Investigating committee

Once an investigation has taken place, and if an allegation meets the threshold criteria, it is usually referred to an investigating committee (IC) meeting.

The IC operates, and makes decisions, independently of the GPhC. It is accountable for the decisions it makes and must give reasons for its decisions.

The IC meets to consider allegations that are referred to it. It meets in private and all papers and discussions remain confidential. This means that the person raising the concern, the pharmacy professional and GPhC investigation staff do not attend the meetings.

The IC does not hear oral evidence from pharmacy professionals or witnesses. However, the pharmacy professional concerned will be invited to provide ‘written representations’ on the allegation, and on any recommendations the registrar makes for dealing with the case.

 An IC meeting usually includes four people (a chair or deputy chair, two pharmacy professional members and a lay member). There must be at least three members of the committee at an IC meeting before it can reach a decision, including at least one professional and one lay person.

Other people may also be at the meeting, including the IC secretary, a legal adviser and a clinical adviser. In some cases the committee may ask for advice from a specialist adviser.

The IC use the Good decision making: Investigations and threshold criteria guidance (also available in Welsh - Gwneud penderfyniadau da: Canllaw ar gyfer ymchwiliadau a meini prawf trothwy) - and Good decision making: Investigating committee meetings and outcomes guidance (also available in Welsh- cliciwch yma i ddarllen y ddogfen hon yn y Gymraeg) to help them reach a decision about an allegation. 

See the investigating committee members.

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What an investigating committee can do

The IC must make decisions about allegations that are referred to it, and must decide whether they ought to be considered by a fitness to practise committee (FtPC). The IC has a range of outcomes it can decide on, depending upon its assessment of the evidence. Unless the pharmacy professional has asked for the case to be referred to an FtPC, the available outcomes include:

  • take no action
  • give advice to the pharmacy professional (or to another person or body involved in the allegations)
  • issue a warning
  • agree ‘undertakings’ with the pharmacy professional, if they admit their fitness to practise is impaired (the IC will refer to the undertakings bank to decide on an specific undertaking)
  • refer to an FtPC

The IC can also:

  • adjourn its meeting until it has more information
  • ask for further investigation
  • require a pharmacy professional to have a medical examination
  • get advice from a legal, clinical or other specialist adviser consider rescission (cancelling a referral to an FtPC)tell the registrar that the GPhC should consider bringing criminal proceedings against a pharmacy professional

How does an investigating committee make its decision?

Making sure that an IC decides on the appropriate outcome is important for patient safety and also public confidence both in relation to the pharmacy professions generally but also in relation to individual pharmacy professionals. Click here to see what the IC considers and how it makes its decision about an allegation

If you are the pharmacy professional

We will write to you before the committee meets, and invite you to provide a response which the IC can consider.

We will also write to tell you the outcome of the IC meeting and the decision the committee has made about the allegation made about your fitness to practise. We will tell you the outcome within 10 days of the decision date.

You can find out more in our factsheet Advice and support for pharmacy professionals involved in the FtP process.

If you raised a concern

We will write to tell you the outcome of the meeting and the decision the committee has made. We will tell you the outcome within 10 days of the decision date.

You can find out more in our guidance for reporting concerns.