Miss Samim Adam Jiva
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Allegation (As amended at Substantive Hearing):
Whilst registered as a Social Worker and working at Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council (‘the Council’) between November 2014 and May 2016:
1. In relation to Service User A:
a) Between February 2016 and May 2016 in communications with Person B you implied that the Council had agreed funding for Service User A.
b) Between February 2016 and May 2016, you did not adequately progress the direct payment for Service User A.
c) Between April 2016 and May 2016, you did not escalate the case to management despite knowing that Service User A’s family were experiencing financial difficulties.
d) On a date or dates in or around April 2016 and May 2016, you paid approximately £600 from your own finances into a bank account for the benefit of Service User A.
e) In or around April 2016 and May 2016, you implied to Person B that the £600 was from the Council.
f) You did not make accurate case records between March 2016 and May 2016.
2. In relation to Service User C during the period November 2014 to 23 May 2016:
a) You did not progress short break options for SU:C which had been raised by Person D.
b) Following an adult social care assessment completed on 31 March 2015 you did not complete a support plan to enable a new/revised service for Service User C to be implemented.
c) You did not inform Person B of alternatives to direct payments when a delay occurred in arranging a personal assistant.
d) You did not record events on the electronic case records in relation to Service User C:
i) For 8 events between 5 March and 17 March 2015 until 10 June;
ii) For an event on 17 March 2015 until 3 July 2015;
iii) Between 4 July 2015 and 23 May 2016.
e) You did not contact Service User C and/or his family between:
i) November 2014 and 23 February 2015; and/or
ii) 4 July 2015 and 23 May 2016.
3. In relation to Service User E:
a) Did not:
i) Complete a support plan;
ii) Complete an assessment started between 30 June and 12 November 2014 until 9 August 2016;
iii) Enable a personal budget to be authorised and agreed by a manager;
iv) Progress direct payments for SU:E as discussed with Person F on 3 June 2015;
v) Complete a carers form.
b) During the period between June 2015 and April 2016 you led Person F to believe that a personal budget for Service User E had been agreed.
c) You informed Person F that the delay in arranging a personal budget was due to the brokerage company Salvere.
d) You made no records in relation to Service User E between:
i) 19 November 2014 and 5 August 2015; and/or
ii) 5 October 2015 and 23 May 2016
4. Your actions described at particular 1 a) and/or 1 e) and/or 3 b) and/or e c) were dishonest.
5. Your actions described at particular 1 d) breached professional boundaries.
6. Your actions described at particulars 1 a), d), e), 3 b, c) and 4 constitute misconduct.
7. Your actions described at particulars 1 b), c), f), 2 a), b), c), d), e), 3 a) and d) constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.
1. The Panel has seen evidence that written notice of these proceedings was posted by first class post to the Registrant at her registered address on 21 November 2018. The Panel was shown documents which established the fact of the service and the identity of the Registrant’s registered address. The information within the notice letter was correct in relation to the date, time and venue of this hearing and the nature of it.
2. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor regarding the rules on service.
3. In the circumstances, the Panel has accepted that service of the notice had been properly effected.
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant
- Ms Shameli on behalf of the HCPC submitted that the hearing should proceed in the absence of the Registrant. The Panel heard that there had been some engagement by the Registrant at the Investigating Committee stage. The Panel was also provided with a bundle of correspondence which demonstrated that the Registrant had provided a brief response to emails with regard to the delivery of the hearing bundle. However, there was no substantive response from the Registrant and she had not replied to an email sent by the Hearings Officer as recently as last week. Ms Shameli submitted that it would appear that the Registrant had made a decision not to attend or engage and there was no indication that she wished to adjourn this matter or that she would attend at a future date. It was submitted that there was a public interest in this matter being heard without unnecessary delay and witnesses were scheduled to give evidence over the course of the hearing.
- The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note ‘Proceeding in Absence’.
- The Panel was aware of the need to consider the application to proceed in the absence of the Registrant with care and caution. However, after giving the application very careful thought, the Panel determined to allow it. Its reasons were as follows:
- Notice of this hearing has been properly served on the Registrant in accordance with the rules;
- The Registrant has not applied for an adjournment or given any indication that she wishes this hearing to take place on another date;
- There is no reason to suppose that if an adjournment was granted the Registrant would be more likely to attend;
- Witnesses have attended to give evidence and any further delay in this matter is likely to impact on their recollection of events.
- These are serious allegations involving dishonesty.
In all the circumstances, the Registrant can be regarded as having waived her right to attend.
Application to Amend the Allegation
- In the notice of allegations sent to the Registrant on 11 October 2018 it was outlined that amendments to the allegations would be sought on the first day of the hearing to amend particulars 1(f) to substitute February 2016 for November 2015 and to amend 2(d)(i) to substitute 8 events instead of 5 events. Ms Shameli also submitted to the Panel that there was a typographical error in Paragraph 2(d) (ii) and 3a(ii) in that the dates of 2017 and 2016 respectively had been extraneously included and in relation to charge 3 (a) (iii) there was an incorrect spelling of authorised. Ms Shameli submitted that the first two amendments had been notified to the Registrant and the latter three amendments were typographical and would cause no prejudice to the Registrant.
- The Panel was mindful of the issues of fairness and the avoidance of prejudice. The Panel noted that the amendment to particular 1(f) narrowed the scope of the allegation against the Registrant and upon consideration of the documents it appeared that there was an entry in the records on 29 February 2016 and therefore the charge should be amended to March 2016. The Panel considered that this was fair to the Registrant and better reflected the evidence and provided clarity. The Panel considered that it was fair to allow the application to amend particular 2(d)(i) as this had been properly notified to the Registrant in good time to enable her to understand the case against her. The Panel determined that the typographical errors could be corrected without prejudice to the Registrant.
- The Registrant qualified as a Social Worker in 2005. She was employed as an agency social worker at Bolton Council (the Council) in the Active Case Management team between 20 November 2014 and 23 May 2016. She was allocated a caseload of between 20 and 30 cases mainly dealing with young people aged 16 and upwards who had learning difficulties and adult social care needs and were “transitioning” between children and adult services.
- On 19 May 2016, Person B made a complaint to the Council in respect of the Registrant who was his step-daughter’s allocated social worker. Person B alleged that the Registrant had left the family in a serious financial situation. He provided copies of text messages that suggested that funding had been agreed for the family and that money would soon be released to enable person B to employ personal assistants to support his step-daughter, Service User A. On the basis of that information Person B had employed the assistants and paid for them out of his own money on the understanding that the funding would be backdated from the Council.
- Earlier in May 2016 Person B informed the Registrant that he had taken out a payday loan to cover the shortfall in the family finances and he explained he was struggling to make ends meet. Person B said that following this, a cash payment was made to his account but this wasn’t enough to cover what he had paid out. Person B said that following further text messages with the Registrant in which he was chasing progress another cash payment was made in May 2016.
- Following the complaint from Person B, there was an internal investigation by the Council and it was established that the two payments to Person B had not been made by the Council’s Finance department. The Registrant was interviewed and it is alleged that she admitted in the interview that the payments to Person B had been made from her own money to cover up her failings. The Registrant’s contract was terminated with immediate effect.
- Following this, further complaints were received from the families of Service User C and Service User E alleging that the Registrant had failed to properly support them and that there had been delays in accessing payments, support and services.
Decision on Facts
- The allegation was not read out. The Panel bore in mind the burden and standard of proof and considered each Particular separately.
- The Panel first considered the witnesses who had given evidence. The HCPC called 2 witnesses,
AE – Deputy Team Manager and the Registrant’s line manager.
- The Panel considered AE was credible and reliable and fair to the Registrant. He gave useful evidence of his day to day working relationship with the Registrant and a fair assessment of her abilities. Systems and procedures had changed significantly within the Council, both at the time of these events and subsequently, and AE acknowledged the accuracy of his recollection could have been affected by this. The Panel considered he was honest about the working practices within the Council and the issues that there were at the time. The Panel considered that he gave realistic evidence about the level of oversight of the Registrant’s work and the performance management culture of the Council at the time.
SH – Team Manager.
- The Panel considered that the evidence given by SH was honest and largely reflected what she had said in her statement. SH accepted that there were some inconsistencies in her recollection of the procedures that were in place at the time. The Panel considered that it was difficult at times for SH to give a clear picture about processes and her accuracy and recall were in some aspects contradicted by the documentary evidence. The Panel accepted that this was a confusing time given the number of different systems being introduced (including the electronic case recording system) and changes in processes. The Panel considered SH was balanced and fair in terms of the evidence she gave about the Registrant and she fairly acknowledged the Registrant’s skills and commitment. The Panel considered her recollection of the key matters in relation to the interview with the Registrant to explore the payments was very credible, reliable and accurate and corresponded with the documents. Overall the Panel considered that SH gave a credible picture of what happened to the best of her ability, making allowances for the passage of time. She recognised when she was unable to remember specific details or where she had been incorrect.
- The Panel examined all the evidence carefully taking account of the written response by the Registrant to the Investigating Committee which was the Registrant’s only response to the concerns raised.
- The Panel also relied upon a large amount of written material put before it. This included computer records from the Council and copies of the assessments, text messages and emails.
- The Panel then considered the individual Particulars.
Particular 1 (a) (Found Proved)
Between February 2016 and May 2016 in communications with Person B you implied that the Council had agreed funding for Service User A.
- The Panel accepted SH’s evidence that the text messages exchanged between the Registrant and Person B between February 2016 and May 2016 were forwarded to the Council and accurately transcribed into a document produced by the Council’s IT department from Person B’s phone.
- The Panel considered the text messages, taken together, did imply to Person B that funding had been agreed. In particular Person B checked with the Registrant the hours of support and the time frame that had been agreed on the 3 February 2016 and the Registrant responded that this was “fine”. On the 22 April 2016 the Registrant stated she was going to “pick some money from Finance”(sic). The content of the text messages at no stage suggested that the finance package had not been agreed nor that the money was from any other source. The Panel concluded that the communications led person B to understand that the money in his account was from the Council’s Finance Department and that by implication funding had been agreed.
Particular 1(b) (Found Proved)
Between February 2016 and May 2016, you did not adequately progress the direct payment for Service User A.
- The Panel heard evidence from SH about the process for agreeing and authorising direct payments. SH said that this process was well known to the Registrant and she would have known that the funding needed to be approved by either a funding panel or a manager. The Panel noted from the documents that the Registrant had assessed Service User A in November 2015. In February 2016 Person B was contacting the Registrant and asking about arrangements for the direct payments. A supervision record dated 14 April 2016 set out that the next step was for the Registrant to submit the support plan to the funding panel. There is no evidence that the Registrant submitted the plan to the funding panel or did any work to progress the direct payments. The Panel noted that the funding was still not approved for Service User A on 23 May 2016.
Particular 1(c) (Found Proved)
Between April 2016 and May 2016, you did not escalate the case to management despite knowing that Service User A’s family were experiencing financial difficulties.
- The Panel had regard to the text messages from person B highlighting the financial difficulties he and his family were experiencing. On 26 April 2016 Person B said he was having difficulty paying his mortgage and on 5 May 2016 Person B said he had taken out a payday loan and defaulted on his mortgage payment. On the 19 May 2016 Person B stated that ‘it is my daughter’s birthday a week on Saturday and I have absolutely no money to cover it’. The Panel considered that this was conclusive evidence that Person B was in severe financial difficulty. There is no evidence that the Registrant raised this with any of the management team and it was not recorded in the supervision record of the supervision meeting held on the 14 April 2016.
Particular 1(d) (Found Proved)
On a date or dates in around April 2016 and May 2016, you paid approximately £600 from your own finances into a bank account for the benefit of Service User A.
- The Panel heard oral evidence from SH and read in SH’s witness statement that the Registrant had admitted using her own money to make payments for the benefit of Service User A. The Panel considered this was corroborated by the text messages sent to Person B in which the Registrant confirmed that two payments were made into the account whose details were provided by Person B. SH said that she made enquiries with the Council’s finance department and there was no record of any payment being made for Service User A. Further the Finance department confirmed that no payment would be made by way of a cash deposit as Person B had said. Although the Registrant denied this allegation in her written response to the Investigating Committee, the Panel concluded that on the basis of the evidence before it, it was more likely than not that the money had come from the Registrant’s own finances and not another source.
Particular 1(e) (Found Proved)
In or around April 2016 and May 2016, you implied to person B that the £600 was from the Council.
- The Panel noted that in the text message of 22 April 2016 the Registrant stated she was picking up money from “Finance”. The Panel considered that the clear implication was that this was from the Finance department of the Council. There is nothing in the text messages which in the Panel’s view, suggested it was from any other source.
Particular 1(f) (Found Proved)
You did not make accurate case records between March 2016 and May 2016.
- The Panel had regard to the text messages between the Registrant and Person B and noted that they were not recorded on Service User A’s case file. The Panel accepted SH’s evidence that the records should have included these contacts. The Health and Adult Social Care PPD: Case Recording Policy dated November 2012 sets out at paragraph 28 that all contacts with the carer should be recorded in the Observations section of the case recording system. For these reasons the Panel concluded that the records are not an accurate record of the Registrant’s interaction with Person B.
2 In relation to Service User C during the period November 2014 to 23 May 2016:
Particular 2 (a) (Found Proved)
You did not progress short break options for Service User C which had been raised by Person D.
- The documents show that an assessment identified the need for short break options (respite care) in March 2015. AE said that although direct payments were not available in March 2015 because of a temporary issue with the transition from the direct payments team to an external brokerage service, the Registrant should have explored other traditional options for short breaks to support the family including setting up agencies. The Panel considered that there was no evidence that there was anything done by the Registrant during this period to progress any options for this family. The evidence from the carer of Service User C confirms that in October 2015 no short break had been arranged for Service User C.
Particular 2(b) (Found Proved)
Following an adult social care assessment completed on 31 March 2015 you did not complete a support plan to enable a new/revised service for Service User C to be implemented.
- The Panel noted the records in relation to Service User C and although the Registrant makes reference to a draft support plan in August 2015 there is no evidence that this was ever completed or recorded on to Service User C’s case recordings. The Panel has seen no support plan for this Service User and has concluded that a support plan was not completed.
Particular 2(c) (Found Proved)
You did not inform Person D of alternatives to direct payments when delay occurred in arranging a personal assistant.
- The Panel heard from AE that there was a delay with setting up direct payments but he advised that the Registrant should explore what alternatives were available. AE sent an email at the time suggesting the setting up of an agency. The Panel has seen no evidence that the Registrant told Person D of the alternatives that could be arranged.
You did not record events on the electronic case records in relation to Service User C:
- i) For 8 events between 5 March and 17 March 2015 until 10 June; (Found Proved)
- The Panel noted the records for Service User C and concluded that there were 8 records entered on 10 June for events that occurred between the 5 March and 17 March.
- ii) For an event on 17 March 2015 until 3 July 2015; (Found Proved)
- The Panel noted the records for Service User C and concluded that there was a record entered on 3 July for an event that occurred on the 17 March.
iii) Between 4 July 2015 and 23 May 2016. (Not Proved)
- The Panel had not seen any evidence that there were any matters to record on Service User C’s records during this time. Service User C’s family complained to the Council that there had been long period where the Registrant had not been in contact with them. In the circumstances the Panel could not conclude that there was evidence that a recording was required during this period.
Particular 2 (e)
You did not contact Service User C and/or his family between:
- i) November 2014 and 23 February 2015; and/or (Found Proved)
- ii) 4 July 2015 and 23 May 2016 (Found Proved)
- The Panel had regard to the records of Service User C. It also took into account the evidence of SH that the family of Service User C had complained about the lack of contact they had with the Registrant during this time. The Panel concluded that there was no evidence that the Registrant contacted Service User C or his family during the time.
Particular 3 (a) (i)
In relation to Service User E did not:
- i) Complete a support plan; (Found Proved)
- The Panel accepted the evidence of SH that in order to complete a support plan the first stage of the process is to complete an assessment. Her evidence was that there was no assessment or support plan completed in relation to Service User E. This was supported by the records. The Panel noted that there was evidence that the Registrant had referred to a draft support plan. However, there was no evidence that this draft support plan had ever been completed or that the case was able to progress to the next stages in terms of authorisation.
- ii) Complete an assessment started between 30 June and 12 November 2014 until 9 August 2015; (Found proved as amended)
- The Panel agreed to allow the amendment to the charge requested by Ms Shameli at the close of the evidence. The Panel noted that as at 9 August 2015 the Registrant had left and the assessment was in fact completed by another social worker. The Panel considered that the amendment could be made without injustice to the Registrant and it more accurately reflects the evidence that the assessment was started and never completed by the Registrant as outlined in Service User E’s records.
iii) Enable a personal budget to be authorised and agreed by a manager; (Found Proved)
- The Panel accepted the evidence of SH that as a result of not completing the assessment and support plan a personal budget could not be authorised and agreed according to the process in place at the time.
- iv) Progress direct payments for Service User E as discussed with person F on 5 June 2015
- The Panel had regard to an email from Person F sent on 25 May 2016 detailing her complaint about the Registrant. The Panel considered this email was contemporaneous and matched the Council’s records in key aspects. The Panel considered that there was no reason to doubt Person F’s account of her contact with the Registrant nor what she was told by the Registrant. There was no other record from the Registrant contained on Service User E’s file. The Panel concluded that there had been discussions with Person F about direct payments given the nature of Service User E’s needs. The records show that the Registrant did nothing to progress these payments through the required process.
- v) Complete a carers form. (Found Proved)
- The Panel accepted the evidence of SH that the Registrant needed to complete a separate assessment for carers. The Panel had seen no evidence that this was completed and Person F complained in her email that it had been left at her home and not completed.
Particular 3 (b) (Found Proved)
During the period between June 2015 and April 2016 you led person F to believe that a personal budget for Service User E had been agreed.
- The Panel considered the email from Person F which set out the discussions she had with the Registrant about budget allocations for Service User E’s care and support needs. The email clearly conveys that Person F had the impression that the funding aspect was agreed. At a meeting with the Registrant on 3 August 2015 the Registrant suggested in her note of the meeting that it was “sorted out”. There is no evidence that the Registrant had ever advised Person F that a personal budget had not been agreed. Person F was making payments to carers on the basis of the agreed budget and it was only brought to her attention later that this was incorrect. The Panel considered that the Registrant had led Person F to believe that the personal budget for Service User E had been agreed.
Particular 3(c) (Found Proved)
You informed Person F that the delay in arranging a personal budget was due to the brokerage company Salvere.
- The Panel had regard to Person F’s email complaint of 26 May 2016 in which she detailed that she was told by the Registrant on three occasions that there was a backlog with Salvere and this was the reason the budget had not been dealt with. The Panel had no reason to conclude that this email was not correct and there are no notes on Service User E’s case file that detail this contact. The Panel considered that it was more likely than not that the Registrant told Person F that the delay was as a result of Salvere.
Particular 3(d) (Found Proved)
You made no records in relation to Service User E between:
- i) 19 November 2014 and 5 August 2015; and/or
- ii) 5 October 2015 and 23 May 2016.
- The Panel considered the records of Service User E and could find no entries made by the Registrant during this period. The Panel noted from the complaint of Person F that there had been contact with the Registrant during this period and that this should have been recorded.
Particular 4 (Found Proved in its entirety)
Particular 1 (a)
- The Panel heard evidence from AE and SH about the system for arranging funding and that it was well known to the Registrant. The Panel considered that the Registrant must have known that she had not followed the process to enable the funding to be authorised and she knew it had not been approved for Service User A from the case recordings.
- The Panel considered that the sending of the text messages to Person B implying the funding had been agreed when the Registrant knew or ought to have known it had not been, was dishonest and would be considered dishonest by the standards of reasonable and honest people.
- The Panel concluded that the Registrant knew that that the £600 was from her own funds. The Panel considered that she paid the money to Person B to cover up the fact that she hadn’t done what was required to enable the funding to be approved and to deter Person B from making a complaint to the Council. The Panel considered that the Registrant ought to have known this was dishonest and it would be considered dishonest by the standards of reasonable and honest people.
- The Panel concluded that as an experienced Social Worker who had worked for the Council since November 2014 the Registrant could not have thought the budget was agreed as she knew she hadn’t done what was required to enable the funding to be agreed. The Panel considered that this was dishonest and would be considered dishonest by the standards of reasonable and honest people.
Particular 3 (c)
- The Panel considered that the Registrant as an experienced Social Worker knew that she hadn’t done an assessment and or/support plan or referred the case to Salvere and she knew that it was not the fault of Salvere that the payments were delayed. The Panel considered that the Registrant had blamed Salvere to cover up her own failings and this was dishonest by the standards of reasonable and honest people.
Your actions described at particular 1(d) breached professional boundaries.
- The Panel considered that using personal money for the benefit of a vulnerable service user is a breach of professional boundaries.
Decision on grounds
- Having found the facts as set out above proved, the Panel went on to consider whether they amounted to misconduct and/or lack of competence.
- The Panel first considered whether the facts found proved amounted to lack of competence. The Panel accepted the definition given by Mr Justice Jackson in the case of R v Calhaem v GMC  EWHC 2606 (Admin) para 39 for deficient professional performance and accepted that the definition was applicable to lack of competence.
“‘Deficient professional performance’ within the meaning of 35C (2) (b) is conceptually separate both from negligence and from misconduct. It connotes a standard of professional performance which is unacceptably low and which (save in exceptional circumstances) has been demonstrated by reference to a fair sample of the doctor's work.”
- The Panel considered that there was no evidence that the Registrant was unable to complete her work to the required standard. The Panel noted that the allegations related to 3 cases out of a caseload of between 20 and 30. The Registrant qualified in 2005. Neither of the witnesses suggested that the Registrant was lacking social work skills and they both gave evidence that they considered her to be a competent and committed practitioner. Both witnesses had the opportunity of working closely with the Registrant and AE confirmed that he was not made aware of any difficulties by the Registrant in carrying out her role. The Panel noted that the Registrant said she had not been told about how case recordings should be done. However, the Panel had seen the recordings that the Registrant had made during the period of her 17-month employment so it was satisfied the Registrant knew how to operate the system. The Panel did not consider that any of the Particulars amounted to a lack of competence.
- The Panel then considered whether the facts found proved amounted to misconduct. Misconduct must be serious. The Panel has considered the authority of Spencer v General Osteopathic Council  EWHC3147 (Admin). It has borne in mind in reaching its decision, ‘a degree of moral blameworthiness on the part of the Registrant likely to convey a degree of opprobrium to the ordinary intelligent citizen’ was required.
- The Panel has made findings of dishonesty in relation to the Registrant misleading two carers about funding arrangements and the progression of cases to arrange funding. These are serious matters. The Panel notes the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016) and in particular standard 9.1 ‘You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.’
- The Panel considered that dishonesty in misleading Service Users and their families about funding arrangements was clearly misconduct. The Panel considered that the Registrant failed to keep adequate records and did not progress key activities that were required to enable carers to access the support for the identified needs of the Service Users. This caused financial difficulty and emotional stress. The impact this conduct had on carers’ health and wellbeing was significant. The reputation of Social Workers was damaged by the Registrant’s conduct and people were misled. This conduct occurred over a prolonged period of time involving multiple service users and their carers. The failure of the Registrant to escalate situations when she was unable to resolve them and be open about her failings led to significant harm.
- The Panel considers that the Registrant put vulnerable service users at significant risk of harm, breached professional boundaries and failed to uphold the standards expected. The Panel considered that the Registrant breached Standard 1,7,10 and 13 of the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics applicable from 2012. Further the Panel considered that the Registrant breached Standards 1.2, 1.7, 2.3,2.6 6.1, 6.2, 8.1, 9.1, 10.1 and 10.2 of the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics applicable from January 2016 and Standards 2.8, 3.4, 10.1, of the Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers applicable from August 2012. The Panel considered that these failings would be considered deplorable by fellow practitioners and individually and cumulatively amounted to misconduct.
Decision on impairment
- Having found that the matters found proved amounted to misconduct, the Panel went on to consider whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. It bore in mind the evidence given in this hearing, the submissions made by Ms Shameli, the advice of the Legal Assessor and the HCPTS practice note Finding that Fitness to Practise is “Impaired”.
- The Panel considered the two component parts relating to impairment, the personal component and the public component. It first considered the personal component, whether the conduct was remediable, whether it had been remedied and whether it was likely to be repeated.
- The misconduct of the Registrant was wide-ranging. It covered three service users and their carers over an extended period of time and it was serious. The Registrant was the allocated Social Worker for the individuals on her caseload and as such her primary role was to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Her conduct placed vulnerable individuals and their families at risk of serious emotional and financial harm.
- There has been no information from the Registrant regarding her current employment status or any aspirations she may have to return to working as a Social Worker. There is also no information before the Panel to suggest that the Registrant has remedied any of her failings or that she appreciates the seriousness of her misconduct. Whilst the Panel considered that the conduct was potentially remediable, nothing has been provided to the Panel from the Registrant to demonstrate any insight or remediation. In these circumstances, the Panel considered that the conduct would be likely to recur. The Panel therefore determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired on the basis of the personal component.
- The Panel then looked to the public component of impairment. It noted the passage in the practice note ‘Finding that Fitness to Practise is “Impaired”’. It is important for Panels to recognise that the need to address the “critically important public policy issues” identified in Cohen - to protect service users, declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour and maintain public confidence in the profession - means that they cannot adopt a simplistic view and conclude that fitness to practise is not impaired simply on the basis that, since the allegation arose, the Registrant has corrected matters or “learned his or her lesson”.
- The misconduct is serious. There are four findings of dishonesty and the Registrant’s actions did cause serious harm to vulnerable families. The misconduct is so serious that it has the potential of undermining public confidence in the profession if no action were taken.
- The public would expect the regulator to take action against a registrant where such misconduct is found and particularly where the allegation includes dishonesty by a registrant in the workplace.
- The Panel took this into account in deciding whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. It also took the view that because of the serious nature of the misconduct, public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made in this case.
- Taking all of these factors into account, the Panel finds that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is also impaired on the basis of the public component in this case.
Decision on Sanction
- The Panel considered the “Indicative Sanctions Policy” of the HCPC and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor that a sanction should be the least that is necessary to ensure public protection. The Panel reminded itself that the purpose of a sanction is not to punish the Registrant and that a sanction must be reasonable and proportionate.
The Panel identified the following aggravating factors:
- The Registrant failed to safeguard vulnerable service users and their families leading to a risk of and actual harm;
- Four instances of dishonesty relating to the Registrant’s professional work;
- Wide ranging instances of misconduct over a significant period of time relating to the Registrant’s practice;
- Abuse of trust of carers and Service Users;
- Failure to respond to clear signs of distress from carers as a result of her misconduct;
- No evidence of insight or remediation throughout the period of her misconduct and these proceedings;
- Significant risk of repetition.
The Panel identified the following mitigating factors:
- No previous regulatory findings.
- Evidence of a lack of oversight and regular supervision from management.
- Evidence of changing systems and processes within the work environment.
- The Panel determined that the nature of the misconduct in this case was too serious to make no Order.
- This was not a case that was suitable for mediation.
- The Panel considered whether to impose a Caution Order but decided that it was inappropriate as this was not an isolated instance of misconduct and there remains a significant risk of repetition. The Panel concluded that a Caution Order would not provide sufficient public protection or satisfy the public interest.
- The Panel considered that a Conditions of Practice Order was not appropriate because the Registrant not engaged or shown any willingness to comply with any conditions. There are serious and persistent failings and the Registrant has not shown any insight. The Panel did not consider it would be able to formulate conditions to address the dishonesty found in this case and this sanction would not provide sufficient public protection or protect the public interest.
- The Panel went on to consider whether a Suspension Order would be a proportionate and appropriate measure and concluded that this would protect the public during the period that it was in force. The Panel considered whether the Registrant should be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate insight or remediation, but concluded, on the basis of her lack of engagement, remorse and insight that she was very unlikely to respond and that a Suspension Order would serve no purpose other than to prolong these proceedings unnecessarily. The Panel considered that the Registrant has demonstrated a persistent lack of insight over a significant period since these events occurred which suggested that she was either unwilling or unable to remedy her failings.
- The Panel noted paragraph 48 of the “Indicative Sanctions Policy”: “Striking off should be used where there is no other way to protect the public, for example, where there is a lack of insight, continuing problems or denial. A registrant’s inability or unwillingness to resolve matters will suggest that a lower sanction may not be appropriate.”
- The Panel noted that there were four findings of dishonesty over a prolonged period of time involving harm to vulnerable Service Users and their carers that were very serious. In her written response to the Investigating Committee the Registrant denied the allegations and she has demonstrated no understanding of how her misconduct has impacted on the Service Users and their carers nor the reputation of the profession as a whole.
- In considering the sanction of Striking Off, the Panel had in mind that it was the sanction of last resort and that there was a public interest in retaining qualified practitioners. However, the absence of meaningful engagement on the part of the Registrant to address her failings was such that the Panel concluded that it was the appropriate and proportionate sanction at this stage. There was no evidence of insight, engagement or remediation of any kind in relation to this Final Hearing. The Panel considered that the nature and gravity of the misconduct found proved, in particular the prolonged dishonesty and breach of trust, that caused actual harm was incompatible with continued registration.
- A Striking Off Order was therefore the necessary and proportionate measure, both to protect the public and to uphold the wider public interest.
ORDER: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Miss Samim Adam Jiva from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.
A hearing was held in London from 11-14 February 2019. The Registrant was struck off the Register.
History of Hearings for Miss Samim Adam Jiva
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|11/02/2019||Conduct and Competence Committee||Final Hearing||Struck off|