Ms Angeleque Marie Morgan
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As as found proved at the substantive hearing on 19 - 21 March 2018
Whist registered as a Social Worker, and during the course of your employment at the Royal Borough of Greenwich you:
1. Created a letter purporting to be from Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust dated 5 August 2016 regarding planned surgery and submitted the letter to your employer to support your request for sickness leave.
2. The matter set out in paragraph 1 was dishonest.
3. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 - 2 constitute misconduct.
4. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired
Service of Notice
- The notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant at her address as it appeared in the register on 9 November 2018. The notice contained the date, time and venue of today’s hearing.
- The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, and is satisfied that notice of today’s hearing has been served in accordance with Rule 6(1) of the Conduct and Competence Rules 2003 (the “Rules”).
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant
- The Panel then went on to consider whether to proceed in the absence of the Registrant pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules. In doing so, it considered the submissions of Ms Knight on behalf of the HCPC.
- Ms Knight submitted that the HCPC has taken all reasonable steps to serve the notice on the Registrant. Ms Knight further submitted that an adjournment would serve no useful purpose. She drew the Panel’s attention to the email from the Registrant sent on 6 December 2018, indicating that she would not be attending this hearing nor pursuing her reinstatement. Ms Knight also drew the Panel’s attention to the letter written to the Registrant, in response to the above mentioned email, informing her of the option of participating in these proceedings by way of telephone. Ms Knight told the Panel that the Registrant has not responded.
- The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised that, if the Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to notify the Registrant of the hearing, then the Panel had the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant.
- It was clear, from the principles derived from case law that the Panel was required to ensure that fairness and justice were maintained when deciding whether or not to proceed in a Registrant’s absence.
- The Panel was satisfied that all reasonable efforts had been made by the HCPC to notify the Registrant of the hearing. It was also satisfied that the Registrant was aware of the hearing.
- In deciding whether to exercise its discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, the Panel took into consideration the HCPTS practice note entitled ‘Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant’. The Panel weighed its responsibility for public protection and the expeditious disposal of the case with the Registrant’s right to a fair hearing.
- In reaching its decision the Panel took into account the following:
- The Registrant has not made an application to adjourn today’s hearing and implicit in her email dated 6 December 2018 is an expectation that proceedings today proceed in her absence;
- The Registrant has engaged with the process but has indicated that she is not attending today’s hearing
- There is a public interest that this substantive order is reviewed before it expires.
- The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself from the hearing. There is a distinction between a case where the Registrant is clearly aware of the hearing date, and one where there has been no response from the Registrant. In the light of the contents of the Registrant’s email, the Panel determined that it was unlikely that an adjournment would result in the Registrant’s attendance at a later date. Having weighed the public interest for expedition in cases against the Registrant’s own interest, the Panel decided to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.
- The Allegation speaks for itself and does not need further elaboration.
- Ms Knight, outlined the background of the case and submitted, that in the light of the lack of substantive engagement on the part of the Registrant, she remains impaired.
- The Legal Assessor reminded the Panel that its purpose today was to conduct a comprehensive review to determine if the Registrant is fit to return to unrestricted practice. Its role was not to conduct a rehearing of the allegations nor was it to go behind the previous findings. He advised that in carrying out this assessment, the Panel must exercise its own independent judgment.
- The Legal Assessor advised that the Panel might find the questions formulated in the case of CHRE v NMC and Grant (2011) EWHC 927 (Admin) of some assistance, albeit slightly modified for these proceedings:
Does the evidence before the Panel today show that the Registrant’s fitness to practice remains impaired by reason of his misconduct in the sense that he:
- a) is liable in the future to act so as to put a service user at unwarranted risk of harm; and/or
- b) is liable in the future to bring the social work profession into disrepute; and/or
- c) is liable in the future to breach one of the fundamental tenets of the profession; and/or
- d) “is liable in the future to act dishonestly?”
- The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that if it determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired, then the Panel must go on to consider what sanction, if any, should be imposed. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that if it determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired any of the options under Article 30 of the 2001 Order could be exercised by the Panel. He also advised the Panel that it should bear in mind the principle of fairness and proportionality and have regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy document issued by the HCPC. He reminded the Panel that any order that it makes under Article 30 should not be punitive in purpose, and that it should be the least restrictive order that would suffice to protect the public and/or is otherwise in the public interest.
Panel’s considerations and decision
- The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel took into consideration all the documentation before it, and the submissions of Ms Knight. In particular it noted the following factors:
(a) this is a case of misconduct and there is no suggestion that the Registrant lacked the requisite competence to carry out the role of a Social Worker;
(b) the lack of evidence of insight and remediation on the part of the Registrant. Her email of 6 December 2018 indicated that she was no longer committed to remaining in the profession. There is also no information regarding the Registrant or her current circumstances, including any continuing professional development since these matter arose. The Panel noted that she is unable to return to the UK because her Tier 2 visa was revoked upon her employer terminating her employment with them as a result of her suspension from the HCPC register.
- The Panel also took the determination of the previous panel into account, particular in relation to impairment of the Registrant’s fitness to practise.
- Dishonesty is a serious matter. However, the Panel recognised that there are different forms of dishonesty, and that it should adopt a more nuanced approach in that respect. Nevertheless, dishonesty can be regarded as an attitudinal issue. The Panel noted that there was no evidence, either before the previous panel or this panel, that this was a deep-seated attitudinal problem on the part of the Registrant. However, there was no evidence before the Panel today to demonstrate that the Registrant was not liable in future to act dishonestly again in future. Without some engagement on the part of the Registrant or some evidence submitted on her behalf, the Panel is not able to determine that the Registrant’s insight has developed beyond the finding of the last panel.
- In the light of all the above, the Panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.
- The Panel then went on to consider what the appropriate and proportionate sanction should be. It had regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy issued by the HCPC and considered the available sanctions in order of severity, starting with the least restrictive. In the light of the Registrant’s lack of engagement the Panel determined that taking no further action or imposing a caution would not be sufficient to protect the public, nor would either be in the public interest.
- The Panel considered whether to impose a Conditions of Practice Order but concluded that it would also not be appropriate. This is not a case where there are identified areas of the Registrant’s practice where she lacked competence and that could be easily addressed by conditions.
- The Panel considered that this was unlikely to change in future, bearing in mind the Registrant’s current position that she did not wish to remain on the register, as articulated in her email. Under normal circumstances, this would mean that a further period of suspension would not be appropriate. However, the Panel took into account that the Registrant was offered the option of having her name removed by utilising a voluntary removal agreement, and that the Registrant was given until 9 January 2019 to respond. The Panel determined in these circumstances it would be disproportionate to make a striking off order. If however, the Registrant does not respond and take up the HCPC’S offer of voluntary removal by agreement, then the next reviewing panel may take that into consideration and may exercise its powers to strike the Registrants’ name from the register.
- In the circumstances, the Panel determined to further suspend the Registrant’s registration for a period of time sufficient for her to respond and for the agreement for voluntary removal to be effected before the next review is due. The Panel determined that the time required would be six months from today.
The Registrar is ordered to suspend the name of Ms Angeleque Marie Morgan from the HCPC register for a period of 5 months upon expiry of the current Order.
The Order will be reviewed on / around 18 June 2019.
History of Hearings for Ms Angeleque Marie Morgan
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|08/05/2019||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Struck off|
|11/12/2018||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Suspended|
|19/03/2018||Conduct and Competence Committee||Final Hearing||Hearing has not yet been held|