Mr Benjamin Robert Gaigher

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW25738

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

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

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

Allegation as amended at the final hearing

Whilst registered as a Social Worker and working for the London Borough of Camden, in relation to Service User A:
1. Between 25 May 2017 and 08 August 2017, when you were allocated a ‘‘Concern Episode’’ in relation to Service User A, you did not progress and/or complete the ‘‘Concern Episode’’ in a timely manner.
2. On 15 August 2017, you created a replica of a letter you claimed to have sent to Service User A on 26 May 2017.
3. You uploaded the letter referred to in paragraph 2 above onto the system on 15 August 2017.
4. You advised your employers that you had sent an original letter to Service User A on 26 May 2017.
5. Your actions at paragraph 2 to 4 were misleading and/or dishonest.
6. The matter set out in paragraph 1 constitutes misconduct and/or lack of competence.
7. The matters set out in paragraphs 2 – 5 constitute misconduct.
8. By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practise is impaired.

 

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service of Notice
1. The notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant on 25 February 2019 at his address as it appeared on the register. The notice contained the date, time and venue of today’s hearing.
2. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, and is satisfied that notice of today’s hearing has been served in accordance with Rule 6(1) of the Conduct and Competence Committee Rules 2003 (the “Rules”).

Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant
3. The Panel then went on to consider whether to proceed in the absence of the Registrant pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules. In doing so, it considered the submissions of Mr Foxsmith on behalf of the HCPC.
4. Mr Foxsmith submitted that the HCPTS has taken all reasonable steps to serve the notice on the Registrant. Mr Foxsmith further submitted that the Registrant has not engaged with the HCPC, nor with the HCPTS, and that an adjournment would serve no useful purpose. He told the Panel that all correspondence sent via special delivery to the Registrant had been returned “not called for”. Additional attempts had also been made to serve the Notice of Hearing via email to the Registrant’s known email address. Mr Foxsmith reminded the Panel that there was a public interest in this matter being dealt with expeditiously.
5. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised that, if the Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to notify the Registrant of the hearing, then the Panel has the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. He cautioned the Panel that the discretion was to be exercised with care and caution as set out in the case of R v Jones [2002] UKHL 5.
6. The Legal Assessor also referred the Panel to the case of GMC v Adeogba and Visvardis [2016] EWCA Civ 162 and advised the Panel that the Adeogba case reminded the Panel that its primary objective is the protection of the public and of the public interest. In that regard, the case of Adeogba was clear that “where there is good reason not to proceed, the case should be adjourned; where there is not, however, it is only right that it should proceed”.
7. It was clear, from the principles derived from case law, that the Panel was required to ensure that fairness and justice were maintained when deciding whether or not to proceed in a Registrant’s absence.
8. The Panel was satisfied that all reasonable efforts had been made by the HCPTS to notify the Registrant of the hearing. It is the responsibility of all Registrants to notify their Regulator of any change of address for official correspondence to be sent to them.
9. In deciding whether to exercise its discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, the Panel took into consideration the HCPTS Practice Note entitled ‘Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant’. The Panel weighed its responsibility for public protection and the expeditious disposal of the case with the Registrant’s right to a fair hearing.
10. In reaching its decision the Panel took into account the following:
• The Registrant has not engaged with his Regulator nor with this process;
• There is a public interest that this hearing proceeds expeditiously. Time has been set aside and the tribunal convened to hear this case. Witnesses who were warned to attend, have attended and are ready to give their evidence.
11. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself from the hearing. It determined that it was unlikely that an adjournment would result in his attendance at a later date, in the light of the non-engagement of the Registrant. Having weighed the public interest for expedition in cases against the Registrant’s own interest, the Panel decided to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.

Amendment of Allegation
12. Mr Foxsmith, on behalf of the HCPC, applied to amend the Allegation. 
13. The original allegation referred to the Conduct and Competence Committee by the Investigating Committee, and confirmed to the Registrant, was as follows:
Whilst registered as a Social Worker and working for the London Borough of Camden:
1. Between 25 May 2017 and 8 August 2017, you did not take appropriate actions to safeguard a vulnerable adult Service User (Service User A), when you were allocated a ‘‘Concern Episode’’, in that
(a) You did not complete the ‘‘Concern Episode’’ in a timely manner.
(b) You did not undertake an adequate risk assessment.
(c) You did not provide an adequate rationale for your decision not to take any further actions when you were aware that Service User A had been admitted to hospital.
2. You created a replica letter of a letter you had claimed to have sent to Service User A, on 26 May 2017, and uploaded onto the system in 15 August 2017.
3. You advised your employers that you had uploaded an original letter sent to Service User A on 26 May 2017, when you had not created the letter until 15 August 2017.
4. Your actions at paragraph 2 were dishonest.
5. The matters 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.
14. Mr Foxsmith submitted that the amendments sought were consistent with the evidence before the Investigating Committee.  He said that the amendments were being sought, after obtaining statements from the witnesses, because the amendments would simplify and clarify the allegation without affecting the seriousness of the allegation.
15. Mr Foxsmith told the Panel that the notice of this application was sent to the Registrant via email dated 30 November 2018 and to his registered address. There was no response from the Registrant to that letter.
16. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who advised that it was open to the Panel to amend the allegation, provided the Panel was satisfied that no injustice would be caused by the amendments. The Panel considered that the amendments sought did not change the substance of the allegation. The amendments did clarify the allegation and would not cause injustice, as it is always preferable that allegations are as clear as possible so that registrants are clear what is alleged against them in order for them to respond. The Panel therefore allowed the amendments to be made subject to its decision to keep the dates between “25 May 2017 and 8 August 2017” in order to define the period to which Particular 1 applies. The amended Allegation is as set out at the start of this document.

Background

17. The Registrant commenced work as a locum Social Worker with the London Borough of Camden Council in March 2016 in the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (“MASH”) team.
18. The Registrant is alleged not to have taken appropriate steps in response to a ‘‘Concern Episode’’ raised in relation to Service User A.
19. The Registrant is alleged to have created a replica letter of one which was purported to have been sent to Service User A by the Registrant on 26 May 2017 and uploaded to the online system on 15 August 2017.

Decision on Facts

20. The Panel considered all the evidence in this case together with the submissions made by Mr Foxsmith on behalf of the HCPC.
21. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who reminded the Panel that the burden of proof rests with the HCPC, and that the Registrant need not disprove anything. The Legal Assessor also reminded the Panel that the standard of proof is the civil standard, namely the balance of probabilities. The Panel drew no adverse inference from the Registrant’s absence.
22. The Panel heard oral evidence from the following witnesses on behalf of the HCPC:
• NG, Service Manager of the Adult Safeguarding Team at the London Borough of Camden.
• CS, Service Manager of the Access and Response Service (ARS) at Camden Adult Social Care.
23. The Panel found both witnesses, NG and CS to be honest and consistent throughout their evidence. They were clear, cogent and fair. They both made it clear when they could not recollect certain events. CS also acknowledged that the lack of recorded minutes of his meeting with the Registrant on 18 August 2017, was a learning point for him. Both witnesses said that they thought very highly of the Registrant’s skills, knowledge and willingness to help other members of his team.
24. The Panel firstly considered the stem of the allegation.
Whilst registered as a Social Worker and working for the London Borough of Camden, in relation to Service User A:
25. There was ample evidence that the Registrant was working for the London Borough of Camden and that these matters related to his dealings with Service User A.
26. The Panel then considered each factual particular in turn.

Particular 1
1. Between 25 May 2017 and 08 August 2017, when you were allocated a ‘Concern Episode’ in relation to Service User A, you did not progress and/or complete the ‘Concern Episode’ in a timely manner.
27. The evidence of this Particular comes from the documentary evidence and the oral evidence of the witnesses, NG and CS. The witnesses told the Panel that the Registrant had created a ‘Concern Episode’ for Service User A. The term ‘Concern Episode’ refers to a concern that is received (in this case from the police in the form of a MERLIN report) and the details are inputted into the Council’s internal system as a ‘Concern Episode’. The MASH team can retain the ‘Concern Episode’ or pass it on to the ARS team for action.
28. NG told the Panel that the Registrant decided to keep the case within the MASH team and allocated the ‘Concern Episode’ to himself. NG said that the Registrant recorded that he tried to telephone Service User A and sent a letter dated 26 May 2017. NG’s view was that if a letter had been sent, this would have been sufficient as an initial attempt to make contact Service User A. However, he went on to say that when there was no response from Service User A to those contact attempts, the Registrant should have progressed the case by making further attempts to contact Service User A, or by passing the case on to the ARS team for them to undertake a welfare check visit.
29. In any event, no further action was taken. RB, the Registrant’s line manager, signed off the ‘Concern Episode’ on 9 August 2017 as no further action required. Both NG and CS, expressed surprise that the ‘Concern Episode’ was signed off by RB without comment when there had been a delay and no follow up action. Both NG and CS were clear in their evidence that the period between 26 May 2017 and 9 August 2017 was too long a period for the case not to have been progressed further.
30. The Panel determined that NG and CS are both senior managers who are experienced in dealing with cases of this nature. The Panel accepted the evidence of NG and CS that, between 26 May 2017 and 9 August 2017, the Registrant should either have made more attempts to contact Service User A, or should have transferred the ‘Concern Episode’ over to the ASR team. The ‘Concern Episode’ should have been submitted for review or authorisation by his line manager sooner.
31. Accordingly the Panel determined that the Registrant did not progress the ‘Concern Episode’ in a timely manner, nor did he complete the ‘Concern Episode’ in a timely manner.
32. The Panel therefore found the facts of Particular 1 proven.
Particulars 2, 3 and 4
2. On 15 August 2017, you created a replica of a letter you claimed to have sent to Service User A on 26 May 2017.
3. You uploaded the letter referred to in paragraph 2 above onto the system on 15 August 2017.
4. You advised your employers that you had sent an original letter to Service User A on 26 May 2017.
33. The computer records held on MOSAIC demonstrated that the Registrant had uploaded a file named “[Service User A]-letter.docx” onto the system. This was found to be a letter addressed to Service User A dated 26 May 2017, but uploaded on 15 August 2017.
34. CS told the Panel that he had spoken to the Registrant regarding the document he had uploaded on 15 August 2017. The Registrant told CS that it was a replica of the letter the Registrant had sent to Service User A on 26 May 2017. CS told the Panel that the Registrant said that he normally used a template letter. He would change the details to match that of a new service user. The Registrant had told CS that it was not his practice to save the letter on his laptop but rather he would print out the letter and upload it to the MOSAIC system as a record of the letter he had sent and then post it to the service user.
35. CS told the Panel that the Registrant had said that he could not locate the letter on the system that he had sent. Therefore on 15 August 2017 he had used his template to create what he believed to be a replica of the letter he sent on 26 May 2017 to Service User A, and saved that directly onto the MOSAIC system.
36. Based upon the documentary evidence and the oral evidence of the witnesses, the Panel finds that the facts of Particulars 2, 3 and 4 are proved on the balance of probabilities.

Particular 5
5. Your actions at paragraph 2 to 4 were misleading and/or dishonest.
37. The Panel reminded itself of the Legal Assessor’s advice and the case of Ivey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd t/a Crockfords [2017] UKSC 67, to which its attention was drawn. The Panel took particular note of paragraph 74 of their Lordships’ judgment:
“When dishonesty is in question the fact-finding tribunal must first ascertain (subjectively) the actual state of the individual’s knowledge or belief as to the facts. The reasonableness or otherwise of his belief is a matter of evidence (often in practice determinative) going to whether he held the belief, but it is not an additional requirement that his belief must be reasonable; the question is whether it is genuinely held. When once his actual state of mind as to knowledge or belief as to facts is established, the question whether his conduct was honest or dishonest is to be determined by the fact-finder by applying the (objective) standards of ordinary decent people. There is no requirement that the defendant must appreciate that what he has done is, by those standards, dishonest."
38. It has already been found proven that the Registrant had created a replica of the letter that he claimed to have sent on 26 May 2017. This was done by way of recreating the contents of that letter he believed he had sent and saving it on the MOSAIC system.
39. The Panel heard that when Service User A passed away on 15 August 2017, there was a review of his case. It was clear from the evidence, and from what the Registrant told the witnesses, that a check on the MOSAIC system revealed that there was no copy of a letter dated 26 May 2017 on the system prior to 15 August 2017.
40. The Panel noted that there was an entry in the ‘Concern Episode’:
“Unable to contact [Service User A] with numbers provided. Letter posted to [Service User A] 26-05-17 with contact numbers for social services”
41. It is a reasonable inference that the Registrant created the replica of that letter dated 26 May 2017 in order to cover up that deficiency in his record keeping.
42. Both NG and CS told the Panel that what the Registrant should have done, upon discovering that deficiency, was to have informed his manager about it, and dealt with it formally. Both NG and CS were clear that it was not appropriate to recreate the document and upload it onto the MOSAIC system, as it was misleading, and gave the false impression that the letter was in fact an original letter written and sent on 26 May 2017.
43. The Panel determined the Registrant’s actions in creating a wholly new document, and back-dating that document to cover up a deficiency in the records of Service User A, were misleading.
44. The ‘Concern Episode’ document is not an inconsequential document. It serves as a record of actions undertaken in relation to vulnerable service users, and is expected to be as accurate as possible. It is clear from the evidence that what the Registrant wrote on the ‘Concern Episode’ was false in regard to the letter.
45. The Panel determined that ordinary and decent people would consider the Registrant’s actions as set out in Particular 2 above to be dishonest.
46. The Panel also determined that when the Registrant uploaded the replica letter onto the MOSAIC system on 15 August 2017, it was to conceal the gap in his record keeping in relation to Service User A.
47. Accordingly, the Panel determined that his actions set out in Particular 3 above were misleading and also dishonest by the standards of ordinary decent people.
48. In relation to Particular 4, both NG and CS told the Panel of the evidence that demonstrated that the letter to Service User A dated 26 May 2017 was created on 15 August 2017. They said that when they spoke to the Registrant about it, he was adamant that he had sent an original letter to Service User A on 26 May 2017, despite there being no such letter on the system.
49. CS then drew the Panel’s attention to the print-out of the Registrant’s activities on the network on 26 May 2017. He pointed out that there was no log of the Registrant printing any document on that day.  CS also told the Panel that the manner in which the IT system within the MASH and ARS teams was set up meant that a document could not be printed out from a computer without going through the network, and therefore if a document had been printed out, or scanned, there would be a network log of that activity.
50. The Panel was satisfied on the evidence before it that the Registrant did not print out any document that could have been a letter addressed to Service User A on 26 May 2017. Printing undertaken by the Registrant between 19 May 2019 and 26 May 2017 showed three documents had been printed and none of these had been designated as a ‘letter’. Therefore, the Panel concluded that a letter was not sent to Service User A on that day. 
51. In light of the above evidence, the Panel was satisfied that the action of the Registrant as set out in Particular 4 was intended to mislead his employers that he had sent the letter to Service User A on 26 May 2017, when in fact he had not done so.
52. The Panel was also satisfied that the ordinary decent person would consider the Registrant’s actions to be dishonest.
53. Therefore the Panel finds that the Registrant’s actions at Particulars 2 – 4 to be both misleading and dishonest.

Decision on Grounds

54. The Panel then went on to consider whether the factual particulars found proved amounted to misconduct and/or lack of competence.  The Panel heard the submissions of Mr Foxsmith on behalf of the HCPC.
55. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He referred the Panel to the decisions in the following cases:
a) Roylance v GMC (2000) 1 AC 311
b) Andrew Francis Holton v General Medical Council [2006] EWHC 2960
c) Hindmarsh v NMC [2016] EWHC 2233 (Admin)
56. The Panel was aware that misconduct is “a word of general effect, involving some act or omission, which falls short of what would be proper in the circumstances.” It is also aware that it was stressed that Misconduct is qualified by the word “serious”. It is not just any professional misconduct, which will qualify.
57. The Panel was also aware that not every instance of falling short of what would be proper in the circumstances, and not every breach of the HCPC standards would be sufficiently serious such as to amount to misconduct in this context. Therefore, the Panel has had careful regard to the context and circumstances of the matters found proved. The Panel considered each of the factual particulars in the light of the following circumstances demonstrated by the evidence:
(a) The Registrant is an experienced Social Worker in dealing with vulnerable adults and safeguarding issues under the Care Act.
(b) There were no issues raised regarding the Registrant’s practice prior to these matters.
(c) These matters related to a single case relating to Service User A.
58. The Panel determined that in the light of the evidence before it, the competence of the Registrant was not an issue in this case. It is safe to infer that the Registrant is, at the very least, a competent Social Worker with the necessary knowledge, skill and training for his role on the MASH team. Both NG and CS had no doubt that the Registrant possessed the experience and necessary competence for his role. Both expressed a high regard for the Registrant’s ability and skill as a Social Worker.
59. The Panel determined that Particular 1 could not amount to lack of competence as it did not represent a fair sample of the Registrant’s work.
60. The Panel determined that Particular 1 was serious enough to amount to misconduct in these proceedings. In coming to its decision, the Panel took into account the evidence of CS and NG, both of whom thought the Registrant’s failure to act in a timely manner was out of character. However, the Panel also took into account that the matter related to a vulnerable service user and concerns had been raised about him in the past. The referral had come in from the Police indicating that they thought that Social Services needed to intervene in relation to Service User A. There was insufficient progress on the case, and Service User A ‘got lost amongst the Registrant’s other work’. Part of this was because the Registrant had allocated the piece of work to himself but had not allocated the actual service user. No letter was sent to Service User A and he had not passed the case to the ARS team who could have undertaken a welfare check visit. As a result, the opportunity to reach out and offer support to Service User A was missed.
61. Particulars 2, 3, and 4 must be considered in light of the Panel’s finding that these actions were misleading and dishonest. The Registrant’s dishonesty related directly to his work as a Social Worker. His actions undermined the integrity of the record-keeping system.
62. The Panel determined that Particulars 2 and 3 were part and parcel of one course of action that was designed to portray the replica as the original letter, and its insertion into the MOSAIC system without explanation was designed to give the impression that the letter had been sent to Service User A on 26 May 2017.
63. The Panel determined that actions of the Registrant set out in Particulars 2 and 3 in the context of the intent to mislead and dishonesty were so serious that they amounted to misconduct.
64. The Panel determined that Particular 4, taken in the context of being carried out with the dishonest intention to mislead, was so serious as to amount to misconduct.
65. The Panel determined that the following paragraphs of the HCPC’s Standards of conduct, performance and ethics (2016) were breached:
1.3 – You must encourage and help service users, where appropriate, to maintain their own health and well-being, and support them so they can make informed decisions.
7.6 – You must acknowledge and act on concerns raised to you, investigating, escalating or dealing with those concerns where it is appropriate for you to do so.
8.1 – You must be open and honest when something has gone wrong with the care, treatment or other services that you provide by:
• …
• …
• taking action to put matters right if possible; and
• …
9.1 – You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.
10.1 – You must keep full, clear, and accurate records for everyone you care for, treat, or provide other services to.
10.2 – You must complete all records promptly and as soon as possible after providing care, treatment or other services.
66. Accordingly the Panel finds that all of the facts found proved amounted to the statutory ground of Misconduct.

Decision on Impairment 

67. The Panel then went on to consider, whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired by reason of his misconduct. The Panel heard the submissions of Mr Foxsmith.
68. The Legal Assessor drew the Panel’s attention to the approach set out in the case of CHRE v NMC and Grant (2011) EWHC 927 (Admin), and reminded the Panel that there was a personal and public component when considering whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise was currently impaired. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.
69. The Panel also took into account the HCPTS Practice Note ‘Finding that Fitness to Practice is “Impaired” ’ (2017).
70. For this purpose, the Panel adopted the approach formulated by Dame Janet Smith in her fifth report of the Shipman inquiry by asking itself the following questions:
“Do our findings of fact in respect of the Registrant’s misconduct show that his fitness to practise is impaired in the sense that he:
a) has in the past acted and/or is liable in the future to act so as to put service users at unwarranted risk of harm; and/or
b) has in the past brought and/or is liable in the future to bring the Social Worker profession into disrepute; and/or
c) has in the past breached and/or is liable in the future to breach one of the fundamental tenets of the Social Worker profession?”; and or
d) has in the past acted dishonestly and/or is liable in the future to act dishonestly?”
71. The Panel determined that the answers to all the above questions were in the affirmative in relation to past, and future possible conduct. In coming to its decision it took into account the following factors:
(a) The Registrant is an experienced Social Worker and as such would have been under no illusion that what he was doing was wrong.
(b) The Panel noted that the Registrant had maintained his position to his employer that he did send the letter on 26 May 2017 to Service User A, even after the evidence was to the contrary.
(c) The Registrant has failed to engage with the process and has not attended this hearing to tell the Panel what, if any, insight he has gained into his actions.
(d) The Panel’s view was that dishonesty is difficult to remediate, however with no evidence of remorse, reflection and insight, the Panel can only conclude that there had been no remediation.
(e) This was a single episode in an otherwise unblemished career, however the Panel was of the view that this was a serious breach of the standards expected of a Social Worker.
(f) Due to lack of any information from the Registrant, there is a real risk of repetition.
72. The Panel also determined that the Registrant’s misconduct was such that the need to uphold professional standards and public confidence in the profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made in these circumstances.
73. Therefore, the Panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired on both personal and public interest components.

Decision on Sanction
74. The Panel heard the submission of Mr Foxsmith with regard to sanction. He referred the Panel to the following cases:
(a) SRA v Sharma [2010] EWHC 2022 (Admin)
(b) Bolton v Law Society [1994] 1 W.L.R. 512
(c) Parkinson v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2010] EWHC 1898 (Admin)
75. Mr Foxsmith submitted that the nature of the matters found proved were so serious that the appropriate sanction in this case would either be a period of suspension or a striking-off order.
76. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.  The Panel had regard to all the evidence presented, and to the Council’s Indicative Sanctions Policy. The Panel reminded itself that a sanction is not to be punitive although it may have a punitive effect. The Panel bore in mind the principles of fairness and proportionality when determining what the appropriate sanction in this case should be.
77. The Panel also bore in mind that its over-arching duty is:
(a) to protect, promote and maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of the public;
(b) to promote and maintain public confidence in the Social Work profession;
(c) to promote and maintain proper professional standards and conduct for members of the Social Work profession;
78. The Panel considered the aggravating factors in this case to be:
a) The Registrant has not demonstrated any remorse, remediation or insight.
b) The Registrant was in a position of trust and his misconduct was a serious breach of trust.
c) The Registrant’s actions could have had an impact on his employer’s reputation, who placed trust in him as a Social Worker.
d) The Registrant’s misconduct could have resulted in a vulnerable person being at high risk of harm.
e) The Registrant’s dishonesty was directly related to his role as a social worker.
79. The Panel considered the following to be mitigating features in this case:
a) The Registrant was of previous good character.
b) This is a single incident in an otherwise unblemished career.
c) The witnesses told the Panel that the Registrant was a competent and highly regarded Social Worker.
80. In considering the matter of sanction, the Panel started with the least restrictive sanction and moved up the sanction ladder.
81. The Panel first considered taking no action but concluded that, given the seriousness of the Registrant’s misconduct, this would be wholly inappropriate.
82. The Panel then considered whether to make a Caution Order. The Panel was mindful that these are matters that involved dishonesty on the part of the Registrant in relation to a vulnerable service user. These matters are too serious for a Caution Order to be considered appropriate and such an order would not protect the public.
83. The Panel next considered the imposition of a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel has found that the Registrant has not demonstrated insight into his misconduct. This was not a case where the Registrant’s clinical skills are in question. There are no identifiable areas of his practice, which might benefit from re-training. These are matters involving attitudinal issues, which cannot be addressed by the imposition of conditions of practice.
84. Taking into account all of the above, the Panel concluded that conditions could not be formulated which would adequately address the risk posed by the Registrant, and in doing so protect service users, colleagues and the public during the period they are in force.
85. The Panel went on to consider whether a period of suspension would be appropriate in this case. A period of suspension might have been appropriate if the Registrant had engaged in the process and been able to demonstrate insight into his misconduct such that the Panel could have been confident that there would not be a significant risk of repetition. Unfortunately, that is not the case here.
86. The Registrant has disengaged from the process, and has not provided any evidence of remorse, remediation and insight. The Registrant has breached a fundamental tenet of his profession, namely honesty and the Panel has determined that, without any evidence from the Registrant, there is a significant risk of repetition of his misconduct.
87. In that light, the Panel determined that even the maximum period of suspension would not serve to protect the public in the long term or to protect the wider public interest.
88. Therefore, the Panel is satisfied that the only appropriate and proportionate response to protect the public and the wider public interest in these circumstances is to make a Striking-Off Order.

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Benjamin Robert Gaigher from the Social Worker part of the Register.

Notes

The order imposed today will apply from the expiry of the 28 day appeal period.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Benjamin Robert Gaigher

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
07/05/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off