Mrs Beverley Corinna Convery

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW43657

Interim Order: Imposed on 05 Apr 2018

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 01/11/2018 End: 17:00 01/11/2018

Location: Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS), 405 Kennington Road,

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

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Allegation

Whilst employed as a Social Worker by Durham County Council:

 

1. Between 17 September 2014 and 5 November 2014, you did not complete a Single Assessment for Child A;

 

2. Between 10 October 2014 and 4 December 2014, you did not complete a Single Assessment for Child B;

 

3. On or around 12 January 2015, you completed a shared assessment for Child A and Child B, rather than a separate assessment for each child;

 

4. Between 17 September 2014 and 21 May 2015, you did not undertake any direct work with Person C;

 

5. Between 10 October 2014 and 12 January 2015, you did not undertake a home visit to Person D;

 

6. Between 12 January 2015 and 13 May 2015, you did not share the Single Assessment of Child B with Person D;

 

7. Between 10 October 2014 and 21 May 2015, you did not inform the Police and/or Probation Services that Child B was living in the family home on a permanent basis;

 

8. On or around 12 January 2015, you did not record an analysis of the potential risk to Child A and Child B in the Single Assessment;

 

9. You did not record the following on the case file for Child A and Child B:

 a) Your visit to Child B on 8 October 2014;

 b) The fact that, on 16 October 2014, Person E had left Person C and was staying in bed and breakfast accommodation with Child A and Child B;

c) The fact that Person E returned to live with Person C due to lack of finances;

d) Your visit to Person D in April 2015;

e) Any discussions with the Police and/or Probation Services regarding the case;

 

10. Between September 2014 and December 2014, you did not arrange a multi-agency meeting in relation to Child A and Child B;

 

11. You did not carry out a home visit to Child A and/or Child B and/or Person E between the following dates:

a) 15 October 2014 and 29 December 2014;

b) 15 April 2015 and 21 May 2015;

 

12. Between 17 September 2014 and 21 May 2015, you did not produce a Written Agreement regarding contact arrangements between Person C and Child A and Child B;

 

13. You did not contact the Police following the Strategy Meeting on 17 September 2014 to discuss why Person C was considered ‘high risk’ and/or to clarify what work was being done with Person C to address his offending behaviour;

 

14. You did not complete a Risk Assessment in respect of Child A;

 

15. You did not complete a Risk Assessment in respect of Child B;

 

16. On or around 13 May 2015, you provided a Section 37 Report to the Court which stated that Person C is not considered a high risk, which was:

a) Inaccurate; and/or

b) Misleading;

 

17. Your actions described at particulars 1 to 16 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence;

 

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

Finding

Preliminary Issues

Notice of Hearing

1. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had been properly served with notice of this hearing by letter dated 8 August 2018.

Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant

2. Ms Dudrah made an application for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. The Panel took into account the HCPC Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant and accepted the advice of the legal assessor. The Panel was provided with a copy of a file note dated 29 October 2018 recording a telephone conversation between the Registrant and Ms Dudrah in which the Registrant confirmed that she was aware of today’s hearing and would not attend. The Panel was also provided with a copy of the agreement for voluntary removal from the register, which the Registrant had signed. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself from the hearing and would be unlikely to attend at a future date if the hearing were to be adjourned. In the Panel’s judgment, no useful purpose would be served by an adjournment. The Panel considered that it was in the public interest and the Registrant’s interest for the matter to be heard and determined without further delay. The Panel ther
efore decided to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant.

Background

3. The Registrant is a registered Social Worker. She was employed in that capacity by Durham County Council (DCC) from May 1982. At the relevant time she was a Level 3 Social Worker in an Assessment and Intervention Team within the Children’s and Adults’ Services division of DCC.

4. On 21 May 2015, there was a court hearing in proceedings for a residence order at which the Judge expressed concern as to the contents of a report prepared by the Registrant under section 37 of the Children Act 1989 (Section 37 report) relating to Child B concerning the risks presented to her safety and welfare by Person C, her step-father. In view of the Judge’s observations, an internal investigation within DCC was carried out into the Registrant’s work on that case.

5. On 11 September 2014, DCC’s Children’s and Adults’ Services received a referral from Durham Police in respect of Child A, who was then about 5 years old. Child A and Child B shared a mother (Person E) but had different fathers. Person C was the father of Child A and Person D was the father of Child B. Durham Police informed DCC in its written referral that Person C was a high-risk registered sex offender, who had been convicted on 11 August 2014 of 3 counts of Voyeurism. He had been sentenced to 4 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months and made subject to Registered Sex Offenders requirements for 7 years. His criminal conviction related to a 16-year-old girl and his conviction classified him as “a risk of harm to children”. The circumstances of the offence were that he had made a recording using his watch of his having sex with the girl, who was employed by him at the time.

6. At the time of the referral, Child A lived with Person C and Person E. Child B subsequently moved into the home with Person E, Person C and Child A. She had been living with her father. The police informed DCC that Child B was in the household on 2 October 2014 and a referral to DCC’s Children’s and Adults’ Services was made by Durham Police and accepted on 7 October 2014.

7. That referral stated that Child B was aged 13. She had been living with her mother for approximately 4 weeks. Person D wanted his daughter to be returned to him in view of his discovery that Person C was a registered sex offender. The referral recorded that police officers had attended at the home and Child B had said that she did not want to return to her father as she did not like his “new wife” and they had fallen out.

Findings at the Substantive Hearing on 4 - 8 September 2017

8. The substantive hearing of the allegation took place on 4 - 8 September 2017.

9. The Panel found all the particulars of the allegation proved apart from particulars 3, 4, 6, 11(a), 11(b) and 12. In summary, the Panel found that the Registrant had:

• failed to complete Single Assessments within the required timeframe;

• failed to undertake visits;

• failed to contact police and/or probation services;

• not recorded a potential risk analysis;

• not completed case notes;

• not arranged multi-agency meetings;

• not completed stand-alone risk assessments; and

• provided an inaccurate and/or misleading Section 37 report to the court in relation to the individuals referred to above.

10. The panel found that the proven particulars amounted to a lack of competence. The panel found that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of lack of competence. The Registrant had not practised as a Social Worker since 21 May 2015 and there was no evidence that the shortcomings in her practice had been remedied.

11. In imposing a sanction, the panel took into account that the Registrant’s performance was adversely affected by family pressures, high caseloads and challenging cases due to vacant posts in her team. She had raised concerns with her manager about her ability to safeguard children but no action was taken to alleviate her caseload, as she was the only Level 3 Social Worker in her team. The panel also took into account the Registrant’s statement that she had retired from Social Work and had no intention of returning to practise as a Social Worker in the future. In all the circumstances, the Panel decided that the appropriate and proportionate sanction was Suspension Order for a period of 6 months. The panel drew the Registrant’s attention to the potential for voluntary removal from the Register.

The Substantive Review Hearing

12. At the substantive review hearing on 9 March 2018, which the Registrant did not attend, the panel found that, in the absence of any evidence of remediation, the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired. The panel imposed a further Suspension Order for a period of 9 months.

The application for voluntary removal

13. Following the Substantive Review hearing the Registrant contacted the HCPC on 11 April 2018 to confirm that she had retired and had no intention to practise as a Social Worker in the future.

Decision

14. The Panel today was provided by the HCPC with a bundle of documents containing the records of the final hearing and the substantive review hearing, correspondence between the Registrant and the HCPC with regard to her request for voluntary removal and a signed Voluntary Removal Agreement (the Agreement). In addition, the Panel had the benefit of a skeleton argument on behalf of the HCPC dated 24 October 2018.

15. The Panel noted that section 3.2.3 of the Agreement provides that the Registrant will not at any time seek re-admission to the Register. However, it is the Panel’s understanding that the effect of the Agreement is intended to be equivalent to an order removing the Registrant from the register. This would not prevent the Registrant from applying to be re-admitted to the register after a period of five years from the date of today’s hearing. Section 4 of the Agreement specifies how the HCPC would deal with an application by the Registrant to be re-admitted to the register.

16. The Panel first considered whether the proposed resolution of these proceedings would provide the appropriate level of public protection. The Panel took into account that the voluntary removal agreement was equivalent in its effect to a striking off order, which would prevent the Registrant from applying to be re-admitted to the Register for at least 5 years. In the unlikely event of an application for re-admission, she would be required to undertake a significant period of updating her professional skills and knowledge. The Panel was satisfied that the public would thereby be adequately protected.

17. The Panel further considered whether the proposed resolution of these proceedings would be detrimental to the wider public interest. In this context, the Panel noted that the allegation against the Registrant had been fully considered and determined at the substantive hearing at which there had been a finding of current impairment and the imposition of a Suspension Order. The need to maintain proper professional standards was thereby upheld and public confidence in the profession and the Regulator maintained,

18. In all the circumstances, the Panel today was satisfied that a member of the public, properly informed as to the circumstances of the case, would be satisfied that the Voluntary Removal Agreement is an appropriate and proportionate disposal of the matter, that it addresses any public protection and wider public interest issues and is in the Registrant’s own interests.

19. The Panel therefore consented to the HCPC discontinuing these proceedings.

Order

No information currently available

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 Mrs Beverley Corinna Convery

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
01/11/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed