Miss Julie Ann Taylor

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW17834

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 03/05/2019 End: 12:30 03/05/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: No further action

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Allegation

 

Allegation

1. On 8 June 2015 at Canterbury Magistrates Court, you were convicted of a criminal offence in that:

 

On 25 May 2017 at Faversham in the County of Kent, you drove a vehicle on a road after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion in your breath exceeded the prescribed limit.

 

2. By reason of your conviction as set out in paragraph 1, your fitness practise as a Social Worker is impaired.

 

Facts proved: 1

Finding

Preliminaries
Hearing part in Private

1. At the outset of the hearing, Ms Dudrah, on behalf of the HCPC, applied for those parts of the hearing which related to the Registrant’s private life, in particular her health, to be in private. Ms Hurd, on behalf of the Registrant, agreed with the application.

2. Having heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, the Panel determined to hear those parts of the hearing where reference was made to the Registrant’s health or personal circumstances, in private. It considered that this was justified in order to protect her private life.

Background

3. The Registrant is a Social Worker registered with the HCPC. She was employed by Kent County Council (the Council) in the Older Persons Physical Disability as a social worker. The Registrant self referred to the Declarations Team at the HCPC who transferred the case to the Fitness to Practise department on 24 April 2017.

4. On 25 May 2015, the police were alerted by a member of the public that a female, who appeared upset had just bought a packet of paracetamol and had entered a vehicle which was parked at the rear of a petrol station. The police approached the vehicle and found the Registrant in the driver’s seat. The engine was running and officers turned off the ignition and took away the keys. She was visibly upset. The Registrant failed the road side breath test that was administered at 20:07 and was arrested.

5. The Registrant was taken to Canterbury Police Station where she provided two breath tests. The lower of the readings was 103 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath; the legal limit being 35 microgrammes. The Registrant stated in her police interview that she had driven from Stoke on Trent to Faversham for work. She informed the police that she had driven to the sea and had consumed half a bottle of wine. She then decided that she needed to buy paracetamol for her back pain and cigarettes. She drove to the petrol station and it was there she felt ‘woozy’ and decided to to park up until she felt better.

6. The Registrant was charged and subsequently convicted on 8 June 2015 at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court of driving a motor vehicle whilst over the legal limit for alcohol consumption. The sentence imposed was a Community Order with a requirement to complete Unpaid Work for 60 hours by 7 June 2016. In addition, the Registrant:

1. was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60; prosecution costs of £85 and a criminal court charge of £150; and
2. was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 23 months.

7. The Registrant was given the opportunity to reduce her disqualification by 174 days if, by 13 September 2016, she satisfactorily completed a driving course approved by the Secretary of State.

8. The Registrant confirmed in an email, dated 5 June 2017, that as she was prohibited from driving for a period of time, she resigned her post at the Council.

9. On 5 November 2018, a panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee (the substantive panel) heard the case. The substantive panel was satisfied that the facts were proved and that the statutory ground of conviction had been established. It found the Registrant impaired on the personal component, given the lack of information in respect of insight, personal reflection, remediation, and the consequent risk of repetition. It also concluded that public confidence in the profession would be undermined if no finding of impairment were made. It imposed a Suspension Order for 6 months.

Decision

10. This is the first review of the Suspension Order imposed at the Substantive Hearing on 5 November 2018 to come into effect 28 days later. This Panel is reviewing the Suspension Order pursuant to Article 30 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001.

11. The Panel considered the submissions of Ms Dudrah, on behalf of the HCPC. She said the the HCPC was neutral on whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired, and it was a matter for the Panel.

12. The Panel considered the submissions of Ms Hurd, on behalf of the Registrant, as well as the Registrant’s written and oral evidence. She said she understood that by not attending the substantive hearing in November 2018, that had been detrimental to the outcome, but she had ’buried her head in the sand’. She had felt ashamed, did not want to acknowledge the situation and had felt overwhelmed by the process. She had taken on board the recommendations of the substantive hearing panel by attending and providing documentation, including a personal written statement with her reflections; a letter, dated 30 April 2019, from her General Practitioner; and a letter, dated 4 April 2019, from the probation service confirming that she had successfully completed the 60 hours of unpaid work imposed as a criminal sentence.

13. The Registrant said that she had reflected over the time of her suspension. She was remorseful of her behaviour and the resulting conviction. She identified that at the time of her conviction, she would not have thought that her alcohol consumption would have impacted on her practice, but having reflected over time, she had come to understand that it could have had a great significance on her practice. She outlined the steps that she had taken to understand and address her health and personal circumstances, and the support strategies which she had developed. She sought to reassure the Panel that there would be no recurrence of her behaviour.

14. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note on Review of Article 30 Sanction Orders. The panel exercised its own independent judgment in determining whether the Registrant's fitness to practise remains impaired. It kept in mind the need to protect the public, to maintain public confidence in the profession, and to uphold proper standards of conduct and performance within the profession.

15. The Panel was impressed by the evidence that the Registrant gave. It was clear to the Panel that she had extensively and thoughtfully reflected on not only her actions leading to the conviction, but also its consequences on the reputation of the profession. The Panel considered that she was clearly in a better position today than she had been around the time of the substantive hearing, which she had not felt able to face. It was also clear to the Panel from her evidence that the Registrant was genuinely remorseful and ashamed of her conviction, and her actions which led to it. The Registrant explained her difficult personal circumstances at the time, but it was clear to the Panel that she was not, in any way, using them as an excuse for how she had behaved.

16. The Panel was reassured that the Registrant had developed meaningful insight into her actions. She understood the detrimental impact of such a conviction on public confidence in the profession. She had also explored issues with her own health and had taken steps to address those issues and put protective measures in place, such that her health was now stable. She had sought input from her GP; she attended well-being and recovery groups; she had implemented a daily routine; and she had support from both family and friends.

17. The Panel considered that the Registrant had demonstrated a commitment to return to work as a Social Worker. During her suspension, she had undertaken e-learning to keep up to date with relevant changes to legislation, had accessed professional material, and was intending to attend courses in respect of liberty protection safeguards and the Mental Capacity Act. It was apparent to the Panel that she had a clear idea of her future career in social work.

18. In light of all of the above, the Panel was of the view the Registrant had remediated her behaviour, such that the risk of repetition was minimal. As such, the Panel did not consider that there was a risk to service users or the wider public. Therefore, the Panel did not find that the Registrant's fitness to practise was currently impaired in respect of the ‘personal component’.

19. The Panel nevertheless went on to consider the ‘public component’ and whether there remained a residual public confidence issue. However, given that there was no ongoing risk to the public, the Registrant had developed meaningful insight, had remedied her behaviour, together with the fact that she had already received a substantive suspension, the Panel concluded that public confidence in the profession would not be undermined if no finding of current impairment was made.

20. In all the circumstances, the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is not currently impaired, and therefore determined to allow the current Suspension Order to lapse on its expiry.

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to allow the Suspension Order on the registration of Miss Julie Ann Taylor to lapse upon its expiry.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Miss Julie Ann Taylor

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
03/05/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing No further action
05/11/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended