replaced with an actual charge or simply removed. The drafting of charges is not an opportunity for the NMC to “fish” and cast its net to see what response and information a desperate to please registrant gives. Charges should be drafted when the invstigation teams have reviewed all information infront of them which includes the information you provide.

Any charges you receive should be:

  • clear
  • concise
  • accurate

They also need to be proportionate and the NMC also provides guidance on this aspect where it discusses “right touch” however our experience from feedback from many of you is that the drafting of charges still needs a lot of work.

The issue of poor drafting of charges has been highlighted in some High Court appeals:

  1. Faniyi V NMC (2012) EWHC 1221 (Admin ) found that the appeal judge ordered a retrial due to inadequate particulars being given in the charges and inappropriate legal directions being given to the adjudicating panel.

    2. Lavis V’s NMC (2014) – the judge said the charges should have been given more scrutiny by the panel

    3. Suddock V’s NMC (2016) – 68 charges were placed against her and yet the appeal judge quashed and awarded costs stating there should have been more scruinity of the evidence that the self litigant registrant placed before the panel

    4. Lusinga V NMC (2017) – “Care must be taken at all stages of the regulatory process; from the point of the drafting of allegations to sufficiently particularize or explain…”

    If you feel that allegations have not been drafted appropriately and in accordance with the NMC’s own guidance then you can raise a complaint via this email complaints@nmc-uk.org. It is a different team to your investigating team should adopt a neutral approach to look at what has gone wrong. 

     

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1 Comment

  1. Ian Hynes

    ‘Charges’ sounds very adversarial. Do they result from a skilled, fair, and transparent investigation process that examines exculpatory lines of inquiry or just those that inculpate?

    Reply

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