Ms Sherrill Roseclaire Bryan

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW73475

Interim Order: Imposed on 07 Sep 2017

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 28/01/2019 End: 17:00 30/01/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

Whilst registered as a Social Worker, and employed at London Borough of Bromley between October 2005 and June 2017, you:

1. Between 06 September 2016 and 11 January 2017, regarding Service User A, you did not:

a) visit Service User A

b) make enquiries at Service User A’s care home (“the home”) regarding risk assessments and/or support plan

c) discuss the safeguarding concern with the home manager

d) establish the level of supervision being provided by the home

e) complete a mental capacity assessment

f) contact next of kin

g) organise a best interest meeting

2. Between 20 May 2016 and 10 February 2017 regarding Service User B:

a) You did not complete a safeguarding enquiry report following allocation to you on 20 May 2016;

b) Regarding safeguarding concerns raised by Service User B’s GP and/or the district nurses in November 2016 you did not:

i) establish and/or record sufficient detail about the concerns

ii) take appropriate action in response to the concerns

3. Between 28 September 2016 and 31 January 2017, regarding Service User C, you did not:

a) Carry out a visit within 28 days of referral

b) Record sufficient information about Service User C’s primary carer’s ability to care for her;

c) Take any action following the carer’s request for respite and/or record doing so.

4. Regarding Service User D, you did not:

a) complete an assessment until 10 October 2016 despite it being an urgent referral allocated on 23 September 2016

b) record the assessment until after 4 November 2016

c) make an adequate record of the assessment in that it did not include information about:

i) next of kin

ii) clinical team

iii) how Service User D managed their finances

iv) mental capacity

v) carer details

5. Regarding Service User E, between 21 September 2016 and 30 January 2017, you did not:

a) complete an assessment following report of a pressure sore on 21 September 2016

b) conduct a mental capacity assessment

c) contact the Clinical Commissioning Group to advise of Service User E’s current status

d) consistently action tasks identified in supervision.

6. Regarding Service User F, during November 2016 you did not:

a) allow the warden to be present at the home visit

b) record details of the home visit

c) complete a mental capacity assessment

d) discuss the outcome of the visit with a senior manager

e) arrange an escort to accompany Service User F to hospital

7. Regarding Service User G, between 14 October 2016 and 04 November 2016, you did not:

a) make an adequate record of the assessment dated 25 October 2016 in that it did not include information about:

i) history

ii) mental capacity

iii) carer details

b) make an application for emergency placement of Service User G

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

Amendment

1. At the commencement of the hearing Ms Mond-Wedd on behalf of the HCPC applied to amend the Allegation so as to more accurately reflect the evidence. Ms Mond-Wedd informed the Panel that the Registrant had been informed of the nature of the proposed amendments by a letter dated 18 September 2018 and sent to her registered address. She stated that the proposed amendments did not change the substance of the case and that they could be made without unfairness to the Registrant. Ms Mond-Wedd further informed the Panel that the Registrant has not raised any objection to the proposed amendments. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and having determined that the amendments could be allowed without unfairness to the Registrant determined that the Allegation should be amended in the terms set out above.

Service

2. The Panel was aware that written notice of these proceedings was posted by first class post to the Registrant at her registered address on 08 October 2018.  Notice was also served by email. The Panel was shown documents which established both the fact of the service and the identity of the Registrant’s registered address and also of her email address. In these circumstances the Panel accepted that proper service of the notice had been effected in accordance with the rules.

Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant.

3. Ms Mond-Wedd on behalf of the HCPC submitted that the Panel should consider the case in the absence of the Registrant.

4. Ms Mond-Wedd informed the Panel that the HCPC has received no communication from the HCPC as regards this hearing.

5. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

6. The Panel was aware that a decision to proceed in the absence of the Registrant was one to be taken with great care and caution.  However the Panel has decided to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. The reasons are as follows:

• Service of the appropriate notice of this hearing has been properly effected.

• The Registrant has not applied for an adjournment and has not engaged with the HCPC as regards this hearing.

• There is no reason to suppose that an adjournment would result in the future attendance of the Registrant.

• There is a public interest in proceeding.

• In all the circumstances the absence of the Registrant should be treated as voluntary.

Procedure

7. The Panel decided to consider the facts, misconduct and impairment as a single stage and then, if appropriate, to consider sanction separately.


Background

8. The Registrant is registered as a Social Worker with the HCPC. She worked at the London Borough of Bromley [LBB] from 17 October 2005 until 26 June 2017. She was employed as a Care Manager. Her role was to assess vulnerable adults who were referred to the team and to identify what was required to safeguard the client.

9. In January 2017, Ian Cruikshank, Consultant Lead Practitioner for safeguarding referrals, raised concerns about the Registrant’s management of two cases involving SU [Service User] A and SUB.

10. As part of the disciplinary procedure, the LBB conducted a random audit of six of the Registrant’s cases namely, SU A, SU C, SU D, SU E, SU F and SU G.

11. The allegations against the Registrant include the following;

• Not responding to the enquiries, which were often urgent, in a timely or appropriate manner.

• Not completing the necessary checks or assessments.

• Not recording the appropriate information or making a record of her enquiries.

• Generally mismanaging and mishandling the cases, which ultimately meant that the Registrant failed to safeguard vulnerable clients.

12. During the internal investigation, the Registrant was interviewed on three occasions.

13. In respect of SU A, the Registrant admitted she had not visited SU A. She acknowledged this was a failing on her part.

14. In respect of SU B, the Registrant said there was a lot of confusion about the case. She said had been allocated it whilst on leave and she accepted there was a delay in responding adequately to the referral. She further accepted that SU B could have come to serious harm as a result of the issues that were flagged up in the referral.

15. In respect of SU C, the Registrant said she had tried to contact the daughter and she could not recall if the assessment was done.

16. In respect of SU D, the Registrant said she had completed an observation but not an assessment and admitted “it was not where it should have been”.

17. In respect of SU E, the Registrant said she was not told to do an assessment. When it was put to her that she had sufficient experience to carry out the assessment regardless, she maintained she had done what was asked of her by her line manager.

18. In respect of SU F the Registrant claimed the warden was verbally abusive and it was claimed by her union representative that there was a personal incident with the Registrant’s son which meant she could not write the incident up.

19. In respect of SU G, the Registrant said she had discussed the case with KO, her team manager, and was waiting for people to get back to her about it. The Registrant’s union representative raised the issue of lack of supervision and also the number of cases that the Registrant had at the time. At the end of the interview the Registrant said “I know this looks like a train wreck but this was due to the amount of cases”.

20. Ms Mond-Wedd informed the Panel that the Registrant has not engaged with the Fitness to Practice process conducted by the HCPC. She has not provided any response to the allegations made. Ms Mond-Wedd further informed the Panel that the Registrant had been suspended on the 17 January 2017, pending the internal disciplinary investigation and that the Registrant’s last day of service with LBB was 26 June 2017

Summary of the evidence and other material before the Panel

21. The HCPC relied on the oral evidence of Carol Brown. She is the Operations Manager in Assessment and Care Management for LBB. She was the Registrant’s line manager. Ms Brown was responsible for the investigation into the concerns regarding the Registrant’s practice. Ms Brown has made an extensive written statement dated 4 September 2018.  She responded to questions from Ms Mond-Wedd and from Panel members. In her oral evidence Ms Brown confirmed that her written statement was accurate to the best of her knowledge and belief.

22. The Panel was assisted by the evidence of Ms Brown. The Panel found her to be a credible witness who was seeking to help the Panel to the best of her ability. When questioned by the Panel she acknowledged the inconsistencies in both her recall of events and the audit documents.

23. In addition the HCPC has produced and relied upon a very extensive bundle of documents comprising 524 pages of evidence. This bundle included documents which had been produced in the course of the internal investigation by the LBB. Amongst those documents were the audit forms for the 6 relevant Service Users and the records of 3 Disciplinary Investigation Meetings at which the Registrant was present.

Submissions made as to the facts, misconduct and impairment.

24. The Panel heard the submissions of Ms Mond-Wedd in respect of the facts, misconduct and impairment. In brief summary, she submitted as follows:

• That on the evidence that it had received, the Panel was entitled to find all the particulars in the Allegation proved.

• The Registrant’s conduct as set out in the particulars of the Allegation clearly amounted to a lack of competence but was sufficiently serious as to amount to misconduct

• That by reason of the facts as set out in Allegation, the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired

25. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor as to facts, misconduct and Impairment.

26. The Panel was aware that on matters of fact the burden of proof rests on the HCPC and that the standard of proof is the civil one, namely on the balance of probabilities.

27. The Panel has not heard from the Registrant with regard to the Allegation in this case. The Panel however has taken into account what the Registrant has said in the three Disciplinary Investigation Meetings of which it has seen a record.


Decision on Facts

28. Having considered all the evidence that it has received and the submissions that it has heard, the Panel makes the following findings.

With regard to Particulars 1 a) - 1 g) 

All particulars proved.

29. Ms Brown gave evidence as follows; SU A was an 83 year old lady with Alzheimer’s disease who was in a care home. On 7 September 2016 the manager of the care home referred the matter to the LBB. There was a safeguarding concern in that SU A had fallen out of her bed and sustained a fracture of the wrist. She had an alert mat next to her bed which should have alerted staff to the fall. There were concerns about the size of the mat, as SU A missed it when she fell; consequently SU A was on the floor for several hours before staff discovered her. The case was allocated to the Registrant on 9 September 2016.

30. Ms Brown told the Panel that she had carried out an extensive investigation and examined all the relevant documents. She was also present and participated in the three internal Disciplinary Investigation Meetings which were held on 13 February 2017, 22 February and 17 March 2017. She told the Panel and the Panel accepted the Registrant did not take any of the actions that are identified in particulars 1 a)- 1g) above. Ms Brown told the Panel that all of the actions identified in the particulars were actions that the Registrant should have taken. Ms Brown told the Panel that on 16 September 2016 the Registrant emailed the care home for more information about the equipment but did not arrange a visit. Ms Brown commented “The concern is that if [the Registrant] did not arrange to visit SU A she is unable to make a decision as to the next steps to progress the case: therefore she cannot complete an assessment to safeguard the service user”. As a consequence the Service User remained at risk of further falls and injury. Ms Brown said that the Registrant would have known what she ought to have done, partly from her previous experience and partly from a conversation that she had with her then line manager BO with whom she had discussed the case on 15 September 2016 and with whom a home visit had been agreed.  The Panel also noted that on 13 and 22 February 2017 and in the course of the Internal Disciplinary Investigation Meetings the Registrant admitted that she had not visited SU A. The Panel has found all the particulars proved.

With regard to Particulars 2 a) ,b) i), ii)

Particulars  2 a) proved.

Particulars 2 b) i.ii: not proved

31. Ms Brown gave evidence as follows: SU B was a vulnerable elderly lady living at home with a care package from LBB. She had multiple physical and mental health conditions and appeared to be on end of life care. SU B’s daughter was a GP and there were differences of opinion between her and other medical professionals as to the management of SU Bs health. There were two referrals to LBB. The first came on 20 May 2016 from the local authority. The second came on 9 November 2016 from SU B’s GP. In respect of the first referral the Registrant was allocated the case as the case manager on 20 May 2016. Other than a discussion between the Registrant and her then line manager [not Ms Brown] the Registrant took no action until the second referral. In respect of the second referral the Registrant was allocated as the Care Manager on 10 November 2016. There were concerns that strong medical advice was being ignored and that SU B did not have the mental capacity to make a decision for herself.

32. Ms Brown told the Panel that on 12 November 2016 it was agreed between Consultant Lead Practioner for Safeguarding IC and the Registrant that IC would attend relevant safeguarding meetings to ensure that safeguarding information was obtained.

33. Ms Brown told the Panel and the Panel accepted that the Registrant should have, but failed to complete, a safeguarding enquiry report following the allocation of the case to her on 20 May 2016. Ms Brown further told the Panel that there was a strategy meeting on 7 December 2016; that the Registrant failed to invite IC to attend and that the enquiry report lacked a large amount of the information that was required in such a report; for example this included an absence of detail about how frequently a family friend was denying district nurses access to SU B or the nature of the care that the district nurses were seeking to provide.

34. Ms Brown commented “the risk with the first referral being ignored and the second meeting not being adequate is that SU B did not have the mental capacity to make her own decisions and therefore was at continuous risk of harm from her daughter and friends. The concerns had been ignored for over 6 months and by this point SU B could have potentially been unwell. It also highlights the fact that [the Registrant] failed to action take identified by senior members of staff.”  Having considered all the evidence available to it, the Panel concluded that Particular 2 a) has been proved. However, the Panel concluded that there was insufficient material for it to conclude on the balance of probabilities that Particular 2 b) i and ii had been proved. The notes of the strategy meeting showed sufficient detail had been recorded and the Registrant’s supervisor was present at the meeting. There is also evidence that IC (Consultant Lead Practioner for Safeguarding) was invited to the meeting, but did not attend.

With regard to particulars 3 a)-c)

All Particulars proved.

35. Ms Brown gave evidence as follows: SU C is an elderly lady with dementia who was referred to the LBB by her daughter who was then paying for a care agency but could no longer afford the package. The main carer was SU C’s husband who for health reasons was no longer able to perform the role. He also wanted to explore the possibility of respite care. The Registrant was allocated the case on 19 August 2016. The next step was for the Registrant to make a home visit which was arranged for 28 August 2016. In the event it was cancelled and did not take place until 1 November 2016.

36. Ms Brown told the Panel that the Registrant was unable to explain the delay in carrying out the home visit. Moreover she never completed the required assessment which was completed by another Care Manager at the end of January 2017.  Ms Brown further told the Panel that the Registrant took no action with regard to the request for respite care, made by the husband of SU C.

37. Ms Brown commented that as a result of the Registrant’s failures SU C was left potentially vulnerable for a number of months and the absence of an appropriate assessment meant that it was not possible to progress the care of SU C

38. The Panel accepted the evidence of Ms Brown and found all these Particulars proved.

With regard to particulars 4 a),b), c)i-v

All these particulars found proved.

39. Ms Brown’s evidence was as follows; SU D was an 18 year old female with autism, ADHD and a heart condition. Additionally she suffered from depression and had a history of self-harm. She was “urgently referred” to LBB on 19 September 2016 as she was living alone and there were serious concerns about the way that her basic needs were being addressed. The case was allocated to the Registrant on 23 September 2016. It was an urgent referral and Ms Brown told the Panel that the Registrant should have visited SU D “promptly” that is within a day to two. In the event the Registrant did not visit SU D until 10 October 2016. At a supervision meeting on 4 November 2016 it was noted that the Registrant had not written up an assessment with regard to the visit on 10 October 2016. She then did so, but the assessment that she completed, was deficient, in that it did not provide much of the required information and in particular the material that is set out in the Particulars.

40. Ms Brown told the Panel that the Registrant should have visited SU D within 2 days of the referral to her and she should have written up the assessment immediately after the visit on 10 October 2016. She commented that the Registrant’s failure left SU D at risk of self harm by neglect and no steps were taken to safeguard her until the assessment was fully completed.

41. The Panel accepted the evidence of Ms Brown and found all these Particulars proved.

With regard to particulars 5 a)-d)

The Panel found all the Particulars proved.

42. Ms Brown’s evidence was as follows: SU E was a 93 year old female in residential care following discharge from hospital in May 2015 after the death of her husband. She was cared for by her two daughters, both of whom required respite care for SU E in order to deal with their father’s death and other family matters. SU E needed 24 hour care and support. A referral came to LBB on 19 August 2016 and the case was allocated to the Registrant on 18 September 2016. On 21 September 2016 SU E’s care home called the Registrant with regard to pressure sores from which SU E was suffering. There was no evidence that the Registrant attended the home or that she completed an assessment form. Ms Brown told the Panel that the Registrant should have visited the home and have conducted a mental capacity assessment as she had a diagnosis of dementia. There is no evidence that she had done so. Ms Brown also told the Panel that the Registrant should have contacted the Clinical Commissioning Group to determine the status of the continuing health assessment as requested by Bromley Clinical Group at the start of September 2016. This she failed to do. Ms Brown further told the Panel that though the need to contact the Clinical Commissioning Group had been noted in supervision on 26 September 2016, the Registrant had done nothing about that.

43. Ms Brown told the Panel that the Registrant’s failures left SU E at risk of further pressure sores and also she did not review whether the residential care that SU E was receiving was fulfilling her needs. She also told the Panel that the Registrant’s failure to follow actions identified in supervision was a matter of concern for her.

44. The Panel accepted the evidence of Ms Brown and found all the particulars proved.  

With regard to particulars 6 a)-e).

The Panel found Particulars 6. a),b),c) and e) proved but 6. d) not proved.

45. Ms Brown’s evidence was as follows; SU F was a male aged 77. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He was referred to LBB by the warden of the sheltered housing complex where he lived alone. The warden informed the LBB of SU F’s deteriorating condition. On 15 November 2016 the case was allocated to the Registrant.

46. Ms Brown further told the Panel that the Registrant made a home visit on 22 November 2016. She said that the warden was not permitted by the Registrant to be present during the home visit. Ms Brown told the Panel that the Registrant had not recorded or written up an assessment in respect of the home visit; she had not done a mental capacity assessment: She told the Panel that whilst it has been agreed on 23 November 2016, that the Registrant would arrange for an escort to accompany SU F to a hospital appointment, there was no evidence that she had done this. Ms Brown further told the Panel that there was no evidence that the Registrant had discussed the case with senior management.

47. The Panel noted the explanation provided by the Registrant, during the internal Disciplinary Investigation meeting, was to the effect that the warden had verbally abused her. Whilst the Panel accepted the evidence of Ms Brown as regards particulars 6. a),b), c), and e). and found those particulars proved. It noted however, in respect of Particular 6.d) that at the Disciplinary Investigation Meeting held on 17 March 2017 the Registrant stated that she had discussed the outcome with her supervisor and her Team Manager. The Care First electronic records also showed this. The Panel consequently found this particular not proved.

With regard to particulars 7 a) i)-iii) b)

The Panel found Particulars 7. a) i)-iii) not proved, but Particular 7.b) proved.

48. Ms Brown’s evidence was as follows:  SU G was a 91 year old woman with dementia. She was known to LBB and was supported by a care package. She had two sons who provided some support for their mother. One of the sons who was caring for SU G had mental health problems. He contacted LBB on 14 October 2016 requesting an urgent appointment as SU G was becoming a risk to herself. It was reported that she had left a kettle on the electric stove and it had melted. She had also been found wandering away from the house without money or keys.

49. Ms Brown told the Panel that the Registrant made a home visit to SUG on 25 October 2016 which was 11 days after the referral. Whilst she did make a referral it was lacking in detail in that it contained no detail of the personal history of SUG or of the next of kin / carer namely the son. Moreover it was noted that by 30 January 2017 the Registrant should have, but had failed to complete, a mental capacity assessment. At that time SU G was still being cared for by her sons. Ms Brown told the Panel that in all the circumstances the Registrant should have made an application for emergency placement of care for SU G as the son was not mentally fit to care for her. As a consequence SU G remained at risk.  The Panel noted from the Audit Form relevant to SU G and also from other documentation in the bundle of documents relied on by the HCPC, that there was evidence that the Registrant had provided the information specified in Particulars 7.a) i-iii. Accordingly the Panel finds these particulars not proved. However in respect of the matter alleged in Particular 7.b) the Panel accepted the evidence of Ms Brown and found this Particular proved.


Decision on Grounds and Impairment

50. The Panel next considered whether the matters found proved amount to lack of competence and/or Misconduct; if so, whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is thereby impaired. The Panel took into account the submissions made by Ms Mond-Wedd behalf of the HCPC.

51. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Legal Assessor referred the Panel to relevant cases and to the Practice Note issued by the Health and Care Professions Tribunals Service. The Panel is aware that any finding as to Lack of Competence, Misconduct, and Impairment are matters for the independent judgement of the Panel and that, in respect of both issues, there is no burden or standard of proof.

The Codes of Practice

52. The Panel considered the submissions of Ms Mond-Wedd and concluded that the conduct of the Registrant as found proved did amount to breach of the following provisions of the HCPC’s Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers in England (2017) and HCPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016).

Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers in England (2017)

1 be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice

1.1 know the limits of their practice and when to seek advice or refer to another professional

1.2 recognise the need to manage their own workload and resources effectively and be able to practise accordingly

1.3 be able to undertake assessments of risk, need and capacity and respond appropriately

1.5 be able to recognise signs of harm, abuse and neglect and know how to respond appropriately, including recognising situations which require immediate action

2.2 understand the need to promote the best interests of service users and carers at all times

2.3 understand the need to protect, safeguard, promote and prioritise the wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults

10  be able to maintain records appropriately

10.1 be able to keep accurate, comprehensive and comprehensible records in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines

HCPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016)

6  Manage risk

6.1 You must take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of harm to service users, carers and colleagues as far as possible.

6.2 You must not do anything, or allow someone else to do anything, which could put the health or safety of a service user, carer or colleague at unacceptable risk.

7.3 You must take appropriate action if you have concerns about the safety or well-being of children or vulnerable adults.

10 Keep records of your work

10.1 You must keep full, clear, and accurate records for everyone you care for, treat, or provide other services to.

10.2 You must complete all records promptly and as soon as possible after providing care, treatment or other services.


Lack of Competence

53. The Panel concluded, having regard to the guidance given by the courts in the relevant authorities, that facts that have been found proved, do not constitute a lack of competence on the part of the Registrant. It was clear to the Panel, from all the evidence before it, that the Registrant knew what was expected of her and was fully capable of performing the duties of a Social Worker. The Panel concluded, for the reasons set out below, that the facts found proved, disclose Misconduct rather than any lack of competence on the part of the Registrant.


Misconduct

54. The Panel concluded, having regard to the guidance given by the courts in the relevant authorities, that the facts that have been found proved, are a serious departure from the standard of conduct and performance that is properly to be expected of a Social Worker, of the experience and standing of the Registrant. The consequences of the Registrant’s failings could have caused serious harm to the Service Users involved. The Panel has therefore determined that the facts found proved amount to Misconduct on the part of the Registrant.


Impairment

55. Having determined that the Registrant’s conduct, as found proved, amounts to Misconduct, the Panel proceeded to consider whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is thereby currently impaired. The Panel is aware that what is to be assessed is the Registrant’s current fitness to practise. In considering this issue, the Panel considered and applied the principles stated by Mrs Justice Cox in the case of the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence v Nursing and Midwifery Council; Paula Grant [2011] EWHC 927 [Admin]. In particular the Panel considered whether there was a risk that the Registrant would in the future act in a way similar to that found proved. The Panel also considered whether public confidence in the profession, in the HCPC as its regulator and the need to maintain proper standards of conduct, would be prejudiced if a finding of current impairment was not made.

56. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s current fitness to practise is impaired by reason of the facts that have been found proved. The Panel noted that the Registrant has not engaged with the HCPC with regard to these proceedings. She has not produced any evidence of insight into or remorse for her failings. There is no evidence that she has sought to address or remediate any of the deficiencies in her practice that have been established. In these circumstances the Panel concluded that there is a serious risk of repetition. It further concluded that public confidence in the profession of Social Work and in the HCPC as its regulator, would be undermined if a finding of impairment was not made. The Panel also concluded that the need to maintain proper standards within the profession required a finding of impairment.
 

Decision on Sanction

57. Having concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired, the Panel proceeded to consider what, if any Sanction, is appropriate and proportionate to protect the public and to safeguard the public interest.

58. Ms Mond-Wedd made submissions on behalf of the HCPC. She emphasised that the decision as to the appropriate sanction to be imposed was a matter for the judgement of the Panel and the HCPC did not intend to make any specific submissions as to the appropriate sanction. She reminded the Panel of the principle of proportionally. She said that the Panel should have regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy published by the HCPC. She reminded the Panel that it should have regard to both aggravating and mitigating factors.

59. The Panel has considered all the submissions and evidence that it has heard and read. It has accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It has taken account of the Indicative Sanctions Policy published by the HCPC and dated 22 March 2017. It kept in mind that the purpose of a sanction was not to be punitive but to protect the public and to sustain the public interest.

60. The Panel took into account the principles of proportionality, balancing the interests of the Registrant with the public interest.

61. The Panel also took into account the relevant aggravating and mitigating factors. As regards the former, the Panel noted the number of failings that have been found proved, the fact that they extended over a considerable period of time and had the potential to cause serious harm to Service Users. The Panel also kept in mind the fact that the Registrant has not engaged with the HCPC with regard to these proceedings and has not provided any evidence of insight or remediation. In respect of the mitigating factors, the Panel kept in mind that the Registrant did make partial admissions during the LBB investigation; also prior to the events that are the subject of these proceedings she had a long and unblemished career in Social Work, with no previous Fitness to Practise concerns raised with the Regulator.

62. The Panel has concluded that to take no action would be wrong. Such an outcome would be inappropriate having regard to the facts of the case. It would not protect the public or   maintain public confidence in the profession or in the HCPC as its regulator. The Panel came to the same conclusion as regards a Caution Order.

63. The Panel next considered making a Conditions of Practice Order.  It has taken into account the guidance in the Indicative Sanctions Policy. It has concluded that a Conditions of Practice Order would not be appropriate and would not protect the public or address the public interest. In coming to this conclusion the Panel was conscious that the Registrant has not engaged with these proceedings. She has provided no evidence as to the nature of her present employment and she has given no indication as to whether she wishes to resume her career as a Social Worker. In these circumstances the Panel did not think that any workable conditions could be formulated that would satisfactorily protect the public from risk.

64. The Panel next considered a Suspension Order. It concluded that a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months was the proportionate and appropriate Order. It would protect the public and at the same time enable the Registrant to determine whether she wished to resume her career as a Social Worker and also to address and remediate the deficiencies that have been established in this hearing.

65. The Panel did consider making a Striking Off Order but concluded that such an Order would be disproportionate at this time.

66. This Order will be reviewed before it expires. The Panel considers that a reviewing Panel might be assisted by the following;

• The physical presence of the Registrant.

• Evidence as to whether the Registrant wishes to resume her career as a Social Worker.

• A reflective piece from the Registrant addressing the failings and deficiencies that have been established at this hearing and her insight as to the impact that her conduct may have had on Service Users and on public confidence in the profession of Social Work. 

• Evidence as to what the Registrant has been doing both in paid employment and voluntary work since leaving the employ of LBB.

• Testimonials and references from any employer or voluntary role with whom she has been working since leaving the employ of LBB, including evidence as to her ability to manage her workload and deadlines.

Order

That the Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Ms Sherrill Roseclaire Bryan for a period of 12 months from the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

Interim Order

Proceeding with the application in the Registrant’s absence

Ms Mond-Wedd made an application for an interim order to be made in the absence of the Registrant.

The Panel decided that it was appropriate to consider the HCPC’s application in the Registrant’s absence because she had been informed in the Notice of Hearing sent to her on 8 October 2018, that such an application might be made, and she did not respond. Furthermore, there are no additional factors which would justify deviating from the Panel’s decision to proceed in the absence of the Registrant at the outset of this hearing. In these circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that (i) the Registrant had voluntarily chosen not to participate in these proceedings, (ii) no useful purpose would be served by adjourning the HCPC’s application and (iii) as a substantive order has been imposed, there is public interest in ensuring that an interim order application is considered as expeditiously as possible.

Decision on Interim Order

The HCPC made an application for an immediate Interim Suspension Order on the grounds of public protection and the wider public interest.

The Panel was mindful that when a substantive sanction is imposed, a Registrant’s entitlement to practise is unrestricted whilst their appeal rights against the substantive sanction remain outstanding. The Panel concluded that in view of its determination that a substantive Suspension Order should be imposed, it would not be appropriate for the Registrant to return to practice unrestricted given the risk to the public, the lack of insight and remediation, and the ongoing risk of repetition. Accordingly, the Panel determined that the Registrant’s registration should be suspended on an interim basis.  The Interim Suspension Order is necessary to protect the public and to uphold trust and confidence in the profession and the regulatory process.

The Panel took the view that the wider public interest far outweighs the Registrant’s personal and professional interests and that an interim order is proportionate.

The Panel concluded that the appropriate length of the Interim Suspension Order should be 18 months, as the interim order would continue to be required pending the resolution of an appeal in the event that the Registrant submits a Notice of Appeal within the 28-day period.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Ms Sherrill Roseclaire Bryan

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
28/01/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended