Mr Paul Martin Carney

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW21589

Interim Order: Imposed on 15 Dec 2017

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 15/12/2017 End: 17:00 15/12/2017

Location: ETC Venues, Avonmouth House, 6 Avonmouth Street, London, SE1 6NX

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

During the course of your employment as a Social Worker at Milton Keynes Council you:

 

1. Did not record one or more of the following activities on the Integrated Children’s System Electronic Record (ICS):

 

a. In relation to Family A:

i. Home visit on or around 2 January 2015

ii. Case Management Conference on or around 6 January 2015

iii. Home visit on or around 23 January 2015

iv. Personal Education Plan (PEP) on or around 27 January 2015

v. Childs Needs Meeting on or around 28 January 2015

vi. Home visit on or around 9 March 2015

vii. Home visit on or around 10 March 2015

viii. Home visit on or around 16 March 2015

ix. Home visit on or around 24 March 2015

x. Contact session on or around 25 March 2015

xi. Care Planning Meeting on or around 8 April 2015

xii. Rehabilitation meeting on or around 29 April 2015

xiii. Home visit on or around 1 May 2015

xiv. Initial Health Assessment (IHA) on or around 6 May 2015

xv. Court hearing on or around 23 June 2015

xvi. Statutory visit on or around 10 July 2015

 

b. In relation to Family B:

i. Harlow on or around 27 July 2015

ii. Home visit on or around 29 July 2015

 

c. In relation to Family C:

i. Home visit on or around 19 February 2015

ii. Home visit on or around 6 March 2015

iii. School meeting on or around 21 May 2015

iv. Contact agreement meeting on or around 4 June 2015

v. Legal consultation on or around 7 July 2015

vi. Home visit on or around 14 July 2015

vii. Home visit on or around 27 July 2015

 

d. In relation to Family D:

i. Home visit on or around 12 February 2015

ii. School meeting on or around 21 April 2015

iii. Office meeting on or around 1 June 2015

iv. Legal consultation on or around 7 July 2015

 

e. In relation to Family E:

i. School transportation on or around 9 January 2015

ii. Meeting on 23 January 2015

iii. Home visit on or around 30 January 2015

iv. Meeting on or around 11 February 2015

v. Meeting on or around 17 February 2015

vi. Meeting on or around 12 March 2015

vii. Family Group Conference on or around 28 April 2015

viii. Home visit on or around 29 April 2015

ix. Family Group Conference on or around 5 May 2015

x. Statutory visit on or around 26 May 2015

xi. Statutory visit on or around 27 May 2015

 

f. In relation to Family F:

i. Home visit on or around 18 March 2015 ii. Home visit on or around 26 March 2015

 

g. In relation to Family G:

i. Home visit on or around 19 January 2015

ii. Home visit on or around 29 January 2015

iii. Home visit on or around 30 January 2015

iv. Home visit on or around 3 February 2015

v. Home visit on or around 17 March 2015

 

h. In relation to Family H:

i. Home visit on or around 2 January 2015

ii. Court hearing on or around 7 January 2015

iii. Transport on or around 8 January 2015

iv. Home visit on or around 14 January 2015

v. Contact transport on or around 21 January 2015

vi. Home visit on or around 23 January 2015

vii. Meeting on or around 2 February 2015

viii. Contact transport on or around 4 February 2015

ix. Family group conference on or around 20 March 2015

 

i. In relation to Family I

i. Home visit on or around 30 January 2015

ii. Visit on or around 9 February 2015

iii. Home visit on or around 11 February 2015

iv. Home visit on or around 13 February 2015

v. Home visit on or around 18 February 2015

 

j. In relation to Family J

i. Home visit on or around 14 January 2015

 

2. On or around 27 July 2016 made a record of visiting Family A on 15 July 2015 even though that visit did not take place.

 

3. The matter described in paragraph 2 was dishonest.

 

4. The matters described in paragraph 1-3 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

 

5. By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practice is impaired .

Finding

 

Preliminary matters:

1. On 15 June 2017, the Registrant was sent notice of this hearing by first class post to his registered address. A copy of the notice was also sent on the same date by email. The notice contained the required particulars, including time, date and venue. At that time, the venue was listed at 405 Kennington Road. On 3 October 2017, an amended notice was sent and emailed to the Registrant’s registered address, listing the venue as 103a Oxford Street. The time and date remained the same.

2. Having heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, the Panel was satisfied on the documentary evidence provided, that the Registrant had been given appropriate notice of this hearing in accordance with the Rules.

Proceeding in absence of the Registrant
 
3. Ms Parry, Counsel appearing on behalf of the HCPC, applied for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who advised that the discretion to proceed in a Registrant's absence should only be exercised with the utmost care and caution.

4. No communications have been received from the Registrant at any stage of the proceedings. A number of the communications sent to the Registrant have been returned to the HCPC, marked as ‘refused’. It follows that the Registrant has not applied for an adjournment of this Substantive Hearing, nor has he submitted any representations.

5. The Panel was satisfied that the HCPC had fulfilled its obligations and taken all reasonable steps to serve notice on the Registrant in accordance with the Rules. In this respect, it had regard to the case of Adeogba v GMC, which identified that there was a duty on a Registrant to keep his or her regulator up to date, including notification of the current registered address, and to cooperate with his regulatory body and not actively frustrate the process.

6. The allegation dates back to 2015, when the Registrant was working as a Senior Social Worker at Milton Keynes Council. The Panel was aware that there is one witness present to give evidence on the first day (9 October 2017), and three witnesses scheduled to attend and give evidence on the second day (10 October 2017). There has been one previous adjournment of the Substantive Hearing, at the request of the HCPC, due to the non-availability of a witness.

7. In light of the above, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had been provided with the means of knowledge as to when and where his hearing was to take place. The Panel concluded that the Registrant had voluntarily waived his right to attend and there was no evidence that he would attend an adjourned hearing. The Panel also considered that it was in the public interest for the hearing to take place.

Application to amend the particulars

8. At the beginning of the hearing, Ms Parry, counsel appearing for the HCPC, applied to amend a number of the particulars.

9. Having heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, the Panel decided to allow the proposed amendments in full. It was of the view that the amendments essentially reflected the anticipated evidence, or, in the case of particular 2, corrected the year from 2016 to 2015. They also re-numbered the particulars to take account of the amendments.

10. Since the initial drafting of the original allegation, a number of occasions had been identified where an omission in record keeping was alleged, but the evidence did not support the alleged omission. Reasons for this included that the case records did contain a relevant entry, or redactions to anonymise a particular family incorrectly suggested there was more than one family, or the particulars were duplicated. The Panel was satisfied that there would be no prejudice to the Registrant in allowing the proposed amendments as they effectively reduced the number of alleged record keeping errors.

Admissibility of Evidence by telephone

11. Ms Parry, on the third day of the hearing (11 October 2017), made an application to allow JM to give her evidence by telephone. JM had originally been scheduled to give evidence on day 1. On day 2, she emailed the Hearings Officer to inform him that she could not attend for health reasons. On day 3, in response to an email from the case manager inquiring whether she may be able to give evidence by telephone, JM emailed to say that she would be able to give evidence by telephone.

12. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel noted that no medical evidence confirming the state of JM’s health had been received. However, the Panel considered whether it would be unfair to allow JM’s evidence to be received by way of telephone. Given that the Registrant had neither attended this hearing, nor was he represented, it was not the situation that the Registrant would be deprived of the opportunity for him or a representative to cross examine the witness face to face.

13. The Panel was of the view that it was important to achieve the best evidence where possible. In this case, it concluded that it would be achieved by allowing the witness to give her evidence by telephone. The evidence of JM was not the sole or decisive evidence in the case, but it was, nevertheless, important because she was the witness who had compiled the audit document, which tabulated the Registrant’s Outlook Calendar entries, the Registrant’s response and the results of the search on ICS by both her and CB.

14. Although the Panel recognised that it would not have the benefit of seeing her give evidence, the Panel nevertheless concluded that it would be able to evaluate the reliability of her evidence, as it would be able to ask questions to test her evidence and therefore determine what weight to give it. It therefore allowed the application for JM to give her evidence by telephone.

Background

15. The Registrant is a Social Worker registered with the HCPC. He was employed as a Senior Social Worker in the Family Support Team Central and East (the Team) at Milton Keynes Council (the Council) from November 2014 to 23 February 2016.

16. The Registrant’s case load included children and young people up to the age of 18 years old. His responsibilities included Children in Need (CIN), Child Protection (CP) and court cases. CIN cases relate to families who need support to parent their children. CP cases are for families where child protection concerns have been identified. Court cases frequently involve the local authority requesting removal of a child from the family.

17. The Council used an electronic based system for keeping records in respect of service users, known as the Integrated Children’s System Electronic Record (ICS). The expectation was that all verbal or direct contact with a family by a member of staff within the Team should be recorded on the ICS. The Council’s Children’s Social Care Recording Policy and Practice Guidance indicates that records must be up to date, and be added to ICS as soon as possible and no later than three working days after the event.

18. On 15 July 2015, JM was the Duty Manager on duty and the Registrant was the duty Social Worker. JM saw the Registrant leave the office at around 4:45pm 15 minutes before the end of the official duty period. She checked the Social Worker diary to see if a duty visit was planned. She then looked in the Registrant’s own Outlook Calendar to see if a visit was recorded and saw that there was a home visit recorded for Family A at 5pm. It is alleged that the Registrant did not visit Family A. JM told CB, Team Manager of the Team, that the Registrant had not visited Family A.

19. On 24 July 2015, CB sent the Registrant an email inquiring whether he had visited Family A, as it was in his Calendar but not yet recorded on ICS. On 27 July, the Registrant sent an email to CB, to the effect that the record was now on ICS. It is alleged that this entry was not accurate, and that the Registrant had acted dishonestly in entering the record.

20. CB raised her concerns about the record with MM, Head of Service and MT, from the Human Resources Department. CB was advised to undertake an audit of all of the Registrant’s cases, to see whether what was recorded in his Outlook Calendar matched the case record that he had entered on ICS. CB carried out this review between 28 and 30 July 2015, and identified a number of occasions when the ICS case notes did not correspond to the Registrant’s diary entry.

21. On 28 July 2015, CB met with the Registrant to speak about the 15 July 2015, and corresponding ICS entry. On 31 July 2015, CB again met with the Registrant to discuss her findings of the audit. On 3 August 2015, CB again met with the Registrant. This meeting was re-convened in the afternoon to allow a third person to be present, IJ, Family Support Team South and West Team Manager.

22. In September 2015, HLT, Independent Reviewing Officer in the Safeguarding Service at the Council, was appointed to conduct an investigation into the matter. On 24 September 2015, HLT interviewed the Registrant. In the course of her investigation, she also interviewed CB and JM.

Decision on Facts

23. On behalf of the HCPC, the Panel heard live evidence from HLT, CB and MM. It heard telephone evidence from JM. The Panel was also provided with a documentary exhibits bundle, which included summaries of the investigative interviews, the latest version of the audit (audit document) into the Registrant’s cases, which contained his responses, and copies of Case Notes Reports for the respective families, referred to in the charges.

24. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. In respect of the disputed facts, the Panel understood that the burden of proving each individual fact is on the HCPC and that the HCPC will only be able to prove a particular fact if it satisfies the required standard of proof: namely the civil standard, whereby it is more likely than not that the alleged incident occurred.

25. During the evidence there were various references to an (Outlook Calendar) and an (Outlook Diary). The Panel were satisfied that these electronic documents were the same and that the descriptions were used interchangeably. To avoid confusion the Panel has used ‘Outlook Calendar’ throughout.

26. The Panel considered the evidence of CB. She explained that the comparison document which had been exhibited was not hers, although she had initially conducted a review of the ICS with reference to the Registrant’s Outlook Calendar. Her initial review document was not in the exhibits bundle, but she was taken through each of the Case Management reports in her evidence. She said that she had been looking for corresponding entries on the actual day recorded in the Outlook Calendar, rather than an entry on or around a particular date.

27. The Panel considered the nature of that review exercise, comparing the Outlook Calendar entries to the ICS case note records, which CB said she had been advised to conduct in that way by the Human Resources Department. The Panel asked her view about the Registrant’s response, set out in the review document, where he said

‘The exercise of comparing Outlook Calendars to ICS entries would, I believe, produce discrepancies in the majority of social worker’s records. This is not because work is not done but that the very nature of the job leads to late changes of plan to react to emerging situations with families. Outlook Calendars may be changed to reflect that or sometimes not due to it being a priority’.

CB said that she did not disagree with that view, and for her, while she would try to keep her diary up to date, her priority was not to delete activities which did not take place. In light of this, the Panel acknowledged that it would need to be satisfied that the activity alleged had, in fact, taken place on or around the alleged date, and that it should treat the Outlook Calendar with caution, and see where there was evidence to support the Outlook Calendar entry to satisfy it, to the required standard, that the activity alleged had taken place. The Panel found CB to be extremely well informed, and measured in her responses, if a little defensive on occasion.

28. The Panel found that the other witnesses, HLT JM and MM were balanced in their responses. JM had undertaken the audit exercise with CB. She said that she had been the one to prepare the full audit document of the Registrant’s cases using the entries in the Registrant’s Outlook Calendar and the results of both her and CB’s reviews of the ICS. It was JM who had recorded the Registrant’s responses in the audit document.

29. The Registrant did not attend, but the Panel did not draw any adverse inference from his non-attendance. It had regard to his recorded responses at each stage of the Council’s investigation. Although the Panel was mindful that these responses had not been given on oath, or been tested by questioning, it did consider that the Registrant had been open to the Investigators. The Panel considered that he had given credible and balanced answers, which included answers to his detriment. The Panel considered that unless there was other evidence which contradicted the Registrant’s responses, then the Panel was able to accept the Registrant’s explanation.

30. The Panel adopted the following approach in the assessment of the sub-particulars in particular 1. Firstly, it looked to see if, evidentially, there was evidence to support that an activity which the Registrant had recorded in his Outlook Calendar as due to take place, had actually taken place, or an attempt had been made for it to take place, for example a visit, but where no one was in. If there was no evidence to support that the activity had occurred or been attempted, then the Panel did not consider there was a requirement on the Registrant to make a record of it within the ICS electronic system, as there would be nothing to record. If there was evidence to satisfy the Panel that the activity had taken place, or that there was a failed attempt for it to take place, then the Panel looked to see whether there was evidence to support whether or not the Registrant had recorded it.

31. In relation to the ICS, the Panel considered, from the evidence it heard, that this was a system with a number of components, or areas in which to store records, which included the Case Notes, documents, and forms. The Panel had been provided with copies of one of the components of ICS, namely the Case Notes in the form of a ‘Case Notes Report’ for each service user. The Panel was mindful of the limitations of the Case Notes Reports, in that they were simply one of the components within the ICS for recording information, and there were other areas within the integrated system, which may or may not contain relevant records, but which if they did, had not been provided to the Panel.

Particular 1

1. Did not record one or more of the following activities on the Integrated Children’s System Electronic Record (ICS):

a. In relation to Family A:
 
i. Home visit on or around 2 January 2015

32. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(i) proved.

33. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit appointment on 2 January 2015 at 16:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that his recollection was that he had visited the property and was told that the mother of Family A was not there. CB had told the Panel that, effectively, where an activity had been attempted, for example a home visit but the person intended to be seen was out, then that should be recorded so as to build up a picture within the Case Notes as to whether there was a pattern emerging of visits not taking place, which may in itself be an area of concern. The Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that the visit had taken place, albeit the Registrant had not seen the mother, and that it was an attempted activity which was required to be recorded. Whilst the Case Notes Report had an entry that there was contact with Family A at the contact centre from 12pm to 2pm, there was no corresponding home visit recorded for 16:00.

ii. Case Management Conference on or around 6 January 2015

34. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(ii) not proved.

35. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a Case Management Conference on 6 January 2015 from 11:00 to 13:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that he went to court. The Case Notes Report for Family A did not contain an entry for 6 January 2015, about a Case Management Conference. However, CB, in her evidence, acknowledged that an activity of that nature might be uploaded on ICS as ‘Orders’. Given that the Panel had no copies of the other components of ICS, the Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that there was no record on ICS in another location, other than the Case Notes Report.

iii. Home visit on or around 23 January 2015

36. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(iii) not proved.

37. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit to Family A on 23 January 2015 at 12:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that his recollection was the Family A mother had a bad back and asked him [the Registrant] to transport her to contact. The Case Notes Report for 23 January 2015, had an entry for supervised contact between Family A mother and child for the time of 12:00. The Panel was of the view that there was an activity, and inferred that the home visit was to provide transport to supervised contact. In light of the entry in the Case Notes Report of 23 January 2015, the Panel was not satisfied that the HCPC had proved to the required standard, that the activity had not been recorded.

iv. Personal Education Plan (PEP) on or around 27 January 2015
 
38. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(iv) proved.

39. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a PEP on 27 January 2015, at 10:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this took place. The Case Notes Report contained no entry regarding a PEP. CB in her evidence said that an entry regarding a PEP was required, but could be entered in either the ‘Case Notes’ or the ‘Documents’ section. She said that she had checked both for that date and found no entry in either. Although the Panel did not have a copy of the documents component for itself, it accepted CB’s evidence on this. Therefore, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that there was an activity, as confirmed by the Registrant, and that there should be an entry in respect of it on ICS. The Panel was satisfied to the required standard that it was not recorded on ICS. 

v. Child Needs Meeting on or around 28 January 2015

40. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(v) proved.

41. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a Child Needs Meeting on 28 January 2015, from 09:00 to 10:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was a FDAC (Family Drug and Alcohol Court) meeting. The Panel had regard to the evidence of CB that this is effectively a Child Needs Meeting and involved a number of practitioners which the Social Worker would chair. Minutes would be taken, but it was not necessarily the Social Worker’s responsibility to upload the minutes on ICS. The Panel was satisfied that there was an activity, as confirmed by the Registrant. The Case Notes Report had entries confirming that the case of Family A is before the FDAC, but there is no entry referring to either a Child Needs Meeting or the FDAC Meeting, or minutes for any such meeting. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had not recorded the meeting on ICS.

vi. Home visit on or around 10 March 2015

42. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(vi) proved.

43. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit on 9 March 2015 at 16:00 and a home visit on 10 March 2015 at 09:00. In relation to 9 March 2015, the Registrant’s response in the audit document is that Family A had just got the keys to a flat and he visited to see what furnishings etc were required. This activity is recorded on ICS as a statutory visit. In relation to 10 March 2015, the Registrant’s response in the audit document is that this was a confidential conversation with the foster carer. On the basis of the Registrant’s response, the Panel was satisfied that there were two separate activities, both of which were required to be recorded in ICS. The home visit on 9 March 2015, was recorded on ICS, but the activity of a confidential conversation with the foster carer on 10 March 2015, contained no corresponding entry on ICS.

vii. Home visit on or around 16 March 2015
 
44. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(vii) proved.

45. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit at 16:30. The Registrant’s response in the document audit was that this was an unannounced visit, but no one was in. The Case Note Report for Family A does not contain an entry for 16 March 2015, in respect of an attempted home visit, but the family were not in. CB in her evidence had said that home visits which had been attempted, but were unsuccessful were required to be recorded, essentially so that any pattern of repeated missed visits could be picked up. The Panel was satisfied that there was an activity, namely an attempted home visit, and that the attempt should have been recorded in ICS, and that it had not been recorded.

viii. Home visit on or around 24 March 2015

46. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(viii) not proved.

47. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit on 24 March 2015. The Registrant’ response in the audit document audit is that he visited Family A to discuss going to Reuse Centre to furnish her flat. Although there was no entry in ICS for 24 March 2015, there was an entry for 23 March 2015, by the Registrant, described as a Statutory Visit (Looked After). CB in her evidence explained that statutory visits often took place at home. The entry also records the Registrant as letting Family A [child] read to him. The Panel inferred that this visit took place at Family A’s home. This visit was the day before the Outlook Calendar entry.  The Panel was not satisfied that the HCPC had proved to the required standard that the Registrant had not recorded a home visit on or around 24 March 2015.

ix. Contact session on or around 25 March 2015

48. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(ix) not proved.

49. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded Family A contact from 11:30 to 13:30. The Registrant’s response in the document audit was: ‘My recollection is that the foster carer had fallen out with [Family A mother’s] sister and that she did not want to see her at handover. I went to keep the peace in case of any problems’. JM’s audit in the document audit is: ‘No case note on ICS. The contact report does not mention [the Registrant] being there’. The Panel was satisfied that there was the activity of Family A contact. However, the Panel was also satisfied that there was a record of the activity on ICS. Therefore, the Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the activity had not been recorded in the ICS.

x. Care Planning Meeting on or around 8 April 2015

50. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(x) proved.

51. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a Family A Care Planning Meeting on 8 April 2015 at 14:00. The Registrant’s response in the document audit was that it took place. JM’s audit in the audit document is that there was no entry on the case notes, or any minutes recorded on ICS. She said that she would expect a care plan to exist as a result of a Care Planning Meeting, and she could not find a care plan uploaded onto ICS. The Panel accepted her evidence on this. The Panel was satisfied that the Case Notes Report does not contain a record to the effect that this activity took place. Therefore the Panel was satisfied to the required standard that there was no record on ICS.

xi. Rehabilitation meeting on or around 29 April 2015

52. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(xi) proved.

53. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a Family A rehabilitation Meeting at a Children’s Centre at 11:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document is that this meeting took place, and that minutes taken by him exist and were sent to all parties. JM’s audit in the audit document was that there were no Case Notes on ICS and that she could not find the minutes. The Panel did not consider that the responses of the Registrant and JM were incompatible. The Panel had regard to the Case Notes Report. It identified that there was an entry on 21 April 2015, of supervision between the Registrant and KL that: ‘planning meeting to be convened about the rehab plan’. It also identified that there was an entry for 30 April 2015 by another member of staff of funding given to Family A ‘to support the rehabilitation home plan’. The Panel was satisfied to the required standard that the activity took place, but there was no corresponding entry for 29 April 2015 in ICS.

xii. Home visit on or around 1 May 2015

54. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(xii) proved.

55. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit on 1 May 2015 at 09:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was to go through the rehabilitation plan which was to start the following week. JM‘s audit in the audit document is that this is not on ICS. The Case Notes Report contained no entry to the effect of a home visit. Therefore the Panel was satisfied to the required standard that there was an activity, but that it had not been recorded in ICS.

xiii. Initial Health Assessment (IHA) on or around 6 May 2015

56. The Panel finds particular 1(a) (xiii) proved.

57. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a IHA Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) to take place on 6 May 2015 from 13:00 to 14:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this took place and that FDAC do the minutes. The Panel had regard to the evidence of CB, who said that these IHAs often took place on a Saturday, outside the Social Worker’s hours of work, and so she would not expect a Social Worker to record it. The Case Notes Report contained no entry to the effect of an IHA taking place. Therefore, the Panel was satisfied that the activity took place and there was no corresponding entry to that effect, thus finding the factual particular proved. However, it was mindful that it was not considered the Social Worker’s responsibility to record it.

xiv. Court hearing on or around 23 June 2015

58. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(xiv) proved.

59. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded: ‘FDAC [Family A]’ to take place on 23 June 2015 at 09:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that he went to court. The Panel had regard to the Case Notes Report which contain an entry by the Registrant to the effect that there was a Final Court Hearing on 1 July 2015, at which the Interim Care Order had been revoked and a 1 year supervision order made. The Panel considered whether another court hearing would have taken place the week before the Final Hearing on 1 July 2015. It had regard to the evidence of CB who said that a court hearing a week before the Final Hearing may well be a final resolution hearing. The Panel concluded that it was more likely than not that there had been a preliminary court hearing on or around 23 July 2015, in preparation for the Final Hearing. Therefore it was satisfied that the activity took place and that there was no corresponding entry for it in the Case Notes Report.

xv. Statutory visit on or around 10 July 2015

60. The Panel finds particular 1(a)(xv) proved.

61. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded that there was a statutory visit to [Family A] on 10 July 2015 at 16:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that he had visited, the purpose being to remind Family A to register with a local GP. The Registrant had rung the bell to the flat and she was not in. He left and returned about 20 minutes later and there was still no reply. The Panel was satisfied that the activity had been attempted, and as such a record relating to it was required. The Case Notes Report contained no corresponding entry for the attempted visit.

Particular 1

1. Did not record one or more of the following activities on the Integrated Children’s System Electronic Record (ICS):

b. In relation to Family C/D:

i. Home visit on or around 19 February 2015

62. The Panel finds particular 1(b)(i) proved.

63. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded that there was to be an unannounced visit to Family A on 19 February 2015 at 09:00. The Registrant had previously recorded in the Case Notes, a home visit on 13 February 2015, at which he had informed Family C/D that while the investigation was ongoing, she could receive unannounced home visits. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was half term and his recollection was that he knocked and there was no answer although he felt that people were in the house but asleep. The Panel was satisfied that the activity had been attempted, and as such a record relating to it was required. The Case Notes Report contained no corresponding entry for the attempted visit.

ii. Home visit on or around 6 March 2015

64. The Panel finds particular 1(b)(ii) proved.

65. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit to Family A on 6 March 2015 at 16:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that they were not in. The Registrant had recorded in the Case Notes, a home visit on 5 March 2015. The Panel was satisfied that the home visit of 5 March 2015 was a separate home visit to the one recorded in the Outlook Calendar for 6 March 2015, as the recorded home visit of 5 March 2015 was successful and Family C/D was in. The Panel was satisfied that the activity of 6 March 2015 had been attempted, and as such a record relating to it was required. The Case Notes Report contains no corresponding entry for the attempted visit.

iii. School meeting on or around 21 May 2015

66. The Panel finds particular 1(b)(iii) not proved.

67. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded: ‘FSM (School)’ on 21 May 2015 at 14:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this took place and is on ICS under forms. JM’s audit in the audit document is that the Meeting was on 20 May 2015 as recorded on the meeting minutes. The Case Notes Report contains an entry for 20 May 2015 of a home visit to Family C/D and referencing the Family Support Meetings (FSM) the next day. CB’s evidence was that FSM take place at school. The Panel was satisfied that a school meeting took place on or around 21 May 2015, and that JM had seen the relevant minutes relating to it uploaded on ICS when conducting her audit. Therefore, the Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the activity had not been recorded in the ICS.

iv. Contact agreement meeting on or around 4 June 2015

68. The Panel finds particular 1(b)(iv) not proved.

69. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded ‘[Family C/D] contact agreement meeting (Coffee Hall)’ on 4 June 2015 at 09:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that the mother re-arranged it for 8 June 2015, and that there was an entry for 8 June 2015. JM’s finding in the audit document is that there is no record on ICS for 4 June 2015, but that there is one for 8 June 2015. The Case Notes Report for 8 June 2015 contain an entry for ‘Supervised Contact Planning Session’. The Panel was not satisfied that the planned activity for 4 June 2015 had taken place on that day, nor that it had been attempted, rather it had been re-arranged for 8 June 2015. Therefore, it was not satisfied to the required standard that an entry was required for 4 June 2015.

v. Legal consultation on or around 7 July 2015

70. The Panel finds particular 1(b)(v) proved.

71. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded ‘[Family C/D] (Legal Consult)’ for 7 July 2015 at 11:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that it took place with [CB] in attendance. CB said that a legal consultation would take place with a Social Worker, a manager and a solicitor. She said that she may have attended the meeting as the manager, but that it would be the Social Worker who would take the notes and add them to ICS. She said the solicitor may have taken their own notes, but they would not be uploaded on ICS. The Case Notes Report has an entry of the supervision session between the Registrant and CB on 6 July 2015, which includes in the next steps that ‘legal consultation to take place by 8 July 2015’. The Panel was satisfied that the activity took place, that CB was there, and that it was the Registrant’s responsibility, as the Social Worker, to take the notes and upload them on ICS, but there was no corresponding entry in ICS of the activity.

vi. Home visit on or around 14 July 2015

72. The Panel finds particular 1(b)(vi) proved.

73. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded: ‘[Family C/D] home visits x 2’ on 14 July 2015 at 16:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that these were brief visits to [fathers of Family C/D] to remind them to get legal representation regarding acquiring parental responsibility for their respective children. He said that the [fathers] were out and he asked the mother of one to remind him. The Case Notes Report had an entry for 14 July 2015 recording a supervised contact session away from the home, clashing with the time that the Registrant intended to visit, according to his Outlook Calendar. The Panel was satisfied that the activity was attempted, and a record of it was required, but there was no corresponding entry in ICS to that effect.

vii. Home visit on or around 27 July 2015

74. The Panel finds particular 1(b)(vii) proved.

75. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit and meeting to Family C/D with the health visitor. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this happened. JM’s audit in the audit document was that she had a discussion with the health visitor who could not remember if it happened or not. The Case Notes Report had entries for 27 July 2015, entered by the Registrant, which were case summaries, and which identified the date of the next Family Support Meeting. The Case Notes Report did not contain an entry about a home visit on that day. The Panel was satisfied that the activity took place, but there was no corresponding entry recorded in ICS.

viii. Home visit on or around 12 February 2015

76. The Panel finds particular 1(b)(viii) not proved.

77. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit to Family C/D on 12 February 2015 at 16:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was to deliver a written agreement signed by the mother. The Case Notes Report had an entry of a home visit on 9 February 2015, whereby a Family Support Meeting was discussed for 12 February 2015. There was an entry by the Registrant for 12 March 2015, stating that the Family Support Meeting was held. There was a further entry by the Registrant for 13 February 2015, of a home visit to Family C/D, confirming that the Registrant is shown around the house, and thanking [the mother] for seeing him and signing the agreement. The Panel was satisfied that there was an activity on or around 12 February 2015, namely the day after on 13 February 2015. However, the Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the activity had not been recorded in the ICS.

ix. School meeting on or around 21 April 2015

78. The Panel finds particular 1(b)(ix) not proved.

79. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded: ‘[Family C/D] FSM’ on 21 April 2015. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was not held, as the mother had not attended, and it was agreed that it be re-arranged. The Case Notes Report contains an entry for 21 April 2015, of the supervision session between the Registrant and KL, where it is recorded: ‘FSM today. Mum did not attend’. The Panel was not satisfied that the activity took place, or had been attempted. Therefore it was not satisfied to the required standard that an entry by the Registrant in ICS was required. The Panel noted that the Registrant recorded an unannounced home visit on 23 April 2015, to discuss ongoing problems with school attendance.

x. Office meeting on or around 1 June 2015

80. The Panel finds particular 1(b)(x) proved.

81. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded an office meeting for Family C/D on 1 June 2015 at 10:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that the father came to the office to discuss his housing options’. The Case Notes Report contained entries by the Registrant for 1 June 2015 to the effect that the Registrant had conducted a home visit to the mother of Family C/D and had spoken the the child of Family C/D at school to ascertain his wishes and feelings about living with his father and grandparents, but there was no entry in respect of an office meeting with the father. The Panel was satisfied that the activity of an office visit took place with the father of Family C/D but there was no corresponding entry in ICS.

Particular 1

1. Did not record one or more of the following activities on the Integrated Children’s System Electronic Record (ICS):

c. In relation to Family E/I:

i. Meeting on 23 January 2015

82. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(i) not proved.

83. The audit document of the Registrant’s Outlook Calendar with his responses contained no entry of an appointment in respect of a meeting with Family E/I on 23 January 2015, and so no response had been sought from the Registrant. There was no other evidence to indicate whether or not a meeting was planned for 23 January 2015, or whether a meeting took place on that date. The Case Notes Report contained no entry to indicate that a meeting took place on or around 23 January 2015. The Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the activity took place. Therefore there was no requirement to record it.

ii. Home visit on or around 30 January 2015

84. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(ii) not proved.

85. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit to Family E/I on 30 January 2015 at 16:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was cancelled due to supporting a junior member of staff on a visit to a hospital ward, which took all afternoon. Therefore, the Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the activity took place, or that it had been attempted, so there was no requirement to record it.

iii. Meeting on or around 11 February 2015

86. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(iii) not proved.

87. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit for Family E/I for 11 February 2015, at 16:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was re-arranged to the following week on 19 February 2015. The Case Notes Report contained copies of emails between the Registrant and a counsellor, dated 10 and 11 February 2015, regarding work to get the child of Family E/I back home from foster care. The entry for 19 February 2015, records a home visit to discuss contact with Family E/I. The Panel was not satisfied that the planned activity of 11 February 2015, had taken place on that day, but considered it had been re-arranged for 19 February 2015. Therefore, it was not satisfied that the activity had taken place or been recorded, so no entry was required for 11 February 2015.

iv. Meeting on or around 17 February 2015

88. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(iv) not proved.

89. The audit document of the Registrant’s Outlook Calendar with his responses, contained no entry of an appointment in respect of a meeting on or around 17 February 2015, and so no response had been sought from the Registrant. There was no other evidence to indicate whether or not a meeting was planned for 17 February 2015, or whether a meeting took place on that date. The Case Notes Report contained entries of a statutory visit on 16 February 2015, and a home visit on 19 February 2015. The Case Notes Report contained no entry to indicate that a meeting took place on or around 17 February 2015. Therefore, the Panel was not satisfied that the activity took place or was attempted, therefore no record was required.

v. Meeting on or around 12 March 2015

90. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(v) proved.

91. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit to Family E/I on 12 March 2015 at 16:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was to discuss an upcoming FGC (Family Group Conference) and that he believed that Family E/I came into the office earlier that day to see the Registrant in the lunch hour. The Case Notes Report does not contain an entry in respect of a meeting either at home or in the office on that day. The Panel was satisfied that the activity took place, but there was no corresponding entry recorded in ICS.

vi. Home visit on or around 29 April 2015

92. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(vi) not proved.

93. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit to Family E/I on 29 April 2015 at 16:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that [Family E/I child] refused to get in the taxi as he was upset at being excluded from school; he would only go home with the Registrant, and that this was recorded on ICS for 30 April 2015. The Case Notes Report contained an entry for 30 April 2015, of a statutory visit, detailing that the Registrant was called by the school; the Registrant attended the school and [Family E/I child] agreed to let the Registrant take him home. The Panel was satisfied that there was an activity on or around 29 April 2015, namely 30 April 2015, but was not satisfied to the required standard that the Registrant had not recorded that activity in ICS.

vii. Family Group Conference on or around 5 May 2015

94. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(vii) not proved.

95. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a FGC with Family E/I on 5 May 2015 at 09:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this took place and minutes exist. JM’s audit in the audit document was that there was no case note on ICS but the minutes were uploaded. The Panel was satisfied that the activity had taken place, and was mindful that JM’s audit indicated that there was a record of the activity in ICS, namely uploaded in the component part of the ICS for minutes. Therefore the Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the Registrant had not recorded the activity on ICS.

viii. Statutory visit on or around 26 May 2015

96. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(viii) not proved.

97. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a ‘Stat Visit (Foster Carers)’ on 26 May 2015 at 13:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this meeting was re-arranged for the following day. The Case Notes Report indicates that there was a transfer of responsible Social Worker from the Registrant to DM, and on 26 May 2015, Family E/I went into the office to see the new Social Worker, DM, and the Registrant was present to introduce them. The Panel was not satisfied that there was the activity of a statutory visit on 26 May 2015, and so there was no requirement to record.

ix. Statutory visit on or around 27 May 2015

98. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(ix) proved.

99. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a visit to ‘Family E/I (Stat Visit CLA)’. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was a handover meeting with DM (new Social Worker) and he believed she was going to record it on ICS. The Case Notes Report contained an entry by DM who had recorded the visit of 27 May 2015, and that the Registrant was present to introduce Family E/I to the new Social Worker. The Panel was satisfied that the activity did take place, and the statutory visit was not in fact recorded by the Registrant. The Panel was mindful that the recording of the activity would not have been the responsibility of the Registrant, but the responsibility of the new Social Worker, who did, in fact make the entry.

x. Visit on or around 9 February 2015

100. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(x) not proved.

101. The audit document of the Registrant’s Outlook Calendar with his responses, contained no entry of an appointment in respect of a visit on or around 9 February 2015, and so no response from the Registrant was sought. There was no other evidence to indicate whether or not a visit was planned for 9 February 2015, or whether a visit took place on that date. The Case Notes Report contained no entry to indicate that a visit took place on or around 9 February 2015. Therefore, the Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the activity took place.

xi. Home visit on or around 11 February 2015

102. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(xi) not proved.

103. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit to Family E/I on 11 February 2015 at 16:30. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was re-arranged to the following week. The Case Notes Report contained no entry for 11 February 2015, but there was an entry for 19 February 2015. The Panel was not satisfied that the planned activity of 11 February 2015, had taken place on that day or been attempted, but considered it had been re-arranged for 19 February 2015.

xii. Home visit on or around 13 February 2015

104. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(xii) not proved.

105. The audit document of the Registrant’s Outlook Calendar with his responses, contained no entry of an appointment in respect of a home visit on or around 13 February 2015, so no response was sought from the Registrant. There was no other evidence to indicate whether or not a home visit was planned for 13 February 2015, or whether a visit took place on that date. The Case Notes Report contained no entry to indicate that a visit took place on or around 13 February 2015. Therefore, the Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the activity took place.

xiii. Home visit on or around 18 February 2015

106. The Panel finds particular 1(c)(xiii) not proved.

107. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit regarding the FGC for Family E/I at 17:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was recorded on ICS as 19 February 2015, and was a discussion with the mother about having unsupervised contact with Family E/I. The Case Notes Report contained an entry for 19 February 2015, of a home visit. The Panel was satisfied that the activity took place on or around 18 February 2015, namely 19 February 2015. Given that there was an entry in respect of the visit, the Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the Registrant had not recorded the activity in ICS.

Particular 1

1. Did not record one or more of the following activities on the Integrated Children’s System Electronic Record (ICS):

d. In relation to Family F:

i. Home visit on or around 18 March 2015

108.   The Panel finds particular 1(d)(i) not proved.

109. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a home visit to Family F on 18 March at 16:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that Family F was not in. The Case Notes Report provided to the Panel covered the period from 2 January 2015 to 5 March 2015. The Panel was not able to be satisfied as to whether this was a complete Case Notes Report, or whether the parameters for obtaining the Case Notes Report were set too narrowly, meaning later Case Notes were missing from the Report. Therefore, although the Panel was satisfied that there was an attempted activity which required recording, the HCPC had not satisfied the Panel to the required standard that there was no recording in ICS.

ii. Home visit on or around 26 March 2015

110. The Panel finds particular 1(d)(ii) not proved for the same reasons given for particular 1(d)(i), namely that it was not satisfied that it had a complete Case Notes Report for the relevant period.

Particular 1

1. Did not record one or more of the following activities on the Integrated Children’s System Electronic Record (ICS):

e. In relation to Family G:

i. Home visit on or around 19 January 2015

111. The Panel finds particular 1(e)(i) proved.

112. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded ‘Family home visit’ on 19 January 2015 at 16:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was a new case, he was not able to get hold of the mother, it was an unannounced visit and she was not in. The Case Notes Report had an entry confirming that this was a new referral on 16 January 2015. However, there was no entry on or around 19 January 2015. The Panel was satisfied that the activity was attempted, so was required to be recorded, but there was no corresponding entry in ICS.

ii. Home visit on or around 30 January 2015

113. The Panel finds particular 1(e)(ii) proved.

114. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded ‘Family G home visit’ on 30 January 2015. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was to the effect that this was linked to an entry for 29 January 2015, and that he had visited, but no one was in. The Registrant’s response to the 29 January 2015, was that this was on ICS; the visit had been cancelled due to heavy snow; a message was left on the mother’s phone that he would visit the following day. The Case Notes Report contained an entry for 29 January 2015, that the planned home visit was cancelled due to weather conditions, but no entry for 30 January 2015. The Panel was satisfied that the activity had been attempted on 30 January 2015, so a record of it was required, but there was no corresponding entry in ICS.

iii. Home visit on or around 17 March 2015

115. The Panel finds particular 1(e)(iii) not proved.

116. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded ‘Family G home visit’ for 17 March 2015. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this was an ‘Unannounced home visit (suspected drug misuse). Not in’. The Case Notes Report provided to the Panel covered the period from 5 January 2015 to 12 March 2015. The Panel was not able to be satisfied as to whether this was a complete Case Notes Report, or whether the parameters for obtaining the Case Notes Report were set too narrowly, meaning later Case Notes were missing from the Report. Therefore, although the Panel was satisfied that there was an attempted activity which required recording, the HCPC had not satisfied the Panel to the required standard that there was no recording in ICS.

Particular 1

1. Did not record one or more of the following activities on the Integrated Children’s System Electronic Record (ICS):

f. In relation to Family H:

117. In respect of Family H, the Registrant’s response in the audit document for each Outlook Calendar entry, save for one of the two entries for 14 January 2015 and 20 March 2015, was ‘see below’. At the end of the audit document, he had provided a lengthier response in respect of Family H, detailing; the complex issues with the family and court proceedings; the extended periods of time he spent supporting the family, including transport to and from contact; the discussions about the family in supervision and with management; and his concerns about the case reflecting badly on previously involved professionals. The Registrant’s response in the audit document of ‘see below’ did not address whether or not a planned activity in his Outlook Calendar did or did not take place. There was no other evidence to satisfy the Panel to the required standard whether or not the activity which was planned in the Outlook Calendar took place or was attempted.

i. Home visit on or around 2 January 2015

118. The Panel finds particular 1(f)(i) not proved.

119. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded Family H/J home visit on 2 January 2015 at 16:00. It was not clear from the Registrant’s response in the audit document whether or not this visit took place. There was no other evidence, including in the Case Notes Report to indicate whether or not the activity took place or was attempted on or around that date. The Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the activity took place. Therefore there was no requirement to record it.

ii. Court hearing on or a or around 7 January 2015

120. The Panel finds particular 1(f)(ii) not proved.

121. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded Family H/J final hearing on 7 January 2015 at 09:00. It was not clear from the Registrant’s response in the audit document whether or not this court hearing took place. The Case Notes Report contained entries relating to a court hearing. There was an entry by another professional for 6 January 2015, which made mention of the court reducing contact. There was an entry of a supervision session between the Registrant and KL on 16 January 2015, recording that a Supervision Order of 1 year was made. There was an entry for 20 January 2015, entered by the Registrant as a case summary, which recorded: ‘[Family H/J] became subject to an SGO to her paternal grandparents on 07/01/2015. A Supervision Order for 1 year was also granted.’ The Panel was satisfied that the activity took place, but was not satisfied that the Registrant had not recorded it in ICS.

iii. Transport on or around 8 January 2015

122. The Panel finds particular 1(f)(iii) not proved.

123. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded two planned ‘[Family H/J] transport’ for 8 January 2015 at 09:00 and 11:00.  It was not clear from the Registrant’s response in the audit document what the nature of ‘transport’ was and whether it meant, for example arranging a bus pass for contact on that day, as earlier recorded in the Case Notes Report having been raised, or something else entirely. The Panel was not satisfied that an activity had taken place or been attempted, which would have required a record to be made by the Registrant.

iv. Home visit on or around 14 January 2015

124. The Panel finds particular 1(f)(iv) not proved.

125. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded Family H/J home visit on 14 January 2015 at 15:30. It was not clear to the Panel from the Registrant’s response in the audit document whether or not this visit took place. There was no other evidence, including in the Case Notes Report to indicate whether or not the activity took place or was attempted on or around that date. The Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the activity took place. Therefore there was no requirement to record it.

v. Contact transport on or around 21 January 2015

126. The Panel finds particular 1(f)(v) not proved.

127. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded two planned transport contacts for 21 January 2015 at 09:00 and 12:30. It was not clear from the Registrant’s response in the audit document what the nature of the transport contact was. For the same reasons as for particular 1(f)(iii) the Panel was not satisfied that an activity had taken place or been attempted, which would have required a record to be made by the Registrant.

vi. Home visit on or around 23 January 2015

128. The Panel finds particular 1(f)(vi) not proved.

129. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded a Family H/J home visit for 23 January 2015 at 16:00. It was not clear to the Panel from the Registrant’s response in the audit document whether or not this visit took place. There was no other evidence, including in the Case Notes Report to indicate whether or not the activity took place or was attempted on or around that date. The Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the activity took place or was attempted. Therefore there was no requirement to record it.

vii. Meeting on or around 2 February 2015

130. The Panel finds particular 1(f)(vii) not proved.

131. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded Family H/J meeting at parent’s house for 2 February 2015 at 16:00. It was not clear to the Panel from the Registrant’s response in the audit document whether or not this visit took place. There was no other evidence, including in the Case Notes Report to indicate whether or not the activity took place or was attempted on or around that date. The Panel was not satisfied to the required standard that the activity took place or was attempted. Therefore there was no requirement to record it.

viii. Contact transport on or around 4 February 2015

132. The Panel finds particular 1(f)(viii) not proved.

133. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded Family H/J contact transport for 4 February 2015. It was not clear from the Registrant’s response in the audit document what the nature of the transport contact was. For the same reasons as in particular 1(f)(iii), the Panel was not satisfied that an activity had taken place or been attempted, which would have required a record to be made.

ix. Family Group Conference on or around 20 March 2015

134. The Panel finds particular 1(f)(ix) not proved.

135. The Registrant’s Outlook Calendar recorded Family H/J FGC on 20 March 2015 at 16:00. The Registrant’s response in the audit document was that this took place. JM’s audit in the audit document was: ‘no case note on ICS. FGC took place as minutes uploaded onto ICS’. The Case Notes Report contained an entry by the Registrant on 23 March 2015 recording that the Family Group Conference was completed and an outline of the plan for supervised contact agreed by the family. The Panel was satisfied that the activity took place, but was not satisfied that the Registrant had not recorded the activity in ICS.

2. On or around 27 January 2015 made a record of visiting Family A on 15 July 2015 even though that visit did not take place.

136. The Panel finds particular 2 proved.

137. The Case Notes Report contained an entry by the Registrant for 15 July 2015 to the effect that he had made an unannounced home visit to Family A and had spoken to the mother about registering with a GP surgery.

138. The Panel had regard to the emails between CB and the Registrant dated 24 July 2015 and 27 July 2015. The email from CB to the Registrant dated 24 July 2015 said: ‘Did you visit [Family A] on Wednesday 15th July at 5pm? It is on your Calendar but not on ICS as yet. Please let me know as I am auditing CIN visits’. The email from the Registrant to CB dated 27 July 2015 said: ‘It’s on now. It was a brief visit to remind [Family A mother] to register [Family A child] at a local GP. I did a more thorough visit on 23rd July 2015 which is also on the system.’

139. The Panel accepted the evidence of JM that she had seen the Registrant leave work on 15 July 2015, had checked his Outlook Calendar, seen the appointment for 5pm and had telephoned [Family A mother] shortly after 5pm. In that phone call with the mother, she discovered that the mother was out having dinner with her daughter and the Registrant had not visited her.

140. The Panel accepted the evidence of CB. She said that she met with the Registrant on 28 July 2015 to speak about whether the recorded visit to Family A of 15 July 2015 had taken place. She said that initially the Registrant said that he had conducted the visit, but when she told him that the mother of Family A had said she had not been visited at all on this date, he accepted that he had not visited them. The Panel also had regard to the investigatory interview between HLT and the Registrant on 24 September 2015, where he admitted that he did not see the mother on 15 July 2015.

141. The Panel was satisfied that that the Registrant had made a record in respect of a visit to Family A on 15 July 2015 following the email he received from CB (24 July 2015) and that he had made the record by the time he sent the email reply to CB on 27 July 2015. The Panel was also satisfied that he had not, in fact, carried out a home visit to Family A on 15 July 2015.

3. The matter described in paragraph 2 was dishonest.

142. The Panel finds particular 3 proved.

143. The Panel noted that the Registrant was an experienced Social Worker, fully aware of the importance of maintaining accurate records. It noted that the Registrant had initially denied that he had not seen Family A on 15 July 2015 when challenged by CB, and inferred that this was because he knew of his wrongdoing.

144. The Panel was satisfied from all the circumstances that the Registrant had knowingly made an entry into the Case Notes of Family A which he knew to be incorrect. He had left work early on 15 July 2015 but had not gone to the appointment recorded in his Outlook Calendar of a home visit to Family A at 5pm. The Registrant had made the record about the home visit in ICS on or around 27 July 2015, following the email inquiry about it from CB. On 28 July 2015, when CB asked him about whether he had, in fact, seen the family, he initially maintained that he had visited, but then accepted he had not on being told that the mother had said there was no visit by the Registrant.

145. The Panel considered whether the making of the record on or around 27 July 2015, of visiting Family A on 15 July 2015 even though that visit did not take place, was dishonest.

146. The Panel concluded that a Social Worker who knowingly records an entry in a service user’s Case Notes, which he knows did not occur would be considered to be dishonest by the standards of reasonable and honest people. Therefore the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s actions were dishonest by those standards.

Statutory Grounds and Impairment

147. The Panel next considered whether the matters found proved as set out above, amounted to misconduct and/or lack of competence, and if so, whether by reason thereof, the Registrant's fitness to practise is currently impaired.

148. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was aware that any findings of lack of competence and/or misconduct and impairment were matters for the independent judgement of the Panel. The Panel was aware that consideration of impairment only arises in the event that the Panel judges that the facts found proved do amount to misconduct and/or lack of competence and that what has to be determined is current impairment that is looking forward from today.

Decision on Statutory Ground

149. The Panel next went on to consider whether the facts found proved amounted to lack of competence and/or misconduct.

150. The Panel was of the view that the facts found proved cover four families and, apart from the finding of dishonesty which was not a lack of competence matter in any event, relate to a discrete, albeit important area of the Registrant’s practice, namely record keeping. It considered that the record keeping deficiencies in respect of four families out of the full total of what would have been the Registrant’s case load over the significant length of time for which he had been a Social Worker, did not constitute a fair sample of the Registrant’s work. In such circumstances, the Panel was of the view that the facts found proved do not constitute a lack of competence on the Registrant’s part.

151. The Panel went on to consider whether the facts found proved amounted to misconduct.

Particulars 2 and 3

152. In relation to particulars 2 and 3, that is knowingly making an entry in a service user’s Case Notes which the Registrant knew to be incorrect and doing so dishonestly, the Panel had little difficulty in concluding that this was misconduct. In the Panel’s judgement, the dishonesty fell far below the proper standards of conduct and behaviour to be expected of a Social Worker.

153. In relation to the remaining sub-particulars found proved in particular 1, the Panel considered the facts found proved in respect of each family separately.

Family A, particular 1(a)

154. In relation to Family A, the Panel considered that sub-particular 1(a) (v) and 1 (a) (viii) did not amount to or add to any wrongdoing, because it was not clear from the evidence that taking minutes was the Registrant’s responsibility in any event.

155. In relation to the remaining nine sub-particulars found proved in particular 1(a) (that is i, iv, vi, vii, x, xi, xii, xiii xiv and xv), the Panel found that cumulatively these amounted to misconduct. In the Panel’s judgement, these were nine omissions of important and relevant record keeping entries from the Case Notes of a vulnerable family for whom the Registrant was the allocated Social Worker. The omissions occurred between January and July 2015.

Family B, particular 1(b)

156. In relation to Family B, the Panel found that the six sub-particulars found proved in particular 1(b) (that is i, ii, v, vi, vii and x) cumulatively amounted to misconduct. In the Panel’s judgement, these were six omissions of important and relevant record keeping entries from the Case Notes of a vulnerable family for whom the Registrant was the allocated Social Worker. The omissions occurred between February and June 2015.

Family C/D, particular 1(c)

157. In relation to Family C/D, the Panel considered that particular 1(c)(ix) did not amount to or add to any wrongdoing, because it was apparent to the Panel that the Registrant was no longer the allocated Social Worker a the time of this visit, and his involvement on this occasion was to handover to the newly allocated Social Worker. Therefore it was not clear that he would have had the responsibility of recording the visit, rather than the newly allocated Social Worker, who had, in fact, recorded the visit in ICS.

158. In relation to the remaining sub-particular found proved in particular 1(c) (that is v), the Panel considered that this did not amount to misconduct. In the Panel’s judgment, it was a single omission of recording a meeting in respect of the family. Whilst it was an area of poor practice, of itself, it did not fall so far below the appropriate standards as to amount to misconduct.

Family G, particular 1(e)

159. In relation to Family G, the Panel considered that the two sub-particulars found proved (that is i and ii) even cumulatively did not amount to misconduct. They were two omissions of record keeping 10 days apart, and the Panel noted that the Registrant had visited and recorded the home visit he made 4 days later on 3 February 2015. In the Panel’s judgement, while it amounted to poor practice, of itself, it did not fall so far below the appropriate standards as to amount to misconduct.

160. The Panel considered that the Registrant had breached the following Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics:

• 1 – You must act in the best interests of service users.

• 10 – You must keep accurate records.

• 13 – You must behave with honesty and integrity and make sure that your behaviour does not damage the public’s confidence in you or your profession.

161. The Panel considered that the Registrant had breached the following Standards of Proficiency:

• 2.2   understand the need to promote the best interests of service users and carers  at all times

• 3.1   understand the need to maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct

• 10.1 be able to keep accurate, comprehensive and comprehensible records in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines

• 12.1   be able to use supervision to support and enhance the quality of their social work practice

Decision on Impairment

162. The Panel had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note on Impairment and in particular the two elements of Impairment, namely the ‘personal component’ and the ‘public component’.

163. The Panel first considered the ‘personal component’.

164. In relation to the record keeping failures of particular 1 constituting misconduct, the Panel considered that these were an important, but discrete element of the Registrant’s practice which he had not consistently met to a satisfactory standard. Having heard the evidence, the Panel concluded that accurate and complete records are of central importance as they enabled continuity of care and support by all professionals involved in the care of service users. For example by establishing a full picture of events so as to be able to identify patterns of missed or avoided interaction with professionals. The Panel was of the view that this was an area of his practice which was capable of remediation, for example there are courses and training in respect of record keeping and governance which the Registrant could undertake.

165. However, the difficulty for the Panel at this Substantive Hearing is that the Registrant has not engaged with the process. The reality is that the Panel has no up to date position as to whether the Registrant has developed insight into his record keeping failings and his dishonesty, or whether he has taken any steps to remediate his practice. In relation to both the dishonesty and the record keeping failures, given the absence of any engagement by the Registrant, the Panel had no evidence before it as to whether the Registrant had reflected on his failures or how he had come to act dishonestly, for example whether he had thought about what steps he would take to ensure that he did not repeat the failures or the dishonesty; or thought about how such failures and his dishonesty may impact upon the confidence of the public in the profession.

166. In all the circumstances, given the absence of any information to demonstrate that the Registrant had developed insight and had remediated his practice, the Panel could not rule out that there remained a risk of repetition of both the record keeping failures and the dishonesty, which, in turn, could lead to a risk of harm to the public. Accordingly, in respect of the personal component, The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired.

167. The Panel went to consider the ‘public component’.

168. In the Panel’s view, it is paramount that the public is able to trust the integrity of Social Workers who are charged with the responsibility of supporting vulnerable service users, in this case families and children in need. Part of the responsibility of the Social Worker is the accurate and honest recording of relevant interventions with families within the Case Notes history maintained in respect of them.

169. In all the circumstances, the Panel concluded that a finding of Impairment was required to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour. It was of the view that public confidence in the profession and the Regulator would be undermined if it did not make a finding of Impairment, in particular as the public would be left with the impression that no steps had been taken to draw to the Registrant’s attention, the profound unacceptability of his dishonest entry for 15 July 2015.

170. Accordingly, in respect of the ‘public component’ the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired.

Introduction

169. The hearing was adjourned part-heard on 12 October 2017 and re-convened on 15 December 2017.

Service and Proceeding in Absence

170. The Registrant did not attend. The Panel was provided with a signed certificate as proof that the Notice of Hearing had been posted on 30 October 2017 by first class post, to the address shown for the Registrant on the HCPC register.  The Panel was satisfied that Notice had been properly served in accordance with Rule 3 (Proof of Service) and Rule 6 (date, time and venue) of the Conduct and Competence Committee Rules 2003 (as amended).

171. Having determined that service of the Notice of Hearing had been properly effected, the Panel went on to consider whether to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. The Panel was advised by the Legal Assessor and followed that advice. The Panel also took into account the guidance as set out in the HCPC Practice Note “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant”.

172. The Panel determined that it was fair, reasonable and in the public interest to proceed in the Registrant’s absence for the following reasons:

a) The Panel noted that the Registrant did not attend the first four days of the hearing which took place in October 2017 and there has been no engagement from him throughout these proceedings.  In these circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that it was reasonable to conclude that the Registrant had deliberately chosen not to attend the re-convened hearing. Therefore the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s absence demonstrated a voluntary waiver of his right to be present.

b) There had been no application to adjourn and no indication that the Registrant would attend on an alternative date. Therefore the Panel concluded that re-listing this re-convened hearing would serve no useful purpose.

c) As this is a re-convened hearing there is a strong public interest in ensuring that it is considered expeditiously. It is also in the Registrant’s interest that this substantive hearing is considered as soon as possible.

Reconsideration of dishonesty

173. Prior to the Panel handing down its determination on facts, grounds and impairment, the Panel was advised by the legal assessor to re-consider the issue of dishonesty based on the recent judgement in Ivey v Genting Casinos [2017] UKSC 67 as the Supreme Court confirmed that the two limbed (subjective and objective) Ghosh test was wrong.

174. The Panel was advised, in accordance with the Ivey case, that there was no requirement that the Registrant must appreciate that what he had done was dishonest. The Panel had to first ascertain the actual state of the Registrant's knowledge or belief as to the facts and then ask itself whether:

The Registrant’s act or omission, on the balance of probabilities, was dishonest by the ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people?

175. The Panel, having re-considered the issue of dishonesty, reached the same conclusion and determined that the Registrant’s actions were dishonest by the standards of reasonable and honest people.  

176. Once the decision on facts, grounds and impairment had been handed down the Panel went on to hear submissions with regard to sanction.

Sanction

Submissions

177. Ms Sheridan, on behalf of the HCPC, referred the Panel to the Indicative Sanctions Policy and reminded the Panel that its primary function is to protect the public and the wider public interest. She made no positive submission with regard to the sanction that should be imposed.
Panel’s Approach

178. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was mindful that the purpose of any sanction is not to punish the Registrant, but to protect the public and the wider public interest. The public interest includes maintaining public confidence in the profession and the HCPC as its regulator and upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour. The Panel applied the principle of proportionality by weighing the Registrant’s interests with the public interest and by considering each available sanction in ascending order of severity.
 
179. The Panel had regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy (ISP) and took into account the submissions made by Ms Sheridan, on behalf of the HCPC.

Decision

180. In determining what sanction, if any, to impose the Panel identified the following aggravating factors:

• although complete, accurate and up to date records are of vital importance to social work practice, multiple and wide-ranging shortcomings were identified;
• there was an initial attempt to cover up the dishonest behaviour;

• there was a potential risk of harm to service users;

• there has been no engagement from the Registrant and therefore no evidence of insight, remorse or remediation.

181. The Panel identified the following mitigating factors:
• the dishonesty was a one-off incident and was towards the lower end of the scale for misconduct of this type;

• although the dishonesty was initially denied the Registrant subsequently made admissions;

• there was no evidence of actual harm to service users;

• the Registrant has no fitness to practise history and is therefore of previous good character.

182. The Panel first considered taking no action. The Panel concluded that, in view of the nature and seriousness of the Registrant’s misconduct, which included an act of dishonesty, and in the absence of exceptional circumstances, to take no action on his registration would be wholly inappropriate. Furthermore it would be insufficient to protect the public, maintain public confidence and uphold the reputation of the profession.

183. The Panel went on to consider a Caution Order. The Panel noted that Cautions appear on the register but do not restrict a registrant’s ability to practise and took into account paragraph 28 of the ISP which states:
‘A caution order is an appropriate sanction for cases, where the lapse is isolated, limited or relatively minor in nature, there is a low risk of recurrence, the registrant has shown insight and taken appropriate remedial action…A caution order is unlikely to be appropriate in cases where the registrant lacks insight.’

184. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s conduct and behaviour could not be properly characterised as isolated, minor or limited in nature. As the Registrant has demonstrated no insight into his misconduct and provided no evidence of remediation there is a risk of repetition and therefore the Panel concluded that a Caution Order would be inappropriate. In any event, the Panel concluded that a Caution Order would be insufficient to protect the public and meet the wider public interest given the nature and gravity of the Registrant’s conduct and behaviour which includes a finding of dishonesty.

185. The Panel went on to consider a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel noted that at paragraph 33 the ISP states:

‘Conditions will rarely be effective unless the registrant is genuinely committed to resolving the issues they seek to address and can be trusted to make a determined effort to do so. Therefore, conditions of practice are unlikely to be suitable in cases:

• where the registrant has failed to engage with the fitness to practise process, lacks insight…;

• where there are serious or persistent overall failings; or

• which involve dishonesty, breach of trust..’.

186. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s dishonest actions are not amenable to conditions, as the basis for this type of misconduct is an attitudinal failing. The Panel concluded that it would not be possible to formulate conditions which would be workable, measurable or proportionate. As the Registrant had not engaged with the hearing process the Panel could have no confidence that he would comply with conditions even if appropriate conditions could be formulated. Furthermore, the Panel concluded that conditions would not adequately address the serious nature of the Registrant’s dishonest conduct and so would undermine public confidence in the profession and undermine the need to uphold standards of conduct and behaviour.

187. The Panel next considered a Suspension Order. A Suspension Order would re-affirm to the Registrant, the profession and the public the standards expected of a registered Social Worker. The Panel noted that a Suspension Order would prevent the Registrant from practising as a Social Worker during the suspension period, which would therefore provide a degree of protection to service users and the public. In considering this issue the Panel had regard to paragraph 31 of the ISP which states:

‘If the evidence suggests that the registrant will be unable to resolve or remedy his or her failings then striking off may be the more appropriate option. However, where the registrant has no psychological or other difficulties preventing him or her from understanding and seeking to remedy the failings then suspension may be appropriate.’

188. The Panel took the view that the above paragraph may apply to the Registrant. However, the Panel determined that a finding of dishonesty is capable of being remedied provided that a registrant is willing to engage in meaningful reflection and take steps to demonstrate that such behaviour is firmly in the past and will not be repeated in future. The Panel also noted that deficiencies in record keeping are also capable of being remedied. Although there has been no engagement from the Registrant the Panel determined that he should be given an opportunity to consider carefully the decision of the Panel and properly focus on the issues that have been identified. In determining that the Registrant should be given an opportunity to engage with the regulatory process the Panel concluded that a Striking Off Order, at this point in time, would be disproportionate as there was a possibility that the Registrant is willing and able to demonstrate remediation. Therefore the Panel determined that a Suspension Order should be imposed.

189. The Panel concluded that the Suspension Order should be imposed for a period of 12 months. The Panel was satisfied that this period would be sufficient for the Registrant to demonstrate an appropriate level of insight into his failings and take steps to remedy his conduct and behaviour.

190. This Panel cannot bind a future review panel but it is likely that if the Registrant fails to take advantage of this opportunity to demonstrate that he has addressed the deficiencies in his practice the outcome may be a Striking Off Order.

191. The Suspension Order will be reviewed shortly before expiry. A future review panel may be assisted by:

• The Registrant’s attendance in person;

• Written evidence of reflection with regard to the finding of dishonesty, what went wrong in connection with maintaining accurate records and how these issues could be avoided in the future;

• Evidence that the Registrant has kept his skills and knowledge up to date, together with evidence of CPD, particularly in relation to risk assessment, risk management and record keeping;

• Up to date and relevant testimonials from paid or unpaid work (including from any current or previous line managers);

192. Accordingly, the Panel concluded that the appropriate and proportionate sanction would be a Suspension Order.

Application for Interim Order

193. Ms Sheridan, on behalf of the HCPC, made an application for an interim order and as a preliminary matter made an application to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.

Proceeding In Absence

194. The Panel noted that the Notice of Hearing with regard to the re-convened hearing was posted to the Registrant on 30 October 2017. The letter specifically drew to his attention the power to impose an interim order to cover any appeal period, in the event that, either a Conditions of Practice Order, a Suspension Order or a Striking Off Order was imposed.

195. The Panel determined that it was fair, reasonable and in the public interest to proceed in the Registrant’s absence for the following reasons:

a) The Registrant had not engaged with the hearing process.  In these circumstances the Panel was satisfied that it was reasonable to conclude that the Registrant’s non-attendance was voluntary and therefore a deliberate waiver of his right to attend and participate.

b) There was a strong public interest in ensuring that once a substantive decision had been made an application for an interim order should be determined as expeditiously as possible.


Interim Order

196. The Panel went on to determine that an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, should be imposed on the basis that it was necessary to protect members of the public and is otherwise in the public interest.  The Panel imposed this Order as the Registrant’s misconduct raised public safety concerns and until he had demonstrated an ability and/or willingness to remediate his conduct and behaviour a restriction of his practice was required. An Interim Conditions of Practice Order would not provide adequate protection as there was no indication, due to the Registrant’s lack of engagement, that he was willing to comply with such an order. The Panel concluded that an Interim Suspension Order was the only means to protect the public and uphold public trust and confidence in the profession pending the appeal period.

197. This order will expire: (if no appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) upon the expiry of the period during which such an appeal could be made; (if an appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) the final determination of that appeal, subject to a maximum period of 18 months.

Order

Order:
The Registrar is directed to suspend the name of Mr Paul Martin Carney from the Register for a period of 12 Months from the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 12 January 2019.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Paul Martin Carney

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
20/12/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Hearing has not yet been held
15/12/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended
09/10/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Adjourned part heard