Miss Hannah Angela Wright

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW19293

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 16/07/2018 End: 16:00 16/07/2018

Location: Health and Care Professions Council, 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

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Allegation

 

During the course of your employment as a Social Worker in the Assessment Team at Somerset County Council, between 2 October 2013 and 12 November 2013, and in respect of Service User Family A, you:

 

1. Completed a Children and Family assessment on 5 November 2013, which;

a) was completed without adequately updating what had occurred since the first Children and Family Assessment dated 9 October 2013, in that:

i) you did not make reference to your meeting with Husband A that took place on 24 October 2013;

ii) you did not make reference to a complaint submitted by Wife A on 19 October 2013.

b) was completed without contacting Wife A and/or Child A1 and/or Child A2

c) was inaccurate;

d) was not shared with Husband A and Wife A a minimum of 5 days before the Initial Child Protection Conference that took place on 12 November 2013, as required.

 

e) did not include any reference to Dr Vaidya's Paediatric Report and/or Ms Mylan's report.

 

2. Did not arrange the appropriate support to Family A between 8 October 2013 and 12 November 2013, in that you:

 

a) did not refer Family A to the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference

 

b) did not refer Wife A to an Independent Domestic Violence Support Agency (IDVA)

 

c) did not refer Husband A to the Adult Social Care Team in a timely manner;

 

d) did not provide any and/or any adequate information to Husband A as to the availability of organisations specialising in support of sufferers for the medical condition as set out in the schedule.

 

e) did not arrange any Child Care Support after Husband A was removed from the family home on 9 October 2013;

 

f) did not carry out at least weekly visits to Wife A, Child A1 and/or Child A2;

 

g) did not provide adequate support and/or information to Husband A in relation to the ICPC procedure.

 

3. Did not arrange contact between Child A1, Child A2 and Husband A.

 

4. Did not provide and/ or adequately refer to Dr Vaidya's Paediatric Report and/or Ms Mylan's Report to the Initial Child Protection Conference (ICPC) on 12 November 2013.

 

5. Did not investigate and/or document any investigation into Child A2’s stated involvement with a man over the internet.

 

6. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 - 5 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

 

7. By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.

 

Finding

Service


1. On 22 May 2018, the HCPC sent notice of this hearing by first class post to the Registrant’s registered address. A copy of the notice was also sent to the Registrant by email. The notice contained the required particulars, including the time, date and venue of the hearing.

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 served notice of this hearing in accordance with the Rules.


Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant

3. Mr Mason, 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 be exercised with the utmost care and caution. 


4. The Panel was of the view that, given the nature of this hearing, there would be no unfairness to the Registrant in proceeding in her absence. The Registrant has engaged in the process of voluntary removal and has signed a copy of the Voluntary Removal Agreement (VRA), dated 1 June 2018. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant was aware of the hearing taking place, and that her absence was voluntary, having signed the VRA. In these circumstances and taking into account the public interest in there being no unnecessary delay, the Panel has concluded that it is in the public interest and in the Registrant’s own interest to proceed today. 



Background


5. The Registrant is a registered Social Worker who had been employed in the role of a Social Worker in the Duty and Assessment Team of the Children’s Services Department at Somerset County Council. 


6. The allegation that was referred to the HCPC arose from the discharge of the Registrant’s duties during her involvement in the case of one family that was allocated to her in October 2013.

7. Between 10-11, 14-15 and 17-18 August 2017, the matter went before a panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee (CCC) for a Substantive Hearing. That panel found a number of facts proved against the Registrant with regard to failings in her social work practice. These included failing in her duty to adequately update a Children and Family Assessment and leaving out important information that included a paediatric report. That panel also found that the Registrant had failed to carry out timely visits and take the children’s views into account, had failed to arrange for child care support to the mother and to arrange for the children’s contact with the father, and failed to refer the father to adult social care when he was effectively homeless. The Registrant had also failed to investigate one of the children’s involvement with a man on the internet sending her “funny videos.” The panel at the substantive hearing concluded that these failings amounted to misconduct on the Registrant’s part, and that her fitness to practise was impaired. A sanction of a Conditions of Practice Order for a period of 12 months was imposed. 



8. On 1 December 2017, the Registrant submitted a voluntary de-registration request. This was unsuccessful due the substantive Conditions of Practice order currently in place on her practice.


9. On 11 January 2018, the Registrant telephoned the HCPC to discuss voluntary removal options. She stated that the regulatory process had been very stressful and caused her health issues. The Registrant said that she had not worked as a Social Worker since October 2014 and did not intend to do so.



10. In a further call to the HCPC on 22 January 2018, the Registrant stated that the Conditions of Practice were not workable as she was not currently employed. In reply to the Registrant’s questioning regarding the workability of the conditions, “[the case manager] explained that [she] cannot tell [the Registrant] how to meet the conditions or what the Panel may decide at a review but drew her attention to the wording of the conditions. [the Registrant] questioned how she can achieve supervision without employment, [the case manager] highlighted that the Order refers to a mentor and she may consider what this could mean/options around this.”  The HCPC case manager also explained to the Registrant that she could raise workability issues with a panel either at an early review hearing or at the 12 month review, should she wish to do so. The Registrant said that she would consider her options but thought that she would go through the voluntary removal process.


11. On 7 February 2018, the Registrant emailed the HCPC to advise that she had decided to request voluntary removal. She stated, “I am not planning to return to the profession and would only be applying for de-registration once the conditions of practice have ended in September 2018…I am aware that a disposal by consent means I could not apply for re-registration for a period of five years…I have no plans to re-register.”


12. This matter was reviewed within the HCPC and the HCPC was satisfied that, in all the circumstances of this case, voluntary removal would be an appropriate means of disposal of the matter. The Registrant was informed of this decision on 1 May 2018 and was sent a copy of the VRA on 12 June 2018.


13. The VRA was signed by the Registrant and returned to the HCPC on 22 June 2018.


Decision


14. Mr Mason, on behalf of the HCPC, outlined the circumstances which led to the referral and submitted that voluntary removal from the Register would be an appropriate means of resolving the matter, and that granting the application would not compromise the protection of the public or have a detrimental effect on the wider public interest.


15. The Panel considered all of the information and representations by Mr Mason, including his skeleton argument dated 27 June 2018. The Panel applied its own judgement, having regard to the HCPTS Practice Note on Disposal of Cases by Consent. It has also accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.


16. The process of disposing of a case by way of consent is an extra-statutory means of concluding a matter. However, before agreeing to such a course the Panel reminded itself that it has to be certain that, by adopting this process, there is the appropriate level of public protection and that to conclude this matter in this way would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.


17. Article 11(3) of the 2001 Order and Rule 12(3) of the Health and Care Professions Council (Registration and Fees) Rules 2003 prevents a registrant from seeking to resign from the Register whilst the registrant is the subject of an allegation.


18. The Health and Social Work Professions Order or other governing legislation does not explicitly provide for consent arrangements. There is, however, a Practice Note on Disposal of Cases by Consent, that the HCPC has approved as a means of allowing matters, where suitable, to be disposed of by consent. The HCPTS Practice Note states: In cases where the HCPC is satisfied that it would be adequately protecting the public if the Registrant was permitted to resign from the Register, it may enter into a Voluntary Removal Agreement allowing the Registrant to do so, but on similar terms to those which would apply if the Registrant had been struck off. If the Panel is not satisfied that the above criteria have been met it appreciates that it has the ability to reject the proposal.


19. The Panel noted that the HCPC was satisfied that it would be meeting its statutory objective of protecting the public if the Registrant were permitted to be removed from the Register. The Panel was satisfied that the matter had previously been fully investigated and then ventilated at a public hearing, which had resulted in a finding of impaired fitness to practise and, consequently, a sanction of a 12 months Conditions of Practice Order.


20. The Panel had before it a copy of the VRA, dated 1 June 2018, which had been agreed between the HCPC and the Registrant and had been signed by both parties. The VRA confirmed that the parties had entered into the Agreement to enable the Conditions of Practice Order to be revoked and the Registrant to be removed from the Register. Schedule C of the VRA contained the Registrant’s signed letter to the Registrar requesting removal from the Register with effect from 16 July 2018, acknowledging that the Conditions of Practice Order would have been revoked by a Panel of the CCC to enable her to remove her name from the Register. The letter also confirmed that there was no other matter of which the Registrant was aware which might give rise to any other allegation against her.


21. The Panel firstly considered whether there were any factors which would make it undesirable to allow the case to be concluded on the consensual basis set out in the VRA. The Panel concluded that there were no overriding public interest factors that would make disposal of this case by VRA inappropriate, the matter having previously been before a Panel of the CCC for a public hearing, and a sanction imposed.


22. In all the circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that both public protection and the wider public interest would be adequately protected by the terms of the Agreement reached between the Registrant and the HCPC, as removal from the Register would prevent the Registrant from practising as a Social Worker in the United Kingdom, and should she seek to return to the Register, her application would be treated as though she had been removed from the Register by way of Strike-Off. In addition, the Panel is satisfied that this is an efficient method of disposing of this allegation in an appropriate and proportionate manner which is in the interests of the public, the HCPC and the Registrant. It did not consider that it was in the public interest or in the Registrant’s own interest to be in a review cycle when she no longer intended to practise as a social worker. Accordingly, the Panel approves the VRA to revoke the current Conditions of Practice Order (the Existing Order) in order to enable the Registrant to be removed from the Register.


23. Although the Panel gives approval to the proposed agreement, it does comment on paragraph 3.2.3 of that document which provides that Miss Wright agrees: “not at any time on or after the Operative Date [to] seek re-admission to the Register”. The Panel has also considered paragraph 4.1 of the same document which provides that “the HCPC’s Education and Training Committee shall be entitled to deal with that application as if it was made by a person who had been removed from the Register on the Operative Date by means of an order made under Article 29(5)(a) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001.”

24. As is noted above the Practice Note states that the effect of a Voluntary Removal Agreement is to create terms and restrictions similar to those that apply where a Registrant has been struck off. A Registrant who is struck off does have the right after 5 years to apply for restoration to the register. So the provision in 3.2.3 which indicates an open ended duration of removal is not consistent with the provisions which permit restoration.  To that extent the effect of paragraph 3.2.3 is not “similar” to strike off. The Panel notes that if the Registrant were to apply for restoration after more than 5 years, the HCPC would need to consider that application on its merits at that time.


25. Accordingly, the Chair of the Panel has, on behalf of the Panel, signed and dated the attached Consent Order which will take immediate effect. The Chair has also signed the Notice of Discontinuance which is required as a consequence of the Consent to the Voluntary Removal Agreement. Copies of both have been dated today. ve Date”), you, Mrs Hellen Ekka, must comply with Conditions of Practice.

Order

ORDER:
The Registrar is directed to annotate the Register entry of Miss Hannah Angela Wright to show that, with effect from 16 July 2018, the Existing Order is revoked

Notes

 

 
If the Registrant seeks to return to the HCPC Register at any time the application would be treated as if the registrant had been struck off as a result of that allegation.
 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Miss Hannah Angela Wright

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
16/07/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed
10/08/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Conditions of Practice