Ms Jennifer Louise Jeffery

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW75751

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 29/11/2018 End: 17:00 07/12/2018

Location: Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS), 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Conditions of Practice

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Allegation

 

During the course of your employment as a Social Worker at Southampton City Council, you:

1. Did not adequately safeguard Service User A, in that, on or around 8 March 2017, you:

a. Allowed Companion B to remain present participate in a discussion about Service User A’s finances during an assessment of Service User A despite knowing the records showing:

 

i. Service User A was vulnerable and/or at risk of financial abuse;

 

ii. There was an active safeguarding alert;

 

iii. Companion B could be a financial abuser of Service User A.

 

b. Agreed that Companion B should accompany Service User A to the bank.

 

c. Identified Informed the Urgent Response Team that Companion B was Service User A's next of kin and/ or friend.

2. The matters set out in paragraph 1 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

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

 

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Amendment of the Allegation

1.Ms Manning-Rees made an application to amend the Allegation. The Registrant was advised of this application in a letter dated 5 January 2018.

2.Mr Sendall did not oppose the application.

3.The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and considered whether the proposed amendment was prejudicial to the Registrant and whether it was appropriate.

4.The Panel exercised its discretion and decided to allow the proposed amendments. The Panel was satisfied that there was no prejudice to the Registrant.

Background

5.The Registrant was employed at Southampton City Council (“the Council”) as a Social Worker in the Community Independence Service. The Community Independence Service is a multi-disciplinary team which included Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Community Nurses and Care Managers. The focus of the Registrant’s work was the re-enablement of service users including undertaking assessments under the Care Act 2014.

6.The Registrant had raised a concern that she felt isolated within her team and in response to this concern arrangements were made for the Registrant to be supervised by EB, the Mental Capacity Act Lead for the Council and a Practice Educator and Best Interests Assessor. EB began to undertake monthly reflective supervision sessions with the Registrant in April 2016.
 
7.On 8 March 2017, the Registrant visited a vulnerable service user Service User A (SUA). SUA was elderly and had a health condition. He was a resident at Residence A, a housing block in a retirement housing organisation. SG was the Scheme Manager of Residence A. There was a safeguarding alert on the file of SUA, which indicated that a concern about financial abuse had been identified. The purpose of the visit was for the Registrant to make an assessment of SUA and his needs. During the assessment, SUA’s companion Companion B (CB) was present.

8.The HCPC allege that the Registrant was aware that CB was suspected of financially abusing SUA, but allowed her to remain present while a discussion took place about SUA’s finances. The HCPC further allege that the Registrant agreed that CB should accompany SUA to the bank and that in a telephone referral to the Urgent Response Team she provided information that CB was SUA’s next of kin or friend.

9.The concerns came to light when an incident report was submitted by MM and AC, members of the Urgent Response Team at Solent NHS Trust. At a supervision meeting on 9 March 2017 EB discussed this incident report with the Registrant and made a supervision record of her concerns about the Registrant’s account and responses. On 10 March 2017 the Registrant sent a written case note of the visit to SUA to her manager.

10.SD, a Team Manager, was appointed to carry out an investigation into the Registrant’s conduct. He compiled an investigation report.

Decision on Facts

11.The Panel read and considered the documents in the HCPC exhibits bundle. The Panel also read and carefully considered the statement and documents submitted by the Registrant which were two dyslexia assessment reports and a handwritten note headed “Service User A” written by a student Social Worker who was assisting the Registrant.

12.The Panel heard evidence from the HCPC witnesses SD, EB, SG and MM. The Panel read the witness statement of JF, a Legal Assistant at Kingsley Napley.

13.SD’s evidence was limited to the investigation that he carried out and the Panel found that he was helpful insofar as he could be given his limited involvement, and that he was a credible witness.

14.The Panel found that EB was a clear witness. She was unequivocal at times, but was prepared to make concessions where appropriate. Although she was emotive and passionate when giving her opinion in relation to her views of the Registrant’s conduct, the Panel found her to be a credible witness.

15.SG had a limited recollection of the events and relied on her statement. The Panel found her to be a credible witness.

16.The Panel noted that there was a discrepancy between MM’s statement provided to SD for the investigation and her HCPC statement concerning whether she herself read the safeguarding alert. The Panel considered that her contribution was limited. She was, however, able to explain the referral process adequately.

17.The Panel heard evidence from the Registrant. The Panel considered that there were inconsistencies in the Registrant’s account. The Registrant herself recognised that there were differences between her own near contemporaneous account of the events and her evidence to the Panel. The Panel identified differences between the Registrant’s case note of 10 March 2017, her amended and signed statement for SD’s investigation, her written statement for the HCPC and her oral evidence. The Panel did not consider that the Registrant was trying to mislead the Panel. Her recollection of the events has been affected by the passage of time, her focus on demonstrating that nothing went wrong on 8 March 2017, related work pressures and matters going on in her personal life.

18.Where there were differences between the Registrant’s written or oral evidence and her case note of 10 March 2017 the Panel preferred the case note. This was a very full note written when the events were fresh in the Registrant’s mind and she already knew when writing this note that her actions were the subject of serious criticism.

19.The Panel carefully read Ms Manning-Rees’ written opening note and Mr Sendall’s written closing submissions. The Panel also heard oral submissions from Ms Manning-Rees and Mr Sendall.

Particular 1(a)

20.The Panel carefully considered the records for SUA and found that those records included references to SUA being both vulnerable and at risk of financial abuse. The references included:

•a referral dated 24 January 2017 “referral received from XXX Court with a concern about financial abuse”;
•a handover e-mail to the Registrant dated 28/2/2017 “I managed to obtain a formal diagnosis of health condition 1 therefore capacity assessment around his finances will need to be completed” (although this note does not refer expressly to vulnerability the vulnerability can be inferred from the formal diagnosis of the health condition)
•notes of visit to SUA by another social worker on 24 February 2017 – SUA described as “vulnerable” and “vulnerable to financial exploitation”.

21.The Panel also found that the records showed that there was an active safeguarding alert on SUA’s file. There was a handover note dated 28 February 2017 from the Senior Practitioner stating “SG assessment in place due to financial exploitation”. SG refers to safeguarding. There was also a screenshot which confirmed the safeguarding alert. Where there is a safeguarding alert on the system this is visible when the Social Worker accesses the file. It is shown as a large black triangle with a white background and an exclamation mark in the centre. The alert is shown on the screen as larger than the service user name.

22.The Panel found that the records also showed that CB could be a financial abuser of SUA. The records included different versions of the name of the possible financial abuser, but they indicated that the person concerned was female and was someone who was close to SUA, being described as the “girlfriend” or “fling”. As CB was female and appeared to be a friend of SUA, she could be the possible financial abuser. The Panel noted the following records:

•on 24 January 2017 it was noted that SUA had a girlfriend and there was a concern that his bank account had allegedly been drained by her, no name was given;

•on 26 January 2017 case allocated to a Social Worker to complete safeguarding investigation for alleged financial abuse by “girlfriend”;
•on 2 February 2017 a case note recording a report that SUA had withdrawn money for his “fling” referring to “Name 3”;
•13 February 2017 a note referring to alleged perpetrator as “Name 2”;
•23 February 2017 a report from a relative of SUA that a bank overdraft was applied for by SUA and his friend;
•24 February 2017 a case note of a visit by a Social Worker to the bank recording that the bank are aware of concerns around SUA’s friend having access to his bank account.

23.In her written evidence the Registrant confirmed that she was aware before her visit to SUA that the Registrant was a vulnerable person, there was some possibility of financial abuse and this could be by a “girlfriend” whose name was unknown, and that a safeguarding alert had been raised.

24.Mr Sendall submitted that there was no evidence of actual financial abuse by CB or evidence that the allegations had been investigated. The Panel agreed, but did not consider that this was relevant. The allegation against the Registrant is simply that CB “could be” a financial abuser of SUA.

25.The Panel found that the Registrant allowed CB to participate in a discussion about SUA’s finances. The Registrant explained in her oral evidence that she did not know whether CB was “good or bad” and that she therefore applied a cautious approach. She decided to allow CB to remain in the room while she discussed SUA’s care needs because SUA had made it clear to her that he would not participate in any discussion unless CB was present.

26.After a constructive discussion of SUA’s care needs the conversation moved on to financial matters. During this conversation the flow of information was generally from SUA and CB to the Registrant; the exception being general advice which did not include confidential information. Although in her oral evidence the Registrant disputed that this conversation was a discussion of financial matters, she described a discussion about SUA’s bank account, setting up a new bank account for his pension, letters from the DWP, cancellation of direct debits, payment of bills and SUA checking the money in his wallet.

27.In her case note dated 10 March 2017 the Registrant described the meeting as follows:

 “When we discussed finances and once again CB intervened and explained that she had helped SUA set up a new bank account and spoken with the DWP to ensure his pension was going into the new account. CB produced a letter from the DWP and two unopened letters and with SUA permission. Both letters were to say that water and BT Direct Debits had been cancelled. I discussed the agency floating support who would be able to support SUA with setting up DD to ensure his tenancy was not at risk. While discussing finances I asked questions such as what bills do you have, in order to ascertain his ability to manage his own finances, amongst other matters. See started Mca …”. The reference to MCA is a reference to a mental capacity assessment to assess a service user’s capacity to make informed choices around finances amongst other matters. The Registrant had started to complete this.

28.The Panel found that a discussion about SUA’s bank account, pension, and the money in his wallet was a discussion about his finances. CB participated in this discussion as described in the Registrant’s case note of 10 March 2017.

29.Despite her knowledge of the safeguarding alert, SUA’s vulnerability and the risk of financial abuse, and that CB could be a financial abuser the Registrant did not agree that she did not adequately safeguard SUA. She emphasised that her focus was on SUA’s care needs and that she made a professional judgment that this was the priority for him and could progress only if CB was present. On the Registrant’s behalf Mr Sendall submitted that SUA was not put at greater risk because of the discussion that took place on 8 March 2017 given that CB was already substantially involved in SUA’s life and that the bank had already taken steps to protect SUA.

30.The Panel recognised that the Registrant was taking steps to safeguard SUA by persuading him to agree to a care package which she had identified was a priority for his health and well being. Nevertheless, as explained by EB, a Social Worker is specifically warned to be cautious where a safeguarding alert is in place. The Registrant should therefore have been on high alert especially with regard to a discussion or dealing with any financial matters.

31.The Registrant’s assertion that SUA was not exposed to greater risk by the discussion of financial matters and therefore was adequately safeguarded was over simplistic. The Registrant in her own words said that she did not know whether CB was “good or bad”, despite the fact that she may have appeared to be a supportive friend. The Registrant herself recognised at the time of the events that the safeguarding alert should have had an impact on her approach. In her case note of 10 March 2017 she stated “I did not discuss with CB that there [sic] safeguarding concerns regarding an alleged girlfriend as this did not seem appropriate and potentially may prevent any police investigation”. The Panel accepted EB’s evidence that there were potential risks, including the risk that the Registrant might in hindsight be seen as encouraging or condoning a relationship which involved financial abuse, or that the discussion might prejudice a criminal investigation. The Registrant was asking questions about SUA’s finances which might have revealed information which CB did not already know. The fact that SUA’s finances were limited is immaterial.

32.The Panel therefore found that the Registrant failed to adequately safeguard SUA and that particular 1(a) is proved.

Particular 1(b)

33.On 8 March 2017 the Registrant initially suggested that she should herself take SUA to the bank. However, when she realised how long this might take, she decided that she did not have enough time. CB proposed that she would take SUA to the bank later in the day. The Registrant accepted this offer, and therefore she agreed that CB should accompany SUA to the Bank. The Registrant described this herself in her witness statement as “an error of judgment”.

34.The Panel found that this was a failure to adequately safeguard SUA. The Registrant had identified that there was an issue as to whether SUA had mental capacity to manage his financial affairs and she had started a mental capacity assessment. She knew SUA was vulnerable and that CB could be the alleged financial abuser. In her witness statement she describes “an uncomfortable feeling about the possibility of a second bank account”. Despite this feeling and the safeguard alert, she agreed the visit to the bank. She therefore exposed SUA to the potential risk of harm and therefore did not adequately safeguard him.

35.The Panel found particular 1(b) proved.

Particular 1(c)

36.MM described in her oral evidence the referral form for the visit to SUA which included CB’s name as SUA’s next of kin. MM did not speak to the Registrant and was not able to comment on the source of the information on the referral form. The referral form was not available to the Panel. Ms Manning-Rees invited the Panel to infer that the Registrant had provided CB’s details as next of kin because these details had not previously been known or recorded in SUA’s social work records, and because on another form for floating support the Registrant had given CB’s details as “friend”.

37.Mr Sendall drew the Panel’s attention to evidence indicating that it was likely that the referral was made by SUA’s GP surgery rather than by the Registrant herself. If the Registrant had made the referral herself this would have been recorded electronically.

38.The Panel did not draw the inference that the Registrant had provided CB’s details as next of kin or friend to the Urgent Response Team. The Panel considered that CB’s details might have come from another source, such as the GP surgery. MM was clear in her evidence that the referral form referred to CB as “next of kin” rather than friend. The fact that the Registrant had given CB’s details as “friend” in another form did not provide strong support for an inference to be drawn. The HCPC have not discharged the burden of proof and particular 1(c) was not proved.


Decision on Grounds

39.The question of whether the proven facts constitute misconduct or a lack of competence is for the judgment of the Panel and there is no burden or standard of proof.

40.Ms Manning-Rees’ submissions focussed on misconduct, rather than the alternative statutory ground of a lack of competence. The Panel’s findings of fact were limited to the Registrant’s involvement with one service user on one day. The Panel found that the proved particulars did not cover a fair sample of the Registrant’s work and did not constitute a lack of competence.

41.There is no statutory definition of misconduct, but the Panel had regard to the guidance of Lord Clyde in Roylance v GMC (No2) [2001] 1 AC 311: “Misconduct is a word of general effect, involving some act or omission which falls short of what would be proper in the circumstances. The standard of propriety may often be found by reference to the rules and standards ordinarily required to be followed by a …practitioner in the particular circumstances…”. The conduct must be serious in that it falls well below the required standards.

42.The Panel considered the context and the surrounding circumstances. The Registrant described a number of work pressures and certain matters relating to her private life. In particular, the Registrant has a diagnosis of dyslexia and at work she felt frustrated because of a number of circumstances: difficulties using the Dragon Speak software and printer difficulties, a sense of isolation, the lack of opportunities to work at home in a quiet environment, and feeling that she was being micro-managed. There were also difficulties in the relationship between the Registrant and the Senior Practitioner. The Registrant’s father was in poor health.

43.Although these background circumstances had no direct bearing on the events on 8 March 2017 and the Registrant did not suggest this, the Panel recognised that, to some degree, the circumstances may indirectly have reduced the Registrant’s ability to cope with the demands of her role as a Social Worker and impaired her professional judgment. However, the background circumstances do not excuse her conduct.

44. The Panel has not been provided with any evidence that SUA suffered harm as a result of the Registrant’s actions on 8 March 2017. There were concerns in the days following 8 March 2017 that SUA was “missing”, but there is no evidence of a causal connection between the Registrant’s visit on 8 March 2017 and these later events. There is no evidence that CB was later identified as the financial abuser of SUA or that there were any other negative consequences.

45.Nevertheless, there was the potential for harm to SUA. When the conversation about finances began the Registrant did not know the extent to which CB knew all the details of SUA’s finances. She did not know what information SUA might reveal. She did not know the content of the correspondence which was opened in CB’s presence. She took the risk that the conversation might benefit CB, a potential financial abuser. The steps that had been taken by the bank reduced the extent of the risk, but they did not exclude an ongoing risk.

46.The Panel accepts that the Registrant had endeavoured to establish a working alliance with SUA to further the implementation of a Care Management Assessment Plan. However, the Registrant did not establish appropriate or sufficient control measures in relation to CB’s involvement in relation to the discussion on finances. The safeguarding alert was a very clear warning to the Registrant of the importance of caution in relation to financial matters. The Panel did not agree with the submissions made on the Registrant’s behalf that, when viewed objectively, Service User A was not placed at risk of harm. Although the Registrant genuinely believed that she was acting in the best interests of SUA, she made a serious error of judgment when she allowed the conversation to move from SUA’s care needs to a discussion of financial matters.

47.The concerns that SUA was being financially abused had been raised by members of SUA’s family. Although there is no evidence that family members were aware of the events or raised concerns, if they had become aware of the Registrant’s conduct they could have potentially that lost trust in the Council.

48.The Panel considered the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016 edition). The Panel identified that the Registrant was in breach of the following standards:

6.1 “You must take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of harm to service users, carers and colleagues as far as possible”, and

6.2 “You must not do anything, or allow someone else to do anything, which could put the health or safety of a service user, carer or colleague at unacceptable risk”.

The Panel also considered the Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers (2017 edition) and identified a breach of the following standards:

1.5 “be able to recognise signs of harm, abuse and neglect and know how to respond appropriately”,

2.3 “understand the need to protect, safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults”,

4.1 “be able to assess a situation, determine its nature and severity and call upon the required knowledge and experience to deal with it”.


49.Safeguarding and the identification and management of risk are basic for a Social Worker. The criticism of the Registrant is not of the judgment she made to allow CB to remain in the room while SUA’s care needs were being discussed. The criticism of the Registrant is her decision to allow CB to participate in her discussion about financial matters and then agreeing that CB accompany SUA to the bank. In the Panel’s judgment this was not a finely balanced judgment, but one where there was a clear imperative to safeguard SUA. The Registrant had already addressed the urgent care needs and there was no urgent need for the financial discussion or a visit to the bank.

50.The Panel decided that the Registrant’s error of judgment in failing to adequately safeguard SUA was serious and fell well below the standards of a Social Worker. It therefore constituted misconduct.

Decision on Impairment 

51.The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note “Finding that Fitness to Practise is Impaired”. The Panel considered the Registrant’s fitness to practise at today’s date.

52.The Registrant told the Panel that although she has been looking for suitable positions she has not worked as a Social Worker for approximately twenty months. She has carried out some seasonal work at the Beaulieu motor museum. Although she has read some social work articles to keep herself up to date she was not able to give the Panel any details of her reading. The Registrant recognised that she would need to undertake training and continuing professional development if she were to practise as a Social Worker.

53.The Panel considered the level of the Registrant’s insight. When the Registrant met with EB on 9 March 2017 she defended her actions and did not agree with EB’s criticisms of her. She denied the HCPC Allegation, and in her written and oral evidence continued to maintain that her actions were justified. The Registrant’s written statement included her reflections on the past events and they indicate that she has developed some insight. She accepted that it may have been an error of judgment to agree that CB accompany SUA to the bank. She also accepted that she prioritised her need to go back to the office over taking SUA herself to the bank. However, when she was asked what she would do differently she focussed on her concerns in relation to a duplicate file and her inadequate record keeping. The Registrant did not demonstrate full insight into the consequences of her actions, in respect of the potential risks for SUA, the impact on the Council, or the impact on the reputation of the social work profession.

54.The Panel considered that although the Registrant has had time to reflect on the past events, it was not easy for her to contemplate the possibility that the Allegation might be found proved by the Panel, or that a change in her thinking might be required if that were the case. She has found it very difficult to make progress or move on while the HCPC investigation has been proceeding against her, and that is understandable.  

55.The Panel considered that the misconduct in this case is remediable. It involves a single issue of failure to safeguard which is within narrow confines. The Registrant has demonstrated a willingness to reflect on her past actions in that she does now accept that she made some errors of judgment. It may not be easy for the Registrant to remedy her past misconduct, but the Panel considered that there was a prospect that she could do so.

56.The Registrant has not remedied the misconduct because there has not been a significant change in her analysis of the risks for SUA and the approach to a safeguarding alert. Her insight is limited. The Panel therefore identified that there remains a risk of repetition of similar misconduct.

57.The Panel considered that the Registrant’s past actions put SUA at risk of harm and that she was liable to do so in the future. She was in breach of a fundamental tenet of the profession and thereby brought the profession into disrepute because safeguarding service users is fundamental to the role of a Social Worker.

58.The Panel next considered the wider public interest considerations including the need to maintain confidence in the profession, uphold standards of conduct and behaviour, and maintain confidence in the regulatory process.

59.An informed member of the public would be concerned that the Registrant had not responded to the information in the safeguarding alert and the SUA’s file by identifying the risk and taking steps to manage the risk. Further they would be concerned that the Registrant might repeat similar misconduct and expose vulnerable service users to the risk of harm. Members of the public might consider there to be potential risks to vulnerable members of their family in similar circumstances. Therefore, the Panel concluded that members of the public would be concerned if the Registrant were free to practise without restriction.

60.The Panel has also identified that the Registrant’s actions were a serious breach of the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics and the Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers. A finding that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired is necessary to uphold the standards that are expected of a Social Worker.

61.The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired on the basis of the personal component and the public component.

Decision on sanction

62.The Panel heard submissions from Ms Manning-Rees and from Mr Sendall. Mr Sendall submitted that a Conditions of Practice Order might be appropriate.

63.In response to Panel questions the Registrant addressed the Panel. She acknowledged the decision of the Panel and accepted that she had made errors. In particular she recognised that she should not have tried to combine two different tasks on 8 March, but should have separated the financial matters and made a plan to carry out that work. She apologised and said that she had not intended to mislead the Panel.

64.When asked about her plans for the future the Registrant said that she would prefer to work in the voluntary sector because she believed that the environment of working for a Council was not sufficiently supportive. She told the Panel how difficult she has found the past twenty months because she has not been employed in a role which she has found interesting or challenging and that she would like to return to a caring role. She said that she would comply with conditions of practice.

65.It was clear from the Registrant’s submission that she continues to be committed to and passionate about Social Work and believes that she has the skills and experience to make a valuable contribution.

66.The Registrant did not have a long time to fully digest the Panel’s decision, but her submissions indicated some changes in her thinking and positive signs for future development of insight.

67.In considering which, if any, sanction to impose the Panel had regard to the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy (ISP) and the advice of the Legal Assessor.

68.The Panel reminded itself that the purpose of imposing a sanction is not to punish the practitioner, but to protect the public and the wider public interest. The Panel ensured that it acted proportionately, and in particular it sought to balance the interests of the public with those of the Registrant, and imposed the sanction which was the least restrictive in the circumstances, commensurate with its duty of protection.

69.The Panel decided that the aggravating features were:

• the Registrant’s limited insight;

• breach of a fundamental tenet of the profession.

70.The Panel decided that the mitigating features were:

•a single failure relating to one service user;

•work and personal pressures causing stress;

•a long and otherwise unblemished career.

71.The Panel considered the option of taking no action, but decided that the misconduct was too serious and that this option would not address the risk of repetition the Panel has identified. Mediation is not appropriate.

72.The Panel next considered a Caution Order. The Panel did not consider that the guidance in the ISP for Caution Orders applied. Although the incident was isolated the Panel has found that there is a risk of repetition. A Caution Order would be insufficient to protect the public.

73.The Panel next considered a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel considered that the Registrant has a sufficient level of insight for conditions of practice to be considered. The Panel also had sufficient confidence that the Registrant would comply with conditions of practice. As set out within the Panel’s decision on impairment the misconduct in this case is remediable and it involves a single issue of failure to safeguard which is within narrow confines. The Panel considered that the risk of repetition in this case could be addressed by conditions of practice.

74.The Panel decided that a supervision condition was necessary and appropriate and that this should be focussed on the relevant HCPC standards which the Panel found had been breached. The supervision would ensure that there was ongoing monitoring of the Registrant’s practice as a Social Worker, while allowing her the opportunity to demonstrate that she has remediated the deficiency in her practice. The Panel also decided that conditions requiring the Registrant to provide a reflective statement and notification conditions were necessary and appropriate.

75.The Panel considered the wider public interest considerations and was satisfied that a Conditions of Practice Order was sufficient. The conditions of practice reassure members of the public and protect the reputation of the profession because they address the ongoing risk of repetition. A Conditions of Practice Order was a sufficiently severe sanction to deter other Registrants and to mark the Panel’s disapproval of the Registrant’s misconduct.

76.The Panel was aware that the Registrant has not been successful in obtaining employment as a Social Worker over the last twenty months and that any restriction on her practice is likely to make it more difficult for her to obtain employment. Nevertheless, the Panel decided that the Registrant’s financial and professional interests were outweighed by the need to protect the public and the wider public interest. 

77.The Panel considered the more restrictive option of a Suspension Order. The Panel decided that this was not necessary or proportionate. The conditions of practice the Panel has formulated address the risk of repetition and therefore protect the public. A Conditions of Practice Order permits a rehabilitation process and gives the Registrant an opportunity to demonstrate to a future Review Panel that she has developed full insight and remedied her past misconduct.

78.The Panel decided that the appropriate length of time for the Conditions of Practise Order was twelve months. This period was sufficient to mark the seriousness of the Registrant’s misconduct and to allow a realistic time period for the Registrant to comply with the Conditions of Practice and prepare evidence for a Review Hearing.

79.The Panel therefore decided that the appropriate and proportionate Order is a Conditions of Practice Order for a period of twelve months.

80.A future Reviewing Panel may be assisted by:

(a) evidence of compliance with the Conditions of Practice Order;
(b) evidence that the Registrant has kept her continuing professional development (CPD) up to date.

 

Order

The Registrant must comply with the following conditions of practice upon commencement in your employment as a social worker:

1. You must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a workplace supervisor registered by the HCPC or other appropriate statutory regulator and supply details of your supervisor to the HCPC within 14 days of commencing work as a Social Worker.

2. You must meet with your supervisor on a monthly basis to consider your progress. The supervision meetings should include a particular focus on safeguarding service users and the following HCPC Standards:

Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics:
6.1 You must take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of harm to service users, carers and colleagues as far as possible
6.2 You must not do anything or allow someone else to do anything, which could put the health or safety of a service user, carer or colleague at unacceptable risk
Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers:
1.5 be able to recognise signs of harm, abuse and neglect and know how to respond appropriately
2.3 understand the need to protect, safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults
4.1 be able to assess a situation, determine its nature and severity and call upon the required knowledge and experience to deal with it”
3.You must allow your supervisor to provide information to the HCPC about your progress.

4.You must provide to the HCPC at least 14 days before the date of the Review Hearing a report from your supervisor. The report should include a summary of your progress with a particular focus on safeguarding service users, any safeguarding issues which have arisen, and the HCPC Standards listed above.

5.You must provide to the HCPC at least 14 days before the date of the Review Hearing a reflective statement on the findings made by the Panel.

6.You must promptly inform the HCPC of any disciplinary proceedings taken against you by your employer.

7.You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:

A.any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional work
B.any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with (at the time of application); and
C.any prospective employer (at the time of your application).

Notes

An Interim Conditions of Practice order was imposed to cover the appeal period.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Ms Jennifer Louise Jeffery

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
29/11/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Conditions of Practice