‘Fitness to Practise’ is one of the EWC’s core functions, an activity required by legislation to administer disciplinary, suitability for registration and Induction Appeals casework. It processes personal data in order to carry out the EWC’s legal obligations in this area.
Where we obtain your information
The Fitness to Practise Team, responsible for discharging the EWC’s fitness to practice work, receives personal data from registrants involved in its casework / applicants for registration, and third parties including employers, agencies, police forces, other regulators, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), the EWC’s contracted legal firms, service providers, EWC panel members and members of the public. It processes this information on behalf of the EWC in order to discharge the EWC’s main functions - to protect the public interest, that is, to protect learners and other members of the public, to maintain public confidence in the education professions and the regulatory process and to uphold proper standards of conduct and competence.
What personal information we collect
The categories of personal data which can be collected for the exercise of the EWC’s functions within the fitness to practise area are:
- personal identifiers (e.g. name, date of birth, National Insurance number, teacher reference number);
- contact information (e.g. home address, e-mail address, telephone number);
- registration status;
- qualifications (e.g. previous degrees);
- supplementary qualifications (e.g. mandatory qualifications, Qualified Teacher Status);
- employment details (e.g. current and/or previous employer);
- caution and conviction details;
- financial details (for witness / panel member expenses purposes);
- social media posts;
- computer IP addresses (online identifiers).
The Fitness to Practise Team may also hold sensitive personal data such as:
- racial or ethnic origin;
- political opinions;
- religious beliefs, or other beliefs of a similar nature;
- trade union membership;
- physical or mental health or condition(s) and dietary requirements;
- equality information;
- sexual life;
- the commission, or alleged commission of any offence by a registrant or applicant; and
- any proceedings for any offence, committed or alleged to have been committed by a registrant or applicant, the disposal of such proceedings, or the sentence of any court in such proceedings.
How we use your information
The Fitness to Practise Team sometimes need to make personal data available to other organisations. These might include contracted partners (who the EWC has employed to process personal data on its behalf i.e. the EWC’s legal firms) and/or other organisations (with whom it needs to share personal data for the reasons stated below).
Where the Fitness to Practise Team needs to share personal data with others, it will ensure that this sharing complies with data protection legislation:
- The EWC holds contracts with separate legal firms who act on its behalf to present cases and to provide legal advice.
- The EWC appoints independent panel members to sit on its Fitness to Practise committees. Committees consider cases and make decisions as to alleged unacceptable professional conduct, serious professional incompetence and / or conviction of a relevant offence, whether to grant or refuse registration, and whether to allow or dismiss an Induction Appeal. In order to make such decisions, panel members require sight of any information received by Fitness to Practise to enable them to carry out this role.
- If applicable, the Fitness to Practise Team needs to share personal data with the DBS in order for it to carry out its statutory function. This data is lawful because it is complaint with Section 45 of the Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.
- If applicable, the Fitness to Practise Team may need to share personal data with the Police in order for it to carry out its own statutory function. This data is lawful because it is compliant with Section 29 of the Data Protection Act.
- If applicable, the Fitness to Practise Team may need to share personal data with the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS), General Teaching Council Northern Ireland (GTCNI), Teaching Regulation Authority (TRA) and Teaching Council for Ireland (TCI) in order for them to carry out their own statutory functions. This data is lawful because it is complaint with Schedule 2 Paragraph 6 of the Data Protection Act 1998.
- If applicable, the Fitness to Practise Team may need to share personal data with service providers (for example, translators) to enable the EWC to discharge its statutory regulatory function.
Where the Fitness to Practise Team publishes information about fitness to practise case outcomes on its website, it cannot ask search engines to de-list information about those outcomes.
Why our use of personal data is lawful
The Education (Wales) Act 2014, as amended, and the Education Workforce Council (Main Functions) (Wales) Regulations 2015, as amended, set out the EWC's functions and the information it may hold.
The main legal bases relied upon to process personal data are Article 6(1)(e) of the UK GDPR which permits the processing of personal data when this is necessary to perform the EWC's public tasks as a regulator, and Article 6(1)(c), which applies whenever the processing is necessary to comply with the EWC's legal obligations.
The EWC does process special categories of personal data related to fitness to practise work. For special categories data, the EWC relies on the legal basis contained in article 9(2)(g) of the UK GDPR, read in conjunction with paragraphs 6, 11 and 12 of Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 2018. Paragraph 6 applies where the processing is necessary for the exercise of the EWC's statutory functions. Paragraphs 11 and 12 apply to processing necessary for the EWC to exercise its functions to protect the public against unfitness or improper conduct. For each of these legal bases to apply, the processing must be necessary for reasons of substantial public interest.