Mrs Jane Rosalind Gordon

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW52320

Interim Order: Imposed on 12 Nov 2018

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

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

As found provena at the final hearing on 12 -13 November 2018:

During the course of your employment as a Social Worker with South West Gloucestershire Council:

1. Between 1 January 2015 and 17 February 2017, you:

a) made incorrect entries relating to your working hours on the Council’s time recording systems;

b) as a result of the incorrect entries, you were paid for a number of hours that you had not worked;

c) the value of the hours which you had not worked was approximately £3,468.

2. Your actions as described in paragraph 1 amount to dishonesty.

3. The matters set out in paragraphs 1-2 constitute misconduct.

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

Finding


Preliminary matters

Service of notice of review hearing

1. The Panel noted that notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant’s registered address on 10 April 2019 which contained the required information regarding the date, venue and time of the hearing. The Panel was satisfied that notice had been served in accordance with the rules.

Proceeding in the Registrant’s absence

2. Ms Dudrah applied for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. Ms Dudrah informed the Panel that no reply had been received to the notice of hearing nor to further correspondence sent to the Registrant by HCPC dated 1 May 2019. Ms Dudrah also informed the Panel that at the conclusion of the substantive hearing on 13 November 2018, the Registrant had informed the Case Officer that she wanted no further dealings with the HCPC and that she would return any correspondence sent to her by the HCPC.

3. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and considered whether to proceed in the Registrant’s absence with the utmost care and caution. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself from this hearing. Further, no application for an adjournment had been made. The Panel took into account that the suspension order will expire on 1 June 2019 and that the public interest weighed heavily in favour of the review being dealt with expeditiously. The Panel considered that no purpose would be achieved by adjourning this review and determined to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.

Background

4. The Registrant is a Social Worker registered with the HCPC. She was employed by South Gloucestershire Council (the Council) from 9 April 2001 to 30 March 2017. During this period she held two roles: from 9 April 2001 to 3 May 2009 she was employed as a Care Manager/Social Worker; and from 4 May 2009 to 20 March 2017 she was employed as a Hay 5 Social Work Senior Practitioner. Her contractual hours were 7 hours and 24 minutes per day. There was a flexi-time policy in place whereby staff, including the Registrant, could accrue time off in lieu. Staff were required to record their start and finish times each day.

5. In September 2015 the Registrant’s manager, PE, noticed that the Registrant was arriving late for work and leaving early but that her time recording of her hours of work did not reflect this. PE raised his concern with the Registrant at a supervision session on 18 September 2015. He advised her to use the automated scanning system to record her hours of work and to stop manually recording her start and finish times.

6. In January 2017, PE again observed that the Registrant was arriving after the start time for her contractual working hours and leaving before they ended. On checking the Registrant’s time recording, it appeared that the Registrant had resumed manually recording her start and finish times. PE concluded that the Registrant was recording times exceeding those which she actually worked. An investigation of the relevant records between 1 January 2015 and 17 February 2017 established that the total number of hours which the Registrant recorded as having worked exceeded her actual time at work by 385 hours, to the value of £3,468.55.

7. The Registrant resigned from her employment on 30 March 2017.

8. The matter was reported to the HCPC, resulting in the current proceedings.

Decision on the Review

Impairment

9. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practice remained impaired. It had regard to the findings of the previous panel and to any new information before this Panel today.

10. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and considered the HCPTS Practice Note on “Finding that Fitness to Practise is Impaired”.

11. As did the previous panel, in determining whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired, the Panel took into account both the “personal” and “public” components of impairment. The “personal” component relates to the Registrant’s own practice as a social worker, including any evidence of insight and remorse and efforts towards remediation. The “public” component includes the need to protect service users, declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour, and maintain public confidence in the profession and the Regulator.

12. With regard to the “personal” component of impairment, the Panel was presented with no information that the Registrant had demonstrated any insight or remediation of her misconduct. Notwithstanding that the previous panel made useful recommendations as to what material would be review to the reviewing panel, no material has been provided. Accordingly, the Panel considered that there remains a risk of repetition of the matters found proved.

13. The Panel also found the “public” component of impairment continued to be satisfied in this case. The Panel considered that public confidence in the profession and in the Regulator would be undermined if there were no finding of impairment, given the Panel’s finding that the Registrant’s actions were dishonest and that the Registrant had failed to provide any evidence of insight or remediation.

14. The Panel therefore found that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.

Decision on Sanction

15. The Panel took into account the submissions of Ms Dudrah on behalf of the HCPC.

16. The Panel adopted the HCPC “Indicative Sanctions Policy” and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was mindful that the purpose of a sanction is not to punish the Registrant but to protect the public and the wider public interest of upholding proper standards and maintaining public confidence in the profession and the Regulator. The Panel applied the principle of proportionality, balancing the interests of the Registrant with those of the public, and considered the available sanctions in ascending order.

17. The Panel had regard to the aggravating and mitigating factors identified by the previous panel. The Panel considered the matter was further aggravated by the Registrant’s non-engagement with the HCPC since the conclusion of the substantive hearing in November 2018.

18. Given the serious nature of the misconduct which involved dishonesty over a prolonged period concerning a significant sum of money, the Panel considered the matter too serious to take no action or for a caution order.

19. The Panel considered that no appropriate or workable conditions could be formulated, given the nature of the misconduct and the Registrant’s non-engagement.

20. The Panel carefully considered whether to extend or impose a further period of suspension. The Panel took into account that suspension is appropriate where a Registrant has shown insight and could remediate her misconduct. A suspension must also have a purpose and be sufficient to protect the public and the public interest.

21. The Panel took into account that the previous panel imposed a suspension order for 6 months to enable the Registrant to reflect on her misconduct and take steps to remediate her misconduct.

22. The review Panel has been presented with no evidence of reflection or remediation by the Registrant who has positively dis-engaged from her Regulator. In these circumstances, the Panel considered that no purpose would be served by a further period of suspension which would not protect the public or the public interest.

23. In all the circumstances, the Panel determined that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction was a striking off order.

Order

Order: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mrs Jane Rosalind Gordon from the Register upon the expiry of the current suspension order on 11 June 2019.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mrs Jane Rosalind Gordon

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
10/05/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
12/11/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended