Ms Daslie Campbell

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW74281

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 12/08/2019 End: 17:00 12/08/2019

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

The following Allegation was found proved by a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee at a Substantive Hearing on 13 – 16 August 2018.

Whilst registered as a Social Worker and employed with Bournemouth Borough Council, you:

1. In relation to Child A:

a. Did not record in a timely manner your visits to Child A on or around:

i. 22 May 2015;

ii. 30 October 2015;

iii. 17 December 2015;

iv. 16 March 2016.

b. Completed statutory visits to Child A, that were overdue, on or around:

i. 30 October 2015;

ii. 16 March 2016.

c. On or about 16 March 2016, did not record an adequate and / or comprehensive progress note of information received regarding an allegation by Child A against a carer.

2. In relation to Child B:

a. Completed statutory visits to Child B, that were overdue, on or around:

i. 24 July 2015;

ii. 6 October 2015;

iii. 11 April 2016.

b. Did not record in a timely manner your visits to Child B on or around:

i. 18 February 2015;

ii. 11 April 2016.

3. In relation to Child C:

a. Did not record in a timely manner your visits to Child C on or around:

i. 17 March 2016

ii. 25 April 2016

b. [Found Not Proved].

4. In relation to Child D:

a. Completed statutory visits to Child D, that were overdue, on or around:

i. 19 June 2015;

ii. 18 December 2015;

iii. 20 January 2016;

iv. 1 June 2016.

b. Did not record in a timely manner your visits to Child D on or around:

i. [Found Not Proved];

ii. 18 December 2015;

iii. 20 January 2016.

c. [Found Not Proved].

5. In relation to Child E:

a. Did not record in a timely manner your visits to Child E on or around:

i. 4 March 2015;

ii. 15 April 2015;

iii. [Found Not Proved];

iv. 7 August 2015;

v. 10 February 2016;

vi. 14 April 2016.

b. Completed statutory visits to Child E, that were overdue, on or around:

i. [Found Not Proved];

ii. [Found Not Proved];

iii. 10 February 2016.

c. Did not follow management instruction given on or about 4 September 2015 to visit Child E by 16 October 2015.

6. In relation to Child F:

a. Did not record in a timely manner your visits to Child F on or around:

i. 27 January 2016;

ii. 22 February 2016.

b. Completed statutory visits to Child F, that were overdue, on or around:

i. 27 January 2016;

ii. [Found Not Proved].

7. In relation to Child G:

a. Did not record in a timely manner your visits to Child G on or around:

i. 11 February 2016;

ii. 17 February 2016.

b. [Found Not Proved].

8. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 - 7 constitute misconduct and or lack of competence.

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

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service

1. The Panel was informed by the Hearings Officer that notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant’s registered address by letter dated 8 July 2019. A copy was also sent by email on the same date.

2. Having seen copies of the Notice of Hearing dated 8 July 2019, the Registrant’s Certificate of Registration, and the proof of posting, and receiving the advice of the Legal Assessor, the Panel determined that the Notice of Hearing had been served in accordance with the applicable Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (the Rules).

Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant

3. Ms Senior, on behalf of the HCPC, applied for the hearing to proceed in the absence of the Registrant under Rule 11 of the Rules. She referred the Panel to written representations provided by the Registrant dated 6 August 2019 stating that she would not be attending today’s review hearing, either in person or by telephone, and that she would not be represented in these proceedings. The Registrant stated that she found the hearing process overwhelmingly daunting and that being addressed by the Panel on the telephone would exacerbate her health issues.

4. Ms Senior submitted that the Registrant had waived her right to attend the review hearing today. Ms Senior also reminded the Panel that this was a mandatory review of a Suspension Order due to expire on 13 September 2019 and submitted that the public interest in proceeding with the hearing today should prevail.

5. The Panel took into account all the factors set out in the HCPTS Practice Note “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant”. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who advised that the Panel’s discretion to proceed in the Registrant’s absence under the provisions of Rule 11 is one that should be exercised with the utmost care and caution. The Legal Assessor also reminded the Panel of the requirement, pursuant to Article 30(1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, that substantive orders must be reviewed before they expire.

6. In reaching its decision, the Panel had regard to the overall interests of justice and fairness to all parties. The Panel noted the clear indication from the Registrant that she would not be attending future HCPC hearings and concluded that she had waived her right to attend the hearing today. The Panel had no reason to believe that an adjournment would result in the Registrant’s attendance on some future date. It further recognised that there was a public interest in conducting a mandatory review of the substantive order currently in place.

7. Accordingly, having weighed the interests of the Registrant with those of the HCPC and the strong public interest in an expeditious disposal of this hearing, the Panel determined that it was fair, appropriate and proportionate to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. Without a review, the Suspension Order will expire on 13 September 2019. In the Panel’s judgement, it was in the public interest that a decision be made at this time as to whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired. Moreover, it was in the Registrant’s own interests that decisions be made as to whether any further order is needed in respect of her registration.


Background

8. The Registrant is a Social Worker, who was employed by Bournemouth Borough Council within the Looked After Children team. At a final hearing on 13 – 16 August 2018, a panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee decided that, over a period of time from March 2015 to June 2016, the Registrant failed to maintain adequate and timely records of her visits to children, failed to carry out visits to children within the statutory timescales and failed to comply with management instructions. The facts found proved constituted misconduct and the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired. There was insufficient evidence that the Registrant fully appreciated the overall gravity and potential consequences of her misconduct and the panel was not assured that the misconduct would not be repeated.

9. The Registrant did not attend, but she submitted written representations which were considered by the panel at the final hearing. That panel recognised that the Registrant’s work environment appeared to be challenging and that the Registrant was dealing with personal issues relating to her own health and that of family members.

10. The final hearing panel decided that the appropriate and proportionate sanction was a Suspension Order for a period of 6 months. The Registrant was advised that the Suspension Order would be reviewed and that she could present evidence as to how she had developed and reflected on the areas of concern found in relation to the Allegation. This might include undertaking training and / or maintaining a reflective portfolio and / or receiving advice from a mentor.          

11. The first review hearing of this case took place on 7 February 2019. The Registrant did not attend but provided written submissions for the reviewing panel’s consideration. She stated that she had reflected on the allegations and expressed remorse but referred back to her previous submissions detailing the pressured environment that she was working in during the period of the allegations. At the time of the first review hearing, the Registrant was unemployed but stated that she was prepared to undertake relevant courses to update her practice.

12. The first reviewing panel considered that the information provided by the Registrant was very limited and that there was little evidence before it that her level of insight had changed or that she had addressed the deficiencies in her practice. That panel decided that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired. It determined that although the misconduct in this case is remediable, there was nothing before it which indicated that the Registrant was able or willing to engage with conditions of practice. The health matters described by the Registrant indicated that she was not currently able to comply with conditions and conditions required commitment by registrants to engage with the HCPC. The panel therefore extended the Suspension Order for a further six months. It considered that this would be sufficient time for the Registrant to consider whether and how she wished to engage with the HCPC and to prepare evidence for the next review hearing.

13. That panel encouraged the Registrant to attend the next review hearing, either in person or by telephone. It made a number of suggestions to the Registrant in relation to the sort of information that might be helpful to a future reviewing panel. The panel suggested that the Registrant provide evidence or information about any steps that she has taken to support her own return to practice; any references / testimonials in relation to any paid or voluntary work, commenting on the Registrant’s record keeping and attendance at appointments; evidence that the Registrant has kept her knowledge and skills up to date; and a reflective statement focusing on the deficiencies identified by the final hearing panel, the impact on service users and how the Registrant would avoid similar events in the future.

14. This is the second review of the Suspension Order imposed on 16 August 2018.

15. Ms Senior submitted that this case has not moved forward since the last review hearing. There has been limited engagement from the Registrant, no evidence of her compliance with the suggestions made to her by the previous panel and no evidence of any remediation. Ms Senior submitted that the Registrant’s fitness to practise continues to be impaired on both public protection and public interest grounds.

16. Ms Senior reminded the Panel that the misconduct in this case involved seven young service users. Although Ms Senior acknowledged that no actual harm was caused to those children, the Registrant’s conduct placed them at risk of harm. Although acknowledging that a decision on sanction was a matter for this Panel’s judgement, Ms Senior submitted that a further Suspension Order would serve no useful purpose, in light of the lack of meaningful engagement from the Registrant throughout her regulatory proceedings, and that a Striking-Off order would be appropriate in this case.


Decision 

17. This Panel considered the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note entitled “Review of Article 30 Sanction Orders”. It is carrying out a comprehensive reconsideration of the Suspension Order in light of the current circumstances. The Legal Assessor advised that, in practical terms, there was a persuasive burden on the Registrant to show that her fitness to practise is no longer impaired and that all the shortcomings which led to the original finding of impairment have now been overcome.

18. The Panel bore in mind that it must first decide if a finding of current impairment is necessary to protect the public from any risk of harm (assessing the extent of that current or future risk), maintain public confidence in the profession, or to declare and uphold the proper standards of conduct or behaviour. This is a matter for the Panel’s independent judgment and is essentially a risk assessment in light of all the information before the Panel today.

19. The Panel gave careful attention to the only new information before it from the Registrant, being an email to the HCPC dated 6 August 2019.  The Registrant provided an update in relation to her personal circumstances, explaining that she had not been able to undertake voluntary work because of her commitments around caring for a family member. She stated that she was “fully committed to minimising any harm to children” and reiterated previous representations that she had reflected on the allegations. The Registrant stated, “I understand that it is my responsibility to point out to managers if I am finding it difficult to manage complex case load [sic] as this can impact on service users. I remain remorseful and would ensure that I attended a record keeping course and cases kept updated immediately upon returning to practice. I do take on board that my job is to protect children and I have always ensured that I was in regular contact not only the families but with the agencies involved ensuring I was aware of the welfare of the children on my caseload…The Suspension periods have been lessons in themselves, not been [sic] able to do the job I love to do which is serving vulnerable children and families.”      

20. In the Panel’s view, the Registrant’s misconduct was serious and involved breaches of her professional standards. The Panel noted that, on the information before it, the Registrant has not worked as a Social Worker since 2016. There has been no evidence of real change since the final hearing in August 2018 or any evidence that the concerns underpinning the Registrant’s impaired fitness to practise have been overcome. 

21. The Panel has determined that, in light of all the evidence before it, the Registrant’s fitness to practise continues to be impaired. In the absence of any evidence of remediation, the Panel remained concerned that there was the risk of repetition of the failings identified. The Panel therefore concluded that the Registrant remained liable to put vulnerable service users at unwarranted risk of harm in the future and that the Registrant remained impaired on the personal component.

22. The Panel also considered the wider public interest in the case. In the absence of remediation, members of the public would be concerned if such a Registrant, who has not practised since 2016, were able to practise without restriction. In these circumstances, the Panel was of the view that the need to protect the public, uphold confidence in the profession and the regulator would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made. The Registrant is not safe to practise unrestricted given her current impairment and the public interest requires that she should not be in a position to practise unrestricted.

23. The Panel next considered the issue of sanction, and had in mind the HCPC’s “Sanctions Policy” (2019). The Panel was aware that sanction is a matter for its own professional judgement. It has borne in mind that any sanction must be proportionate and that the primary purpose of sanction is protection of the public. Any sanction it imposes must protect the public but must be the least restrictive sanction that achieves that aim.     

24. The Panel first considered a Caution Order and decided that this would not be appropriate because it would not place any actual restriction on the Registrant’s practice, which would address the public protection concerns. Further, the Panel was of the view that the misconduct found proved was too serious and that the public interest would not be served by such a sanction.

25. The Panel next considered whether a period of conditions of practice would be appropriate to enable the Registrant to proactively seek employment as a Social Worker and demonstrate to a future panel that she is a safe practitioner. The Panel took into account the Registrant’s expressed commitment to return to work as a Social Worker, “to do the job I love to do”.  The Panel balanced this expressed commitment against what it considered to be a real lack of progress by the Registrant over the last year to comply with the suggestions made to her by the previous panels, whilst subject to periods of suspension. The Panel was mindful that the imposition of a Conditions of Practice Order requires a registrant to engage fully with the fitness to practise process to protect the public and improve her professional practice, with a view to returning her to safe and unrestricted practice.

26. The Panel reminded itself that the deficiencies in this case relate to record keeping, failure to comply with statutory timescales for visits and following management instructions. No harm had been suffered by any young person as a result of the Registrant’s failings and the Registrant’s failings do not fall within any of the categories identified within the “Sanctions Policy” (2019) as making a Conditions of Practice Order inappropriate. It agreed with the previous panels that the identified deficiencies are remediable; the question was whether the Registrant was genuinely committed to resolving the areas to be addressed and could be trusted to make an effort to do so. In a finely balanced decision, the Panel concluded that it was possible to devise appropriate, workable and realistic conditions of practice that would protect the public and allow the Registrant to return to safe practice.

27. The Panel has therefore determined that the appropriate and proportionate sanction is to impose a Conditions of Practice Order for a period of 18 months. The Panel considered that this period of time should allow the Registrant to obtain as a Social Worker and to demonstrate her commitment to remediate her practice.

28. The Panel carefully considered imposing a further Suspension Order. While such an order would protect the public, the Panel considered that the Registrant, unrepresented in these proceedings, had not felt able to attempt to demonstrate remediation via the writing of a reflective piece. The Panel was of the view that a further period of suspension would not serve any useful purpose in the particular circumstances of this case. A Striking Off Order would preclude a return to practice for a minimum of 5 years and so, after very careful consideration by the Panel, was considered disproportionate in the light of the Registrant’s identified deficiencies and her stated commitment to return to work as a Social Worker.

29. Based upon the information before it, the Registrant appears to have been away from social work practice since 2016 and therefore should take note of the guidance set out in the HCPC document “Returning to practice” (June 2017).

Order

ORDER: The Registrar is directed to annotate the HCPC Register to show that, for 18 months from the date that this Order takes effect (“the Operative Date”), you, Ms Daslie Campbell, must comply with the following conditions of practice:

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 7 days of taking up employment as a registered Social Worker. You must attend upon that supervisor as required and follow their advice and recommendations.

2. Within 3 months of taking up employment as a registered Social Worker you must satisfactorily complete courses, as approved by your workplace supervisor, in record keeping and time management; and forward a copy of your results to the HCPC.

3. You must promptly inform the HCPC if you take up any employment as a registered Social Worker.

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;

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).

6. You must work with your workplace supervisor to formulate a Personal Development Plan designed to address the deficiencies in the following areas of your practice: making accurate, timely and adequate records.

7. Within three months of taking up employment as a registered Social Worker, you must forward a copy of your Personal Development Plan to the HCPC.

8. You must meet with your workplace supervisor on a monthly basis to consider your progress towards achieving the aims set out in your Personal Development Plan.

9. You must allow your workplace supervisor to provide information to the HCPC about your progress towards achieving the aims set out in your Personal Development Plan and the standard of your performance generally as a Social Worker.

Notes

The Order imposed today will apply from 13 September 2019.

This Order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 13 March 2021.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Ms Daslie Campbell

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
12/08/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
07/02/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
13/08/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended