The Professional Standards Authority published its response to Social Work England’s consultation on amendments to rules, electronic service and remote hearings.
The PSA noted in its response “that the consultation is limited in scope to the specific changes proposed to the rules and does not cover considerations to be taken into account when deciding which form of hearing is most appropriate.”
“The Authority supports the use of virtual hearings where this will not affect the integrity or fairness of the process. We note that SWE and other regulators have been successfully holding remote hearings throughout the pandemic and that most regulators are intending to continue to hold hearings remotely following the end of the pandemic restrictions.
However, the consultation doesn’t appear to address the fact that there are, and will remain, circumstances in which there are clear benefits to holding an in-person hearing. We note that the consultation document states that in response to the pandemic, SWE “changed how hearings were conducted, with all hearings taking place remotely and online using video conferencing software.
The Professional Standards Authority believes that the options of hybrid and in-person hearings must remain.”