Mr Jonathan Maxwell-Batten

Profession: Practitioner psychologist

Registration Number: PYL17760

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 21/05/2018 End: 16:00 21/05/2018

Location:

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

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Allegation

During the period between 01 June 2015 and 04 May 2017, you:

1. Practised as an educational psychologist, in that you completed a number of professional reports, when you were not registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.

2. The matters set out in paragraph 1 constitutes misconduct.

3. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matter:

Proof of Service

1. The Panel was provided with confirmation that the Notice of Hearing had been posted to the Registrant’s registered address by first class post on 27 April 2018.  Accordingly, the Panel concluded that service had been complied with in accordance with Rule 3 of the HCPC (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2012 (“the Rules”).

Proceeding in Absence

2. The Panel went on to consider whether to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. The Panel was aware, in accordance with the HCPC’s Practice Note entitled “Proceeding in Absence”, that it is only in rare and exceptional circumstances that the Panel should proceed to hear the case in the absence of a Registrant and then only if it is in the interests of justice. The Panel noted that the Registrant had been served with notice of today’s hearing.  It further noted that the Registrant and the HCPC had engaged in considerable correspondence about this matter since November 2017 and therefore that the Registrant was fully aware of these proceedings.  The Panel noted that there was no application for an adjournment and that the hearing had been convened to consider a Voluntary Removal application made by the Registrant, who had signed the Voluntary Removal Agreement dated 16 March 2018.  In those circumstances, the Panel concluded that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself from today’s hearing and determined that it was appropriate to proceed in his absence as it was in the interests of justice to do so.

Background  and Submissions

3. The Panel heard submissions from Mr Mason, who confirmed that the purpose of the hearing was to consider an application for the removal, by consent, of the Registrant, a registered Practitioner Psychologist, from the HCPC register.

4. Mr Mason drew the Panel’s attention to a copy of the Voluntary Removal Agreement that had been signed by the Registrant and by the HCPC’s Director of Fitness to Practise, which was an agreement to the effect that, from the date of the hearing, the HCPC would cease to take any further action against the Registrant with regard to the allegation set out above, on the understanding that the Registrant would remove himself from the Register, cease practising as a Practitioner Psychologist and not attempt to re-join the Register.  Mr Mason confirmed that if the Registrant applied to come back onto the Register at some time in the future, he would be treated the same as someone who had been struck off from the HCPC Register.

5. Mr Mason confirmed that the Registrant had initially been referred to the HCPC in May 2017 by an education agency, Babcock LDP.  It had discovered that the Registrant had completed a number of Educational Psychology reports whilst he was not registered with the HCPC, his registration having lapsed on 31 May 2015.  In subsequent correspondence between the HCPC and the Registrant  he indicated that his failure to practise unregistered was not intentional.  He had not recalled receiving any request from the HCPC to renew his registration at the relevant time and believed that this may have been due to a computing error on his part.  When contacted by the HCPC’s Registration Department in March 2017 he had completed a re-admission form and had returned it, together with the requisite fee, on 20 March 2017, paying an additional fee which was subsequently requested which he understood was to backdate his registration.  Finally, he confirmed that he had now retired from practice as a Practitioner Psychologist although he still undertook voluntary work in the educational sector in respect of which he did not require HCPC registration.     

6. Mr Mason went on to say that, following the HCPC’s investigation, an allegation was put before a panel of the Investigating Committee on 8 November 2017. That Panel found that there was a case to answer as detailed in the allegation above.

7. Mr Mason referred the Panel to the HCPC’s skeleton argument dated 26 April 2018, part of which stated:
“…After the Investigating Committee decision, the Registrant again confirmed he was retired and had no intention of returning to practice. He returned his HCPC registration card and certificate to the HCPC.

 The Registrant was invited to consider the Disposal by Consent Practice Note and asked to confirm his position in respect of disposing of his case by means of a voluntary removal application.

The Registrant confirmed that he admitted the allegation and requested voluntary removal.

The HCPC reviewed the case and considered the circumstances suitable for a Voluntary Removal Agreement.
Accordingly, the HCPC and the Registrant have entered into a Voluntary Removal Agreement and invite the Panel to consider it.


 Guidance

The Disposal of Cases by Consent Practice Note states that “a Panel should not agree to a case being resolved by consent unless it is satisfied that:

• the appropriate level of public protection is being secured; and

• doing so would not be detrimental to the wider public interest”

The case of Cohen v GMC [2008] EWHC 581 (Admin) identified “critically important public policy issues” which must be taken into account by Panels when considering cases, specifically the need to protect service users, declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour and maintain public confidence in the  profession

 Reasons for Application

The Registrant admitted the allegation at an early stage of proceedings and states that his lapse in registration was a result of a genuine error, for which he has demonstrated remorse.

The HCPC’s position is that this case meets the criteria for disposal by consent because:

• removing the Registrant from the Register would prevent him from practising as a Psychologist in future, thereby securing public protection

• there are no serious misconduct or attitudinal issues raised by this allegation which would warrant a final hearing in the wider public interest


It is therefore the Council’s submission that a Voluntary Removal Agreement is the appropriate and proportionate disposal of this case.

 Conclusion

In conclusion, the Panel is respectfully invited to grant the application to voluntarily remove the Registrant’s name from the HCPC Register.”

Decision

8. The Panel has taken account of Mr Mason’s comprehensive submissions and the advice of the Legal Assessor, who in turn referred the Panel to the Practice Note, “Disposal of Cases by Consent”.  It has also considered the documentation provided.

9. The Panel has decided to grant the application for Voluntary Removal.  It notes that the Registrant has been open and candid, and that he has fully engaged with the HCPC.  His admitted misconduct  he suggested arose from an oversight and there is no information before the Panel that his actions in preparing educational psychology reports whilst he was not registered caused any harm.   Moreover, the Panel was satisfied that the appropriate level of public protection would be secured and to grant the application would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.  The Panel considers that a member of the public, fully informed of the facts of this matter, would not be surprised by the matter being concluded in this way, particularly since the Registrant has now retired from practice as a Practitioner  Psychologist, and now only carries out voluntary work for which HCPC registration is not required.   The Panel therefore concluded that the Voluntary Removal of the Registrant from the register was both appropriate and proportionate. 

Order

ORDER: The Registrar is directed to remove the name of  Jonathan Maxwell – Batten from the Register with immediate effect.

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 Mr Jonathan Maxwell-Batten

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
21/05/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed