Mr Dennis Gilbert Howard

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW27169

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 19/08/2019 End: 17:00 21/08/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Conditions of Practice

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Allegation

Whilst employed as a Social Worker by Connect 2 Kent recruitment agency and placed with Kent County Council between 2 May 2017 and 23 June 2017:

1) In respect of Children A 1 and /or A2, you did not:

a)  attend court on 26 May 2017, as was required.

b)  fully adequately complete a Special Guardianship Order assessment.

 c) visit the children at home after their return to their mother's case care on 1 June 2017.

d) complete preparation of the final evidence for the court proceedings within the required timescale.

2)  In respect of Child B, you did not:

a) complete a risk assessment in a timely manner and/or by 14 June 2017, as was required.

b)  Complete a placement plan in a timely fashion.

c) complete and/or record a statutory Children in Care visits as required.

3) The matters alleged in particulars 1 to 2 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

4) By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practise as a Social Worker in is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Amendment of Allegation

1. Mr Dite, on behalf of the HCPC, applied to amend the Allegation. He submitted that the amendments sought were consistent with the evidence before the Investigating Committee, and that they served to clarify the Allegation by giving further and better particulars.

2. The Registrant did not object to the amendments.

3. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who advised that it was open to the Panel to amend the Allegation, provided the Panel was satisfied that no injustice would be caused by the amendments. The Panel considered that the amendments sought did not change the substance of the Allegation. The amendments did clarify the Allegation and would not cause injustice, as it is always preferable that allegations are as clear as possible so that registrants are clear what is alleged against them in order for them to respond. The Panel therefore allowed the amendments to be made. The amended Allegation is as set out above and the original Allegation and the proposed amendments are set out below:

Whilst employed as a Social Worker by Connect 2 Kent recruitment agency and placed with Kent County Council between 2 May 2017 and 23 June 2017:

1) In respect of Children A 1 and /or A2, you did not:

a)  attend court on 26 May 2017, as was required.

b)  fully adequately complete a Special Guardianship Order assessment.

 c) visit the children at home after their return to their mother's case care on 1 June 2017.

d) complete preparation of the final evidence for the court proceedings within the required timescale.

2)  In respect of Child B, you did not:

a) complete a risk assessment in a timely manner and/or by 14 June 2017, as was required.

b)  Complete a placement plan in a timely fashion.

c) complete and/or record a statutory Children in Care visits as required.

3) The matters alleged in particulars 1 to 2 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

4) By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practise as a Social Worker in is impaired.

Legal representation

4. At the start of the proceedings, the Registrant told the Panel that he had been represented previously but that he then could not afford the fees for continued representation. He told the Panel that he passed the bundle of evidence to his legal representative but had not obtained them back from him. He said that he, given a short adjournment, would be able to read the papers and proceed with the hearing.

5. The Panel allowed the Registrant a short adjournment and he indicated that he wanted the matter to proceed today.

Background

6. The Registrant had been employed as an agency Social Worker by Kent County Council (the “Council’) between 2 May 2017 and 23 June 2017. During that period, he had responsibility for the cases of Child A1, Child A2 and Child B.

7. Shortly after the Registrant began working for the Council, his line manager became concerned about his practice, in particular in relation to the above cases.

8. It is alleged that court hearings and court directed deadlines were missed, and visits that should have been carried out had not been done.

9. The Registrant’s last day at the Council was 22 June 2017. When he did not attend the next day, his employment was terminated.

Decision on Facts

10. When the Allegation was read out at the start of proceedings, the Registrant accepted factual Particulars 1(a) and 1(b). He told the Panel that he could not remember much about the circumstances outlined in the remaining particulars but he did not deny them.
 
11. After the HCPC’s case, and in his oral evidence, the Registrant said that having heard the evidence, he accepted the remaining factual particulars, namely 1(c), 1(d), 2(a), 2(b), and 2(c).

12. The Panel heard from the following witnesses:

(a) Witness 1, Team Manager with the Council within the Children’s Social Work Team. She was the Registrant’s line manager during the six weeks that he was employed by the Council.

(b) Witness 2, also a Team Manager with the Council but working within the Child in Care Team for North Kent. She would cover the managerial duties of Witness 1 when Witness 1 was out of the office.

(c) Witness 3, Children and Young People Services Manager with the Council. She was the line manager of both Witness 1 and Witness 2.

13. The Panel found the evidence of the witnesses to be clear and cogent and supported by the documentary evidence. The Panel also found the witnesses to be open, honest and fair.
 
14. Witness 1 was a credible witness who was clear and concise. She was also fair and told the Panel that her concerns were around the Registrant’s standard of work. She said that the Registrant “is of a nice disposition and personality and whenever I asked him about the approaching deadlines/work and his plan for completing the work, he would always give me a courteous reassuring answer, but would not follow through what he had promised.”

15. Witness 2’s evidence was limited to her quality assurance of a single document sent to her by the Registrant, but she was equally clear and cogent.

16. Witness 3 was credible and fair. Whilst she had very few direct dealings with the Registrant, she recalled one meeting, just after the Registrant started, where she thought that the Registrant had good ideas and that he had prepared for the meeting. She recalled commenting on this to Witness 1.

17. The Panel also heard oral evidence from the Registrant. The Panel found the Registrant to be open, honest and credible. The Panel believed the Registrant when he told them that he could not recall clearly these matters, that he did not know why he had failed in his duties, and had no explanation. The Panel was satisfied that he was truly at a loss and clearly distressed at the level of his failings.

18. Witness 1 told the Panel that she became concerned about the Registrant’s practice and she began giving him ad hoc supervisions, in addition to formal supervisions. She told the Panel that Children A1 and A2 had been allocated to the Registrant on 11 May 2017 and that they were subject to care proceedings in Court. The Registrant had failed to attend a Court hearing on 26 May 2017. Witness 1 told the Panel that it was important that the Registrant attended that hearing because the Court needed an update in the light of the Independent Social Worker’s recommendation that the children be rehabilitated into their mother’s care, and the Council had felt that their mother was failing to protect Child A1 and Child A2. The Registrant also failed to complete a Special Guardianship Order (“SGO”) assessment for Child A2. Witness 1 told the Panel that this was a requirement to ensure that there could be an alternative placement if the rehabilitation with their mother failed. Witness 1 told the Panel that the Registrant was aware of the need for the SGO assessment but failed to complete it.

19. In relation to Child B, Witness 1 told the Panel that she was an extremely vulnerable 17 year old who had extremely challenging behaviour, and prone to taking risks and self-harming. This had resulted in her being taken into Accident and Emergency at least every 2 days. The family had a history of domestic abuse. Witness 1 told the Panel that Child B’s case had been allocated to the Registrant on 11 May 2017 and the Registrant should have completed an updated risk assessment on Child B by 14 June 2017. She told the Panel that the Registrant failed to do so despite repeated requests, even after the required deadline. The Registrant should have completed a Placement Plan for Child B, which is intended to help the provider of a service to understand the needs of a child and how best to meet those needs. Witness 1 said that Child B had significant needs that needed to be reviewed regularly. She said that the Registrant should have carried out more statutory visits with Child B than he did and at shorter intervals.

20. The Registrant told the Panel that he had initially gone to the wrong Court on 26 May 2017, and that he had got lost on his way to the correct court. He told the Panel that he knew the importance of his attendance at that hearing but the hearing had completed by the time he found his way to the Court. In relation to the SGO assessment, the Registrant said that he knew how important the SGO assessment was, that it had to be done, and that he knew how to carry one out. He said that he did not have any recollection of carrying out that assessment nor the reasons for his failure to do so. He said that the document he had sent Witness 2 was not a proper SGO assessment and he did not know why he had sent it to her. He said the document sent was clearly at the early stages of the assessment process. He also agreed that the evidence demonstrated that he had not complied with the required timescales or the Court Order, but he could not remember why he did not do so. He said that he was unable to comprehend his failures or what could have led to them.

21. As with Children A1 and A2, the Registrant could not understand how his failings came about in relation to Child B. He told the Panel that he was horrified at his failings and was at a loss as to how they came about. In giving evidence he became very distressed about his failings and their implications for the children concerned.   

22. The Panel considered the oral evidence of all the witnesses and the documentary evidence. It also considered the evidence of the Registrant and his admissions to the factual particulars.

23. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

24. The Panel found the evidence to be cogent and clear, and also in line with the Registrant’s admissions as to the factual particulars. The Panel determined that factual particulars 1(a), 1(b), 1(c), 1(d), 2(a), 2(b), and 2(c) were proved on the evidence before it.
 
Application to adjourn the hearing

25. Throughout the hearing, but particularly so on the second day of the hearing, the Registrant was visibly distressed. The second day of the hearing concluded with the Panel discussing and drafting its decision on facts and statutory grounds.

26. In the circumstances, the Registrant told the Panel that he wished to continue to participate in these proceedings, but by way of making written submissions. He thought that there was a possibility that he might be able to complete his written submission by tomorrow afternoon but then expressed doubt as to whether this was realistic given his current stress levels. He indicated that an adjournment would greatly assist him by giving him more time to gather his thoughts and enable him to write properly his written submissions.

27. Mr Dite did not object to the hearing being adjourned. He pointed out to the Panel that fairness was the over-arching principle to be applied.

28. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel considered the HCPTS Practice Note entitled ‘Adjournment and adjournment of proceedings’.

29. The Panel also reminded itself of the principles of fairness and proportionality, and that it must balance the interests of the Registrant with the public interest that matters should be dealt with expeditiously.

30. In coming to its decision the Panel took into account the following factors:

a) The Panel has not yet handed down its decision on facts and statutory grounds.

b) The Registrant’s most optimistic timescale for written submissions (which would not include anything affecting the Panel’s decision on facts) would invariably lead to these matters being adjourned for lack of time. The Panel considered that the Registrant would need time to read its decision on facts which will be handed down in any event.

c) If an adjournment was not granted the Registrant’s ability to present fully his case would be compromised;

d) An adjournment would not inconvenience any witnesses as all oral evidence has been received;

e) The Registrant has not previously sought an adjournment of proceedings;

f) There is a public interest in the expedition of cases of this nature. Any delay is likely to impact upon the public confidence in the regulatory proceedings. However, a member of the public would also be concerned if the Registrant, who has been participating in these proceedings despite the distress they are causing him, were not permitted to present properly his case.

31. In these circumstances, the Panel determined to hand down its decision on facts and to adjourn these matters to enable the Registrant to make written submissions. The Registrant is not precluded from giving oral evidence on the next occasion if he so desires. He is also permitted to submit new evidence relevant to the next stages of these proceedings including statutory grounds and impairment.

Decision on Grounds

32. Having found the factual particulars of the Allegation proved, the Panel went on to consider whether the Registrant’s conduct amounted to either statutory ground of lack of competence or misconduct. The Panel heard the submissions of Mr Dite on behalf of the HCPC as well as the oral submissions of the Registrant at the reconvened hearing.

33. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who drew the Panel’s attention to the following cases:

(a) Roylance v GMC (2000) 1 AC 311

(b) Hindmarch v NMC [2016] EWHC 2233 (Admin)

(c) Remedy UK Ltd v GMC [2010] EWHC 1245 (Admin)

(d) Calhaem v GMC [2007] EWHC 2606.

34. It was clear to the Panel that the Registrant is an experienced Social Worker with over 30 years of experience. It was his evidence that he had the knowledge and skills to carry out the role and work in question, but that he did not know why he failed to do so in these cases. At the reconvened hearing the Registrant stated that after a period of reflection, he understood the reasons for his omissions. 

35. In any case, the Panel determined that this matter related to two cases over a short period of time and did not provide the Panel with a fair sample of his work. As such it determined that this was not a case where the statutory ground of lack of competence applied.

36. The Panel went on to consider whether the Registrant’s conduct amounted to misconduct for the purpose of these proceedings.

37. The Panel was aware that misconduct is “a word of general effect, involving some act or omission, which falls short of what would be proper in the circumstances.” It is also aware that it was stressed that misconduct is qualified by the word “serious”. It is not just any professional misconduct which will qualify.

38. The Panel was also aware that not every instance of falling short of what would be proper in the circumstances, and not every breach of the HCPC standards would be sufficiently serious such as to amount to misconduct in this context. Therefore, the Panel has had careful regard to the context and circumstances of the matters found proved. The Panel considered the factual particulars in the light of the following circumstances demonstrated by the evidence:

(a) The Registrant was an experienced Social Worker with over 30 years of experience;

(b) There were no issues raised regarding the Registrant’s practice prior to these matters;

(c) These matters occurred over a short period of seven weeks.

39. The Panel accepted that the Registrant’s failures in this case were neither intentional nor malicious. However, at the very least they must be the result of negligence on the part of the Registrant.

40. The Panel was aware the Courts have stated that mere negligence does not constitute misconduct but depending upon the circumstances, negligent acts or omissions which are particularly serious may amount to misconduct.

41. The Registrant became very emotional when giving evidence when he was telling the Panel how appalled he was at his failures, and the impact that they had on the service users in question and his colleagues. At the reconvened hearing the Registrant confirmed that he still felt the same.

42. In considering misconduct, the Panel accepted the Registrant’s oral evidence, and later, submissions, about his state of health and personal circumstances at the time.  The Panel also felt that the Registrant’s assertions about his ability to recall events in this period in any detail were supported by his openness during the hearing and his response to the evidence given by the witnesses.

43. The Panel determined that the evidence demonstrated that the Registrant’s failings involved multiple acts or omissions that were particularly serious. The Registrant himself said that he was appalled at his failures, that they should not have happened and that his failures were terrible. Despite the differences and variations in facts and detail of the cases of children A1, A2 and B, they involved the following areas of significant issues, amongst others:

(a) all three children were vulnerable, Child B particularly so;

(b) the Registrant failed to visit, assess and maintain the safety of those children; and

(c) one case involved a high risk of domestic abuse, and there was evidence that an incident had in fact occurred.

44. The Panel considered that the Registrant’s negligence had led to breaches of the following paragraphs of the HCPC’s Standards of conduct, performance and ethics [2016 edition]:

1. Promote and protect the interests of service users and carers

2. Communicate appropriately and effectively

6. Manage risks

45. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the facts found proved amounted to the statutory ground of misconduct on the basis of serious negligence on the part of the Registrant.

Decision on Impairment

46. The Panel considered Mr Dite’s submissions that the Registrant’s current fitness to practise is impaired on both the personal and public components. The Registrant made submissions to the Panel. He told the Panel about his role in child protection, work which he obtained through an agency, for Swindon Borough Council (Swindon BC) which he undertook for a period of 18 months after the incidents in question.  The Panel also took into account a character reference from his colleague, a Social Care Worker at Swindon BC, sent by email dated 19 August 2019.

47. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who referred to CHRE v (1) NMC (2) Grant [2011] EWHC 927. The Panel took into account the HCPTS Practice Note entitled “Finding that Fitness to Practise is ‘Impaired’”. The Panel was aware that impairment is a matter for its own independent judgement and that public protection and the wider public interest should be considered.

48. The Panel took into account the Registrant’s oral evidence during the facts stage of the hearing, and his submissions at the misconduct and impairment stages.

49. The Registrant expressed remorse for his omissions. He told the Panel that he left the Council in June 2017 and began working for Swindon BC in November 2017, where he remained for 18 months. He described many interactions with vulnerable young people, and gave examples of the cases he had managed. These included safeguarding and new areas of work which he had not undertaken before such as the age assessment process for an asylum seeker, and the national referral mechanism for young people who sell drugs while subject to duress or abuse.  He gave examples of the professional training he had undertaken since leaving the Council, including risk assessments relating to children. He also gave details of the CPD he has continued to undertake, including online research and personal study, subscribing to a professional journal and the online training since leaving Swindon BC.

50. The Registrant told the Panel that his lengthy child protection career has been built on working to protect children from harm and supporting them, that that aspect of his work is of great importance to him, and that his failings are something he is ashamed about. He told the Panel that he recognised the impact poor social work practice has on public confidence in the profession. He told the Panel that in the future, to prevent any failings occurring, he would press for reflective supervision, and believed that talking to colleagues and engaging in team collaboration were important. He referred to the effect of these proceedings on him personally and on his health and stated that he would do what is necessary to work to expected standards in the future.

51. The Registrant stated that at present he does not feel fit to practise, due to feeling nervous and anxious about the hearing process. He believes that, with the support of his GP, he will feel confident enough to return to practice. He commented that he did not feel he had yet had enough time to deal with his issues.

52. The Panel took into account the Registrant’s lengthy social work career of over 30 years, as well as the fact that the misconduct occurred in a relatively short space of some seven weeks. 

53. In addition, the Panel took account of the Registrant’s submissions about his training and CPD.

54. However, the Panel was of the view that the Registrant did not demonstrate sufficiently deep and meaningful understanding and reflection as to how to prevent the misconduct from being repeated in the future. While the Registrant referred to the different kind of supervision he would seek in the future to assist him in avoiding repetition of the conduct, he did not refer to strategies he would employ which are specifically directed to addressing the concerns found proved. Having assessed the Registrant’s evidence and submissions, the Panel was of the view that this lack of full and complete understanding and reflection was the result of the Registrant finding it difficult and painful to face the details of addressing his misconduct, rather than from a desire not to do so. As a result, the Registrant’s insight could not be said to be sufficient.

55. Having considered all the information before it, the Panel was of the view that the Registrant has shown limited insight into why his misconduct happened, but significant insight into its impact on the vulnerable service users and the wider profession as well as on public confidence. He also demonstrated genuine remorse. The Panel was of the view that he was open and honest in what he told the Panel.

56. The Panel took into account the Registrant’s submissions about his 18 months’ practice at Swindon BC since the incidents. While the Panel was of the view that good practice which addresses previous misconduct may in itself constitute remediation, the Panel bore in mind that there was no reference from an employer. The Panel did not draw an adverse inference from this, but it meant that there was no independent evidence before it about the quality of his practice, apart from the character reference from the Registrant’s Social Care Worker colleague.

57. The Panel took into account the questions formulated by Dame Janet Smith in the Fifth Shipman report, as set out in the case of CHRE v (1) NMC and (2) Grant  [2011] EWHC 927, which are presented in Grant  as a test of impairment and ask whether a practitioner:

“a. has in the past acted and/or is liable in the future to act so as to put a patient or patients at unwarranted risk of harm; and/or

b. has in the past brought and/or is liable in the future to bring the medical profession into disrepute; and/or

c. has in the past breached and/or is liable in the future to breach one of the fundamental tenets of the medical profession; and/or
d. …"

58. The Panel decided that, in respect of the misconduct found proved, the Registrant had put service users at unwarranted risk of harm by omitting to carry out important actions expected of him aimed at safeguarding them from the risk of harm.

59. The Panel decided that by way of his misconduct, he had brought the profession into disrepute and breached fundamental tenets, as set out in the Panel’s decision on misconduct.
 
60. The Panel acknowledges the Registrant’s full engagement with the proceedings and his genuine remorse and developing insight. However, the Panel is of the view that the Registrant has neither fully recognised the reasons that led to the misconduct nor therefore fully demonstrated how to prevent it from happening again.

61. In light of the lack of this, the Panel was of the view that the risk of repetition of the misconduct was real.

62. The Panel therefore decided that the Registrant’s current fitness to practise is impaired on the basis of the personal component as referred to in the HCPTS Practice Note on Impairment.

63. In the circumstances of this case, including the risk of repetition that remains at this stage, and the needs of the vulnerable children in question, particularly Child B, which were not met, the Panel was satisfied that a reasonable well-informed member of the public, with knowledge of all the facts and circumstances, would be concerned if no finding of impairment were made. The Panel was therefore satisfied that the need to uphold proper professional standards and to maintain public confidence in the profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made.

64. The Panel therefore found the Registrant’s current fitness to practise to be impaired on the basis of both the personal and public components.

Decision on Sanction

65. The Panel took into account the submissions of Mr Dite, who submitted that sanction is a matter for the Panel, but that the Panel may consider that a Conditions of Practice Order is appropriate in this case. The Panel heard the submissions of Mr Howard who requested that the Panel consider imposing conditions. He stated that he accepted the Panel’s decision on his fitness to practise, and that he was willing to accept the guidance of the Panel as to how to progress.

66. The Panel read the HCPC’s Sanctions Policy (SP), and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was aware that the aim of any sanction is not to be punitive. Rather, the fundamental aim is to uphold the public interest which includes protection of the public. Sanction is a matter for the independent judgement of the Panel. The Panel took into account the principle of proportionality in coming to its decision on sanction, which means that the right to practise should not be restricted any more than is necessary to address the risks arising out of the Registrant’s practice.

67. The Panel identified the following mitigating factors:

i. no previous regulatory findings;

ii. a social work career of over 30 years;

iii. the misconduct related to 2 cases over a 7 week period;

iv. genuine remorse

v. some insight demonstrated.

68. The Panel identified the following aggravating factors:

i. the potential impact on vulnerable service users;

ii. exposure of a child to an incident of domestic violence.

69. The Panel took into account the Registrant’s significant insight into the impact of his misconduct upon the service users as well as on public confidence in the profession. The Panel also took into account the Registrant’s openness and engagement with the proceedings.

70. The Panel was of the view that mediation is not appropriate in light of the nature and seriousness of the case. 

71. The Panel discounted taking no further action because it would not address the risk of repetition already identified, and would not protect the public or satisfy the public interest in this case.

72. The Panel also discounted a Caution Order because it would not afford protection to the public, and would not address the wider public interest.

73. The Panel next considered a Conditions of Practice Order and considered the following provisions of the SP:

“106    A conditions of practice order is likely to be appropriate in cases where:

• the registrant has insight;

• the failure or deficiency is capable of being remedied;

• there are no persistent or general failures which would prevent the registrant from remediating;

• appropriate, proportionate, realistic and verifiable conditions can be formulated;

• the panel is confident the registrant will comply with the conditions;

• a reviewing panel will be able to determine whether or not those conditions have or are being met; and

• the registrant does not pose a risk of harm by being in restricted practice.”

74. As the Panel has already determined, the Registrant has developing insight. The misconduct relates to specific areas of practice which, in the Panel’s view, are capable of being remedied, and there is no evidence before the Panel of persistent or general failures which would prevent remediation. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant has demonstrated a willingness to comply with conditions and has demonstrated a desire to improve his practice. In the Panel’s view, there are workable conditions which can be formulated which will provide sufficient protection to the public, as well as uphold the wider public interest, but will also allow the Registrant to practise safely. The Panel was therefore satisfied that a Conditions of Practice Order is a proportionate and appropriate sanction. 

75. The Panel decided to impose a Conditions of Practice Order for a period of 9 months. This is to allow the Registrant the time and opportunity to recover from the personal impact upon him of these proceedings, but also to provide clear ways of addressing the Panel’s concerns in a timely fashion.

76. The Panel did consider a Suspension Order but decided that this would be disproportionate and punitive in effect.

77. The Panel therefore decided to impose a Conditions of Practice Order for a period of 9 months.

Order

ORDER: The Registrar is directed to annotate the HCPC Register to show that, for a period of 9 months from the date that this Order takes effect (“the Operative Date”), you, Dennis Gilbert Howard, must comply with the following conditions of practice:

1) You must provide a reflective piece of writing to the HCPC prior to the review of this Order. This piece of writing must:

i. demonstrate the insight you have gained into the reasons which led to the misconduct;

ii. demonstrate an understanding of how to prevent repetition of the misconduct;

iii. explain how your practice has changed since the incidents in question;

iv. set out details of Continual Professional Development (CPD) which you have undertaken since the incidents in question and which directly relate to the misconduct;

v. explain how the learning from your CPD has been or might be put into practice.

2) Prior to the review of this Order, you must provide to the HCPC a professional reference attesting to your day to day practice as a Social Worker from a former or current employer or written by a registered Social Worker or a professional colleague.

3) You must remain under the care of your GP, inform him or her that you are subject to these conditions, and comply with any recommendations made by him/her.

4) Prior to the review of this Order you must provide to the HCPC an up to date report from your GP, commenting on the health matters that have been raised within this hearing.

5) You must promptly inform the HCPC if you take up any employment for which your registration is required.

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 Social Worker 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);

C. any prospective employer, (at the time of your application).

78. The next Panel which reviews this Order will be assisted by the Registrant’s attendance at the review. The Registrant may apply for an early review at any time.

Notes

Right of Appeal

You may appeal to the High Court in England and Wales against the Panel’s decision and the Order it has made against you.

Under Article 29(10) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, any appeal must be made within 28 days of the date when this notice is served on you.  The Panel’s Order will not take effect until the appeal period has expired or, if you appeal, until that appeal is disposed of or withdrawn.

European Alert Mechanism

In accordance with Regulation 67 of the European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2015, the HCPC will inform the competent authorities in all other EEA States that your right to practise has been restricted.

You may appeal to the County Court against the HCPC’s decision to do so.  Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the date when this notice is served on you.  This right of appeal is separate from your right to appeal against the decision and order of the Panel.

Interim Order:

Application for an interim order to cover the appeal period

79. The Panel heard an application from Mr Dite for an 18 month Interim Conditions of Practice Order to cover the appeal period. He submitted that such an order is necessary to protect the public and is in the public interest. Mr Howard did not make substantive submissions.

80. The Panel considered the HCPTS Practice Note entitled “Interim Orders” as well as Paragraphs 133-5 of the Sanctions Policy (SP). The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

81. The Panel took into account its previous findings, and adopting its reasons, the Panel came to the conclusion that an interim order is necessary to protect the public in light of the real risk of harm. Further, an interim order is in the wider public interest to maintain public confidence in the profession and to uphold proper standards.

82. The Panel was mindful of its decision at the sanction stage that Conditions were proportionate and appropriate. The Panel considered that not to impose an Interim Conditions of Practice Order in the same terms as the substantive order would be inconsistent with its finding that a Conditions of Practice Order is required.

83. The Panel recognised that the Panel must take into consideration the impact of such an interim order on the Registrant as part of the principle of proportionality, and must balance the impact on the Registrant with the need to protect the public and uphold the public interest. In the circumstances of the case, the Panel was satisfied that the need to protect the public and uphold the public interest outweighed the Registrant’s interests in this regard.

84. The Panel decided to impose an Interim Conditions of Practice Order for a period of 18 months, a duration which is appropriate and proportionate to allow any appeal which the Registrant may bring, to be concluded.

85. The Panel makes an Interim Conditions of Practice Order under Article 31(2) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, the same is necessary to protect the public and is in the public interest.  This order will expire: (if no appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) upon the expiry of the period during which such an appeal could be made; (if an appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) upon the final determination of that appeal, subject to a maximum period of 18 months.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Dennis Gilbert Howard

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
19/08/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Conditions of Practice
28/05/2019 Final Hearing Adjourned part heard