Mr Deljinder Singh Powar

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW32032

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 23/01/2019 End: 12:30 23/01/2019

Location: Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

While practising as a registered Social Worker with Kent County Council between 2007 and September 2012:


As Team Leader in the Tunbridge and Malling DIAT:


1. In relation to Child 1, you:


a. did not identify that the core assessments undertaken on 15 April 2010 and 10 June 2010 were inadequate;


b. on 30 June 2010 endorsed a decision that Child 1 did not meet the criteria for services as a child in need and closed the case;


c. not proved


d. not proved


e. did not ensure that strategy meetings were recorded;


f. not proved


2. In relation to Child 2, you:


a. did not ensure that a strategy meeting was convened following a referral received in August 2010;


b. not proved

c. not proved


3. not proved


4. In relation to Child 21, you:


a. did not ensure that an initial strategy meeting was held;


b. did not ensure that agency checks were completed;


c. not proved


d. not proved


5. not proved


6. not proved

During your secondment to the role of Independent Reviewing Officer:


7. Between April 2012 and September 2012;


a. you did not complete writing up the minutes, decisions and recommendations from the Looked After Child Reviews within the required time-scales; and


b. you did not ensure that you completed your backlog of:


i. not proved
ii. not proved
iii. not proved


iv. 74 sets of LAC review minutes which you were responsible for completing.


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 in impaired.

 

Finding

Preliminary Matters:

Service

1. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had been served with notice of today’s hearing by letter dated 18 December 2018 in accordance with the Rules.
Proceeding in absence

2. Ms Royer made an application for the Panel to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant. The Panel was informed that the Registrant had not responded to the notice of this hearing and had not been in communication with the HCPC since the last review on 24 January 2018. He had not applied for an adjournment or provided any information as to why the hearing should be adjourned.

3. The Panel took into account the HCPTS Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself from the hearing and waived his right to attend. This is a mandatory review and it should be heard in a timely manner. The case concerns public protection issues. In all the circumstances, the Panel decided that it was in the interests of justice to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant.

Background:

4. The Registrant is a Social Worker registered with the HCPC. The Registrant was employed as a Social Worker by Kent County Council in the Private Fostering Team from 1 October 1998. On 2 April 2012, the Registrant was seconded to the role of an Independent Reviewing Officer with the Independent Reviewing Service. During that secondment, concerns were raised about the Registrant’s failure to write up recommendations, decisions and minutes of Looked After Children Reviews.

5. A Service Manager was commissioned by the Council to undertake an investigation into these concerns. The investigation focused on concerns raised during the period of the Registrant’s secondment to the role of Independent Reviewing Officer but also looked into his performance as a Team Leader before his secondment. Pending the outcome of the investigation, the Registrant was suspended from duty on 5 November 2012. The investigation resulted in disciplinary proceedings. The Council reported the Registrant to the HCPC, resulting in these proceedings.

6. At the substantive hearing on 28 January 2016, at which the Registrant was neither present nor represented, a panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee found the particulars of the allegation proved to the extent referred to above. The panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of his misconduct and imposed a Conditions of Practice Order for a period of 12 months.

7. At the first review on 27 January 2017, at which the Registrant was present but not represented, the Panel found that his fitness to practise remained impaired and extended the Conditions of Practice Order for a further period of 12 months.

8. At the second review on 24 January 2018, at which the Registrant was neither present nor represented, in the absence of any evidence that the Registrant had made any attempt to remediate his practice, the panel found that his fitness to practise remained impaired and extended the Conditions of Practice Order, subject to revisions of the conditions, by a further 12 months.

Decision:

9. The Panel was provided by the HCPC with a bundle of documents containing the decisions of the Panel at the substantive hearing and at the subsequent reviews.

10. The Panel was informed that the Registrant had not been in communication with the HCPC since the last review hearing and had not provided any information for the purpose of today’s review.

11. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel noted that at the substantive hearing on 28 January 2016 the panel found the Registrant’s failings included poor decision making, inadequate record keeping and not convening strategy meetings. Whilst the panel on that occasion considered such failings to be remediable, the Registrant had not provided any evidence of remediation. The panel was satisfied that there was a real risk of repetition to the detriment of vulnerable service users and consequential damage to public confidence in the profession. The panel on that occasion considered that a Conditions of Practice Order for a period of 12 months was necessary to protect service users and in the wider public interest.

12. The Registrant attended the first review on 27 January 2017 and gave evidence that he had been unable to secure employment because of the conditions of practice. However, the panel noted that the Registrant had not provided any evidence of his job applications or of being turned down by prospective employers. Further, there was no evidence that the Registrant had taken any steps to remediate his practice. The reviewing panel found that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired and imposed a further Conditions of Practice Order for a period of 12 months.

13. At the second review on 24 January 2018, at which the Registrant was neither present not represented, the only evidence of engagement by the Registrant was to advise the HCPC that he was still seeking employment and would not be attending the hearing. There was no evidence of any steps taken by the Registrant to remediate his practice. The panel found that his fitness to practise remained impaired. The panel decided to extend the Conditions of Practice Order for a further 12 months to “allow the Registrant to fully evidence his insight and make arrangements to return to practise”. The panel made some revisions to the conditions of practice “to better balance the need to protect the public with the Registrant’s interests.”

14. The panel at the last review hearing also made recommendations to the Registrant as to the steps he should take to assist the next reviewing panel, namely:
• Documentary evidence of completion of CPD
• Documentary evidence of completion of any other courses, in particular any course or activity relevant to the deficiencies previously identified
• Any references or testimonials from any relevant employment, including voluntary work
• A reflective account of how the Registrant now views his previous conduct and why he believes he has now remediated it
• The Registrant’s attendance at the next review hearing

15. At the hearing today, there was no further information from the Registrant about any steps that he had taken to remediate his practice or about his work or personal circumstances. He had provided no evidence that he acquired any insight into his past failings or that he had followed any of the recommendations made by the last reviewing panel. In the absence of any such information, the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.

16. In considering what, if any, sanction to impose at the expiry of the existing order, the Panel took into account the submissions of Ms Royer. The Panel took into account the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

17. The Panel considered the available sanctions in ascending order of seriousness and applied the principle of proportionality.

18. The Panel considered that it would not be appropriate to impose no order or a Caution Order because the public would not thereby be protected.

19. In the Panel’s judgement, a further Conditions of Practice Order would not be appropriate because the Registrant had provided no information that he had made any attempt to comply with the conditions of practice imposed at the last review on 24 January 2018. The Panel considered that those conditions were not so restrictive or onerous as to have prevented the Registrant from obtaining employment as a Social Worker.

20. The Panel considered whether to impose a Suspension Order. However, the Panel took into account the following matters:
• there was no evidence that the Registrant had attempted to remediate his practice since the substantive hearing in January 2016
• there was no evidence that the Registrant had attempted to obtain employment as a Social Worker, albeit subject to conditions
• there was no evidence that the Registrant had attempted to maintain his CPD
• there was no evidence that the Registrant had followed any of the recommendations made by the last reviewing panel referred to above
• there was no evidence of his intention to return to practise as a Social Worker

21. In the circumstances, the Panel considered that no useful purpose would be served by imposing a Suspension Order to give the Registrant a further opportunity to show his commitment to remediate his past failures of practice and to return to practise as a Social Worker.

22. In all the circumstances, the Panel decided that a Striking Off Order was the only appropriate sanction and that this should come into immediate effect.

Order

That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Deljinder Singh Powar from the Register with immediate effect.


The order imposed today will apply with immediate effect.

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 Articles 30(10) and 38 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, any appeal must be made to the court not more than 28 days after the date when this notice is served on you.

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 prohibited.

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.

 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Deljinder Singh Powar

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
23/01/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
24/01/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
27/01/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
20/01/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Conditions of Practice