Mr Robert Guy Harry Alderson

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW20004

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 17/06/2019 End: 17:00 19/06/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

While registered as a Social Worker with the Health and Care Professions Council, between
approximately September August 2017 and January February 2018, you:

1. Engaged in a sexual relationship with Person A, who is a Vulnerable Care Leaver.

2. Agreed to take a phone contract out for Person A.

3. Drew up a contract for Person A to sign, which included the following clauses:

a) “Clause 2: [Person A] will not enter in any sexual/romantic relationship with any other homosexual or bi-sexual male for the duration of the phone contract” or words to that effect;
b) “Clause 3: If [Person A] enters a sexual/romatic relationship with a female who
earns more than [Person A]’s benefits for a period of more than 4 weeks, he will be
liable for the remainder of the contract or the contract can be cancelled by Robert Alderson” or words to that effect;
c) “Clause 4: If [Person A] removes the options of contact to Robert Alderson either through messages or social media the contract can be cancelled or transferred by Robert Alderson” or words to that effect.

4. On or around 9 July 7 September 2017, allowed Person A to drive your car when Person A:

a) Was under the influence of alcohol
b) Was not insured

5. Your conduct in paragraphs 2 and 3 was sexually motivated.

6. On 02 January 2018 at Newcastle under Lyme Magistrates Court, you were
convicted of driving after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in your
breath, namely 61 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, exceeded the
prescribed limit, contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule
2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

7. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 -5 constitute misconduct.

8. By reason of your conviction as set out in paragraph 6 your fitness to practise is impaired.

9. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service

1. The Panel was aware that written notice of these proceedings was posted by first class post to the Registrant at his registered address on 13 March 2019.  The Panel was shown documents which established both the fact of the service and the identity of the Registrant’s registered 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

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

3. Ms Mond-Wedd informed the Panel that the HCPC has received no communication from the Registrant as regards this hearing. However the Panel has seen an email from the Registrant dated 3 October 2018, in which the Registrant stated “DO NOT contact me again about these matters. I already consider myself separated from the HCPC and social work in general. It is your time you are wasting. I’m already gone”. Ms Mond-Wedd also referred to an email from the Registrant dated 18 July 2018 in which he stated that he had no intention of working in social work again, that he will not be accepting any further correspondence either from the Staffordshire County Council or from the HCPC and “all postal correspondence will be returned unopened”. Ms Mond-Wedd further told the Panel that the final hearing bundle which accompanied the letter dated 29 April 2019 sent to the Registrant’s registered address, was returned unopened.

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

5. 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 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.

• The Panel has noted the contents of the emails from the Registrant dated 18 July 2018 and 3 October 2018 which clearly indicate that the Registrant did not intend to play a part in the present proceedings.

• 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.

Application to Amend the Allegation

6. 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 29 April 2019 sent to his registered address. She stated that the proposed amendments did not change the substance of the case. She submitted that the amendments, which were amendments to the dates specified in the stem and in particular 4 of the Allegation, were necessary to ensure that the matters alleged in the Allegation accorded with the evidence which the HCPC proposed to call. She submitted further that the amendments 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.

Procedure and sitting in Private

7. The Panel decided to consider the facts, misconduct, conviction and impairment as a single stage and then, if appropriate, to consider sanction separately. The Panel also directed that any material that related to the private life of the Registrant should be received in private but that otherwise this hearing was to be conducted in public.

Background

8. The Registrant was employed as a Social Worker at Staffordshire County Council [the Council] from 16 January 2009 to 16 March 2018 when he tendered his resignation. At all material times he was registered with the HCPC.  The Registrant was in the Safeguarding Team and was responsible for managing a caseload of children who were considered to be at risk of harm.

9. On 8 November 2017, a 19 year old Care Leaver, Person A, made a disclosure to his Personal Adviser, ST, that he had been in a sexual relationship with the Registrant who was, according to the evidence, 34 at the time.

10. On the same day, Person A’s adult birth sister, a teacher, contacted Staffordshire Police to report similar concerns with regards to the Registrant’s relationship with Person A. She said that it was a ‘total breach of power’.

11. The Registrant was suspended on 14 November 2017 and a LADO [Local Authority Designated Officer] Position of Trust meeting was held on the 15 November 2017. Information from Staffordshire Police was provided to the Council to the effect that Person A had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and having no insurance on 7 September 2017. The registered keeper of the vehicle that Person A was driving and the passenger in the vehicle at the time of his arrest was the Registrant.

12. An Internal investigation commenced and SB interviewed (a) Person A’s foster sister (FS ),(b) Friend 1 who worked with the Registrant and knew about his relationship with Person A, and (c) ST, Person A’s Personal Adviser.

13. FS explained that she had introduced the Registrant and Person A at a family party at her sister’s house. Her parents had fostered Person A when he was 8 years old and he had lived with them until he was 16 and therefore they considered him to be a member of their family.

14. SB viewed a number of text messages and emails exchanged by the Registrant and Person A, which evidenced their sexual relationship.

15. SB was also provided with details of a personal contract which Person A stated was drawn up by Registrant in exchange for him taking out a mobile phone contract in his name. Person A showed the contract to ST when he disclosed the relationship. He said he was concerned about the clauses that the Registrant wanted him to sign. He said the contract was on a “word” document and had the Registrant’s name at the top of the contract. ST recalled two of the clauses which were to the effect that if Person A entered into a homosexual relationship the contract would be off and that if he entered into a heterosexual relationship he would have to take on responsibility for the contract. ST was not ever given a copy of the contract.

16. Person A sent a photograph/screen shot of the contract to his birth sister and she forwarded that information to Staffordshire Police when she made her complaint. The Police provided the Council with written details of the complaint she made to the police which included a verbatim account of three of the clauses in the contract, which are set out in particulars 3 a), b) and c) of the Allegation
 
17. On 7 January 2018, it was reported in a local newspaper that the Registrant had been convicted of a drink driving offence and been disqualified for 17 months. It referred to an incident which occurred on 17 December 2017. This was the first time the Council were made aware of the incident. The following week on 15 January 2018, the Registrant wrote to the Council and confirmed in his letter he had been convicted of this offence.

18. The Registrant has submitted two emails to the HCPC. He has admitted being in a sexual relationship with Person A. He admits that during the relationship he became aware that Person A was a Care Leaver, but he did not end the relationship once he knew that. He asserts that the relationship was consensual, Person A was an adult, and that he did not think Person A was accessing any services other than that of a Personal Adviser. He says he has no regrets regarding his actions, other than the impact it has had on his own mental health. He describes the investigation as a ‘witch hunt’, makes it clear that he will not be reading any more correspondence from the HCPC, and says that he wishes to disengage from the process and be removed from the HCPC register.

Summary of the evidence and other material before the Panel

19. The HCPC case was supported by the oral evidence of SB and ST. Both have made written statements which the Panel has seen.

20. SB is currently employed by the Council as a Specialist Safeguarding Unit Team Manager, a role which she has had since September 2011. She was appointed the Investigating Officer in order to investigate the allegations that had been made. She has made a written statement dated 20 December 2018. SB did not interview either Person A or the Registrant. It was considered by HR that it was not appropriate to interview Person A. In the case of the Registrant, it was considered that he was unfit to attend a face to face disciplinary hearing. SB invited the Registrant to attend an investigation meeting on 22 March 2018. She provided a list of the proposed investigatory questions and invited him to respond in writing instead of attending, if that were his preference. The Registrant responded by a letter dated 16 March 2018 informing the Council of his immediate resignation and stating that he would not be responding to or entering into any further communication with the Council. He asked the Council not to contact him again and the Council respected that request. The Panel has seen a copy of the letter dated 16 March 2018.  

21. ST is currently employed, on secondment, with the Council, as a Commissioning Officer in the Families, Communities and Safety Commissioning Team. He began that role on 2 April 2018. His previous and substantive role was working for the Council as a Personal Adviser. He began that role on 14 April 2008 and continued until 30 March 2018 when he began his secondment with the Council. ST was the Personal Adviser to Person A from May 2015 until the end of March 2018.  ST has made a written statement dated 11 January 2019.

22. The Panel was greatly assisted by the evidence of both SB and ST. The Panel found both to be credible and honest witnesses, who were seeking to help the Panel to the best of their respective abilities. The Panel thought that SB had conducted a comprehensive investigation. The Panel further thought that the oral evidence given by ST was wholly consistent with his written statement and that whenever necessary, he was able to amplify his written evidence with oral detail. The Panel noted that ST regarded Person A as an essentially honest person. The Panel accepted that evaluation.

23. The HCPC has produced and relied upon a very extensive bundle of documents. This bundle included documents which had been produced in the course of the internal investigation by the Council. Within the bundle were the email communications from the Registrant already referred to and also the other documents that are referred to in this determination.
Submissions made on facts, misconduct and impairment

24. The Panel received a detailed submission from Ms Mond-Wedd in respect of the facts, misconduct, conviction and impairment. In 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.

• That Registrant’s conduct as set out in the particulars of the Allegation 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, conviction 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. However the Panel has taken into account what the Registrant has said in the two emails to the HCPC already referred to, together with all the oral and written statements attributed to him and contained in the evidence that it has received.

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.

Particular 1 – Found Proved

29. The Panel is satisfied that on the dates particularised in the stem of the Allegation and whilst the Registrant was employed by the Council, the Registrant had a sexual relationship with Person A. In coming to this conclusion the Panel noted the clear admissions by the Registrant of a sexual relationship with Person A as set out in the two emails that the Registrant sent to the HCPC on 18 July 2018 and 03 October 2018. The Panel also noted and accepted the evidence of ST that Person A had told him that he had a sexual relationship with the Registrant, who to his knowledge was a Social Worker. The Panel has also seen text messages passing between Person A and the Registrant, which were provided to the Council by Person A’s foster sister. These messages corroborate the existence of a sexual relationship between the Registrant and Person A. The existence of a sexual relationship between the Registrant and Person A is also confirmed by the entry on the Registrant’s Facebook page referred to below.

30. The Panel is also satisfied that Person A was a “Vulnerable Care Leaver”. The fact that Person A was a Care Leaver was admitted by the Registrant in his emails to the HCPC dated 18 July 2018 and 03 October 2018. That fact is also corroborated by a statement on the Registrant’s Facebook page which states “I had a relationship with a 19 year old boy. Turns out that he was care leaver and still had a support worker”. The Panel also noted and accepted the evidence of ST who explained that Person A had been in long-term foster care.

31. ST said that at the time of Person A’s relationship with the Registrant, he was Person A’s Personal Adviser and in concert with a Social Worker, was supporting Person A until he attained the age of 18. ST further explained that as a Care Leaver, Person A would receive support from his Personal Adviser until he attained the age of 21, though this could continue until the Care Leaver was 25 years of age. 

32. ST explained that a Care Leaver was a person who had been in foster care and as such was entitled to the support of a Personal Adviser until he attained 21 years and that entitlement could be extended to 25. SB also told the Panel that Person A satisfied the legal criteria of a “Care Leaver”.

33. ST also explained and the Panel accepted that at all material times he regarded Person A as a “vulnerable person”. He said that Person A was quite an impressionable young man and potentially was easily led. Person A found it difficult to budget and manage his finances. ST also said that Person A was very isolated, had fallen out with his brother and sister and had no consistent contact with his parents. The Panel also noted the evidence of ST that Person A was lonely, on medication, had overdosed and self-harmed. The Panel also noted that both Person A’s birth and foster sisters regarded Person A as being a vulnerable person. The Panel accepted that assessment.

34. The Panel considered that all the elements comprised in this particular had been proved.

Particular 2 – Found Proved

35. The Panel accepted that there was evidence that the Registrant had taken out a phone contract for Person A. The Panel has seen the minutes of the LADO Meeting  conducted on 15 November 2017 which recorded the fact that Person A’s birth sister had informed both the Staffordshire Police and the Council that the Registrant had agreed to take out a phone contract for Person A, as Person A was not credit worthy. This allegation was corroborated by Person A’s foster sister during an interview conducted on 5 March 2018 of which the Panel has seen the notes.  It was further corroborated by ST’s recollection of conversations that he had with Person A as regards the making of the phone contract and which the Panel accepts. Accordingly the Panel finds this particular proved.

Particular 3 – Found Proved

36. The Panel has found this allegation proved. In coming to this conclusion the Panel noted the information contained in the minutes of the LADO meeting held on 15 November 2017. Those minutes, the accuracy of which the Panel accepts, state that the birth sister of Person A informed the Staffordshire Police of her concerns regarding the conduct of the Registrant. She provided the police with a screenshot of the contract which the Registrant wished Person A to sign and in particular, the three clauses which are set out in this particular. The three paragraphs of Particular 3 accurately reflect the evidence of the birth sister, as set out in the minutes. This evidence was supported by the oral and written evidence of ST as to what Person A told him regarding the contract which the Registrant had sought to persuade him to sign. Accordingly the Panel finds this particular proved in its entirety.

Particular 4 – Found Not Proved

37. The Panel found this particular not proved. The Panel accepted the accuracy of the evidence of ST. The oral and written evidence of ST was that Person A had informed him that he had been arrested for drink driving on 7 September 2017. At the request of Person A, ST was present at court when Person A spoke to the duty solicitor. In the presence of ST, Person A explained that he had been out with his friend Rob [who was later identified as the Registrant]. Person A said that both were under the influence of alcohol. Person A said that he thought that the Registrant was too drunk to drive, so he [Person A] decided to drive them back to his flat. The police stopped the car and as a consequence Person A was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and of not being insured. In the course of his oral evidence to the Panel, ST said that Person A stated that it was he [Person A] who made the decision to drive the vehicle. The Panel accepts the evidence that the car being driven by Person A was the Registrant’s, and that the Registrant was a passenger in the vehicle when it was being driven by Person A. The Panel has seen an email from the police which supports this factual conclusion. The Panel has not been able to find sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that the Registrant “allowed” Person A to act as he did. According to ST, Person A said that the decision was his. The Panel has seen no evidence that the Registrant’s mental state was such that he could reasonably be said to have “allowed” Person A to act in the manner alleged. Accordingly the Panel has found this particular not proved.

Particular 5 – Found Proved

38. The Panel has taken into account the facts found proved in respects of paragraphs 3 (a)-3(c) inclusive of the Allegation. The Panel concluded that the motive behind the creation of such a contract was sexual. In the opinion of the Panel the Registrant’s motive was to preserve and/or to pursue a sexual relationship with Person A. The Panel concluded that the drawing up of the contract referred to in particular 2 of the Allegation was a necessary part of the Registrant’s intention of pursuing and/or preserving a sexual relationship with Person A. Accordingly the Panel found this particular proved in respect of both particulars 2 and 3 of the Allegation. 

Particular 6 – Found Proved

39. The Panel has found this particular proved. The Panel has seen the certificate of conviction from the Newcastle under Lyme Magistrates Court. That certificate is conclusive evidence that on 2 January 2018 the Registrant was convicted of the offence that is set out in this particular.  The offence was committed on 17 December 2017. Moreover the Panel has seen an email from the Registrant to a Council employee, informing the Council of the conviction. The Court ordered the Registrant’s licence to be suspended for a period of 17 months but that period was to be reduced by a period of 17 weeks, if the Registrant satisfactorily completed a course approved by the Secretary of State.  

Decision on Grounds

40. The Panel next considered whether the matters found proved amount to misconduct; if so, whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired by reason of that misconduct and also by reason of the conviction .The Panel took into account the submissions made by Ms Mond -Wedd behalf of the HCPC.

41. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Legal Assessor referred the Panel to relevant case law. The Panel is aware that any finding of 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

42. Having heard the submissions of Ms Mond-Wedd, the Panel found that the Registrant was in breach of the provisions set out in paragraphs 1.7 and 9.1 of the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016).

Maintain appropriate boundaries

1.7 – You must keep your relationships with service users and carers professional.
Personal and professional behaviour

9.1 – You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.

43. The Panel also found that the Registrant was in breach of the provisions that are set out in paragraphs 2.3, 3.1 and 3.4 of the Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers (2017).

Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession

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

Be able to maintain fitness to practise

3.1 – understand the need to maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct

3.4 – be able to establish and maintain personal and professional boundaries

Misconduct

44. 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.   Person A was a vulnerable service user, both by reason of his personal characteristics and by reason of his status as a Care Leaver. This was known to the Registrant. The Registrant’s actions were a serious abuse of his position and of the duty of care that he owed to Person A. The Registrant’s actions transgressed professional boundaries in a manner that was unprofessional and wrong. In the Panel’s view, the Registrant groomed Person A and continued to pursue him after it was apparent that Person A wanted to terminate the relationship.  The Registrant was also in breach of the Standards of Conduct identified above. The Panel has therefore determined that the facts found proved are sufficiently serious as to amount to Misconduct on the part of the Registrant.

Decision on Impairment

45. 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 impaired by reason of that misconduct and also by reason of the conviction referred to in Particular 6. 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 undermined if a finding of current impairment was not made.

46. The Panel has concluded that the Registrant’s current fitness to practise is impaired by reason of the misconduct found and also by the Conviction referred to in particular 6 of the Allegation.

47. The Panel noted that the Registrant has not engaged with the HCPC with regard to these proceedings. He has not produced any evidence of insight into or remorse for his misconduct. The Panel notes that the Registrant states he has no regrets regarding his actions except for the impact on his own health. There is no evidence that the Registrant has attempted to remediate his conduct. In these circumstances the Panel has concluded that there is a serious risk of repetition of the misconduct found. In respect of the conviction, the Panel notes that there are several references within the documentation before it of the Registrant drinking and driving. The Panel has concluded in the absence of remorse, or evidence of completion of a drink awareness course or other remediation, there is a likelihood of repetition of similar behaviour.
 
48. In all the circumstances, the Panel 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 declare and uphold proper standards within the profession required a finding of impairment.

Decision on Sanction 

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

50. 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 proportionality. 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.

51. 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.

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

53. 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, with the exception of the conviction, extended over a considerable period of time and constituted a serious breach of professional boundaries in respect of a vulnerable young person. The Panel reminded itself that the Registrant groomed Person A in that he consistently paid for alcohol, outings and clothes for the young person and took out a mobile phone contract with conditions that related to exclusivity within their relationship. The Panel noted that the Registrant had persisted in pursuing Person A after it was apparent that Person A wanted to terminate the relationship.

54. The Panel kept in mind the fact that the Registrant has not engaged with the HCPC with regard to these proceedings. With the exception of the conviction, the Registrant has denied wrongdoing. He has not provided any evidence of insight, remorse or remediation in respect of either the misconduct or the conviction.  In respect of mitigation, the Panel noted that prior to the events that are the subject of these proceedings the Registrant had an apparently unblemished career in Social Work.

55. Mediation is inappropriate to a case of this kind. 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 in that the behaviour was not isolated, the Registrant has shown no insight and taken no remedial action.

56. 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 and has concluded that it had no confidence that the Registrant would engage or comply with any conditions if imposed. He has provided no evidence of insight, remorse or contrition. He has stated that he does not intend to work as a social worker “ever again”. The Panel concluded that no appropriate conditions could be formulated, given the nature of the misconduct, which would satisfactorily protect the public from risk or address the public interest.

57. The Panel next considered a Suspension Order. It concluded that a Suspension Order would be inappropriate.  The Panel kept in mind its previous finding that there was a real risk of the Registrant repeating both the misconduct which it has found proved and the behaviour associated with the conviction. It has noted that the Registrant has shown neither remorse nor contrition. He has not adduced any evidence that he has sought to remediate his misconduct. In the view of the Panel the public interest would not be served by a Suspension Order.

58. The Panel took account of the following paragraphs of the Indicative Sanctions Policy;
48. Striking off should be used where there is no other way to protect the public, for example, where there is a lack of insight, continuing problems or denial. A registrant’s inability or unwillingness to resolve matters will suggest that a lower sanction may not be appropriate.

49. Striking  off  may  also  be  appropriate  where  the  nature  and  gravity  of  the allegation  are  such  that  any  lesser  sanction  would  lack  deterrent  effect  or undermine confidence   in   the   profession   concerned   or   the   regulatory process.

59. The Panel determined that only a Striking Off Order would serve the public interest and protect the public. In the opinion of the Panel there was no other way to protect the public. In coming to this conclusion, the Panel kept in mind the aggravating factors noted above, the Registrant’s total lack of insight and remorse, the absence of any evidence of remediation and the risk of repetition.

Order

ORDER: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Robert Guy H. Alderson from the register on the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

Right of Appeal

You may appeal to the High Court in England and Wales against the Panel’s decision and the Order it has made against you.
Under Article 29(10) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, any appeal must be made within 28 days of the date when this notice is served on you.  The Panel’s Order will not take effect until the appeal period has expired or, if you appeal, until that appeal is disposed of or withdrawn.

European Alert Mechanism

In accordance with Regulation 67 of the European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2015, the HCPC will inform the competent authorities in all other EEA States that your right to practise has been prohibited.
You may appeal to the County Court against the HCPC’s decision to do so.  Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the date when this notice is served on you.  This right of appeal is separate from your right to appeal against the decision and order of the Panel.

Interim Order

1. Ms Mond-Wedd submitted that the Panel should now make an Interim Suspension Order of 18 months on the grounds that it was necessary for the protection of members of the public and was otherwise in the public interest. She submitted that the letter dated 13 March 2019 giving the Registrant notice of the substantive hearing, informed the Registrant, that in the event of the Panel finding the case against him being well founded and making an order which removes, suspends or restricts his right to practise, it may also make, with immediate effect, an interim order which suspends or restricts his right to practise.

2. The Panel accepted the submission of Ms Mond-Wedd. It accepted that the Registrant has been given notice of the fact that the Panel could now make an interim order with immediate effect. The Panel determined that having regard to all its findings that are set out above, an interim order was necessary for the protection of members of the public and was otherwise in the public interest. The Panel did not think that an interim Conditions of Practice Order was appropriate. Its reasons are precisely the same as those set out above. In these circumstances the Panel concluded that only an Interim Suspension Order would protect the public and declare and uphold proper standards within the profession. The Panel’s reasons include those set out as its reasons for making the Striking Off Order.

3. 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. 

4. 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 Robert Guy Harry Alderson

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
17/06/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off