Mr Dominic James Crerar

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW23172

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 25/04/2019 End: 17:00 25/04/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

Please note that the decision can take up to 5 working days to be uploaded onto the HCPTS website. Please contact one of our Hearings Team Managers via tsteam@hcpts-uk.org or +44 (0)808 164 3084 if you require any further information.

 

Allegation

Whilst registered with the Health and Care Professions Council as a social worker and during the course of your employment with Rochdale Borough Council between 01 February 2016 and 30 September 2016, you:

1) Did not adequately carry out assessments of clients in a timely manner in
relation to:

a) Service User 1;
b) Service User 2;
c) Service User 3;
d) Service User 4;
e) Service User 5;
f) Service User 6;
g) Service User 14;
h) Service User 8;
i) Service User 9.

2) Did not provide complete updated support plans, ensuring that providers and service users were funded for services in relation to:

a) Service User 1;
b) Service User 2;
c) Service User 3;
d) Service User 4;
e) Service User 5;
f) Service User 21;
g) Service User 6;
h) Service User 10.

3) Did not arrange correct funding for clients via funding agreements and/or finance referrals and/or Quality Assurance Panel (QAP) submissions leading to a financial cost to Rochdale Borough Council and/or Service Users, in relation to:

a) Service User 1;
b) Service User 3;
c) Service User 6;
d) Service User 21;
e) Service User 10;
f) Service User 11;
g) Service User 12.

4) Did not complete and/or ensure Capacity Assessments were completed and did not make and/or ensure Best Interest Decisions were made and/or recorded, in relation to;

a) Service User 1;
b) Service User 2;
c) Service User 3;
d) Service User 5;
e) Service User 10;
f) Service User 14;
g) Service User 15;
h) Service User 16.

5) Your action at 1 - 4 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.
6) By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to
practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service and proceeding in the absence of the Registrant.

1. Mr Oestreicher on behalf of the Registrant, accepted that there had been good service of the notice of this hearing. He told that Panel that the Registrant was content for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence and that he was fully instructed by the Registrant to represent the Registrant’s interests.

Background

2. The Registrant is a registered Social Worker.

3. On 9 December 2016, the Registrant’s employer, Rochdale Borough Council, made a referral to the HCPC about the Registrant.

4. The Council’s concerns mainly focused around the Registrant’s timely completion of assessments and arranging funding for service users. The concerns arose over a period of time between February 2016 and September 2016.

5. The Council undertook an internal disciplinary investigation which resulted in a disciplinary hearing.

6. The Registrant was advised of the outcome of the Investigating Committee Panel (ICP), on 30 October 2018. An email was received from the Registrant’s Representative on 28 November 2018 in response to the outcome of the ICP. The email stated that the Registrant was interested in exploring the possibility of voluntary removal as he no longer wished to remain on the register.
 
7. A statement was then subsequently received from the Registrant dated 16 January 2019 in support of his application for voluntary removal. The Panel has seen that agreement.

8. The HCPC reviewed the case and considered the Registrant’s request. It is considered that the circumstances of this case are suitable for disposal by way of a Voluntary Removal Agreement. The Registrant has admitted the allegation, and has stated that he does not wish to return to practice as a social worker. He has also set out his understanding of the effect of a Voluntary Removal Agreement.

9. The HCPC consider that this case is suitable for Voluntary Removal Agreement as protection of the public would be secured and the wider public interest considerations met.

10. On 22 February 2019, therefore, the Registrant was contacted and advised that a Voluntary Removal Agreement application hearing would be scheduled and that he was invited to attend the hearing. This email was acknowledged by the Registrant’s Representative on 28 February 2019. 

Today’s Hearing

The submissions made by the HCPC.

11. The Submissions made by the HCPC in the Skeleton Argument which have been adopted and relied upon in the oral submissions of Ms Simpson on behalf of the HCPC are in the following terms.

12. The Voluntary Removal Agreement is an agreement to the effect that the HCPC will not take any further action against the Registrant in relation to this matter on the understanding that he will remove himself from the Register, cease from practising as a Social Worker and not attempt to re-join the register.

13. If the Registrant were to apply to come back on to the Register, his application would be treated in the same way as someone who had been struck off following a Conduct and Competence Committee hearing.

14. The Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 does not explicitly provide for consent arrangements. There is instead a Practice Note that the HCPC has approved as a means of allowing matters, where suitable, to be disposed of by consent.

15. The Practice Note states that a Panel should not agree to resolve a case in this way unless it is satisfied of two things: firstly, that the appropriate level of public protection is being secured and, secondly, that doing so would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.

16. Similarly, in Cohen v GMC  the High Court stated that there are “critically important public policy issues” which must be taken into account by Panels in fitness to practise proceedings, including the ‘public’ component of impairment. This ‘public’ component requires consideration of the need to protect service users, declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour and maintain public confidence in the profession.

17. The HCPC submits that, in all the circumstances, voluntary removal from the Register would be an appropriate means of resolving the current matter.

18. Given voluntary removal is equivalent in effect to a strike-off, the HCPC submits that the necessary public protection would be ensured by this course of action.

19. The HCPC also submits that it would not be detrimental to the wider public interest to dispose of this matter by way of voluntary removal. It is submitted that this case does not raise concerns in regards to the wider public interest to such an extent that the matter must be disposed of at a final hearing. The HCPC reiterates that the Registrant has admitted the substance of the allegations and that voluntary removal from the register will have the same effect as a strike-off. It is submitted that these factors are sufficient to maintain public confidence in the profession and to declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour.

20. It is therefore submitted that the Voluntary Removal Agreement is an appropriate and expeditious way of dealing with this matter and the HCPC respectfully invites the Panel to approve the proposed agreement.

Submissions made on behalf of the Registrant

21. Mr Oestreicher on behalf of the Registrant submitted that this was a proper case for VRA and supported the submissions made by Ms Simpson.

22. The Panel has further seen and has read the statement from the Registrant dated 16 January 2019 together with the VRA and the attached documents identified above.

Decision

23. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the legal assessor.

24. In deciding whether or not to approve the agreement for Voluntary Removal the Panel has had regard to the Practice Note published by the HCPTS on 22 March 2017 and entitled Disposal of Cases by Consent. The Panel has also considered the submissions of Ms Simpson and those of Mr Oestreicher . The Panel has further considered all the documents that have been produced.The Panel further considered the legal authority to which it had been referred.

25. The Panel has concluded that the VRA  should be approved and that an order should be made in the terms set out below . Its reasons are as follows;

• The Registrant has admitted the Allegation in full  and did do soon after the decision of the Investigating Committee that he had a case to answer in respect of the Allegation set out above. The Registrant has also admitted that his fitness to practise is thereby impaired.
• The public will be adequately protected by the voluntary removal of the Registrant’s name from the register, which will have the same effect as if he had been struck off under the relevant provisions of the Order.
• There are no reasons of a public interest kind to require a hearing of the Allegation.  

26. For all the reasons that are set out above, the Panel has determined to approve the outcome sought in the VRA with immediate effect; in particular the Panel agrees that the HCPC should be permitted to withdraw the Allegation and that the Registrant shall voluntarily remove his name from the Register with effect from today’s date

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to remove the name of Mr Dominic James Crerar from the Register with immediate effect.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Dominic James Crerar

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
25/04/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed