Michael Andrews

Profession: Practitioner psychologist

Registration Number: PLY24179

Interim Order: Imposed on 19 Jan 2016

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 19/01/2016 End: 17:00 19/01/2016

Location: Health and Care Professions Council, Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London, SE11 4BU

Panel: Investigating committee
Outcome: Other

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Allegation

Your entry onto the HCPC Register as a Practitioner Psychologist was fraudulently procured in that you provided the HCPC with false documents, namely:

 

1. A University of Birmingham award for a Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology dated October 2001.

 

2. A University of Birmingham award for a Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Forensic Psychology dated 12 August 2007.

 

3. A The Open University award for a Degree in Master of Science in Forensic Psychological Studies with Honours dated 16 September 2006.

 

4. A The Open University award for a Degree in Master of Research in MRES (Mental Health) dated 14 October 2007.

 

5. A University of Surrey award for a Degree of Doctor in Psychology in Psychotherapeutic and Counselling Psychology dated 15 August 2002.

 

Finding

The Panel determined that there has been sufficient notice of the hearing sent to the Registrant, beyond the 28 days required under the HCPC’s procedure rules. The HCPC’s letter, dated 22 October 2015, referred to the time, place and nature of the hearing, and was verified as having been sent by first class post on 22 October 2015. Thus, in the Panel’s judgement, there has been good service in this case.

Having heard the HCPC’s submission to proceed in the Registrant’s absence, the Panel further determined that it was in the public interest to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. In reaching its decision, it accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and paid regard to the HCPC’s Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant.

The Panel determined to proceed in the absence of the Registrant as he had voluntarily chosen to be absent and unrepresented. The Panel noted that he had engaged by his letter dated 12 December 2015 and his formal response document dated 15 December 2015, with reference to having Counsel, but he made it clear in those communications that neither he nor his Counsel would be attending this hearing, preferring to go straight to the appeal process.

The Panel also took into consideration that the Registrant had not requested an adjournment and has not suggested that he would be willing to attend on a future date. In the Panel’s opinion, not to proceed today would allow the potential for harm to the public and it would also undermine public confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process. The hearing would be unduly delayed and the expeditious disposal of the hearing would be deleteriously affected.  Therefore, for these reasons, the Panel has determined to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.
 
This case concerned the alleged fraudulent registration by the Registrant onto the HCPC register of practising psychologists. The Panel noted that it had only one stage upon which to adjudicate under Article 22(1)(b) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, as amended in 2012. This was whether, on the balance of probabilities (the civil standard of proof), the HCPC had proved that the Registrant had fraudulently procured his registration as a practitioner psychologist on 14 November 2009. On 18 February 2011 the Registrant applied, and was successful on 1 March 2011, for a further modality of counselling psychology. In both applications the Registrant provided certificates of his various Masters’ and Doctorate degrees. The HCPC had received an enquiry from the City of London police about the authenticity of the Registrant’s qualifications. The HCPC investigated the matter, contacting the Universities of Birmingham and Surrey and the Open University. It was clear to the HCPC from their comparison of the university’s authentic certificates with those submitted by the Registrant when he applied for registration that the Registrant’s certificates for his purported two Masters’ and three doctorate degrees were not authentic.

In reaching its decision, the Panel considered all the evidence, including that from the Registrant. It took into account the submission from Ms Williams for the HCPC and it accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice. The Panel noted that the standard of proof was the civil standard, and it also noted its powers under Article 26(7) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, as amended in 2012.

The Panel considered each Particular of Allegation separately, as follows:

Particulars of Allegation 1 and 2 (considered separately but with the same conclusions): Proved.

In relation to the Registrant’s University of Birmingham certificates, the University of Birmingham gave five reasons for the Registrant’s certificates not being genuine, as follows:
(i) Birmingham University could not trace the Registrant by any name or combination of name(s) as having attended there for his doctorates in clinical or forensic psychology in 2001 and 2007 respectively;
(ii)  The Registrant’s doctorate certificates did not physically match those of Birmingham University in layout and format;
(iii)  The dates of the awarding of both degrees by the university were significantly different - the correct (and regular) dates were 13 December 2001 and 13 July 2007, but the Registrant’s certificates award dates were stated as October 2001 and 12 August 2007;
(iv)  The signatures of the Vice Chancellor/Principal and the Registrar/Secretary were those of the current title holders and not of those in 2001 and 2007 and the 2007 has no signature for the Registrar/Secretary;
(v)  There was no unique student identification number on the Registrant’s certificates.

Particulars of Allegation 3 and 4 (considered separately but with the same conclusions): Proved.

(i) The Open University could not trace the Registrant by any name or combination of name(s) as having attended there for his Masters’ degrees in forensic and mental health research psychology in 2006 and 2007 respectively;
(ii)  No such degrees as claimed by the Registrant’s certificates had ever been awarded by the Open University, and the same applied now;
(iii)  The true Vice Chancellor and Secretary at the Open University in 2006 and 2007 were not the same people as claimed on the Registrant’s two Master’s certificates, in that the names on his certificates were different and unknown persons and the signatures were not the same as those of the genuine title holders in 2006 and 2007;
(iv)  The Registrant’s Masters’ certificates did not physically match those of The Open University in layout and format;
(v)  There was no unique reference number on the Registrant’s certificates.

Particular of Allegation 5: Proved.

(i) The University of Surrey could not find any evidence of the Registrant’s name or combination of names, and, therefore, no record could be found of him having enrolled or attended for a doctorate degree in psychotherapeutic and counselling psychology in 2002;
(ii)  The Registrant’s doctorate certificate did not physically match that of The University of Surrey in layout and format;
(iii) The signatures of the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar on the Registrant’s certificate did not match the genuine signatures of the title holders at the time;

The Panel took into consideration the Registrant’s defence that he had been the victim of identity theft/fraud and that he was not responsible for the fraudulent information being deliberately put forward to represent his qualifications.

However, the Panel weighed the HCPC’s evidence against the written submissions of the Registrant, as he was voluntarily absent and not represented, and determined that the weight of evidence was heavily balanced for the HCPC. In the Panel’s judgement, it was well researched and clear and preferred by the Panel to that of the Registrant.

The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness 4, relating to how the Registrant was accepted by the HCPC’s Registration Department onto the Register on 14 November 2009 and, with respect to the additional modality, on 1 March 2011. The Panel was satisfied that it was the Registrant who sent in the certificates that are the subject of the Particulars of Allegation in this case. The Panel is further satisfied that the Registrant did so himself, actively, and that the false certificates, and how he used them with the HCPC, had not been conceived by some other fraudulent person and that another person had not stolen his identity and/or was not falsely posing as him with false qualifications or that the whole matter was not some mistake. The Registrant produced no evidence to the Panel of any genuine qualifications that he has obtained to support the allegation that he has made of identity fraud/theft by another unknown person or persons.

For these reasons, the Panel has determined that the facts evidenced by the HCPC proved, on the balance of probabilities, that the Registrant fraudulently procured his entry on the HCPC part of the Register as a Practitioner Psychologist by providing the HCPC with false documents.

The Panel considered that fraudulent applications by the Registrant would make his registration fraudulent, and, therefore, invalid. It would put patients at risk and it would also seriously undermine public confidence. The Panel has determined that this was deliberately dishonest behaviour, that also breached the trust of all employers who had employed the Registrant, and it breached the trust of those employers who might, in the future, employ the Registrant. The Panel determined that the Registrant has brought the profession into disrepute by his deliberate and dishonest behaviour and that he is not fit to be a Registrant on the relevant part of the HCPC register.

For these reasons, the Panel determined that the Registrar shall remove the entry of Mr Andrews from the Register relating to practising psychologists, including any additional modality sections.

Order

Order: That the Registrar shall remove the entry of Mr Michael Andrews from the part or parts of the Register relating to practising psychologists.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Michael Andrews

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
19/01/2016 Investigating committee Final Hearing Other