Ms Akbinder Kaur

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW09570

Hearing Type: Consent Order Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 28/03/2019 End: 17:00 28/03/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Caution

Please note that the decision can take up to 5 working days to be uploaded onto the HCPTS website. Please contact one of our Hearings Team Managers via tsteam@hcpts-uk.org or +44 (0)808 164 3084 if you require any further information.

 

Allegation

While registered as a Social Worker with the Health and Care Professions Council, you:

1. Between December 2016 and December 2017, did not keep case records secure by emailing a number of confidential documents (see schedule A) to your personal email account during your placement with Rutland County Council.

2. Your actions in paragraph 1 constitute misconduct

3. By reason of your misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.


Schedule A
A1. An email from a Service User (unnamed) dated 6 July 2017 A2. A Final Care Plan dated 7
December 2017
A3. An Initial Viability Assessment dated 10 October 2017
A4. An email from the registrant containing a Parenting Assessment dated 21 December 2017
A5. An email containing a Sibling Assessment dated 21 December 2017
A6. A Local Authority Social Work evidence form dated 19 December 2016
A7. A Local Authority Social Work evidence form dated 26 May 2017
A8. A statement dated 2 December 2017
A9. Various Care Plans sent on 7 December 2017
A10. A blank Initial Viability Assessment form sent on 13 December 2017
A11. A Parenting Capacity Assessment on 13 December 2017
A12. A template for Parenting Capacity Assessment
A13. An email on Core Assessments sent on 17 December 2017
A14. A forwarded email containing a 'Form F' dated 21 December 2017
A15. A forwarded email regarding a member of staff dated 19 December 2017
A16. A forwarded email containing Parenting Assessments dated 13 December 2017
A17. A forwarded email containing two Personnel Education Plan dated 14 July 2017
A18. A forwarded email containing a Special Guardianship support plan dated 13 December
2017
A19. An email to BASW Advice and Representation dated 20 June 2017
A20. A forwarded email containing Court statements sent on 17 December 2017
A21. An email containing Reports sent on 19 December 2017
A22. An email containing a Position Statement sent on 2 December 2017

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service and proceeding in the absence of the Registrant

1.  Ms Baldwin, on behalf of the Registrant, accepted that there had been good service of the notice of this hearing. She told the Panel that the Registrant was content for the hearing to proceed in her absence and that she was fully instructed by the Registrant to represent the Registrant’s interests.


Background

2. At the material time the Registrant was employed as a Locum Social Worker with Rutland County Council (“the Council”). The Registrant left the employment of the Council on 21 December 2017. The Registrant is not presently working as a Social Worker but wishes to return to that profession.

3. Upon leaving the Council, it was noted that some work had not been completed. Therefore, the Council accessed the Registrant’s Council email account to retrieve documents.

4. On accessing the account it was noted that the Registrant had sent a number of documents to her personal @yahoo email account, including reports, court statements and assessments. The documents had largely not been redacted.

5. The matter was referred to the HCPC on 18 January 2018.

6. The matter was first referred to the Investigating Committee Panel (“ICP”) on 30 May 2018 who determined that there was a case to answer with respect to the Allegation.

7. Following the ICP decision, the case was transferred to Kingsley Napley LLP for further investigation. The matter was subsequently listed for a final hearing on 28-29 March 2019.

8. On 2 August 2018, the Registrant’s Representative, Mr Marc Walker via email first proposed to resolve this matter by way of a Consent Order by way of a Caution Order. In this email, Mr Walker confirmed that the Registrant admitted the Allegation documented in her reflective statement, had written an apology to the referrer, and completed remedial training in data protection. Mr Walker confirmed that the Registrant was prepared to admit that her fitness to practise is impaired. The Panel has seen that email.

9. Following this request, Disposal by Consent was considered by the HCPC. As part of this consideration, the HCPC consulted with Kingsley Napley LLP to consider their position on the appropriateness of a Caution Order.

10. On 25 January 2019 a letter was sent to the Registrant and forwarded to the Registrant’s Representative proposing that the matter be dealt with by way of Disposal by Consent by way of a Caution Order. On 28 January 2019 the Registrant’s Representative wrote to confirm the Registrant accepted the proposal for Disposal by Consent by way of a Caution Order. The Panel has seen those documents.

11. A further email was sent to Mr Walker on 15 February 2019 attaching the proposed Consent Order for the Registrant’s approval. The Registrant through her Representative agreed with the proposed order in an email on 22 February 2019. The Panel has seen those emails.

12.  The Panel has seen and read the draft of the Consent Order which has led to this hearing, and which is in the following terms;

In respect of the allegation made on 30 May 2018 against Ms Akbinder Kaur (the Registrant):

1.  the Registrant consents to the Panel making the Caution Order against her in respect of that matter on the terms set out below; and

2.  the Council consents to the making of an Order on those terms, being satisfied that doing so would in all the circumstances be appropriate for the following reasons:

(a) the Registrant has admitted the allegation in full and that her fitness to practise is impaired;
(b) the Registrant has demonstrated insight into the matters which led to the making of the allegations against her and has engaged in the fitness to practise process;
(c) the allegation related to an isolated incident in which no service users were harmed;
(d) given the low risk of repetition, the public will be adequately protected by such an Order; and
(e) that such an Order is proportionate in the circumstances.

AND FURTHER TAKE NOTICE that the Panel, with the consent of the parties and, upon due inquiry being satisfied that it is appropriate to do so, now makes the following Order:
That the Registrar is directed to annotate the register entry of Akbinder Kaur with a caution which is to remain on the register for a period of three years from the date this order come into effect.

13. The Panel has further seen and has read the statement from the Registrant dated 25 April 2018. In that statement the Registrant acknowledges that her actions in sending documents to her @yahoo account constituted a breach of the Data Protection Policy and that her email was not a secure account. The Panel has noted the Registrant’s reflection which appears in her statement. 

The Application

14.  Ms Senior and Ms Baldwin submitted that as the facts of this case satisfied all the criteria for making a Consent Order, the Panel should make an order in the terms sought namely to impose a Caution Order on the Registrant’s entry in the register to be effective for a period of 36 months from the operative date.

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

16.  In deciding whether or not to approve the draft of the Consent Order, the Panel has had regard to the Practice Note which the HCPTS had published in March 2018 entitled “Disposal of Cases by Consent”. The Panel has also considered the oral submissions of Ms Senior and those of Ms Baldwin. The Panel has further considered all the documents that have been produced.

17.  The Panel has concluded that the draft Consent Order should be approved and that an order should be made in terms there set out. Its reasons are as follows;

• The Panel is satisfied that by her statement and by agreeing to the draft Consent Order, the Registrant has admitted the substance of the Allegation in full and has done so at an early stage in the fitness to practise process. The Panel has treated the admission as being an admission to misconduct.

• The Registrant has admitted, via her Representative, that her fitness to practise is impaired.

• The Panel further accepts that by her statement and by agreeing to the draft Consent Order, the Registrant has shown both reflection and insight. She has further recognised the serious nature of the allegation made against her. She has acknowledged the potential ramification that her actions could have had on service users and the further impact that this conduct could have on the reputation of and public confidence in Social Workers.

• The Panel accepts that there is clear evidence of the remedial action that the Registrant has taken to remedy the deficiencies in her practice. This is demonstrated through the completion and attainment of a Certificate of Achievement in the Course “The Essentials of GDPR” on 20 April 2018.
• The Registrant has engaged with the HCPC since the matter was first referred and throughout the fitness to practise process.

• No service users were in fact harmed by reason of the Registrant’s misconduct.

• In all the circumstances the risk of repetition is low.

• In the opinion of the Panel it would be disproportionate, having regard to the facts of this matter, to require a contested hearing to take place. Moreover, in the opinion of the Panel, it would be unlikely for a panel at such a hearing to impose a sanction in excess of a Caution Order.

• The Panel is further satisfied that a Caution Order effective for a period of three years would provide sufficient protection to the public and would satisfy the public interest. In coming to this conclusion the Panel considered that the existence of the Caution Order would alert prospective employers as to the importance of identifying the appropriate role to be performed by the Registrant.

• In all the circumstances the Panel concluded that an order in the terms set out in the draft, was the appropriate and expeditious way of disposing of this matter, took account of available resources and provided the appropriate level of public protection.

18.  For all the reasons that are set out above, the Panel has determined to approve the draft of the Consent Order on the terms contained therein and in particular to make a Caution Order against the Registrant which will be effective for a period of 36 months from the operative date.

Order

That the Registrar be directed to annotate the Register to show that for a period of 36 months from the date when this order comes into effect [the operative date] the Registrant Ms Akbinder Kaur is subject to a Caution Order.

Notes

The order imposed today will apply with immediate effect, namely from 28 March 2019.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Ms Akbinder Kaur

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
28/03/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Consent Order Hearing Caution