Miss Sharmiane Claudette Drackett

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW06106

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 29/07/2019 End: 13:00 29/07/2019

Location: Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

During the course of your employment as a Social Worker at Coventry City Council, you:

 

1. Between around October 2010 and November 2013, did not consistently carry out and/or record statutory visits within the timescales in respect of:

(a) Service User 1;

(b) Service User 2;

(c) Service User 3;

(d) Service User 4;

(e) Service User 5;

 

2. Between around July 2012 and November 2013, did not consistently carry out and/or record initial assessments within required timescales in respect of:

(a) Service User 6;

(b) not proved;

 

3. Between around October 2012 and November 2013, did not consistently carry out and/or record core assessments within required timescales in respect of:

(a) Service User 4;

(b) Service User 7;

 

4. Sent work related emails from your personal email address on or around:

(a) 18 January 2013;

(b) 21 January 2013;

(c) 22 February 2013; 3

 

5. Sent confidential information by email to a council employee who works outside of the social work department on:

(a) 12 February 2013;

(b) 14 February 2013;

 

6. The matters set out in paragraphs 1-6 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

 

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

Finding

Preliminary matters
Notice and Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant
1. The Panel was satisfied that proper notice in terms of the relevant Rules had been made on the Registrant by letter from the HCPC to her registered address on 28 June 2019 advising her of the date, time and venue of the review.

2. Miss Dudrah advised the Panel that the Registrant had received notice of the review and had written by email to the HCPC on 26 July 2019 stating she no longer wished to pursue her Social Work registration and would not be attending the review. Miss Dudrah advised that the Registrant had not replied to any correspondence from the HCPC in the last year.  Miss Dudrah submitted that it was, in the circumstances, appropriate to proceed in the absence of the Registrant as she had voluntarily absented herself and there was a public interest in proceeding as this was a mandatory review.

3. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised that, if the Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to notify the Registrant of the hearing, then the Panel had the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. The Legal Assessor referred the Panel to the case of GMC v Adeogba [2016] EWCA Civ 162 and to the HCPC Practice Note on Proceeding in Absence.  He reminded the Panel of the importance of fairness to the Registrant and the need to balance that with fairness to the Regulator and the public interest.  

4. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant knows about the hearing and took account of the HCPTS Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence.  It weighed its responsibility for public protection and the expeditious disposal of a case with the Registrant’s right to a fair hearing. In reaching its decision the Panel took into account that the Registrant knows about the hearing, has clearly said she is not attending and has not made an application to adjourn the hearing. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant has voluntarily absented herself from the hearing and, having weighed the public interest against the Registrant’s interests, the Panel decided to proceed in her absence.

Background
5. Miss Dudrah set out the background for the Panel. 

6. The panel at the substantive hearing found that the facts found proved amounted to misconduct and that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired. It imposed a Suspension Order for a period of nine months having found that the Registrant lacked insight in to her failings.

7. At the first Review Hearing the Registrant informed the Panel that she accepted she was unable to demonstrate that her fitness to practice was no longer impaired.  She did not provide relevant evidence, such as a reflective piece or testimonials and she had asked that the period of suspension be extended for a short period to enable her to submit such evidence.  That reviewing panel extended the Suspension Order for a further period of six months to enable the Registrant to gather evidence of her insight and remediation and to provide testimonials.

8. At the next review on 24 January 2018, the panel imposed an 18 month Conditions of Practice Order which is due to expire on 1 September 2019. That panel considered that a risk of repetition remained and the Registrant’s fitness to practice remained impaired. It decided that appropriate and workable conditions of practice could be devised to try to facilitate the Registrant's remediation, her development of insight and a return to practice. 

9. One of the conditions imposed required the Registrant to complete various professional courses to assist in the remediation of her failings. Another condition required her to submit a reflective piece once she had completed those courses.  Miss Dudrah advised that the HCPC had contacted the Registrant on the 4 July 2018, 2 and 4 January 2019 and on 23 July 2019 to remind her of the conditions imposed and to seek evidence of completion of the required courses and her reflective piece.  

10. Miss Dudrah advised that the Registrant had not responded to the HCPC and has provided no evidence of completion of the required courses and she has not submitted a reflective piece. Miss Dudrah advised that the Registrant had not complied with either condition and was therefore in breach of the conditions imposed. Miss Dudrah submitted that the Registrant has not practiced as a Social Worker for almost 6 years. She stated in her email to the HCPC on 26 July 2019 that she does not want to return to practice, stating “I no longer wish to pursue my Social Work registration”. 

11. Miss Dudrah submitted that this is the third review and there remains little evidence of remediation and insight from the Registrant.  Miss Dudrah submitted that the full range of sanctions was available to the Panel and she submitted that a Striking Off Order was now the appropriate Sanction. She referred to the HCPC Sanctions Policy. She also submitted that health concerns had been raised by the Registrant and that it was therefore not in the public interest, or the Registrant’s own interests, to keep the Registrant in a constant reviewing cycle and that a Striking Off Order was now the appropriate sanction.


Legal Advice
12. The Legal Assessor reminded the Panel that its purpose today was to conduct a comprehensive appraisal of the evidence to determine whether the Registrant is fit to return to unrestricted practice. Its role was not to conduct a rehearing of the allegations or to go behind the previous findings. He advised that in carrying out this assessment, the Panel must exercise its own independent judgment.

13. The Legal Assessor advised that the Panel should consider the HCPC Practice Note on Impairment and bear in mind the guidance on impairment in CHRE v NMC and Grant (2011) EWHC 927 (Admin).  The Panel should at all times be mindful of the central importance of the public interest. The Legal Assessor advised that if the Panel decided that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained currently impaired, then it should next consider what sanction, if any, should be imposed.  The Legal Assessor advised that the Panel must bear in mind the principles of fairness and proportionality and have regard to the HCPC Sanctions Policy. He reminded the Panel that any order that it makes should be the least restrictive order that would suffice to protect the public and/or is otherwise in the public interest.

Decision
14. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel considered all the documentation before it, and the submissions from the HCPC.

15. The Panel acknowledge that the Registrant states that she has found a new career and states she is happy and confident in her work, which she loves. She also states that a return to a social care setting would not benefit her health.

16. The Panel has no evidence of remediation, or of the development of insight by the Registrant.  This is despite the conditions imposed and the 18 month period provided to allow the Registrant to complete the required courses and to provide the reflective piece.  The Panel noted the remaining conditions were not relevant as they related to supervision requirements should the Registrant return to practice.

17. The Panel was concerned that the Registrant's original failings have still to be remedied and that the Registrant has now not practiced for nearly 6 years. She has failed to comply with the relevant conditions. She has not taken the opportunity to complete the courses and to develop her insight, an issue that has concerned all the panels who have considered this case and which has been clearly and repeatedly highlighted to the Registrant.  She has also failed to provide any evidence of having kept her required professional development up to date. 

18. The Panel concluded therefore that the Registrant's fitness to practice remains currently impaired and that a risk of repetition remains.  Consequently there is a continuing risk to the public and to the wider public interest were the Registrant to return to practice on an unrestricted basis.

19. The Panel next considered the issue of sanction and the HCPC Sanction Policy. The findings of misconduct are serious and wide ranging. As such neither Mediation nor a Caution Order would be proportionate or appropriate as they would fail to protect the public or maintain confidence in the profession.

20. The Registrant has not complied with the conditions of practice as regards the courses and reflective piece required.  She has not meaningfully engaged with the HCPC and has provided no explanation of her failure to comply.  She had not responded to prompting and reminders from the HCPC and she has now stated she does not want to remain on the register.

21. The Panel noted the terms of paragraphs 48 - 53 of the HCPC Sanctions Policy, which deal with issues of repetition, lack of insight and lack of remediation. Paragraph 48 states that Registrants are “duty bound to address” concerns raised about their skills and knowledge in order to comply with the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics which require all Registrants to promote and protect the interests of service users. The Registrant has not done so.  She has demonstrated an unwillingness, or an inability, to address and remediate her specific failings, and to reflect and develop her insight despite the significant period of time which has elapsed since the original sanction of suspension was imposed on 2 November 2016.  The Panel decided that in all these circumstances it was not appropriate, proportionate or realistic to impose further conditions of practice.

22. The Registrant has already been subject to a lengthy period of suspension. The Panel was mindful of the guidance in paragraph 121 of the Sanctions Policy as regards the imposition of such an order, such as where the Registrant has insight, the issues are unlikely to be repeated and there is evidence that the Registrant can resolve her failings.

23. As set out in the proceeding paragraphs, the Registrant has not remediated her practice and she has failed to develop insight in to her failings. There is no evidence that the Registrant is likely to be able to, or indeed wants to, resolve or remedy her failings. She does not want to remain on the register. The Panel decided that there is therefore nothing to be gained by the imposition of a further period of suspension.

24. The Panel having considered all the information before it concluded that nothing short of a Striking Off Order would be appropriate or proportionate. Whilst suspension protects the public, for the reasons set out, it is not appropriate to impose such an order in this case. The Registrant continues to lack insight, or at least has failed to provide evidence of such, despite the suspension and the conditions of practice previously imposed over several years.  The Panel concluded that the Registrant is unwilling to resolve matters and as such it has concluded that Striking Off Order is the appropriate sanction.

Order

That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Sharmiane Claudette Drackett from the Register on the date this order comes into effect. 

Notes

The Order imposed today will apply from 1 September 2019.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Miss Sharmiane Claudette Drackett

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
29/07/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
24/01/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
25/07/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
17/10/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended