Quality Manual

Practice Assessment Panel Procedures


1. Constitution of the Practice Assessment Panel

The Practice Assessment Panel (PAP) is constituted as a sub-committee of the Board of Examiners, to whom it will report directly. It will have the delegated responsibility to make recommendations on all matters relating to the assessment of practice learning, including where placements have been failed or terminated. The final decisions in all such cases will formally rest with the Board of Examiners.

2. Purposes of the Practice Assessment Panel

The PAP will perform two vital functions in the context of the Social Work course. These are as follows:

1. As an integral part of the quality assurance process for practice learning.

2. To enable the course to come to a decision about future courses of action to be followed in cases where an element of practice learning is either failed or terminated.

The first of these will comprise the main bulk of the work of the PAP. These functions recognise the place of practice learning as central to the social work programme. The separation of functions argues that two different types of meeting need to be organised. First, there should be planned meetings to accommodate the quality assurance aspect of the PAP’s work. The second function will only be required when there are circumstances that have led to a terminated or failed placement, where decisions are required about an individual student’s future. Such meetings will be convened as and when needed.

3. The Functions of the Practice Assessment Panel

These are subdivided under the headings above.

1. All reports on practice will be scrutinised by the PAP, which will makes a decision about whether there is sufficient evidence contained in the reports to justify the judgement that the practice placement be deemed to be a pass or a fail. If the Panel decides that more evidence is required, the report will be returned to the practice assessor for her/him to provide the additional evidence. The PAP will also provide feedback on the quality of reports to students and practice assessors. The PAP will also monitor the extent to which the policies of the course are carried through in practice learning settings. For example, the PAP will monitor the extent to which students incorporate issues related to diversity and inequality in the practice curriculum reports. In addition, the PAP will monitor the involvement of service users in the assessment of a student’s competence. The PAP will receive a copy of each student’s completed practice curriculum report, which will be read by a member of the PAP. Where the panel member supports the recommendation of a pass, this recommendation will be forwarded to the Board of Examiners. Where the panel member believes that more evidence is required, the report will be read by another panel member. When agreement is secured within the panel on this particular report, it may be returned to the Practice Assessor to provide more evidence to justify the recommendation. In all cases where there is a recommendation that the placement be failed the report will be read by two members of the PAP. In such circumstances, the second function of the PAP will be set in motion. To fulfil these purposes, the PAP will meet within 4 weeks of the completion of each period of practice learning.

2. In order to carry out the second of the two identified functions, the PAP will be convened on an ad hoc basis, to discuss the specific circumstances that have led to the termination/failure of a student’s practice learning experience. In such cases, there are two basic options that are open to the course, in line with University procedures. The first is that the student’s course should be terminated. The second is that the student should be allowed to undertake an alternative placement. It will be the responsibility of this meeting of the PAP to make a recommendation to the Board of Examiners. Because the decision of the PAP could lead to a recommendation for termination of the course, the student has a right of attendance at this meeting to put her/his case. In addition, the student has a right to be accompanied to the meeting by a “friend”. The recommendation from this meeting of the PAP will be put to the full Assessment Board for a final decision to be made.

4. Membership of the Practice Assessment Panel

There will be slightly different sets of membership of the PAP for the two different functions. These are identified below:

1. For the first set of functions, as identified above, the membership will be as follows:

5 representatives from practice agencies
2 representatives of the social work course team, one of whom will be the Course Director.

These meetings will be chaired by one of the practice-based representatives.

2. For the second set of functions, the membership will include the following:

Course Director (Chair)
Personal Tutor

(In cases where the Course Director is also the Personal Tutor, another senior member of staff of the Centre will chair the meeting)

One representatives of local social work agencies (Neither of these should be from the agency within which the student was place

The following will also be invited to contribute to the discussion of the meeting:

Student (plus “friend”)
Practice Teacher (plus support if requested)




* These procedures do not apply to students on BA (Hons) Humanistic Counselling Studies/Practice and MA/PGDip/PGCert Humanistic Counselling Studies/Practice. Students on those courses should refer to the Fitness to Practice statement in their Course Handbooks. 




Last amended March 2011







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