Ms Angeleque Marie Morgan
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Service of Notice
1. The notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant at her address as it appeared in the register on 8 April 2019. 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 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 Stephens on behalf of the HCPC.
4. Mr Stephens submitted that the HCPC has taken all reasonable steps to serve the notice on the Registrant. Mr Stephens further submitted that an adjournment would serve no useful purpose. He drew the Panel’s attention to the email from the Registrant sent by her on 7 May 2019, indicating that she would not be attending this hearing.
5. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. She advised that, if the Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to notify the Registrant of the hearing, then the Panel had the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. The Panel was reminded of the guidance in the Practice Note “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant”.
6. The Panel was satisfied that all reasonable efforts had been made by the HCPC to notify the Registrant of the hearing. It was also satisfied that the Registrant was aware of the hearing.
7. 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.
8. In reaching its decision the Panel took into account the following:
• The Registrant has not made an application to adjourn today’s hearing and implicit in her email dated 7 May 2019 is an expectation that proceedings today would proceed in her absence;
• The Registrant has engaged with the process but has indicated that she is not attending today’s hearing
• There is a public interest that this substantive order is reviewed before it expires.
9. In the light of the contents of the Registrant’s email, the Panel determined that it was unlikely that an adjournment would result in the Registrant’s attendance at a later date. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself from the hearing. 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.
10. The Allegation speaks for itself and does not need further elaboration.
11. Mr Stephens, outlined the background of the case. He submitted that the Suspension Order imposed in December 2018 was to allow the Registrant and the HCPC to reach agreement on a Voluntary Removal Agreement (VRA). Mr Stephens drew the Panel’s attention to the email received from the Registrant dated 7 May 2019 in which she stated “I do not admit to the allegation as …….a letter was produced to my employer to support a request for sickness leave.” Mr Stephens submitted that the Registrant has not reached agreement on the VRA, hence this Panel should undertake a review of the existing Order today. Mr Stephens submitted that this was the second review of the order since the Registrant was suspended on 21 March 2018. He submitted that the Registrant has still failed to demonstrate full insight into the allegation found proved against her and she has not demonstrated any remediation. Mr Stephens submitted that Panel may find impairment and may consider imposing a Striking Off Order.
12. The Legal Assessor reminded the Panel that its purpose today was to conduct a comprehensive review to determine if the Registrant is fit to return to unrestricted practice. Its role was not to conduct a rehearing of the allegations nor was it to go behind the previous findings. She advised that in carrying out this assessment, the Panel must exercise its own independent judgment.
13. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that if it determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired, then the Panel must go on to consider what sanction, if any, should be imposed. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that if it determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired any of the options under Article 30 of the 2001 Order could be exercised by the Panel. She also advised the Panel that it should bear in mind the principle of fairness and proportionality and have regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy document issued by the HCPC. The Legal Assessor reminded the Panel that any order that it makes under Article 30 should be the least restrictive order that would suffice to protect the public and/or is otherwise in the public interest.
Panel’s considerations and decision
14. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel took into consideration all the documentation before it, and the submissions of Mr Stephens. In particular it noted the following factors: the lack of evidence of insight and remediation on the part of the Registrant. The Registrant’s email of 7 May 2019 indicated that she no longer resides in the UK and has no intention of returning here to practise as a social worker. The Panel noted the Registrant was no longer committed to remaining in the profession in the UK. There is also no information apart from residency regarding the Registrant’s current circumstances, including any continuing professional development since the allegation was proved against the Registrant.
15. The Panel noted that the determination of March 2018 stated that a future Panel may find helpful the following:
• A written reflective piece by the Registrant dealing with the impact of the misconduct identified in the Panel’s Decision on service users, her employer and the Social Work profession and what steps she has taken to prevent such failings occurring again.
• Confirmation that the Registrant had undertaken continuing professional development
• Written references or testimonials regarding her character, trustworthiness and integrity.
16. The Panel noted that the Registrant has not provided any of this information to assist in demonstrating her remediation .The Panel also took the determinations of the previous panels into account, particularly in relation to impairment of the Registrant’s fitness to practise.
17. Dishonesty is a serious matter. However, the Panel recognised that there are different forms of dishonesty, and that it should adopt a more nuanced approach in that respect. Nevertheless, dishonesty can be regarded as an attitudinal issue. The Panel noted that there was no evidence, either before the previous panel or this panel, that this was a deep-seated attitudinal problem on the part of the Registrant. However, in this case the dishonesty found was connected to her employment as a social worker. There was no evidence before the Panel today to demonstrate that the Registrant was not liable in future to act dishonestly again in future. Without some engagement on the part of the Registrant or some evidence submitted on her behalf, the Panel is not able to determine that the Registrant’s insight has developed beyond the finding of the last panel.
18. In the light of all the above, the Panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.
19. The Panel then went on to consider what the appropriate and proportionate sanction should be. It had regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy issued by the HCPC and considered the available sanctions in order of severity, starting with the least restrictive. In the light of the Registrant’s lack of engagement the Panel determined that taking no further action or imposing a caution would not be sufficient to protect the public, nor would either be in the public interest.
20. The Panel considered whether to impose a Conditions of Practice Order but concluded that it would also not be appropriate. This is not a case where there are identified areas of the Registrant’s practice where she lacked competence and that could be easily addressed by conditions. The Panel considered that this was unlikely to change in future, bearing in mind, given the Registrant’s current position that she did not wish to remain on the register, as articulated in her email.
21. The Panel next considered extending the current Suspension Order for a further period. The Panel noted that a Suspension Order would prevent the Registrant from practising during the extended suspension period, which would therefore protect the public and the wider public interest. However, the Panel noted that the second review panel concluded that a Striking Off Order was not appropriate at that time but the next review panel may make such an order.
22. The Panel noted that the previous Suspension Order was continued for six months to allow agreement of a VRA. The HCPC and the Registrant have been unable to agree a VRA following the six months period since December 2018 .The Panel noted the recent correspondence of 7 May 2019 in which the Registrant does not accept the original finding and demonstrates no insight. The Panel noted that the Registrant is currently impaired and has not demonstrated any remediation since the finding in March 2018.
23. The Panel noted that the Registrant has failed to take advantage of the opportunity that was presented to her to remediate or agree a VRA and concluded that no useful purpose would be served by providing her with a further opportunity.
24. The Panel took into account paragraph 41 of the ISP which states,
‘If the evidence suggests that the registrant will be unable to resolve or remedy his or her failings then striking off may be the more appropriate option.’
25. The Panel noted that the Registrant has not worked as a Social Worker for a considerable period of time and was satisfied that she had exhausted the opportunities to demonstrate that she is fit to return to practise. The Panel was also satisfied that the Registrant’s failure to demonstrate any insight and take any steps taken towards remediation strongly indicated that she had no intention of doing so.
26. The Panel also took into account paragraph 48 of the ISP which states:
‘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.’
27. The Panel noted that the adverse findings were limited to the Registrant’s dishonesty in one set of circumstances, where the Registrant considered she was under pressure. However, the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s repeated failure to address the serious concerns that have been identified, the absence of insight and her inability or unwillingness to engage with these proceedings is fundamentally incompatible with continued registration. The Panel concluded that removal from the register is the only means to protect service users and the wider public interest which includes maintenance of confidence in the regulatory process.
28. Accordingly, the Panel concluded that the appropriate and proportionate sanction would be a Striking Off Order.
The Registrar is directed to strike the Registrant from the Register with immediate effect, in accordance with Article 30(2) and (4).
You may appeal to the High Court in England and Wales against the Panel’s decision and the order it has made against you.
History of Hearings for Ms Angeleque Marie Morgan
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|08/05/2019||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Struck off|
|11/12/2018||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Suspended|
|19/03/2018||Conduct and Competence Committee||Final Hearing||Hearing has not yet been held|