Mr Richard James Moody

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW29478

Interim Order: Imposed on 28 Mar 2014

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:30 17/09/2018 End: 16:00 17/09/2018

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 with East Riding of Yorkshire Council between 2012 and April 2013 you:

1. Did not attend the Intensive Support Panel on 18 February 2013 despite receiving prior notice.

2. In relation to Case 1, you:

(a) did not follow a management instruction to advise the Court that a guardian would be the most appropriate person to ascertain the wishes and feelings of the children;

(b) requested that Colleague A undertake the visit to the children to ascertain their wishes and feelings when you had been requested to do so by the Court;

(c)  not proven

(d) did not inform the mother of the serious incident on 7 January 2013 involving her son's attempted suicide until 9 January 2013;

3. In relation to Case 2, you did not complete the risk assessment within the required timeframe.

4. In relation to Case 3, you:

(a) not proven

(b) did not complete the core assessment by the required date;

(c) did not undertake to ascertain the wishes and feelings of the child.

5. In relation to Case 4; you did not complete an initial assessment within the required timeframe.

6. In relation to Case 5, you:

(a) did not complete a core assessment within the required timeframe;

(b) did not close the case despite instructions to do so on at least two occasions.

7. In relation to Case 6, you:

(a)  not proven

(b) duplicated records of 3 January 2013 on the electronic recording database purporting to be for a visit undertaken on 17 January 2013

(i) did not arrange core group meetings in February and April 2013 and/or did not record any such core group meetings.

8.  not proven

9.   not proven

10. The matters described in paragraphs 8 and 9 constitute misconduct.

11. The matters described in paragraphs 1 to 7 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

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

 

Finding

Preliminary matters

Errors in determination of 11-15 January 2016


1. Ms Senior informed the Panel that it had a corrected version of the original determination, which now records that particulars 2(d), 7(b) and 7(i) of the allegation were partly proved, and that there was no misconduct in respect of the partly proven particulars 2(d) and 7(b).


Service


2. The Panel has seen a copy of the Notice of Hearing dated 7 September 2018 which contains all relevant information, a proof of posting and a copy of the certificate of the Registrant’s registered address.


3. The Panel determined that there was good service of the Notice of Hearing dated 7 September 2018 in accordance with the provisions of rule 3 of The Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003, as amended (“the Rules”). No minimum period for posting before a hearing is specified in the Rules.


Proceeding in absence


4. The Panel heard a submission from Ms Senior, on behalf of the HCPC, to proceed in the absence of the Registrant under rule 11 of the Rules. Ms Senior referred the Panel to the fact that the Registrant had applied for an adjournment by email on 10 September 2018, but this had been refused by the present Chair on 14 September 2018. An earlier adjournment request by the Registrant had been granted in respect of the previous listing of this third review scheduled for 31 August 2018.

5. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice that it must first consider whether it is satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to serve the notice of the hearing. If so satisfied, the Panel should take account of the guidance in the HCPTS Practice Note “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant”. That guidance includes the fact that there is a public duty on the HCPC to protect the public, and there is public interest in the expeditious hearing of reviews of a substantive order.

6. The Panel determined that it was satisfied that all reasonable efforts had been made by the HCPC to notify the Registrant of the hearing. The Registrant had received that notice and had responded by seeking an adjournment. That request was refused on 14 September 2018, and the Registrant had sent further documents to be considered at today’s hearing by email. On 13 September 2018 the Registrant had emailed the required reflective piece, updated, and on 14 September 2018 had emailed representations which he wished the Panel to consider as he would not be attending.

7. There was a public interest in mandatory reviews of substantive orders being dealt with at the appropriate time and expeditiously. The present order would expire on 12 October 2018 and there was no availability in the hearing schedules to provide for a different hearing date before the substantive order expired, as noted in the decision to refuse the adjournment request.

8. The Panel had the written representations of the Registrant and his reflective piece, and therefore determined that it was fair, reasonable and appropriate to proceed with this review hearing in the absence of the Registrant.

Background


9. The Registrant is a registered Social Worker. The Registrant was employed by East Riding of Yorkshire Council as a Social Worker from 2 May 2007 and was appointed as an Advanced Social Work Practitioner in the Children in Need Team. A routine audit by the Registrant's Area Manager raised various concerns in 2012 and 2013, such as failures to complete the required statutory visits and case recording, leading to an internal investigation into the Registrant's practice and referral to the HCPC.


10. The substantive hearing panel on 11 – 15 January 2016 was satisfied that there was misconduct in relation to proven particulars 2(a), 3, 4(b), 4(c), 6(b) and 7(i) (in relation to non-recording of meetings). That panel found impairment of fitness to practise and imposed a Conditions of Practice Order for 14 months. At the first review hearing on 10 March 2017, the review panel extended that Conditions of Practice Order for 12 months. At the second review hearing on 2 March 2018, the review panel again extended the Conditions of Practice Order for 6 months, but with Conditions of Practice varied to give the Registrant a reasonable opportunity to secure employment and remedy his misconduct.


 Decision


11. Ms Senior submitted that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired because the Registrant has not shown sufficient insight into his misconduct nor adequate remediation of his misconduct. This presented a risk to service users if his practice was not the subject of a continued restriction. The sufficient and proportionate sanction was a matter for the independent judgement of the Panel, and the full range of sanctions that had been available to the original hearing panel was available to this review Panel.


12. In his written representations the Registrant submitted that his reflective piece demonstrates insight in relation to his failings in record-keeping, timeframes and not carrying out a management instruction, so as to allow the Panel to end his fitness to practise restrictions. He also submitted that he is unable to obtain employment with the present restrictions, and that supervision of his practice is unnecessary as he would receive supervision as a Social Worker.


13. The Panel followed the guidance in the HCPTS Practice Note “Review of Article 30 Sanction Orders” June 2018. The Panel first considered the issue of current impairment which is a matter for the independent judgement of the Panel. As advised by the Legal Assessor and the guidance, the Panel took account of the principle set out in Abrahaem v GMC [2008] EWHC 183 (Admin) that there is, in practical terms, a persuasive burden at a review hearing for the Registrant to demonstrate that he has “fully acknowledged why past performance was deficient and through insight, application, education, supervision or other achievement sufficiently addressed the past impairments.”


14. The Panel carefully considered all the documentary and oral evidence, the previous determinations, the submissions made by Ms Senior and the Registrant, and the HCPTS Practice Note “Finding that Fitness to Practise is ‘Impaired’” as advised by the Legal Assessor.


15. The Panel considered that there were four areas of the Registrant’s practice that comprised the proven misconduct, and the question of continuing impairment should be approached in that way.


16. The first area was that of not complying with management instructions (particulars 2(a) and 6(b)). The Panel was of the view that the Registrant’s amended reflected piece of 13 September 2018 demonstrated a significant attitudinal shift in the Registrant’s insight with regard to this issue. The Registrant wrote: “At the time I held a different view, but after much long hard reflection, I sincerely regret not following my managers given verbal instructions just before we entered the hearing. And most certainly I have learned the lesson not to do anything like it again…. My advice to any budding Practitioner would be, do as your manager tells you pertaining to their last given instruction.” The Panel determined that the Registrant has remedied this aspect of his misconduct by the development of full insight and there is a resultant low risk of repetition such that his fitness to practise is no longer impaired in respect of this aspect of his past misconduct on either the personal or public components of the test.


17. The second area is that of the recording failures in respect of two core group meetings (particular 7(i)). The Registrant has also tackled this aspect of his misconduct in his amended reflective piece of 13 September 2018. He states he has “learned no matter what the obstacles are, case recording and keeping to statutory timescales is paramount to good, accountable and safe social work practice.” He has undertaken targeted identified reading on the subject and has completed self-directed online research. The Panel determined that the Registrant has remedied his past misconduct in recording failures and the risk of repetition is low, such that his fitness to practise is no longer impaired in respect of this aspect of his past misconduct on either the personal or public components of the test.


18. The third area is the non-completion of assessments within the required timeframes (particulars 3 and 4(b)). This is a time-management issue which the Registrant has sought to address. He has completed two online courses and has set out the consequences for service users in his amended reflective piece to demonstrate his insight into his misconduct. The Registrant has also written that he now acknowledges that, in addition to record-keeping, “keeping to statutory timescales is paramount to good, accountable and safe social work practice.” He has also identified a time-management strategy tool to assist with the management of his case load. These suggest that the Registrant has remedied this aspect of his misconduct with a resultant reduced risk of repetition, but the Panel is concerned that this strategy to cope with statutory timescales is unverified by, for instance, supervision of his actual practice. The Panel therefore determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired in this regard, on both the personal and public component parts of the test.  


19. The fourth aspect of the misconduct was the failure to ascertain the wishes and feelings of the child in Case 3 (particular 4(c)). The Panel noted that in his reflections the Registrant demonstrated a child-focussed approach, as evidence in paragraph 10, and indeed the original panel recorded that it considered the Registrant was a child-focused Social Worker in paragraph 19 of its written determination. The Panel is concerned that the remedying of this aspect of the misconduct is as yet unverified in a practice situation. As such, there is a risk of repetition that led the Panel to determine that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired in this regard, on both the personal and public component parts of the test.  


20. The Panel then considered what, if any, restriction should be imposed on the Registrant’s practice. The Panel took account of the HCPC’s “Indicative Sanctions Policy”.


21. The Panel determined that taking no action was insufficient and not proportionate to the risk posed by the repetition of the third and fourth aspects of the past misconduct identified above. Given the need for verification of remediation, the sanction of a Caution Order was inappropriate and insufficient.


22. The remaining concerns relate to remediable aspects of the Registrant’s practice that need to be verified by supervision of the Registrant’s practice in the working environment. An extension of the Conditions of Practice Order is therefore both appropriate and sufficient in the Panel’s view, so a Suspension Order or a Striking Off Order would be disproportionate at this time. The following varied Condition of Practice Order will be imposed for six months upon the expiry of the present Conditions of Practice Order on 12 October 2018.


23. This Order will be reviewed before it expires. In addition to evidence of compliance with conditions the reviewing panel may be assisted by the Registrant’s personal attendance and by any other evidence that he considers relevant to assuring a panel that he is fit to return to unrestricted practice.

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to vary the Conditions of Practice Order against the registration of Mr Richard James Moody for a further period of 6 months on the expiry of the existing order. The Conditions are:

1. You must inform the HCPC of the details of your employer within 14 days of your resuming work as a Social Worker;


2. You must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a workplace supervisor registered as a Social Worker by the HCPC and supply details of your supervisor to the HCPC within 14 days of your resuming work as a Social Worker. You must attend upon that supervisor as required and follow their advice and recommendations;


3. You must provide a report from your Supervisor to the HCPC 14 days prior to the review of this order which focuses on:


• Completion of risk assessments and core assessments in a timely way, and;
• Ascertaining the wishes and feelings of child service users;


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


5. 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 as a Social Worker;


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

 

The order imposed today will apply from 12 October 2018.

 

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 12 April 2019

 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Richard James Moody

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status