Terms of Reference (ToR)
Membership & Responsibilities
- The Disciplinary Removal and Reinstatement Committee (DRRC) is a standing committee of the RCOG and established by Council, which appoints the members of the Committee.
- The DRRC has delegated authority from Council to enact and make decisions as set out within these terms of reference and associated Regulations.
- The DRRC is chaired by an appointed member of the Women’s Network. Membership comprises two Fellows, two Members, a member of the Trainees Committee and an SAS doctor. All members of DRRC, excluding the Chair, will be members of the College in active practice or within 3 years of retirement and in good standing with the GMC.
- Members are recommended on merit in a selection process overseen by the Finance & General Purposes Committee (F&GPC). Final recommendations will be approved and individuals formally appointed by Council. With the exception of the Chair, no one can be appointed to the DRRC who is a Trustee or a member of Council.
- Should a DRRC member be elected to Council or become a Trustee, they will automatically be removed from the Committee. This will not apply to the Chair.
- The term of membership for this committee is three years or until such time as either a resignation from a member is received relinquishing their place on the Committee or the Chair of the DRRC in agreement with the President and approval by F&GPC so choose to remove a member from the DRRC. Any person ceasing to be a member of DRRC shall be notified to Council.
- The quorum for DRRC meetings will be 5, including the Chair who must be present. If the Chair cannot be available for a meeting of the DRRC or where a conflict of interest on a matter before the DRRC is identified, F&GPC may authorise an acting Chair from the Women’s Network.
- If a conflict of interest on a matter before the DRRC is identified with any other DRRC panel member, the DRRC Chair with the support of the Secretary will appoint an alternative appropriate member to act in their stead for the duration of that conflict.
- The Chief Executive will appoint an appropriate person to act as Secretary to the Committee. The DRRC will conduct its business in private and a confidential minute of each meeting will be taken and agreed by members. Minutes will be archived for a period of 6 years.
- An annual budget for DRRC will be set by the Board of Trustees.
- Complaints managed under the complaints policy and procedure will receive consideration as to whether referral to the DRRC is appropriate. In such circumstances these cases will initially be referred to the College CEO. The College CEO will escalate the matter to the President unless a conflict of interest is perceived to be present, in which case the matter will be referred to the most appropriate College Officer.
- The DRRC will only consider matters referred by the President. However, as above, where a conflict of interest arises, this responsibility will be delegated to a College Officer.
- Referrals to the DRRC are restricted to members of the College where they have been erased from any medical register in any country or where a complaint outcome finds that they have acted to the detriment of women’s health or rights, or in any way to bring the College into disrepute.
Automatic Removal Process
- Members who are erased from the GMC Register or equivalent are automatically removed from the RCOG register of members. Note: this is not intended to apply in cases of voluntary erasure.
- Once notification of erasure is received from the respective medical register, the DRRC will ratify the formal removal from the RCOG register.
- The DRRC are tasked with notifying Council of all such removals from the RCOG register.
- Members who are removed from the RCOG register will receive written confirmation of removal from the President.
- There is no right of appeal in such circumstances relating to automatic removal.
Disciplinary Sanction / Removal Process
- In circumstances where respondents are deemed to have acted to the detriment of women’s health or rights, or in any way to bring the College into disrepute, following the investigation of a complaint by the investigating manager, the President, or (if the President has a conflict of interest in respect of the complaint) another College Officer nominated by the President, will report the case to the DRRC.
- Whilst an investigation is ongoing, the President has the right to temporarily suspend respondents from those official RCOG duties as set out in Regulation 23.
- The Chair, in discussion with the committee secretary, will call the meeting of the DRRC.
- The DRRC will invite respondents to make representations in response to the complaint in writing, and to attend the DRRC hearing in person.
- Respondents will be afforded at least 28 days’ notice of this hearing.
- The respondent has the right to attend and present their case as to why sanctions or removal from the register should not apply.
- The respondent is entitled to be accompanied by one individual for support purposes at any such meeting.
- The DRRC is an internal disciplinary committee and has no legal status, hence respondents will not be permitted to have legal representation at meetings.
- The DRRC is tasked with reviewing a specific case and must consider all facts which are made available and/or representations by the respondent at the meeting.
- The DRRC may ask for additional information and reports and seek advice on aspects of governance, etc., The DRRC will ordinarily be expected to conclude a disciplinary matter within three months but will take longer if circumstances require this.
- At the conclusion of a disciplinary hearing, the DRRC may impose a sanction. Where the sanction is anything other than removal from the RCOG register, the DRRC will set a defined time period during which the sanction will be in effect. This could be either removal from the RCOG register in accordance with Regulation 2.6.4;
- The DRRC determines in accordance with regulation 23, that she or he has acted to the detriment of women’s health or rights, or in any way to bring the College into disrepute, and that as a result she or he should be removed from the Register.
- and Regulation 2.7;
- The DRRC, having determined in accordance with regulation 2.6.4 that the College member has acted to the detriment of women’s health or rights, or in any way to bring the College into disrepute, has the option (instead of removal from the Register) to determine for a period that:
- 2.7.1 all or any of the rights and privileges attaching to her or his College membership are suspended; and / or
- 2.7.2 she or he is not eligible for election or appointment to any specified office or membership of a committee of the College.
- Sanctions imposed by the DRRC will be communicated to the individual(s) involved, by the President and may be made public, and if appropriate where the sanction is other than removal from the RCOG register, will be communicated to the respondent’s employer.
- All decisions of the DRRC will be reported to Council for information.
- Members who are subject to criminal proceedings cannot be referred to DRRC until these have been concluded.
- The College reserves the right to report removal from the College register to the employer and GMC ( or equivalent body responsible for the regulation of medical practitioners in another country)
- Following restoration to the statutory medical register that they were originally removed from, members can make an application for automatic reinstatement. The DRRC Secretary will present the confirmed reinstatement information and application electronically to the DRRC. The DRRC is tasked with ratifying the automatic reinstatement. A note of the automatic reinstatement will be circulated at Council. The President will write to the member to formally notify them of their reinstated membership.
Non Automatic Reinstatement
- Individuals who have been removed from the RCOG register due to them having been found to have caused detriment to women’s health or rights or in any way brought the College into disrepute, will have the right to apply for reinstatement after a period of no less than 1 year and no more than 5 years has elapsed.
- This process does not apply where the DRRC has applied sanctions such as temporary suspension of a member’s right to hold office. This element will be covered by the Appeal process.
- The DRRC is tasked with reviewing the facts of a specific case. The individual applicant will be tasked with making their representation available to the DRRC Secretary who will then ensure the DRRC Panel are briefed.
- The Chair, in discussion with the committee secretary, will call the meeting of the DRRC.
- The DRRC will invite individual applicants to make representations in response to their written submissions, and to attend the DRRC hearing in person.
- Applicants will be afforded at least 28 days’ notice of this hearing.
- The applicant has the right to attend, and present their case as to why they should be reinstated to the RCOG register.
- The applicant is entitled to be accompanied by one individual for support purposes at any such meeting.
- The DRRC must consider at the meeting any representations which the applicant makes.
- The DRRC is an internal disciplinary committee and has no legal status, hence applicants will not be permitted to have legal representation at meetings.
- The DRRC will ordinarily be expected to conclude a disciplinary/ reinstatement matter within 3 months but will take longer if circumstances require this.
- Members who are confirmed as having been reinstated by the DRRC to the RCOG register will receive written confirmation of their reinstatement from the President.
- A note providing information on DRRC process outcomes and on decisions of DRRC will be circulated to Council when relevant.
- If a member applies for reinstatement, but has their application rejected, they will be notified and have the right of appeal against the decision of the DRRC.
- If you apply for reinstatement, but your application is rejected, at both the DRRC and further appeal stage, you again have the right to apply for reinstatement after a period of no less than 1 year and no more than 5 years has elapsed. Note: resubmissions will only be accepted where new evidence has come to light.
Risk & Reporting
- All referrals to the DRRC will be anonymised and reported annually to the Board of Trustees.
- There is a right to appeal the decision of the DRRC to remove a member from the register as well as to appeal a sanction. Appeals should be lodged within 10 working days of receipt of a decision.
- The process for appeals is set out in regulation 25.
The terms of reference of the DRRC were approved by Council in June 2019 and the Board of Trustees on 20 September 2019 and will be reviewed and updated in September 2020 and will subsequently be reviewed annually.