Concerns are referred to the Investigating Committee (IC), following an investigation that has found the allegation(s) meet the threshold criteria.
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.
How does the IC operate?
Following an investigation of a concern, the committee meets to assess the allegation referred for its consideration. 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 committee 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.
A committee 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 the meeting before it can reach a decision, including at least one pharmacy professional and one lay person.
What action can the IC take?
The IC considers the concern’s allegations and must decide whether to act on them or whether to refer them onto a Fitness to Practise Committee (FtPC). Pharmacy professionals can also request that the case gets referred to an FtPC directly.
If the allegations remain for the IC’s consideration, there are a range of outcomes the committee can decide on depending upon its assessment of the evidence.
The IC can decide to:
- 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 [PDF 250 KB] to decide on an specific undertaking)
- refer to an FtPC
- take no action
- ask for further investigation
- adjourn its meeting until it has more information
- require a pharmacy professional to have a medical examination
- get advice from a legal, clinical or other specialist adviser to:
How does the committee reach a decision?
Making sure the 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.
To reach a decision about an allegation, the committee’s members use the following guidance:
- Good decision making: Investigations and threshold criteria guidance [PDF 671 KB] (also available in Welsh: Gwneud penderfyniadau da: Canllaw ar gyfer ymchwiliadau a meini prawf trothwy [PDF 737 KB]); and
- Good decision making: Investigating Committee meetings and outcomes guidance [PDF 1.1 MB] (also available in Welsh- Gwneud penderfyniadau da: Canllaw cyfarfodydd pwyllgor ymchwilio a) [PDF 881 KB], to help them reach a decision.
Follow this link to find out more about the Investigating Committee members.
Information for pharmacy professionals
We will write to you before the committee meets and invite you to provide a ‘written representation’ or response for the IC to consider.
Once the committee has met, we will write to you again to communicate the outcome of the meeting and the IC’s decision about the allegation made about your practice. 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. [PDF 473 KB]
Information for the person who reported the concern
We will write to tell you the outcome of the meeting and the decision the committee has made. We will do this within 10 days of the decision date.