Mrs Glenda E Gray

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW63884

Interim Order: Imposed on 17 Nov 2017

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 02/09/2019 End: 17:00 06/09/2019

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

Whilst registered with the HCPC as a Social Worker, you:

 

1. Submitted a testimonial purportedly from Colleague A for a HCPC Practice Committee hearing on 03 August 2017 in the knowledge that the testimonial was false.

 

2. Backdated a voluntary de-registration request to the Registrar to 08 August 2017 in an attempt to avoid fitness to practise proceedings.

 

3. While absent and/or off sick for Company A you undertook work for Company B on the following dates:

 

a) 30 August 2017

b) 4 September 2017

c) 5 September 2017

d) 11 September 2017

e) 12 September 2017

f) 13 September 2017

g) 14 September 2017

h) 15 September 2017

i) 18 September 2017

j) 19 September 2017

k) 20 September 2017

 

4. You stored confidential patient records for your work at Company B on a laptop issued by and used in relation to your work for Company A

 

5. Your actions in paragraphs 1 - 3 were dishonest.

 

6. The matters described in paragraphs 1 - 5 constitute misconduct

.

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

Finding

Preliminary Matters

1.At the start of the hearing the Registrant Panel Member, Ms Pearlman, disclosed that she had sat on the HCPC review panel on 3 August 2017 which had heard the review in respect of the Suspension Order previously imposed on the Registrant, and with which particular 1 of the present allegation is concerned. There were no objections and the Registrant stated that she was content to proceed.

Background

2.At the time of the Allegation, the Registrant was a registered Social Worker.  On 26 October 2016 following a Substantive Hearing she was suspended from the HCPC Register for a period of 9 months.  On 3 August 2017, an HCPC review hearing in respect of that decision took place. That reviewing panel, having considered all the information before it, including a testimonial in favour of the Registrant that purported to be from Colleague A, decided to revoke the Suspension Order and it allowed the Registrant back to unrestricted practice.  

3.The Registrant is alleged to have submitted to that review hearing in support of her being re-admitted to the Register, a false testimonial dated 17 July 2017 purporting to be from Colleague A

4.In addition, it is alleged that the Registrant completed a voluntary de-registration (VDR) form, back-dating it to 8 August 2017. The VDR form was received and was date stamped by the HCPC on 7 November 2017. It is alleged that this was an attempt to avoid further HCPC fitness to practise proceedings which had been commenced, and in respect of which an interim order hearing was due to take place on 17 November 2017.

5.It is also alleged that the Registrant was working for a Social Care company, Company B, Skylakes Social Work Limited (Skylakes), whilst absent and/or on sick leave from Company A. Further, it is alleged that the Registrant stored confidential patient records for Company B on a laptop issued by and used in relation to her work for Company A.

6.The Registrant denied the allegation.

7.The Panel heard from two witnesses:

•Colleague A - The Registrant’s Line Manager at Company A

•MB, the former Head of Operations at Skylakes

The Panel also received a written statement from:

•AJ, an HCPC Registrations Manager

Witness 1 – Colleague A (by video link)

8.Colleague A is the Operations Director of Company A, Prospect Training (Yorkshire) Limited.  She explained that the Registrant had been employed by Company A, as an Assessor carrying out training needs analyses.

9.Colleague A said that the Registrant joined Company A on 6 February 2017.  She explained that the end of her employment was not clear as it became known to them that the Registrant had also been working for Skylakes.  She said the Registrant had resigned from Company A and that her last working day at Company A was 8 September 2017, and not 31 July 2017, as stated by the Registrant. Colleague A said under cross examination by the Registrant that she understood that pay roll at Company A made returns each month to HMRC and she stated that pay slips would have been posted out to the Registrant’s home address.

10.Colleague A said that she was not aware that the Registrant had been suspended by the HCPC in 2016. She could not recall a specific meeting with the Registrant on 19 May 2017, where the Registrant said this had been discussed, along with a request for a testimonial.

11.Colleague A told the Panel that she had signed the Registrant’s employment contract, which would have included a notice period of one month, but she could not recall exactly when the Registrant gave notice. She said that it may have been agreed with the Registrant that she leave with less notice. She said that sickness days and absence were not paid to employees such as the Registrant.

12.Colleague A said that on a case by case basis it was possible for an employee, such as the Registrant, to do other work outside of their contracted hours with Company A.  She explained that the issue would have required to be disclosed, discussed and agreed with the owner of Company A, and that all employees were asked to disclose other employment commitments. 

13.Colleague A said she had been the Registrant’s Line Manager and had no issues with her. She stated that she had not provided, or approved, the testimonial dated 17 July 2017 for the Registrant. She pointed out errors in the document. She said she was not the Operations Manager for Company A, as stated in the testimonial, but was the Operations Director. The Registrant was not “responsible” for the Greater Lincolnshire area, as stated in the testimonial, but was part of a team covering that area. Colleague A also stated that it was not her signature that appeared on the testimonial dated 17 July 2017.

14.Colleague A explained that the Registrant returned her mobile telephone and laptop when she had left Company A.  The information on that laptop indicated that the Registrant may have been working for Company B on dates when she had been absent or sick from Company A. 

15.Colleague A said that she first learned about the HCPC review hearing when information, including a testimonial for the Registrant purporting to have been written by Colleague A, was found on the Registrant’s work laptop which had been returned to Company A by the Registrant after she had left. The information on the laptop also included a service user assessment completed by the Registrant for Hull City Council. She stated that this information was found within a “download” folder on that laptop. Colleague A said that had she known about the HCPC issues she would have raised it with her Managing Director.


Witness 2 - MB

16.MB was employed by Company B, Skylakes, as Head of Operations in 2017. He confirmed the employment dates at Skylakes for the Registrant and stated that she was employed as a social worker on a full time basis from 29 August 2017. He said that he was not aware the Registrant was working anywhere else at that time and he recounted his recollection of a call from Colleague A in August or September 2017 when she had advised that the Registrant was still working with Company A.  He understood that the Registrant was subsequently suspended from her post with Skylakes.

17.MB explained to the Panel the data security arrangements required of employees with respect to service user information. He explained that data in the “recycle bin” on the laptop computer the Registrant had used was a concern as the data was still accessible on the computer.  He stated that the information for Company B should never have been stored on Company A’s laptop.

The Registrant’s evidence (by telephone)

18.The Registrant stated that she was employed by Company A on 6 February 2017 and ended her employment there on 31 July 2017.  Her last wage slip was for that date and she said she received no wage slips and no wages after that date.  She said that she had given notice and had followed the proper procedures.  She told the Panel that she had only attended the offices of Company A on two dates, 6 February 2017 and 19 May 2017. The Registrant said she had arranged to meet Colleague A on 19 May 2017 to discuss the testimonial for her forthcoming HCPC suspension review hearing. She said she got on “fine” with Colleague A, although she said Colleague A made her work long hours.

19.The Registrant stated that she had a conversation with Colleague A about the HCPC hearing on 19 May 2017. Although she said Colleague A had been flippant, she said that Colleague A had been busy and had agreed that the Registrant could write a witness testimony for the review hearing.  The Registrant said that Colleague A had agreed to sign that testimony, if the Registrant prepared it. The Registrant said she had sent it to Colleague A by email.

20.The Registrant said she had applied to be deregistered from the HCPC as of 12 August 2017, as she planned to go travelling for three years.  She said that her travel plans had then changed and she had been asked to work by Company B, Skylakes. She said that when she was asked by their compliance team about her employment history, she told them she had worked with Company A. The Registrant said she could not have started at Company B without a reference. She said she had called the HCPC who told her that they had not received the VDR form she had sent, so she had started with Skylakes on 25 August 2017.

21.The Registrant said her own laptop was being repaired when she started at Company B and so she had used Company A’s laptop to complete a service user assessment. Company B then gave her a laptop with security on it and she said she then deleted everything from Company A’s laptop and posted it back to them. The Registrant said that Colleague A had then called her and complained that she had deleted everything.  The Registrant said that 23 October 2017 was her last day of work for Company B.

22.The Registrant told the Panel that Company A contacted her to advise that a service user assessment for Hull Council had been found on the laptop she had returned to them.  She said that Company A had administration rights and had been able to “pull” the deleted assessment from the laptop.  She said that she was later told that Hull Council were content that she complete the work for them.  She said she then re-submitted her VDR form to the HCPC on 23 October 2017. 

23.The Registrant accepted that the testimonial presented to the review hearing on 3 August 2017 had not been drafted by Colleague A but she said it had followed discussions and agreement between them on 19 May 2017. She said that she had written the testimonial and had then sent it by email to Colleague A, who had sent it back to her. She said she had been open and honest with the review panel. She did not recall any signature on the testimonial and said that her version of the testimonial ended before the signature. Having seen the unredacted signature on the testimonial, the Registrant stated that she could not explain how the signature had appeared.

24.The Registrant told the Panel that Colleague A ‘was straightforward and truthful in a business-like manner’. The Registrant also said that Colleague A had left a derogatory voice mail for her in August 2017 and that played a part in the Registrant’s decision to resign from Company A. The Registrant, however, accepted that she had not asked Colleague A about that issue when she had given evidence.

25.The Registrant said she had applied to be removed from the HCPC register with effect from 12 August 2017, to go travelling on 21 August 2017. She said she was not in employment after 31 July 2017 and so had sought deregistration from the HCPC in the VDR form signed and dated by her on 8 August 2017.

26.Although the date stamp by the HCPC on the VDR form stating “received” is dated 7 and 21 November 2017, the Registrant said that she had originally submitted the form to the HCPC in August 2017 and then resubmitted a copy of the same form in October 2017. She said that she was told by the HCPC when she had telephoned them, that it did not matter what date was on the VDR form as de-registration would take place the month the form was received.

27.The Registrant denied she had “stored” patient records on Company A’s laptop as she had deleted the document. She said that she had told Company B that she was using a temporary laptop to complete service user assessments and had followed Company B’s advice. She said it had not been wrong or dishonest to do the work on that laptop.

28.The Registrant said that she currently wished to come off the HCPC register. She denied that she had sent the emails from her email address to the HCPC on 10 and 16 November 2017 regarding her address and stating that she was not registered with the HCPC.

Closing Submissions

29.Mr Foxsmith summarised the evidence for the HCPC.  He submitted that Colleague A and MB gave clear and cogent evidence.  He pointed out that the Registrant’s position is that Colleague A was lying. He invited the Panel to accept Colleague A’s evidence.  He reminded the Panel that Colleague A denied knowing about the testimonial or knowing anything about the Registrant’s Suspension by the HCPC. Mr Foxsmith submitted that the Panel should consider the hearsay evidence of AJ who had provided a signed witness statement.

30.Mr Foxsmith submitted that the Registrant had lied consistently and was dishonest.  He submitted that the Registrant’s evidence had been implausible and was not believable and that she had undertaken deliberate subterfuge. He asked that the Panel to prefer the evidence of Colleague A and MB.

31.Mr Foxsmith submitted that in respect of particular 4 of the allegation the Registrant had said in her evidence that she had completed an assessment for Company B on Company A’s laptop. That was possibly a partial admission, but he submitted that was a matter for the Panel to assess.
 
32.Mr Foxsmith submitted that the Registrant's actions were plainly dishonest. He invited the Panel to make a finding of misconduct in light of the seriousness of the allegations.

33.The Registrant told the Panel that she had stated her position and she had nothing further to add.

Legal Advice

34.The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised the Panel on the approach to facts and to be mindful that the civil burden of proof, the balance of probabilities, rests on the HCPC.  The Registrant need prove nothing. On misconduct, the Legal Assessor referred the Panel to the guidance in Roylance v GMC (No 2) [2001] 1 AC 311 and reminded the Panel that misconduct was a matter for its own professional judgement.

35.The Legal Assessor referred to NMC v Ogbonna [2010] EWCA Civ 1216 and Thorneycroft v NMC [2014] EWHC 1565 (Admin) regarding hearsay evidence. He reminded the Panel that the evidence of AJ was untested, hearsay evidence which they should treat with caution. It may admit the evidence if it considers it is fair, relevant and of assistance to the Panel, and may then attach such weight as it considers appropriate to that evidence.

36.On the issue of dishonesty the Legal Assessor reminded the Panel that the test is as set out in Ivey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd t/a Crockfords [2017] UKSC 67: 

“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".

Decision on Facts

The witnesses

37.The Panel carefully considered the live evidence, the documents before it and the submissions from Mr Foxsmith and the Registrant. It considered the “final statement” from the Registrant and all the documents submitted by her.

38.The Panel found Colleague A credible, open, fair and straightforward.  She was clear and consistent and sought to assist the Panel. She did not appear to have any issues with the Registrant or have any “axe to grind”.  The Panel found her both credible and reliable.

39.The Panel found MB to be consistent and credible.  Although his role was limited, his evidence assisted and he sought to be helpful.

40.The Panel considered the Witness Statement of AJ.  The Panel considered that his evidence is relevant and is of assistance. His evidence is supported by the documentary evidence about the VDR form and the process followed. The Panel concluded that it was fair to admit this hearsay evidence and it decided it shall attach such weight to it as it considers appropriate when weighing and assessing all of the evidence. However, the Panel would have been better assisted by hearing live evidence from AJ.

41.The Panel found the Registrant to be inconsistent in her evidence.  Her answers were frequently diffuse and evasive. Her evidence was not supported by documentary evidence, especially regarding the submission of the VDR forms and the November 2017 emails. Her evidence lacked coherency and, at times, simply did not make sense, such as her explanations about the VDR form being submitted only days after the HCPC review hearing revoking her Suspension. Her denial that she had sent emails to the HCPC from an email address which she admitted was hers, was not plausible or credible.

42.The Registrant raised for the first time in cross examination purported issues about her relationship with Colleague A and the reasons for her resignation from Company A.  The Registrant had not raised this issue before in her evidence, and, significantly, she did not put it to Colleague A. The Registrant’s position on this was not credible and appeared to an attempt to discredit Colleague A. The Panel did not find the Registrant’s evidence credible or reliable.

Particulars 1 - Proved

43.The Panel found that the testimonial had been submitted by the Registrant to the HCPC Review panel.  The Registrant accepted in her evidence that she had done so.  Colleague A was clear that she had not agreed to, approved or written the testimonial presented to the review panel on 3 August 2017 purporting to be from her, and signed by her. The Panel did not accept the Registrant’s evidence that Colleague A had somehow “approved” the testimonial, which the Registrant admitted she had written.   
 
44.The Panel found no evidence to suggest that Colleague A had any motive or reason to lie.  Colleague A’s clear evidence was that she had no knowledge of the testimonial. The Panel accepted that evidence and preferred it to the Registrant’s version of events.

45.The Registrant’s evidence made little sense and she could not explain the signature that appeared on the testimonial she had submitted. It was also clear from the Registrant’s evidence that she had not told the review panel on 3 August 2017 that the testimonial had been written by her and “approved” by Colleague A.  Further, there were errors in the testimonial, such as Colleague A being described as “Operations Manager” rather than Operations Director.  Even if Colleague A had approved the testimonial, which the Panel do not accept, Colleague A would likely have corrected those errors.

46.The Registrant did not tell the review panel that at the time of the review hearing she had given notice to Company A. Despite that, the testimonial purportedly “approved” by Colleague A states that if the Registrant decided to return to social work it would be “a great loss to our training organisation”. That does not accord with the Registrant’s evidence that she had by that time given notice to Company A.  The Panel considered that Colleague A is not likely to have made such a statement in a testimonial made after the Registrant had given notice.

47.The Panel found this particular proved.

Particular 2 - Proved

48.The Registrant claims to have submitted a VDR form dated 8 August 2017, some 5 days after the HCPC Review hearing at which her Suspension Order had been revoked. At that review hearing she said she told the Panel she was keen to return to work as a Social Worker.

49.The Panel saw the HCPC date stamp on the VDR form.  That stamp is dated 7 November 2017, and 21 November 2017.  The Panel had sight of the formal notice from the HCPC dated 31 October 2017 advising the Registrant of a forthcoming HCPC interim order application hearing. It also saw emails between the HCPC and the Registrant dated 9, 10 and 16 November 2017.

50.On 9 November 2017 the HCPC emailed the Registrant about the interim order application hearing due to take place on 17 November 2017, enclosed details of the bundle and stating the email was “as requested” by the Registrant.  On 10 November 2017 the Registrant replied, and asked the HCPC to send “all correspondence to my new address”. 

51.On 16 November 2017 the HCPC sent a further email to the Registrant about the interim order hearing on 17 November 2017. On that same date, the Registrant replied to the HCPC stating “Thank you for your email. I am not registered with HCPC anymore and I did not have a hearing on 8th August”.  Those emails quote the fitness to practise “FTP” reference.

52.The Registrant admitted that the email address used in those emails was her email account at the time.  However, she denied that she had sent the emails of 10 and 16 November 2017 to the HCPC. She did not offer any explanation as to how emails had been sent from her email account to the HCPC about the interim order hearing on 17 November 2017. She also denied receiving the postal notice of 31 October 2017.

53.The Panel did not believe and did not accept the Registrant’s account. Her denial of the November 2017 email correspondence with the HCPC was not plausible or credible.

54.The Panel found, on the balance of probabilities, that the Registrant backdated the VDR form to 8 August 2017 after she had learned of the interim order hearing due to take place on 17 November 2017, having been given notice by the HCPC of that hearing by letter on 31 October 2017 and by email on 9 November 2017. The VDR form is date stamped received by the HCPC on 7 and 21 November 2017.

55.The Panel concluded that the Registrant did know about the interim order hearing on 17 November 2017, and deliberately backdated the VDR form in an an attempt to avoid the pending fitness to practise proceedings. The Panel found this particular proved.

Particular 3 - Proved in part

56.The Panel accepted the evidence of Colleague A and MB.  It considered the documentary evidence. It did not accept that the Registrant had given notice to Company A and left their employment on 31 July 2017.  The review panel did not appear to be aware that was the position at the review hearing on 3 August 2017 and the Registrant did not tell that panel that was the position.

57.The Panel accepted the evidence of Colleague A who said that the Registrant was absent or sick on the dates alleged. It found that the Registrant was working for Company B, Skylakes, whilst still employed by Company A. 

58.The Panel considered what the evidence was as to the overlap of dates when work was undertaken by the Registrant for Company B whilst absent from Company A. Colleague A accepted in her evidence that there was some confusion over the last day the Registrant had worked for Company A and her written evidence was that the Registrant’s last day working for Company A was 8 September 2017.

59.The Panel accepted that evidence. On balance, the Panel found that the Registrant undertook work for Company B whilst absent from Company A on 30 August 2017 and on 4 and 5 September 2017.

60.The Panel found this particular proved as to the dates at parts a), b) and c) only.

Particular 4 - Proved

61.The Panel accepted the evidence of MB about the laptop that had been sent back to Company A by the Registrant. He said that files, including confidential files, were found on that laptop. The Registrant accepted that she had worked on a service user assessment on Company A’s laptop but said she had deleted it. The Panel found this particular proved to the extent of one confidential record.

Particular 4 – Proved as to particular 1, 2 and 3

62.As to Particular 1, the Panel found that the Registrant knew that the testimonial was not written or approved by Colleague A. The Panel accepted Colleague A’s evidence that she had done neither, and that she first knew about the testimonial when it was found on the Registrant’s laptop when it was returned to Company A.

63.The Panel decided that an ordinary, decent person would consider that presenting a false testimonial to your Regulator which purported to be from a particular person when it was not, was dishonest.

64.As to Particular 2, the Panel found that the Registrant in backdating the VDR form was deliberately seeking to avoid and shield herself from the fitness to practise hearing she knew was looming on 17 November 2017. Viewed objectively by ordinary, decent people the Panel concluded that the Registrant's actions in this regard were dishonest.  

65.As to Particular 3, the Panel accepted the evidence of Colleague A  who said that the Registrant had not told her that she had a second job as a Social Worker with Company B.  The Registrant as a registered Social Worker was obliged to be open and honest with her employer.  She was not, and the Panel concluded that the Registrant knew it was dishonest to work for both Company A and Company B whilst employed full time by Company A. Viewed objectively by ordinary, decent people the Panel concluded that the Registrant's actions in this regard were dishonest. 
 
Decision on Grounds

66.Having found particulars 1, 2, 3 (in part) and 4 proved, the Panel next considered the statutory ground of misconduct. The Panel exercised its own professional judgement and accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice. It bore in mind the guidance in the case of Roylance.

67.The Panel found that for each of particulars 1, 2, 3 and 4 its findings in respect of Registrant’s behaviour are serious. The Registrant knowingly presented a false testimonial to her regulator which she had written, she back dated a VDR form to deliberately seek to avoid fitness to practice proceedings, and when working full time for Company A worked, without their knowledge, for Company B. The Panel also found that the Registrant had stored a confidential patient record relating to Company B on Company A’s laptop. In respect of particulars 1, 2 and 3 the Panel has found that the Registrant was dishonest. 

68.The Panel found that the Registrant breached the HCPC Standards of conduct, performance and ethics (2016), in particular standards 5.1 and 9.

5.1You must treat information about service users as confidential.

9Be honest and trustworthy

69.The Panel concluded that its findings of fact, both individually and taken together, are serious. The conduct found proved falls far short of what would have been proper in the circumstances. In respect of three particulars, the Panel found the Registrant acted dishonestly and thus breached a fundamental tenet of the profession. The Panel concluded that its findings amount to misconduct.

Application to Proceed in Absence

70.The Hearings Officer advised the Panel that he had tried to contact the Registrant several times yesterday by telephone using her mobile number. He advised that each time he had obtained the voice mail service and had left a message. Emails had also been sent to the Registrant to advise that the hearing would be proceeding today at 9.30am. No response had been received from the Registrant.

71.Mr Foxsmith applied to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. He submitted that she had voluntarily absented herself. The Registrant has not sought an adjournment nor provided any reason to delay or adjourn the hearing. He submitted that the Panel can be satisfied that the Registrant’s absence today is voluntary and she has waived her right to attend or be represented. She is not obliged to attend. He submitted that an adjournment would serve no useful purpose and there was a public interest in this matter being dealt with expeditiously. He reminded the Panel that the Registrant had engaged and given her evidence.

72.The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised that if the Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to give notice of the hearing, then the Panel has the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. He reminded the Panel that the Registrant is aware of the hearing, having earlier attended by telephone. The Legal Assessor advised that reasonable efforts have been made to contact the Registrant. He advised that the discretion whether to proceed must be exercised having regard to all the circumstances of which the Panel is aware with fairness to the Registrant being a prime consideration, but with fairness to the HCPC and the interests of the public also taken into account.

73.The Panel agreed to proceed in the Registrant’s absence as it is satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so. In reaching this decision, the Panel has noted there has been no request for an adjournment, and the Registrant has not replied to the emails or voicemail messages sent to her by the Hearings Officer. It balanced fairness to the Registrant with fairness to the HCPC and the public interest and concluded that the Registrant has voluntarily absented herself. No useful purpose would be served by adjourning the hearing. In these circumstances the Panel is satisfied that it is appropriate to proceed in the absence of the Registrant.

74.The Decision on Facts and Grounds was handed down.

HCPC Submissions on Impairment

75.Mr Foxsmith submitted that the Panel should find current impairment of the Registrant’s fitness to practise. He referred to the HCPTS Practice Note on Finding that Fitness to Practice is Impaired and made submissions on both the personal and public components of impairment. He submitted there was no evidence of insight, remorse, remediation or regret. There was a need to make a finding of impairment in order to uphold confidence in the profession. He submitted that the Registrant had breached a fundamental tenet of the profession, namely honesty.

Decision on Impairment

76.On fitness to practise, the Legal Assessor referred the Panel to the HCPC Practice Note on Finding that Fitness to Practice is Impaired and to the guidance in CHRE v NMC & Grant [2011] EWHC 927(Admin). He reminded the Panel that on grounds, and on impairment, there was no burden of proof and those were a matter for its own professional judgement. The Legal Assessor stressed to the Panel the central importance of protecting the public and the public interest.

77.In considering its decision on impairment, the Panel was mindful that the purpose of these proceedings is not to punish the Registrant but to protect the public. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and exercised its own professional judgement. It considered the guidance in the relevant HCPTS Practice Note and in the case of Grant, and was mindful of the central importance of protecting the public and the wider the public interest, including public confidence in, and the reputation of, the profession and the Regulator.

78.The Registrant has shown she has not been honest. Honesty and trust are crucial to the role of a Social Worker. It is essential that the public can have trust and confidence in Social Workers who deal with vulnerable people at difficult times in their lives.

79.The Registrant has engaged with these proceedings and given evidence. However, the Panel has found that she lied to the Panel and has found that her actions were dishonest. It has found she engaged in a premeditated and deliberate course of conduct designed to mislead and lie to her professional Regulator. She showed a total lack of concern, or understanding about the risks presented by the storing of confidential patient records in the manner she did.

80.The Panel has no evidence of the Registrant’s current circumstances. It heard no evidence from the Registrant that indicated she had any insight. There was no evidence of any regret, remorse or remediation. There was no apology. The Registrant denied all the allegations and has lied to this Panel. There was no recognition by her of the seriousness of her conduct or of its impact on service users, colleagues or on public confidence in the profession.

81.The Panel has found that the Registrant has, in the past, acted so as to bring the profession into disrepute, has placed service users at risk and has breached a fundamental tenet of her profession, honesty. The Panel can have no confidence that the Registrant has any insight or has addressed her misconduct. It concluded that the Registrant presents a high risk of repetition of her dishonest conduct in the future and her fitness to practise is currently impaired.

82.The Panel had regard to the critically important public interest considerations. Given the misconduct and dishonesty it has found, the Panel determined that it would undermine public trust and confidence in the profession, and in the regulatory process, if a finding of current impairment was not made in this case. Further, there is a need to declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour.

83.Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired on both the personal and public components.

HCPC Submissions on Sanction

84.Mr Foxsmith reminded the Panel of the purpose of Sanction and of the need to protect the public. He referred the Panel to the new HCPC Sanctions Policy (15 July 2019). He reminded the Panel of the risks it has identified, the lack of insight by the Registrant, and the need to consider the public interest, including maintaining confidence in the profession and the deterrent effect of sanction.

85.Mr Foxsmith submitted that nothing short of a sanction of Striking Off was appropriate, but that sanction was a matter for the Panel. He pointed out that the Registrant had previously been suspended from the Register following a finding of dishonesty. He said there were no mitigating factors, and that the aggravating features were dishonesty, repetition of previous unacceptable behaviour, and the potential of harm to service users.

Decision on Sanction

86.The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised it to consider the HCPC Sanctions Policy and to consider sanction in ascending order of severity, applying the least restrictive sanction necessary to protect the public. The Panel must act proportionately and consider any aggravating and mitigating factors. It must be mindful of the public interest and that the primary purpose of sanction was protection of the public.

87.In considering the appropriate sanction, the Panel had regard to its earlier findings of misconduct, and it accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice. It was mindful of the need to act proportionately and it carefully considered the HCPC Sanctions Policy.

Mitigating and Aggravating Factors

88.The Panel found that there were no mitigating factors in this case.

89.The aggravating features it identified were as follows:-

•A pattern of sustained, premeditated, deliberate dishonesty since at least 2016 and at three HCPC Regulatory hearings in 2016, 2017 and at this hearing
•A lack of evidence of any insight, remorse, or apology
•A lack of evidence of any remediation
•Dishonesty gives rise to a potential of harm to service users
•The Registrant's blatant disregard for her professional Regulator
•The dishonesty in the Registrant's reflective piece presented to the 2017 reviewing panel about her insight into dishonesty
•The previous HCPC Fitness to Practice finding in 2016

90.In view of the seriousness of the findings, to take no further action or to impose a Caution Order would not be appropriate. Neither would address the seriousness of the misconduct found proved. Neither would be sufficient to protect the public, to maintain confidence in the profession and the regulatory process, or to uphold and declare proper standards.

91.The Panel next considered a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel has no information about the Registrant’s current circumstances and there is nothing to suggest that the Registrant is willing or able to comply with conditions. In any event, the Panel concluded that the misconduct and dishonesty found proved, and the high risk of repetition identified, cannot be appropriately and proportionately addressed by conditions of practice. Such an order would also fail to uphold public confidence in the profession or the Regulator, and would not serve as a deterrent.

92.The Panel next considered a Suspension Order. The Panel has found that the Registrant breached a fundamental tenet of her profession and that her dishonest conduct was premeditated, persistent, deliberate and sustained. She lied to this Panel, and to the hearing panels in 2016 and 2017. The Registrant has shown no insight, no remorse, nor is there any evidence of remediation. In 2016 she was suspended for 9 months by a panel of the HCPC in respect of dishonesty.

93.In the circumstances of this case, the Panel determined that a Suspension Order was not sufficient or proportionate. It would fail to uphold and declare proper standards, act as a deterrent or maintain confidence in the profession and the Regulator.

94.The Panel determined that the dishonesty found was persistent and deliberate. It was sustained over several years, since at least the 2016 Substantive HCPC hearing, which found the Registrant had lied to it. The conduct has been repeated, and the Panel has found it is highly likely to be repeated in the future, and that is despite the imposition of the Suspension Order in 2016.

95.Given the circumstances where the Registrant has been repeatedly dishonest to her Regulator over several years, the Panel concluded that the dishonesty found is at the most serious end of the spectrum of dishonesty.

96.The Panel concluded, in light of the nature and gravity of the dishonesty and the complete lack of insight, that nothing less than a Striking Off was sufficient to protect the public and the wider public interest.

Order


The Registrar is directed to Strike the name of Glenda E Gray from the Register from the date this Order comes into effect.

Notes

Interim Order:

Decision on Interim Order

1.The Panel heard from Mr Foxsmith and took account of all the information before it. He submitted that an interim order was necessary on public protection and public interest grounds given its decision to Strike Off the Registrant.

2.The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He referred it to the HCPTS Practice Notes on Proceeding in Absence and on Interim Orders and he reminded the Panel that the primary purpose of an interim order was protection of the public and that it was necessary to balance the interests of the Registrant with the need to protect the public.

3.There has been no change in circumstances since the Panel decided to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. The Registrant has voluntarily absented herself. The Panel determined to proceed in respect of the interim order application. The Panel noted that the Registrant had received notice of the possibility of an interim order following a Final hearing in the HCPC notice of hearing sent to her on 21 May 2019.

4.The Panel reminded itself that it is carrying out a risk assessment exercise in light of its findings. It decided that that it would be wholly incompatible with those findings, and with the sanction imposed, to conclude that an Interim Order is not necessary for protection of the public or in the public interest. Given its findings the Panel determined that it is appropriate that a Suspension Order is imposed on an interim basis for a period of 18 months to cover any appeal period. When the appeal period expires this interim order will come to an end unless there has been an application to appeal. If there is no appeal the Striking Off Order shall apply.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mrs Glenda E Gray

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
02/09/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off
09/08/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
14/02/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
23/11/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
28/08/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
31/05/2018 Investigating committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
17/05/2018 Investigating committee Interim Order Review Adjourned
17/11/2017 Investigating committee Interim Order Application Interim Suspension