Mr George Adrian Paul Mole

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW30353

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 29/07/2019 End: 17:00 05/08/2019

Location: Birmingham Marriott, 12 Hagley Road, Five Ways, Birmingham, B16 8SJ

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

Allegation (as amended at Substabtive Hearing on 29 July 2019):

During the course of your employment as a Social Worker in the Child Protection team at the City of Wolverhampton Council, you:

1) In relation to Service User A, who had an injury:
a) prior to visiting Service User A, did not inform your manager and/or the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team about the concern to determine whether a strategy discussion/meeting should be held;
b) did not obtain and/or complete a Multi-Agency Referral Form prior to speaking to Service User A;
c) spoke with Service User A without having parental and/or guardian consent to do so;
d) on or around 18 December 2015, did not adequately assess the risk to Service User A, in that you:
i) did not explore why Service User A changed their account of whether the injury was accidental or deliberate, and/or did not record doing so;
ii) did not consider whether there was a domestic violence issue in Service User A's home, and/or did not record doing so.

2) In relation to Service User D:
a) did not effectively assess the safeguarding concerns in relation to Service User D;
b) did not adequately complete the assessment of August 2015 in sufficient details;
c) did not initiate a section 47 investigation.

3) In relation to Service User J (who was the child of Service User X) did not:
a) initiate a section 47 investigation following an incident in which Service User X shook Service User J;
b) send Service User J for a medical examination and/or notify the health visitor following the incident.

4) Did not adequately maintain case records including in one or more of the cases listed in Schedule A.

5) The matter set out in paragraphs 1 - 4 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

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

Schedule A

4) You did not adequately maintain case recordings, in that you:
a) In relation to Service User C, did not complete recording(s) of visit(s) to Service User C in a timely manner between 19 October 2015 and 22 January 2016;
b) in relation to Service User F, did not:
i) complete recording(s) of visit(s) to Service User F in a timely manner between 16 September 2015 and 13 November 2015;
ii) provide sufficient information in the case recording(s) dated 21 May 2015;
iii) provide sufficient information in the case recording(s) dated 16 September 2015.
c) in relation to Service User L, did not complete a Single Assessment that was started on or around 18 February 2014 until 26 August 2014;
d) in relation to Service User M, did not complete CIN (Child In Need) meeting notes for 18 July 2014 until 9 November 2014;
e) in relation to Service User P, did not:
i) complete an updating assessment after the case transferred to you;
ii) record a visit undertaken on 25 April 2014 until 9 March 2015;
iii) record a visit undertaken on 10 June 2014 until 9 March 2015;
iv) record meeting notes taken on 29 April 2014 until 9 March 2015;
v) record meeting notes taken on 6 June 2014 until 9 March 2015.
f) in relation to Service User S, did not:
i) complete an assessment that was started on 7 October 2014 until 25 February 2015;
ii) record a visit undertaken on 7 October 2014 until 25 February 2015.

Finding

Preliminary matters

Application to amend

1. At the outset of the hearing Mr Kewley made an application to amend the Allegation by making changes to the numbering and by inserting the words ‘including in one or more’ to a re-numbered particular 4. The Registrant had been put on notice of the proposed amendments in a letter dated 22 February 2019. The Registrant did not oppose the application.

2. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. She advised the Panel that early notice and minor changes are less likely to cause injustice than late notice and substantial alterations that heighten the seriousness of the Allegation.

3. The Panel was satisfied that the Allegation should be amended as requested as the proposed amendments:

• provided helpful clarification;
• avoided ambiguity;
• did not alter the substance or meaning of the Allegation as originally drafted and did not widen the scope of the HCPC’s case.

4. In these circumstances, the Panel concluded that the amendments would cause no injustice to the Registrant as they were minor in nature.

Background

5. The Registrant was employed as a Social Worker in the Child Protection team at the City of Wolverhampton Council (the Council). He was employed by the Council in various roles from 22 December 1986 until 10 June 2016. He qualified as a Social Worker in 2000.

6. During the course of the Registrant’s employment a number of concerns were raised regarding his practice. It is alleged that on 18 December 2015, the Registrant conducted his own child protection investigation without following the correct policy or procedure. The Registrant visited Service User A’s school, following a telephone call from the Assistant Head Teacher, and spoke to Service User A without obtaining consent from her parents.

7. In addition, it is alleged that the Registrant did not effectively assess safeguarding concerns relating to Service User D, that he did not adequately complete Service User D’s assessment or initiate a Child Protection (Section 47 investigation) for Service User D. It is also alleged that the Registrant failed to initiate a section 47 investigation in respect of Service User J and that he did not send Service User J for a medical examination or notify the Health Visitor. The final particular concerns his failure to adequately maintain case records.

8. The Registrant was subject to informal and formal Capability Procedures during 2015 until he resigned with effect from 10 June 2016. These concerns related to his prioritisation, assessment of risk and caseload management.

9. A referral was made to the HCPC in respect of the alleged incidents and the capability issues.

Half Time Submission

10. At the close of the HCPC’s case the Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor that, of its own volition, it should review the evidence adduced by the HCPC. The Panel acknowledged that had the Registrant been legally represented a half time submission that there was ‘no case to answer’ was likely to have been made on his behalf.

11. Mr Kewley drew the Panel’s attention to parts of the evidence which required specific consideration.

Panel’s Approach

12. In fairness to the Registrant the Panel reviewed all of the particulars. The Panel distinguished between its approach to the evidence at this stage and its approach at the end of the fact finding. The Panel was aware that at this stage of the proceedings, it had to decide whether, taking the HCPC’s case at its highest, sufficient evidence had been adduced upon which it could find the facts proved. In applying the Galbraith test (R v Galbraith [1981] 2 A11 ER 1039) the Panel considered both limbs of the test and asked itself the following questions:

i) ‘Has the HCPC presented any evidence upon which the Panel could find that particular paragraph of the Allegation proved?’ or

ii) ‘Is the evidence so unsatisfactory, because it is tenuous, inherently weak or inconsistent with other evidence that the Panel could not find the allegation proved?’

13. Having considered the sufficiency of the evidence, the Panel went on to consider whether the statutory grounds were capable of being established by asking itself: ‘Was the evidence presented by the HCPC such that, if found proved, no reasonable Panel could properly conclude that the statutory ground of misconduct and/or lack of competence had been met?’. The Panel then went on to consider whether impairment was capable of being established.

Panel Decision

Particular 1(b) (in part)– No Case to Answer

‘In relation to Service User A, who had an injury:
did not obtain and/or complete a Multi Agency Referral Form prior to speaking to Service User A;’

14. The Panel took the view that for the purposes of a review of the sufficiency of the evidence that had been adduced ‘obtain’ and ‘complete’ were the key words in Particular 1(b). Witness HH’s oral evidence was that a referral form should have been obtained by the Registrant, but she did not suggest, in her witness statement or during her oral evidence, that the Registrant had a positive duty to complete the form. There was also no reference to such duty in the policy documents provided to the Panel.

15. The Panel concluded that although some evidence had been adduced regarding a duty to obtain the form there was no evidence that the Registrant had to complete it. The Panel was satisfied that based on the evidence of Witness HH and the absence of any documentary evidence there was no realistic prospect that the HCPC could prove that the Registrant was required to complete a referral form.

16. Accordingly, the Panel determined that there was no case to answer in respect of the “complete” element in Particular 1(b).

Particular 1(d)(i) and 1(d)(ii) – No Case to Answer

‘on or around 18 December 2015, did not adequately assess the risk to Service User A, in that you:

i) did not explore why Service User A changed their account of whether the injury was accidental or deliberate, and/or did not record doing so;

ii) did not consider whether there was a domestic violence issue in Service User A's home, and/or did not record doing so.

17. The Panel noted that the evidence of Witness HH was capable of establishing that the Registrant had a duty to inform his manager and/or the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) about the concern regarding Service User A’s injury. However, the Panel also noted that it was illogical for the HCPC to also assert that the Registrant had a corresponding duty to explore Service User A’s change of account and to consider domestic violence issues unless the particulars were pleaded as alternatives. It was not clear that these particulars were alternatives. The Panel concluded that the evidence that had been adduced supported a duty to inform rather than a duty to conduct an assessment.

18. The Panel concluded that in view of Witness HH’s evidence there was no evidence upon which the Panel could conclude that the Registrant had a duty to assess the concerns that had been raised directly with regard to Service User A on 18 December 2015.

19. Accordingly, the Panel determined that there was no case to answer in respect of Particulars 1(d)(i) and 1(d)(ii).

Particular 2(c) – No Case to Answer

‘In relation to Service User D:
did not initiate a section 47 investigation.’

20. The Panel noted the absence of any evidence that the Registrant had a duty to initiate a section 47 investigation. On the contrary there was clear evidence based on the written and oral evidence of Witness HH that a section 47 investigation is initiated by a manager; the Registrant would have no authority to initiate such an investigation of his own volition. In these circumstances, the Panel concluded that there was no realistic prospect that the HCPC could prove that the Registrant had a duty to initiate a section 47 investigation.

21. Accordingly, the Panel determined that there was no case to answer in respect of Particular 2(c).

Particular 3(a) – No Case to Answer

‘In relation to Service User J (who was the child of Service User X) did not:
initiate a section 47 investigation.’

22. For the same reasons stated in paragraphs 20 and 21 above the Panel concluded that there was no realistic prospect that the HCPC could prove that the Registrant had a duty to initiate a section 47 investigation.

23. Accordingly, the Panel determined that there was no case to answer in respect of Particular 3(a).

Particular 3(b) – No Case to Answer

‘In relation to Service User J (who was the child of Service User X) did not:
send Service User J for a medical examination and/or notify the health visitor following the incident.’

24. The Panel noted that although evidence had been adduced by the HCPC which indicated that the Registrant was required to notify the health visitor of the concern that Service User X may have shaken Service User J, there was no evidence that he had a duty to direct that Service User J undergo a medical examination. The evidence of Witness HH was that the Registrant’s duty was to discuss the incident with his line manager to enable the manager to decide whether to call a strategy discussion or meeting which would then involve input from partner agencies. Her evidence was that as a result of such a discussion or meeting it was likely that a medical examination would be undertaken. In these circumstances, the Panel concluded that there was no realistic prospect that the HCPC could prove that the Registrant had a duty to initiate a medical examination of his own volition.

25. Accordingly, the Panel determined that there was no case to answer in respect of that element of Particular 3(b).

Particular 4(e)(i) – No Case to Answer

‘in relation to Service User P, did not:

complete an updating assessment after the case transferred to you;’

26. The Panel was mindful that it was restricted to the wording of the particulars of the Allegation and that they should be given their ordinary natural meaning. The Panel noted that there was no timescale within Particular 4(e)(i). There was evidence within the hearing bundle that the Registrant completed an updating assessment on 9 April 2015. In these circumstances, the Panel concluded that there was no realistic prospect that the HCPC could prove that the Registrant had not completed an updating assessment.

27. Accordingly, the Panel determined that there was no case to answer in respect of Particular 4(e)(i).

Remaining Particulars of the Allegation and Grounds

28. The Panel concluded that sufficient evidence had been adduced by the HCPC to indicate that the remaining particulars of the Allegation could be found proved based on the evidence of the witnesses, the documentary evidence or both.

29. The Panel took the view that at this stage it was not possible to rule out a finding on the grounds of misconduct or lack of competence. The Panel was satisfied that if the remaining particulars of the Allegation were found proved they could form a sufficient basis upon which the Registrant’s fitness to practice could be found to be impaired.

Assessment of Witnesses

Witness TT – Former Investigating Officer

30. Witness TT was contracted by the Council as an independent investigating officer, through an agency – YOO Recruit on 12 February 2016, she was instructed to investigate concerns relating to the Registrant. She did not know the Registrant prior to conducting her investigation.

31. The Panel found Witness TT to be a credible and reliable witness. She was independent of the Registrant’s line management and provided the Panel with an explanation of the remit of her investigation. Her oral evidence was consistent with her witness statement, measured and balanced. If she was unable to recollect a particular event, she said so.


Witness HH – Former Senior Social Worker Manager

32. Witness HH was the Senior Social Worker Manager within the Child Protection Team and managed the Registrant’s line manager.

33. The Panel found Witness HH’s evidence to be clear and helpful. She provided the Panel with a balanced and fair account of the efforts made by the Council to support the Registrant, including the capability procedures and her interactions with the Registrant. She also provided a vivid account of the difficulties within the Council during the relevant period, which included a high turnover of staff and very high caseloads. If she was unable to answer a particular question, she made that clear and provided reasons for any views that she expressed.

Witness LB – Registrant’s Former Line Manager

34. Witness LB was the Registrant’s line manager. She provided useful evidence with regard to her supervision of the Registrant, the capability procedures that were undertaken and her personal knowledge of the incident relating to Service User J.

35. The Panel found the evidence of Witness LB to be consistent.

The Registrant’s Evidence

36. The Registrant chose to give evidence. The Panel recognised that giving evidence is a stressful event, and that the Registrant was representing himself. The Panel made appropriate allowances for these factors.

37. The Registrant was open and honest about the things that had gone wrong. However, at times there appeared to be a lack of rigour and focus to his evidence, despite the formal setting of the hearing, which made it difficult to elicit an answer to a straightforward question. The Panel took the view that the Registrant did his best to assist the Panel but understandably his recollection of events had adversely been affected by the passage of time.

Factual Findings

Panel’s Approach

38. The Panel was aware that the burden of proving the facts was on the HCPC. The Registrant did not have to prove anything, and the individual particulars of the Allegation could only be found proved, if the Panel was satisfied, on the balance of probabilities.

39. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice that where the particular of the Allegation referred to something that the Registrant ‘did not’ do, it should infer that there was a duty to do it. However, there would be no duty to act if the omission was for good reason.

40. In reaching its decision the Panel took into account the oral evidence of the HCPC witnesses and the Registrant, his written representations and the documentary evidence contained within the hearing bundle. The Panel also took into account the context. The Panel noted that the Registrant was working, during the relevant period, under difficult conditions. Although the Council had initiated a plan to address excessive caseloads from 2014 onwards, there was a high turnover of staff and the team never had a permanent manager.

41. The Panel noted that the Registrant admitted a number of particulars of the Allegation at the outset of the hearing. In fairness to the Registrant, the Panel proceeded with caution in accepting an admission as conclusive proof. As a consequence, a particular of the Allegation was only found proved if the admission was supported by evidence from the HCPC witnesses and/or documentary evidence.

Decision on Facts

Particular 1(a) – Found Proved

‘In relation to Service User A, who had an injury:
prior to visiting Service User A, did not inform your manager and/or the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team about the concern to determine whether a strategy discussion/meeting should be held;’

42. The Assistant Headteacher at the school attended by Service User A telephoned the social care office and spoke to the Registrant for advice about her concern that Service User A may have a cigarette burn to her eye deliberately caused by her mother.

43. Witness HH informed the Panel, in her witness statement and during her oral evidence, that she was made aware that the Registrant had attended Service User A’s school without letting his manager or the MASH team know in advance. She stated that ideally the school should have directed their concerns to the MASH team. However, as the school spoke to the Registrant directly it was his responsibility to pass the information to his line manager or to the MASH team. A management decision would then be made as to what action should be taken, which may include calling a strategy meeting which could then lead to a Child Protection Investigation (a section 47 investigation).

44. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness HH and noted that there was no evidence that the Registrant had informed his manager or MASH of the concern that had been raised prior to visiting Service User A. The Panel noted that the Registrant admitted that he had not notified anyone before attending the school. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had a duty to notify and follow the correct procedure but failed to do so. The Panel was unable to identify any good reason for this omission.

45. Accordingly, Particular 1(a) was found proved.

Particular 1(b) – Found Not Proved

‘In relation to Service User A, who had an injury:
did not obtain…a Multi Agency Referral Form prior to speaking to Service User A;’

46. Witness HH informed the Panel that the Registrant should have insisted that the school complete a referral form. She stated that it was a well-known procedural requirement.

47. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness HH and noted the Registrant’s admission. There was no evidence that the Registrant had directed the school to complete the referral form before he spoke to Service User A. There was no evidence that he had obtained the form prior to attending the school. The Panel considered the Council’s “Social Care Referral Policy and Procedure (March 2014) which outlines the procedure which should have been followed. The Panel was not satisfied that the Registrant had a duty to obtain the referral form from the school as this should have been sent by the school to the MASH.

48. Accordingly, Particular 1(b) was found not proved.


Particular 1(c) – Found Proved

‘In relation to Service User A, who had an injury:
spoke with Service User A without having parental and/or guardian consent to do so;

49. There was no dispute that the Registrant had not obtained the consent of Service User A’s parents prior to attending the school which was supported by the documentary evidence which indicated that the Registrant attended the school within minutes of receiving the telephone call from the Assistant Head Teacher. Witness HH informed the Panel during her oral evidence that the parents had a right to be informed that a social worker intended to speak to their child. Her evidence was supported by the Council’s policy document entitled ‘Safeguarding Children Procedures’ 2015 which covers the procedures for parental consent.

50. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness HH and accepted that the Registrant’s admission was well-founded as he had a duty to obtain parental consent prior to speaking to a child and failed to do so. The Panel was unable to identify any good reason for this omission.

51. Accordingly, Particular 1(c) was found proved.


Particular 2(a) – Found Proved

‘In relation to Service User D:

did not effectively assess the safeguarding concerns in relation to Service User D;


52. Service User D’s mother had historically been a perpetrator of domestic violence against the father. There were concerns in relation to the mother’s mental health. There was a Multi-Agency agreement in place for a social work home visit to complete an assessment in order to explore these concerns. Service User D was home educated. Service User D had not been seen by professionals.

53. Witness HH confirmed in her witness statement that the Registrant produced a report dated 19 August 2015, which stated that, ‘mum won’t engage with social care, so assessment cannot be undertaken.’ He subsequently sought to close the file and Service User D was not seen. During a file audit, the Head of Service identified this case as a cause for concern on the basis that the assessment was inadequate, and the case should not have been closed. He directed that the case should be re-opened, and that Service User D should be seen by a social worker.

54. The Registrant acknowledged during his oral evidence that when completing his assessment he spoke to Deb Keys (Elective Home Education Officer) on two separate occasions. Despite this he was unaware that she had not seen the children within that family for 2 years.

55. The Panel was provided with a copy of the assessment and noted that the analysis section of the form was very brief. There does not appear to be any assessment of the implications of being unable to access the family address and the mother’s refusal to engage with social care. The Panel noted that the Registrant accepted that he had not asked Deb Keys the most basic of questions, such as, the last time that she had seen Service User D. Making these basic enquiries is likely to have elicited the information which came out later that Deb Keys had not seen the child for 2 years. Such information would have formed the basis of an effective risk assessment.

56. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness HH and concluded that the Registrant did not effectively assess the safeguarding concerns in relation to Service User D. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had a duty to assess the safeguarding concerns but failed to do so. The Panel was unable to identify any good reason for this omission.

57. Accordingly, Particular 2(a) was found proved.


Particular 2(b) – Found Proved

‘In relation to Service User D:

did not adequately complete the assessment of August 2015 in sufficient details;’


58. The Panel took into account its findings in relation to Particular 2(a) and the Registrant’s admission. The Panel noted that the comments made by the Registrant’s manager following the audit, were the factors that he ought to have identified. These included (i) confirmation that Deb Keys had not seen the children of this family, which included Service User D, since 2013, (ii) no social worker had had current sight of the children and (iii) in the absence of cooperation from the mother enquiries ought to be made with other services without her consent. The Panel took account of the Registrant’s explanation that he was given an instruction to close the case. The oral evidence of Witness HH was that irrespective of that instruction, the assessment was wholly inadequate to close the case.

59. The Panel was satisfied that in the absence of the considerations referred to in paragraph 58 above the assessment was not adequate. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had a duty to undertake an adequate assessment but failed to do so. The Panel was unable to identify any good reason for this omission.

60. Accordingly, Particular 2 (b) was found proved.

Particular 3(b) – Found Proved
‘In relation to Service User J (who was the child of Service User X) did not:
…notify the health visitor following the incident.’

61. Service User J was a baby born to Service User X who was a Looked After Child. Service Users J and X were living in a foster home. The foster carer’s son allegedly saw Service User X shake Service User J. The Registrant was instructed by his manager to find out what had happened.

62. Witness HH informed the Panel in her witness statement that if the baby had been shaken the Registrant was required to inform his manager with a view to a strategy meeting being called. Witness LB informed the Panel that the Registrant should have notified other professionals about the incident including Service User J’s health visitor.

63. The Panel took into account that the Registrant, following his visit with Service User J, failed to notify any professional working with the baby. The Panel accepted the Registrant’s admissions that as Service User J was a baby the health visitor was likely to have the most up to date information about the baby’s health and well-being. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had a duty to notify the health visitor of the alleged incident but failed to do so. The Panel was unable to identify any good reason for this omission.

64. Accordingly, Particular 3(b) was found proved.

Particular 4(a) – Found Proved

‘You did not adequately maintain case recordings, in that you:

In relation to Service User C, did not complete recording(s) of visit(s) to Service User C in a timely manner between 19 October 2015 and 22 January 2016;’


65. Service User C was residing with her mother who was a heroin addict. In her oral evidence Witness HH told the Panel that, Service User C was a Child in Need and had to be visited by a social worker every 6 weeks and that records of those visits should be recorded on CareFirst (the Council’s electronic recording system) within 48-72 hours after the visit taking place.

66. The Panel was provided with documentary evidence which confirmed that the Registrant visited Service User C on 19 October 2015 but did not record the visit until 22 January 2016, approximately 3 months after the required timescale. In addition, the Registrant visited Service User C on 11 December 2015 and did not record that visit until 22 January 2016, also weeks after the required timescale.

67. The Registrant admitted that he recorded the visits late. Although the Panel made allowances for the Registrant’s high caseload, the conditions under which he was working did not amount to a reasonable excuse for such a lengthy delay.

68. Accordingly, Particular 4(a) was found proved.

Particular 4(b)(i) – Found Proved

‘in relation to Service User F, did not:
complete recording(s) of visit(s) to Service User F in a timely manner between 16 September 2015 and 13 November 2015;

69. Service User F was a Child in Need and had to be visited by a social worker every 2 weeks.

70. The Panel was provided with documentary evidence which confirmed that the Registrant visited Service User F on 16 September 2015 but did not record the visit until 13 November 2015. The Panel noted that the visit should have been recorded on CareFirst within 48-72 hours of the visit taking place. However, in this instance the visit was not recorded until approximately 8 weeks later. A further visit was undertaken on 22 October 2015 and not recorded until five weeks after the visit.

71. The Registrant admitted that he recorded the visits late. Although the Panel made allowances for the Registrant’s high caseload, the conditions under which he was working did not amount to a reasonable excuse for such a lengthy delay.

72. Accordingly, Particular 4(b)(i) was found proved.

Particular 4(b)(ii)– Found Proved

‘in relation to Service User F, did not:
provide sufficient information in the case recording(s) dated 21 May 2015;’

73. Witness HH informed the Panel in her witness statement that in addition to the delay in recording visits, the Registrant also failed to provide sufficient detail within some of the case recordings. An observation recorded by the Registrant on 21 May 2015 and timed at 18.00 was quoted as an example. The CareFirst record states ‘I visited Mother and not phoned her.’

74. The Registrant explained, during his oral evidence, that he made the observation on CareFirst to correct an earlier error where the visit had been recorded earlier as a telephone call. He stated that he completed the observation so that his colleagues would be aware that a visit had taken place.

75. The Panel accepted the Registrant’s evidence that that particular observation dated 21 May 2015 was simply to correct an earlier record of the same date and recorded with the same time, which stated that the contact with Service User F was by telephone. However, the Panel accepted Witness HH’s evidence that the Registrant did not produce sufficient information in his case recordings in relation to Service User F. The Panel took into account the six notes recorded by the Registrant on 21 May 2015, none of which gave sufficient or any detail about Service User F’s wellbeing. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had a duty to provide sufficient information in the recordings but failed to do so. The Panel was unable to identify any good reason for this omission.

76. Accordingly, Particular 4(b)(ii) was found proved.

Particular 4(b)(iii)– Found Proved

‘in relation to Service User F, did not:
provide sufficient information in the case recording(s) dated 16 September 2015;’


77. Witness HH informed the Panel in her witness statement that she discussed with the Registrant the importance of observations and the need for them ‘to tell the story.’

78. On 16 September 2015, the Registrant made another recording which stated, ‘Home Visit to confirm [Service User F & G] have returned from Oldham. Everything seems calm. [SU F] keeps smiling.’ Service User F was the baby of Service User G. Witness HH confirmed to the Panel that the Registrant’s recording of the home visit was insufficient. The Panel carefully considered the case records of Service User F and noted the management instruction for the Registrant to address a number of concerns during his home visit on 16 September 2015. None of these concerns were addressed by the Registrant in his subsequent record of the visit. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had a duty to provide sufficient information in his recordings but failed to do so. The Panel was unable to identify any good reason for this omission.
79. Accordingly, Particular 4(b)(ii) was found proved.

Particular 4(c)– Found Proved

‘in relation to Service User L, did not complete a Single Assessment that was started on or around 18 February 2014 until 26 August 2014;’

80. Service User L was a Child in Need. The Registrant commenced an assessment of Service User L on 18 February 2014. Witness HH stated that the assessment should have been completed within 45 days. However, it was not completed until 26 August 2014; 193 days after it commenced.

81. The Registrant admitted that he completed the assessment late. Although the Panel made allowances for the Registrant's high caseload, the conditions under which he was working did not amount to a reasonable excuse for such a lengthy delay.

82. Accordingly, Particular 4(c) was found proved.

Particular 4(d)– Found Proved

‘in relation to Service User M, did not complete CIN (Child In Need) meeting notes for 18 July 2014 until 9 November 2014;

83. Service User M was a Child in Need. He was accommodated in a residential placement due to his behaviour towards his mother and siblings. This was an agreed short term measure. There was a plan for reunification. A Child in Need meeting took place on 18 July 2014 but was not recorded by the Registrant on CareFirst until 9 November 2014. Witness HH informed the Panel that the record of the meeting should have been written up 48 to 72 hours after the meeting took place.

84. The Registrant admitted that he recorded the meeting late. Although the Panel made allowances for the Registrant's high caseload, the conditions under which he was working did not amount to a reasonable excuse for such a lengthy delay.

85. Accordingly, Particular 4(d) was found proved.

Particular 4(e)(ii), (iii) (iv) and (v) – Found Proved

‘in relation to Service User P, did not
record a visit undertaken on 25 April 2014 until 9 March 2015;
record a visit undertaken on 10 June 2014 until 9 March 2015;
record meeting notes taken on 29 April 2014 until 9 March 2015;
record meeting notes taken on 6 June 2014 until 9 March 2015.’

86. Service User P was a Child in Need. The Panel was provided with documentary evidence that the Registrant conducted visits with Service User P on 25 April 2014 and 10 June 2014. In addition, there were meetings about Service User P on 29 April 2014 and 6 June 2014. There was no dispute that the notes relating to these visits and meetings were not recorded until 9 March 2015; ranging from 9 months to almost 12 months later.

87. The Registrant admitted that he recorded the visits and meetings late. Although the Panel made allowances for the Registrant's high caseload, the conditions under which he was working did not amount to a reasonable excuse for such a lengthy delay.

88. Accordingly, Particular 4(e)(ii), (iii), (iv) and (v) were found proved.

Particular 4(f)(i) – Found Proved

‘in relation to Service User S, did not:
complete an assessment that was started on 7 October 2014 until 25 February 2015;’

89. Service User S was a Child in Need. There was no dispute that the Registrant started an assessment of Service User S on 7 October 2014, but this was not completed until 25 February 2015; approximately 141 days later

90. The Registrant admitted that the completion of the assessment was delayed but that he was on planned sick leave from 21 November 2014 until 16 January 2015. However, the Panel considered that the Registrant should have completed the assessment prior to his planned sick leave given the seriousness of this particular case.

91. Accordingly, Particular 4(f)(i) was found proved.

Particular 4(f)(ii) – Found Proved

‘in relation to Service User S, did not:
record a visit undertaken on 7 October 2014 until 25 February 2015.’

92. The assessment referred to in paragraph 89 above was commenced following a visit that took place on 7 October 2014. The Panel was provided with documentary evidence which confirmed that the visit was not recorded on CareFirst until 25 February 2015. Witness HH informed the Panel that the visit should have been recorded within 48-72 hours of the visit taking place.

93. The Registrant admitted that the completion of the record was late. Although the Panel made allowances for the Registrant's high caseload, the conditions under which he was working did not amount to a reasonable excuse for such a lengthy delay.

94. Accordingly, Particular 4(f)(ii) was found proved.

Decision on Grounds

Panel’s Approach

95. In view of the Panel’s factual findings the Panel went on to consider the issue of grounds but only in relation to the particulars that were found proved. No further consideration was given to the particulars that were found not proved. The Panel was aware that determining the issue of lack of competence and/or misconduct is a matter of judgement; there is no standard of proof.

96. The Panel took into account the submission of both parties and accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice.

97. The Panel was aware that lack of competence is distinguishable from misconduct in that it indicates an inability to work at the required level and suggests a standard of professional performance which is unacceptably low which has usually been demonstrated by reference to a fair sample of the registrant’s work. The Panel also noted that negligence may amount to misconduct if it is sufficiently serious. The Panel was aware that breach of the standards alone does not necessarily constitute misconduct. The Panel also bore in mind the explanation of that term given by the Privy Council in the case of Roylance v GMC (No.2) [2000] 1 AC 311 where it was stated that:

“Misconduct is a word of general effect, involving some act or omission which falls short of what would be proper in the circumstances. The standard of propriety may often be found by reference to the rules and standards ordinarily required to be followed by a … practitioner in the particular circumstances. The misconduct is qualified in two respects. First, it is qualified by the word ‘professional’ which links the misconduct to the profession ... Secondly, the misconduct is qualified by the word ‘serious’. It is not any professional misconduct which will qualify. The professional misconduct must be serious.”
Misconduct

98. The Panel noted that its factual findings demonstrate deficiencies in areas that are the core competencies required of a registered social worker. Although the Registrant must have been capable of working to the required standard during his career there was no information before the Panel to fully explain the decline in the quality of his practice. The Panel noted that the Council implemented its formal performance review process and took this into account in determining whether the factual findings were sufficiently serious to be characterised as misconduct or whether it amounted to lack of competence.

99. The Panel concluded that the factual findings in relation to Service Users A, C, D, F, J, L, M, P and S fall within the following overarching themes:

• Ability to follow Council procedures;
• Assessing risk;
• Communicating with colleagues and other professionals;
• Record keeping.

100. The Panel took the view that, in relation to Service User A, the Registrant’s actions in choosing to speak to a child about a potential serious assault, without following the correct procedure, potentially placed that child at risk. The Council had clear procedures that outlined no child should be visited without informing the manager or the MASH. Although there was no evidence before the Panel of actual harm, if Service User A was the victim of physical abuse, being spoken to by the Registrant at the school may have placed her at further risk of abuse. The Registrant completely disregarded the Council’s policy in favour of pursuing his own agenda and, in so doing, undermined the child’s right to be safeguarded and the parent’s right to be given the opportunity to consent to their child being spoken to by a social worker. The Panel noted that the Registrant did not appear to have thought through the consequences of his actions which included the potential risk of compromising a police investigation. Service User A originally indicated that her mother deliberately poked a lit cigarette in her eye. Service User A only appeared to suggest that it was accidental when the Registrant asked her about the incident.

101. The Panel considered the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics [2012 version] and was satisfied that the Registrant’s conduct breached the following standards:

• 1 - You must make act in the best interests of service users.
• 7 – You must communicate properly and effectively with service users and other practitioners.
• 9 – You must get informed consent to provide care or services (so far as possible).

102. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s conduct and behaviour fell far below the standards expected of a registered practitioner. The Registrant was an experienced social worker and although he was working in a poorly performing team the level of his personal culpability was sufficiently serious to be characterised as misconduct.

103. The Panel took the view that, in relation to Service User D, the Registrant’s actions demonstrated a failure to effectively undertake assessments. The Panel noted that assessments require the ability to gather and analyse information with regard to the level of risk and harm that a child may be exposed to. It provides a baseline for work with children and families and requires the ability to use the information gathered as part of the assessment to identify actions which are likely to reduce any risk to children and enhance their level of health and development. The Registrant did not adequately assess the safeguarding concerns in relation Service User D and did not provide sufficient detail in the assessment of August 2015. His assessment lacked proper analysis and professional curiosity. The Panel was particularly concerned that the Registrant submitted the assessment without seeing Service User D.

104. The Panel considered the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics [2012 version] and was satisfied that the Registrant’s conduct breached the following standard:

1 - You must make act in the best interests of service users.

105. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s conduct and behaviour fell far below the standards expected of a registered practitioner. The Registrant was an experienced social worker and although he was working in a poorly performing team the level of his personal culpability was sufficiently serious to be characterised as misconduct.

106. The Panel took the view that, in relation to Service User J, the Registrant’s actions demonstrated a failure to effectively communicate with his professional colleagues. Service User J was a vulnerable baby and the allegation that he was shaken by his mother was the third allegation of harm. The Panel noted that the Registrant recognised, during his oral evidence, that the health visitor was the one professional that was most likely to have up to date information with regards to Service User J.

107. The Panel considered the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics [2012 version] and was satisfied that the Registrant’s conduct breached the following standard:

7 – You must communicate properly and effectively with service users and other practitioners.

108. The Panel concluded that given the context, the Registrant’s failure to communicate with the health visitor, fell far below the standards expected of a registered practitioner. The Registrant was an experienced social worker and although he was working in a poorly performing team the level of his personal culpability was sufficiently serious to be characterised as misconduct.

109. The Panel noted the importance of record keeping. In the absence of an accurate and sufficiently detailed case record, other professionals will not have adequate information about a child, their current welfare and the level of risk that the child may be exposed to. The Registrant’s record keeping failures were as follows:

• 7 late recorded visits;
• 2 late assessments;
• 3 late meeting notes; and
• 2 lack of information in case records.

110. The Panel noted that the late recorded visits related to Service Users C, F, P and S. The case records for these service users were not recorded many months after the Council’s time limit and/or a reasonable period. The Registrant was employed as a social worker in front line statutory work which is time sensitive. For example, Service User C’s mother was a heroin addict and the level of risk that Service User C was exposed to could change within a very short period of time. However, the Registrant did not record his visits with Service User C in a timely manner. Another example is Service User P who was a victim of trafficking. She had been subject to sexual exploitation. The Registrant’s case notes were recorded 9 -12 months after the two visits that took place in April and June 2015. As a consequence of the delayed recording managers and social work colleagues had no information about the girl’s situation throughout this extended period. Service User P may have been exposed to risk for an extended period of time. The Panel concluded that the late recorded visits were sufficiently serious to amount to misconduct.

111. The late assessments related to Service Users L and S. Service User L was the baby of a child in care and both of them were living in foster care. The Registrant’s delayed assessment meant that a baseline for support was not established. Additional needs were not assessed and professionals involved in supporting the baby had no information about the quality of parenting. This was particularly important given the age of the baby. Service User S was a young child or teenager who was living away from the family home due to domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and honor-based violence. The 141-day delay in completing the assessment of Service User S meant that the continued level of violence within the child’s home was not assessed in a timely manner. The Registrant was made aware of the risks prior to his period of sick leave but still did not complete the assessment.

112. The Panel concluded that given the context, the Registrant’s failure to conduct the assessments, fell far below the standards expected of a registered practitioner. The Registrant was an experienced social worker and although he was working in a poorly performing team the level of his personal culpability was sufficiently serious to be characterised as misconduct.

113. The late meeting notes related to Service Users M and P. As stated Service User P had been previously identified as a Child in Need with a range of actions agreed to keep Service User P safe. A review meeting took place on 29 April 2014 but was not recorded until 11 months later on 9 March 2015. A further meeting that took place on 6 June 2014 was not recorded until 9 months later on 9 March 2015. The Panel noted that the second meeting took place before the minutes of the first meeting had been recorded. This is of concern because the purpose of the notes, amongst other things, is to review the actions from the previous meeting. On 9 June 2014, the manager placed a note on the records which read, ‘Paul to ensure home visits, plans/updates and meetings are recorded in activities on CareFirst.’ He was reminded again on 24 September 2014. Service User M was another Child in Need. A meeting took place on 18 July 2014 but was not recorded until 9 November 2014. The Panel noted that on 28 July 2014, the mother of Service User M called the Emergency Duty Team following the breakdown of the relationship. At that point the information available to the team was incomplete because the meeting notes had not been recorded. This had the potential to adversely impact on decision-making. The child subsequently moved into residential care without this up to date information.

114. The Panel concluded that given the context, the Registrant's failure to record the meeting notes in a timely manner, fell far below the standards expected of a registered practitioner. The Registrant was an experienced social worker and although he was working in a poorly performing team the level of his personal culpability was sufficiently serious to be characterised as misconduct.

115. The lack of information in the case records related to Service User F who was a baby in foster care at risk of abduction. The paucity of the Registrant’s notes had the potential to expose Service User F to risk and hinder managerial decision making.

116. The Panel concluded the Registrant's failure to provide sufficient information record in the case records, fell far below the standards expected of a registered practitioner. The Registrant was an experienced social worker and although he was working in a poorly performing team the level of his personal culpability was sufficiently serious to be characterised as misconduct.

Lack of Competence

117. The Panel, having determined that the Registrant’s acts and omissions amount to misconduct, concluded that his conduct did not amount to a lack of competence.

Decision on Impairment

Panel’s Approach

118. Having found misconduct the Panel went on to consider whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel took into account the HCPTS Practice Note: “Finding that Fitness to Practise is Impaired” and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

119. The Panel took into account the submissions of both parties and accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice.

120. In determining current impairment, the Panel had regard to the following aspects of the public interest:
• The ‘personal’ component: the current competence and behaviour of the individual registrant; and
• The ‘public’ component: the need to protect service users, declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour and maintain public confidence in the profession.

Panel’s Decision

121. The Panel considered the Registrant’s current fitness to practise firstly from the personal perspective and then from the wider public perspective.

122. The Panel noted that although the Registrant admitted the majority of the particulars of the Allegation at the outset of the hearing and apologised for his actions, there was no indication that he fully appreciates the gravity of his failings. He informed the Panel that he would behave differently in the future but this was not on the basis of a considered assessment of the impact on service users, his professional standing as a social worker and the reputational damage to the professional as a whole. Instead he chose to focus on avoiding child protection work, not trusting others, keeping up with training and ensuring that he takes time off. During his oral evidence, the Registrant referred to his attendance at Service User A’s school as ‘…cutting out all the messing about’. He stated that he recognised that he ‘…cannot work as a lone wolf’; ‘I need to follow instructions more clearly’. He also stated, ‘I do have strong opinions, perhaps I should conform more.’ In relation to Service User J he stated that this should not have proceeded to the HCPC but that ‘I should have had a telling off in supervision’. The Panel concluded that the Registrant demonstrated only limited insight.

123. The Panel concluded that there was no evidence that the Registrant’s practice deficiencies have been remedied and would therefore not be repeated. In particular there was no evidence before the Panel that the Registrant has brought his knowledge and skills up to date. In the absence of any steps he has taken towards remediation since the events of 2014 and 2015, the Panel concluded that there is a high risk of repetition. The Panel was particularly concerned by the persistent nature of the Registrant’s failings and the inability to make sufficient improvements despite considerable support and supervision.

124. The Panel took the view that the factual findings raise serious public safety concerns. The Registrant demonstrated a persistent inability to make or maintain improvements to his practice which had the potential to put vulnerable service users at risk of harm. The Panel took the view that the risk to service users is ongoing.

125. The Panel concluded that, in these circumstances, the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired based on the personal component.

126. In considering the public component the Panel had regard to the important public policy issues which include the need to maintain confidence in the profession and to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour.

127. A significant aspect of the public component is upholding proper standards of behaviour. Members of the public would be extremely concerned to learn that a social worker working with vulnerable service users had placed service users at risk. The Registrant’s conduct fell far below the standard expected of a registered social worker and the Panel concluded that until the Registrant has remediated his wrongdoing and the deficiencies in his practice, he continues to pose a risk to service users. The Panel also concluded that a finding of no impairment would fail to declare and uphold proper standards, would undermine confidence in the profession of social work and would undermine public confidence in the HCPC as a professional regulator given the wide-ranging deficiencies in the Registrant’s practice.

128. In all the circumstances the Panel determined that public trust and confidence would be undermined if a finding of impairment is not made.

129. The Panel concludes that the Registrant’s current fitness to practise is impaired on the basis of both the personal component and the wider public interest and therefore the HCPC’s case is well-founded.

Decision on Sanction

Panel’s Approach

130. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was mindful that the purpose of any sanction is not to punish the Registrant, but to protect the public and the wider public interest. The public interest includes maintaining public confidence in the profession and the HCPC as its regulator and by upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour. The Panel noted that all of the sanction options were available, as it had made a finding of misconduct.

131. The Panel applied the principle of proportionality by weighing the Registrant’s interests with the public interest and by considering each available sanction in ascending order of severity.

132. The Panel had regard to the Sanctions Policy (SP) and took into account the submissions made by both parties.

Panel’s Decision

133. The Panel, at the outset of its deliberations, considered the aggravating and mitigating factors.

134. The Panel identified the following aggravating factors:

• the factual findings raise serious concerns which have the potential to cause harm to service users;
• the Registrant has demonstrated only limited insight;
• the Registrant has provided no evidence of remediation;
• the Registrant demonstrated a persistent inability to make or maintain improvements to his practice despite the considerable support and supervision provided by the Council.
• there is an ongoing risk of repetition.

135. The Panel identified the following mitigating factors:

• the Registrant has no previous fitness to practise history and has had a long unblemished career;
• the Registrant has apologised for his acts and omissions;
• the Registrant admitted the majority of the particulars of the Allegation at the outset of the hearing;
• the Registrant was working in a poorly performing team with high caseload and a high managerial turnover.

No Action

136. Having taken the aggravating and mitigating factors into account the Panel first considered taking no action. The Panel concluded that, in view of the nature and seriousness of the Registrant’s misconduct which has not been remedied, and in the absence of exceptional circumstances, it would be inappropriate to take no action. Furthermore, it would be insufficient to protect the public, maintain public confidence and uphold the reputation of the profession.

Caution Order

137. The Panel then considered a Caution Order. The Panel noted that although Caution Orders appear on the Register, they do not restrict a registrant’s ability to practise and took into account paragraph 101 of the SP which states:
“A caution order is likely to be an appropriate sanction for cases in which:
• the issue is isolated, limited, or relatively minor in nature;
• there is a low risk of repetition;
• the registrant has shown good insight; and
• the registrant has undertaken appropriate remediation.’
138. The Registrant’s persistent inability to meet the standards required of a competent social worker was not minor in nature or limited. Furthermore, the Registrant has not demonstrated that any of the skills and knowledge, relevant to safe and competent practise have been addressed, nor has he demonstrated sufficient insight and as a consequence there is an ongoing risk of repetition. In any event, the deficiencies in the Registrant’s practise had the potential to have wide-ranging adverse consequences and therefore some restriction on his practise is required. Therefore, the Panel concluded that a Caution Order would be inappropriate and insufficient to meet the public interest.

Conditions of Practice Order

139. The Panel went on to consider a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel took the view that the Registrant’s deficiencies are capable of being remedied and was satisfied that, in theory, appropriate, workable conditions could be formulated. However, the Panel noted that paragraph 107 of the SP states:
‘Conditions will only be effective in cases where the registrant is genuinely committed to resolving the concerns raised and the panel is confident they will do so. Therefore, conditions of practice are unlikely to be suitable in cases in which …there are serious or persistent failings.’

140. The Panel had little confidence that the Registrant would, at this stage, be able to increase his skills and knowledge by undertaking certain actions or by restricting his practice in certain ways. In reaching this conclusion the Panel noted that the Registrant has been out of practice for a significant period of time. Furthermore, when the Registrant was in practice he was, either unable or unwilling, to make sufficient improvements to his practice which resulted in the Council’s capability procedures progressing from informal to formal measures and ultimately led to a disciplinary process. In these circumstances, the Panel concluded that any conditions imposed would have to be so restrictive that they would in effect be tantamount to suspension. In addition the Panel noted that a Conditions of Practice Order requires a willingness on the part of the Registrant to comply with them and to remediate because attending courses and training is only the starting point. It is the learning and development that has been achieved as a result of the course or training that is of critical importance and how it will be translated into good practise. In the absence of a sufficient level of insight the Panel was not satisfied that the Registrant is committed to addressing the deficiencies in his practice which have been found to be persistent and wide-ranging in nature.

141. The Panel concluded that there were no conditions it could impose which would be workable or appropriate.

Suspension Order

142. Having determined that a Conditions of Practice Order would not be appropriate, the Panel went on to consider a Suspension Order.

143. The Panel noted that a Suspension Order would send a signal to the Registrant, the profession and the public re-affirming the standards expected of a registered social worker. A Suspension Order would also prevent the Registrant from practising during the suspension period, which would therefore protect the public and the wider public interest. In addition, a Suspension Order would adequately mark the seriousness of the Panel’s finding of misconduct.

144. The Panel noted that the SP indicates that a Suspension Order will usually be imposed where:
• ‘the registrant has insight;
• the issues are unlikely to be repeated; and
• there is evidence to suggest the registrant is likely to be able to resolve or remedy their failings.’

145. However, the Panel was aware that the factors listed above are not an exhaustive list. Although the Registrant has not demonstrated an ability or willingness to resolve his failings, he did demonstrate during his oral submissions at the sanction stage, that he has begun the process of developing insight into the seriousness of the findings that have been made against him. The Panel was encouraged by the Registrant’s emerging insight, albeit very late, and concluded that public safety and the wider public interest could be adequately addressed by imposing a period of suspension.

146. The Panel determined that the Suspension Order should be imposed for a period of 12 months. The Panel was satisfied that this period was appropriate to mark the seriousness of the Registrant’s misconduct. The Panel also took the view that a 12 month suspension would provide sufficient time for the Registrant to consider the Panel’s findings and devise a plan of action targeted towards a return to practise.

147. The Panel determined that, at this time, a Striking Off Order would be disproportionate.

148. The Suspension Order will be reviewed shortly before expiry. However, the Registrant may request an Early Review before the mandatory review, if he believes that he is able to demonstrate that he has made sufficient progress which would justify the order being varied, replaced or revoked.

149. A future reviewing panel would expect the Registrant to attend the review hearing and provide evidence that he has undertaken significant steps that would facilitate a safe and effective return to practise, which may include:

(i) Evidence of paid or unpaid work demonstrating the ability to follow procedures, assess risk and act appropriately, make sufficient and timely records, and communicate properly and effectively with service users and other practitioners.
(ii) Provide a written reflective piece on the impact of the Registrant’s misconduct on service users and his profession.
(iii) Obtain reference(s) from an employer (paid or unpaid) who is able to comment on the Registrant’s skills and knowledge relevant to a social work role.
(iv) Evidence that the Registrant has developed his skills and knowledge in social work, which may include CPD in the form of:

• Short courses (online or otherwise);
• Seminars;
• Reading journals.

A future panel would expect the Registrant to be able to provide written or oral evidence about what he has learnt from courses or reading and how he intends to implement this learning in practice.

Order

ORDER: That the Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of George Adrian Paul Mole for a period of 12 months from the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

Interim Order

Application and Response

1. Mr Kewley, on behalf of the HCPC, made an application for an interim suspension order to cover the appeal period on the grounds that it was in the interests of the public and otherwise in the public interest. The Registrant did not oppose the application.

Panel Decision

2. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

3. The Panel determined that an interim order was necessary for the protection of the public and was otherwise in the public interest because of the nature and seriousness of the findings against the Registrant. A member of the public would be extremely concerned if the Registrant was able to continue to practise during the appeal period, in circumstances where his acts and omissions had exposed service user to the risk of harm. Furthermore, it would be inconsistent with the Panel’s determination that there is an ongoing risk of repetition.

4. In reaching this decision the Panel considered the impact of an interim suspension order on the Registrant. The Panel determined that the public interest outweighed the Registrant’s interests and that an interim order is proportionate.

5. The Panel did not make an interim order on the ground that it was in the Registrant’s own interests.

6. The Panel decided that the appropriate length of an interim order is 18 months, to cover the 28-day appeal period and the time it may take for any appeal, if made, to be determined.

Interim Order:

The Panel makes an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, the same being necessary to protect members of the public and being otherwise in the public interest. This order will expire: (if no appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) upon the expiry of the period during which such an appeal could be made; (if an appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) the final determination of that appeal, subject to a maximum period of 18 months.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr George Adrian Paul Mole

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
29/07/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended