Glen William Clifton
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During the course of your employment as a Hearing Aid Dispenser by 'Hidden Hearing:
1) On or around 29 April 2014, Person A, your line manager, became aware that equipment was missing from 'Hidden Hearing' and you:
a) On or around 29 April 2014, advised Person A that you were 'not using the card machine as you could never get a signal and it wasn't working properly' or words to that effect, when that was not the case.
b) On or around 1 May 2014, told Person A that Person B had taken the credit card machine, when that was not the case.
c) On or around 6 May 2014, advised Person A that the 'items had been returned to your mum's address in a recorded delivery cardboard box' or words to that effect, when that was not the case.
d) On 7 May 2014, advised Person A that your solicitor had written to Person B when that was not the case.
e) On 12 May 2014, informed Person A by email that 'on the advice of Bedfordshire Police I changed the locks' when that was not the case.
f) Did not tell Person A that on or around 7 April 2014, you left the equipment at a university following a wax removal course.
2) Your actions described in paragraphs 1(a) - (f) were dishonest.
3) The matters described in paragraphs 1 - 2 constitute misconduct.
4) By reason of that misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.
The Registrant was employed by Hidden Hearing. At the end of April 2104, his Line Manager Ms Julia Pallin, became concerned that a card machine issued to employees had gone missing. Ms Pallin questioned the Registrant about the missing card machine and its whereabouts. The Registrant provided inconsistent explanations.
An investigation was carried out by the Human Resources Manager, Mr Nick Burton. Mr Burton concluded that the Registrant had provided further inconsistent explanations to him as to the absence and whereabouts of the missing card machine. A disciplinary hearing was held on 18 June 2014 following which the Registrant was dismissed from his employment with effect from 4 July 2014.
In his representations to the Council the Registrant has made full admissions.
At its meeting on the 2 March 2015, the Investigating Committee determined that the Registrant face the following Allegation:
During the course of your employment, as a Hearing Aid Dispenser, by ‘Hidden Hearing’.
1. On or around 29 April 2014, Person A, your line manager became aware that a credit card machine issued to you by ‘Hidden Hearing’ was not being used for customer sales and you:
a. On or around 29 April 2014, advised Person A that you were ‘not using the card machine as you never get a signal and it wasn’t working properly’ or words to that effect when that was not the case.
b. On or around 1 May 2014, told Person A that Person B had taken the credit card machine from your home when that was not the case.
c. On or around 6 May 2014, advised Person A that the ‘items had been returned to your Mum’s address’ or words to that effect, when that was not the case.
d. On 7 May 2014 advised Person A that your solicitor had written to Person B when that was not the case.
e. On 12 May 2014, informed Person A by email that ‘on the advice of Bedfordshire Police I changed the locks’ when that was not the case.
f. Did not state during a formal investigation meeting on 2 June 2014, that you had left the equipment at a University following a wax removal course.
2. Your actions described in paragraphs 1(a) to 1(f) were dishonest.
3. The matters described in paragraphs 1 and 2 constitute misconduct.
4. By reason of your misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.
The process of disposing of a case by way of consent is an extra-statutory means of concluding a matter. However, before agreeing to such a course the Panel has to remind itself that it has to be certain that by adopting this process there is the appropriate level of public protection and that it would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.
Article 11(3) of the 2001 Order and Rule 12(3) of the Health and Care Professions Council (Registration and Fees) Rules 2003 prevent a registrant from seeking to resign from the register whilst the registrant is the subject of an allegation or a Conditions of Practice Order or Suspension Order made by a Panel.
The Guidance issued by the Council states:
In cases where the HCPC is satisfied that it would be adequately protecting the public if the Registrant was permitted to resign from the Register it may enter into a Voluntary Removal Agreement allowing the registrant to do so, but on similar terms to those which would apply if the registrant had been struck off.
If the Panel is not satisfied that the above criteria have been met it appreciates that it has the ability to reject the proposal and allow the matter to proceed to a full Final Hearing.
The Panel heard from the Council that in the Council’s view this measure will maintain the public’s confidence in the profession and the regulatory process. The wider public interest in this matter has also been addressed and satisfied by the process of investigation.
The Panel noted the points made by the Registrant in his written representations, in particular the stresses that he was under at the time of the matters before this Panel. The Registrant appreciates that his actions were wrong. He has given this voluntary removal a lot of thought and considers that it is the right thing to do: he has difficulty in dealing with the stresses that come with his professional duties. The Registrant confirmed that he has been qualified for over ten years and that he has made an informed and settled decision that he does not wish to return to his profession.
The Panel has given this matter careful consideration. It has noted that the terms of the Agreement equate with the Registrant’s removal being treated as a striking off. That agreement states that the Registrant will not reapply to be registered but should he wish to do so then the terms of the agreement would be taken into account at that time of reapplication.
The Voluntary Removal Agreement will provide service user protection in that the Registrant will not be able to practise however the Panel noted that there had not in any event been any issues of service user protection. The Panel noted that the public interest in maintaining standards and upholding the profession’s reputation would be met by the terms of this removal. On the other hand, the Panel considered that the wider public interest may be affected in that a competent practitioner’s services will no longer be available. However the Registrant states that his best interest is served by his removal. The Panel has balanced all these interests.
To ensure that this measure of removal is proportionate the Panel has gone through the processes which a Final Hearing Panel would have undertaken:
• On the documentary evidence before the Panel, and with the benefits of full admissions by the Registrant, the Panel considers that the issues identified within the particulars are capable of being proven to the requisite standard of balance of probabilities.
• The dishonest statements made over several days and to two different individuals, would, in the Panel’s view, have supported a finding of serious misconduct.
• There being arguably no measures which a registrant can undertake to address dishonesty, and given the seriousness of the matter, a finding of current impairment on the public, as well as the private components of its decision could be established.
• When considering whether the removal of the Registrant’s name was appropriate and proportionate the Panel made reference to the Indicative Sanctions Guidance, which it appreciated was persuasive and not mandatory in nature. In this regard the Panel noted the following:
o The reputational damage that has resulted from the Registrant’s actions.
o The dishonest excuses, and various reasons given for the credit card machine’s disappearance had taken place on several occasions and the Registrant had attempted to mislead two senior managers as to the true position.
o Whilst there had been apology and regret for what he had done there remained the possibility of repetition of this dishonest behaviour.
Given these matters the Panel considered that a strike-off would have been within the realm of a decision of a Final Hearing Panel. The Panel has therefore concluded that in all the circumstances of this case the approval of the proposed Voluntary Removal Agreement is the proportionate and appropriate course of action in this matter.
Further, there is arguably public interest in ensuring that there is no unnecessary expenditure of energies and expense of a Final hearing when there have been full admissions as to the facts, ground and impairment and it is the Registrant’s wish to be removed. There is therefore no benefit from referring this matter for a Final Hearing.
The Panel has before it a copy of the Voluntary Removal Agreement that has been signed and dated by both parties: the Panel notes the terms of that agreement reached between the parties.
History of Hearings for Glen William Clifton
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|02/11/2015||Conduct and Competence Committee||Final Hearing||Voluntary Removal agreed|