Mrs Lindsey Daniels

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW104872

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 16/09/2019 End: 17:00 18/09/2019

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 Health and Care Professions Council and employed by Doncaster Children’s Services Trust as a Social Worker, you:

1) Recorded on the case notes system that you had conducted visits to Service User 1 on the following dates, when these visits did not take place:
a) 06 February 2017;
b) 22 February 2017;
c) 03 May 2017;
d) 18 May 2017.

2) Recorded on the case notes system that you had conducted visits to Service User 2 on the following dates, when these visits did not take place:
a) 08 May 2017;
b) 18 May 2017.

3) Recorded on the case notes system that you had conducted visits to Service User 3 on the following dates, when these visits did not take place:
a) 20 April 2017;
b) 17 May 2017.

4) Recorded on the case notes system that you had spoken to Service User 8 on the following dates, when you did not do so:
a) 14 February 2017;
b) 27 February 2017.

5) Recorded on the case notes system that Service User 8 did not want intervention from a Social Worker, when that was not accurate and/or true.

6) Attempted to close Service User 4’s case on the basis of the inaccurate and/or false information referred to at paragraph 5 above.

7) On 06 February 2017:
a) Carried out the following visits, but did not record your visit(s) on the case notes system:
i. Visit to Service User 11;
ii. Visit to Service User 12;
iii. Visit to Service User 13.


8) On 22 February 2017: a) Carried out a visit to Service User 11, but did not record your visit on the case notes system.

9) Your actions as described at paragraphs 1 - 8 were dishonest.

10) The matters set out at paragraphs 1 – 9 amount to misconduct.

11) By reason of your misconduct, your fitness to practise as a Social Worker is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary matters


Service of Notice


1. The Panel found that there had been good service of the Notice of Hearing by a letter dated 11 July 2019 sent to the Registrant’s registered address which informed her of the date, time and venue of the hearing.


Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant


2. Mr Bridges made an application for the hearing to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. He referred the Panel to the only communication from the Registrant. This was an e-mail dated 14 June 2019 sent in response to an e-mail from the HCPC enclosing a Pre Hearing Form. The Registrant stated “I am not able to complete the form attached to the email as I only have access to my phone and I am unable to edit it from here. To answer the first question though No I do not admit the “facts” of the case.”


3. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant”.


4. The Panel was satisfied that the HCPC has taken all reasonable steps to inform the Registrant of the hearing. It has communicated by the Registrant at her registered address and by e-mail. The Registrant has not given any indication that she will attend the hearing, she has not provided any reason for her non-attendance, and she has not requested an adjournment of the hearing.


5. The Panel decided to exercise its discretion to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant. The Registrant’s engagement with the HCPC has been limited, but the Panel was satisfied that she is aware of the hearing. Although she has not expressly waived her right to attend, there was nothing to indicate that she intended to attend this hearing and has been unable to do so for a particular reason. The Panel concluded that an adjournment was not likely to secure her attendance. Although the Registrant might be disadvantaged by not attending the hearing, the Panel decided that her interests were outweighed by the public interest. There is a strong public interest in the expeditious resolution of the Allegation. The Panel also took into account the interests of the two HCPC witnesses, both of whom were in attendance at the hearing.


Hearing in private


6. The Panel decided to hear part of the hearing in private to protect her private life. This was limited to part of the hearing which related to details of the Registrant’s health and family circumstances.


Notice of Allegation dated 26 March 2019


7. During its deliberations in private the Panel noted that the Notice of Allegation sent to the Registrant did not include particular 7(b) and 8(b) which were included in the HCPC case summary.


The Panel did not seek legal advice from the Legal Assessor or invite submissions from Mr Bridges on this matter because no question of unfairness or prejudice to the Registrant arose. If particular 7(b) and 8 (b) were a matter for the Panel’s determination, the Panel would not have found them proved.

Background


8. The Registrant was employed as a Social Worker in Doncaster Children’s Service Trust in the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Team. The Registrant was employed from 30 June 2015. When first employed she was a newly qualified social worker. She had successfully completed her assessed year in employment under the management of ML, Team Manager.


9. On 19 May 2017, Service User 5 called the CSE Team to ask when the Registrant would next be visiting her daughter, Service User 1. The call was taken by TN, Advanced Practitioner, who reviewed the electronic case file system, Liquid Logic, and found that the Registrant had recorded four recent visits to Service User 1 including a visit on 18 May 2017. TN enquired with Service User 5 whether she had seen the Registrant on any of the four dates recorded and Service User 5 confirmed that these visits had not taken place.


10. On the same date, TN informed ML of his telephone call with Service User 5 and confirmed the content of this by email to ML.  ML the same day proceeded to call other service users on the Registrant’s case load and found that there was further evidence of visits that had been recorded on Liquid Logic, but where the service users did not agree that the visits had taken place.


11. In or around May 2017, MS was appointed Investigating Officer and asked to complete an investigation into the concerns raised. During his investigation, a further concern came to light regarding the Registrant’s mileage claims for visits to Service User 11, Service User 12 and Service User 13 on 6 February 2017, and to Service User 11 on 22 February 2017.


12. On 30 March 2018, Doncaster Children’s Services Trust referred the Registrant to the HCPC.


Preliminary issue on admissibility of hearsay evidence


13. The Legal Adviser advised the Panel that prior to considering the facts of the case it should decide whether or not to admit hearsay evidence relied on by the HCPC. This hearsay evidence consisted of notes of telephone conversations and written signed statements made by the parents of Service Users 1, 2, 3 and 4. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that the admissibility of hearsay evidence is a separate question from the weight to be given to that evidence and of the finding in El Karout v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2019] EWHC 28 that the failure to address the admissibility of hearsay evidence in the circumstances in that case was a serious procedural irregularity.

14. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

15. The Panel carefully weighed the relevant factors and decided to admit the hearsay evidence.

a) The Panel had in mind that the hearsay evidence relates to a serious Allegation of dishonesty which might have a very serious impact on the career of the Registrant if it was found proved;
b) The hearsay evidence was not the sole evidence relied on to prove each of the charges; the HCPC relied on witness statements and other documentary evidence including the Registrant’s electronic diary and her mileage claims.
c) The Registrant was provided with the evidence in advance of the hearing which including the witness statements, bundle of exhibits and the HCPC case summary;
d) Other than her denial of the facts, the Registrant has not challenged the content of the statements of the parents of the service users;
e) The investigation was prompted by a telephone call from SU5, the parent of SU1.
f) The circumstances in which the statements were obtained were very different from those in the case of El Karout. There was care and precision in the recording of the evidence. The parents provided signed and dated statements. The parents were informed of the purpose of the statement. MS explained to each parent orally and in writing that he was undertaking an investigation into whether the recordings made by the Registrant were accurate and truthful.
g) The Panel noted that the evidence relating to Service User 3 did not include a signed statement from the parent. The Panel therefore gave careful and separate consideration to the admissibility of the hearsay evidence relating to this particular. While recognising this difference, the Panel decided that to admit this evidence would not be unfair to the Registrant, given the nature of the explanations and defences she put forward in the course of MS’s investigation.

16. In the circumstances, the Panel decided that it would not be unfair to admit the hearsay evidence relied on by the HCPC.

Decision on Facts


17. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor that the burden of proof is on the HCPC and that the standard of proof is the balance of probabilities. The more serious the charge alleged, the more cogent is the evidence needed to prove it (as confirmed in El Karout v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2019] EWHC 28). Where the Panel found a particular proved, it was satisfied that the evidence was sufficiently cogent, including the allegation of dishonesty which is a particularly serious charge.

18. The Panel heard evidence from two witnesses called by the HCPC, ML and MS. The Panel found that ML was a credible, consistent witness. The Panel found no evidence to support the Registrant’s assertion that ML was part of a conspiracy against the Registrant. ML frankly admitted that there was tension between the Registrant and another social worker within the team although this social worker had not been informed about the investigation into the Registrant and was not involved in it.  She also accepted that she had spoken to the team about bullying. She was adamant that she had not said that either the Registrant or her colleague must leave. The Panel did not detect any animosity or ill feeling from ML towards the Registrant. On the contrary ML described the Registrant’s strengths and said that she liked the Registrant.

19. The Panel found that MS was a credible, clear and reliable witness who made appropriate concessions. He followed up lines of enquiry in his investigation. The Panel was impressed that within his investigation he was looking for evidence to corroborate what the Registrant had told him.

20. During the Registrant’s interviews with MS, her union representative on her behalf suggested that the delay between the visits recorded by the Registrant on Liquid Logic until May 2017 provided evidence of a conspiracy against the Registrant. MS contacted Service User 5 and Service User 6. Both provided a credible explanation for the delay. The Panel did not find that the delay supported the suggestion of a conspiracy or that there was any other evidence of a conspiracy against the Registrant.

21. The Panel was persuaded by the oral evidence of ML and MS that it was appropriate to give weight to the hearsay evidence of Service Users 5, 6, 7 and 8. The parents of the service users had no reason to fabricate their accounts. The Panel rejected the suggestion made by the Registrant that parents were persuaded by members of staff to corroborate claims that she had not visited the children. The demeanour of the service users when giving their accounts to ML and MS gave no cause for concern. ML and MS described the anger of Service User 6 and the genuine concerns of Service User 5. The Panel noted that the initial enquiries made by ML about visits by the Registrant were neutral. The parents volunteered information that the Registrant had not visited their child.

22. The Panel did not give weight to the hearsay evidence which consisted of various entries in the Registrant’s paper diary. This paper diary was in the Registrant’s possession, but she did not provide it to MS until 22 September 2017, after she had been informed about all the dates when it was alleged that she had not made a visit to the service user. In this paper diary there was a record of five of the eight visits referred to in the Allegation. The five entries were all written in blue ink, whereas of the remaining approximately 135 entries only seven were written in blue ink.

23. The Panel noted the overlap in particulars 4, 5 and 6 in that they all essentially cover the same mischief that the Registrant made an inaccurate record of the views and position of Service User 8.

Particular 1

24. All the Liquid Logic notes made by the Registrant of the visits in question indicated that they took place at the child’s home. All four records of the visits to SU1 were typed by the Registrant onto Liquid Logic at varying times. Liquid Logic leaves a hidden electronic footprint showing an audit trail every time a user inputs into the system and accesses records.

25. The Panel found particular 1(a) proved by the evidence of ML, MS, and the documentary evidence.

26. The Liquid Logic record showed that on 6 February 2017 the Registrant wrote an account of a visit to Service User 1. There was no corresponding record of any visit on this day to Service User 1 in the Registrant’s electronic diary or paper diary, and there was no mileage claim.

27. Service User 5 consistently and credibly reported to TN and ML on 19 May 2017 and to MS on 5 July 2017 that no visit took place on that day. Service User 5 confirmed this information in writing.

28. The Panel found particular 1(b) proved by the evidence of ML, MS, and the documentary evidence. The Liquid Logic record showed that on 22 February the Registrant wrote an account of a visit to Service User 1. There was no evidence of any visit on this day to Service User 1 in the Registrant’s electronic diary or paper diary, and there was no mileage claim.

29. Service User 5 was consistent and credible in reporting to TN and ML on 19 May 2017 and to MS on 5 July 2017 that no such visit took place.

30. The Panel found particular 1(c) proved by the evidence of ML, MS, and the documentary evidence. The Liquid Logic record showed that on 3 May 2017 the Registrant wrote an account of a visit to Service User 1. Although there was a record in the Registrant’s paper diary, the Panel did not consider that this evidence was reliable. There was no record in the Registrant’s electronic diary of this visit and no mileage claim.

31. Service User 5 was consistent and credible in reporting to TN and ML that no visit had taken place. Her initial complaint to TN on 19 May 2017 was that there had been no visit to her daughter for several months.

32. The Panel found particular 1(d) proved by the evidence of ML, MS, and the documentary evidence. On Liquid Logic the Registrant recorded in the morning on 18 May 2017 an account of a visit to Service User 1 that afternoon. Her record was therefore made before the visit took place. When MS asked the Registrant about this clear discrepancy the Registrant suggested that she must have entered the wrong date for the visit. There was no evidence to support the Registrant’s suggestion that a visit to Service User 1 took place on an earlier date.

33. There was no entry in the electronic diary or a mileage claim. There was an entry in the paper diary (crossed out), but the Panel did not consider that this evidence was reliable.

34. Again, Service User 5 was consistent and credible in her complaint and her reports to TN, ML and MS that no visit had taken place and she said that there had been no visit to her daughter for several months. Any visit which might have taken place in the few days prior to 18 May 2017 would have been fresh in her mind.

Particular 2

35. The Registrant’s two entries for Service User 2 on Liquid Logic were typed on 18 May 2017 in the morning.

36. The Panel found particular 2(a) proved by the evidence of ML, MS, and the documentary evidence. The Registrant made an entry in Liquid Logic of a visit to Service User 2 on 8 May 2017. Although there was an entry in the Registrant’s paper diary of a visit on this date, the Panel did not find that this evidence was reliable. There was no entry in the electronic diary or a mileage claim.

37. Service User 6 was clear in her reports to ML and MS that the visit on 8 May 2017 did not take place. Both ML and MS had a good recollection of Service User 6 and her anger that the work with her child had not been undertaken as promised.

38. The Panel found particular 2(b) proved by the evidence of ML, MS, and the documentary evidence. The Registrant’s entry on Liquid Logic of this visit recorded the visit at a time before it had allegedly occurred. The time of the visit to Service User 2 on 18 May 2017 was recorded as 16.40 although it was typed at 09.48. The visit to Service User 1 on the same day was also recorded as 16.40 and typed at 09.39. Both these visits could not have taken place at the time specified.

39. Service User 6 was clear in her reports to ML and MS that the visit on 18 May 2017 did not take place.

Particular 3

40. The Registrant’s two entries on Liquid Logic for Service User 3 were typed on 18 May 2017 in the morning.

41. The Panel found particular 3(a) proved by the evidence of ML, MS, and the documentary evidence. The Registrant made an entry on Liquid Logic recording a visit to Service User 3 on 20 April 2017. Although there was an entry in the Registrant’s paper diary for 20 April 2017, the Panel did not consider that this evidence was reliable. There was no record of a visit in the electronic diary and no mileage claim.

42. Service User 7 did not speak to ML or MS. However, TN made a clear note of a home visit on 13 June 2017 in which Service User 7 confirmed that the Registrant had visited only once in February 2017. Service User 7 told TN that she had left messages on the Registrant’s phone, but the Registrant had not returned the calls.

43. The Panel found particular 3(b) proved by the evidence of ML, MS, and the documentary evidence. The Registrant made an entry on Liquid Logic recording a visit to Service User 3 on 17 May 2017.  Although there was an entry in the Registrant’s paper diary for 17 May 2017, the Panel did not consider that this evidence was reliable. There was no record of a visit in the electronic diary and no mileage claim.

44. The Panel accepted the evidence of TN’s note of his home visit to Service User 7 on 13 June 2017 confirming that there was no visit by the Registrant to Service User 3 on 17 May 2017.

Particular 4

45. The Panel found particular 4(a) not proved. The Registrant’s Liquid Logic entry for Service User 4 on 14 February 2017 referred to the receipt of a text message from Service User 8, the parent of Service User 4. The Panel considered the record carefully and did not find evidence that the Registrant had spoken to Service User 8 on 14 February 2017.

46. The Panel found particular 4(b) proved by the evidence of MS and the documentary evidence. On Liquid Logic the Registrant made a record on 01 March 2017 that she spoke to Service User 4 on 27 February and recorded that Service User 8 stated that she felt it was unnecessary for her to visit Service User 4.

47. MS obtained a written statement from Service User 4 in which Service User 4 said that she could not remember the dates. However, she was clear that she did want intervention from the CSE. She had not said that she did not wish intervention for her daughter and had not told the Registrant that she did not want support.

Particular 5

48. The Panel found particular 5 proved for the same reasons as it found particular 4(b) proved. The information was not accurate or true.

Particular 6

49. The Panel found particular 6 proved by the evidence of ML. ML explained that the Registrant did not have authority to close a case, but that there was some discussion between the Registrant and ML in supervision and on the basis of that discussion the Registrant attempted to close Service User 4’s case.

Particular 7

50. The Panel found particular 7 not proved. MS was candid in his evidence that the Registrant’s mileage claim was a low priority in his investigation. He did not contact Service Users 11, 12 or 13 to clarify whether or not the Registrant carried out visits on 6 February 2017. The Panel decided that the HCPC has not proved that the Registrant did not complete the visits, but on the other hand it has not proved that she did carry out those visits. Particular 7(a) requires the HCPC to prove that the Registrant carried out each of the three visits. Therefore the Panel did not find particular 7(a) proved.

51. The Panel would not have found particular 7(b), as set out in the HCPC case summary, proved.

Particular 8

52. The Panel found particular 8 (a) not proved for the same reasons as it found particular 7a) not proved. The Panel would not have found particular 8 (b), as set out in the HCPC case summary, proved.

Particular 9

53. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor on the test for dishonesty as set out in the case of Ivey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd t/a Crockfords [2017] UKSC 67. It considered the Registrant’s state of mind as to the facts at the time of the events and then the question of whether her actions were honest or dishonest by the standards of ordinary decent people.

54. The Panel considered the Registrant’s state of mind at the time of the events. The Registrant’s notes of her visits to Service Users 1, 2 and 3 were very detailed. Those notes were a fiction because no visit had taken place. The Registrant was aware that she was expected to visit the service users on her caseload at least once every three weeks.  The Registrant deliberately created notes to give an impression that she was conducting visits regularly as required. The Panel also concluded that the Registrant’s notes in relation to Service User 4 involved a deliberate fiction because they wrongly recorded that social work intervention was declined. The Registrant knew at the time of the events that the notes she made on Liquid Logic were not true.

55. The Panel therefore concluded that the Registrant’s actions in particulars 1, 2, 3, 4(b), 5 and 6 were dishonest by the standards of ordinary decent people.

Decision on Grounds

56. The question of whether the facts found proved constitute misconduct is for the judgment of the Panel and there is no burden or standard of proof.

57. There is no statutory definition of misconduct, but the Panel had regard to the guidance of Lord Clyde in Roylance v GMC (No 2) 1 AC 311: “Misconduct is a word of general effect, involving some act or omission which falls short of what would be proper in the circumstances. The standard of propriety may often be found by reference to the rules and standards ordinarily required to be followed by a practitioner in the particular circumstances…”. The conduct must be serious in that it falls well below the standards.

58. The Panel considered the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016) and decided that the Registrant’s conduct was a serious breach of standards 1, 2, 9 and 10. The Registrant’s conduct was also a breach of the Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers paragraphs 2.8, 10.1 and 3.1.

59. The Registrant’s conduct was dishonest and she put her own needs before that of vulnerable children, a breach of a fundamental tenet of the profession. The dishonesty took place in the context of the important social work task of visiting and completing records of visits to vulnerable service users. The Registrant’s dishonesty misled the Registrant’s manager and potentially others who may have reviewed the records.

60. The service users were exposed to the risk of harm because they had not been visited regularly. The vulnerability of the service users was that they had been referred to the Registrant because of concerns about sexual exploitation by individuals outside their family. For example, Service User 1 was referred to the team due to internet safety concerns. Service User 1, who was under twelve years old, was alleged to have sent explicit messages to males. ML explained that young service users who are referred to the team require intensive support and that they may not understand that they are vulnerable to or are being sexually exploited. ML described the Service Users in the Registrant’s case load as lower risk, but explained that there was the potential for harm because the work required to support the Service Users and protect them from harm was not being undertaken.

61. Although there is no evidence of actual harm to the Service Users, the Panel found that there was the potential for harm.

62. The Registrant’s dishonesty was elaborate, involving the creation of fictitious detailed accounts of visits which did not take place. The dishonesty was repeated. Her dishonest conduct would be regarded as deplorable by members of the public and the profession.

63. The Panel heard evidence from ML that the Registrant had health problems and had periods of absence from work. This background circumstance did not explain or excuse the Registrant’s dishonesty.

64. In the Panel’s judgment the Registrant’s dishonest conduct (particulars 1-6 and 9) fell well below the standards of a Social Worker and was sufficiently serious to constitute misconduct.

Decision on Impairment 

65. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note “Finding that Fitness to Practice is Impaired”. The Panel considered the Registrant’s fitness to practise at today’s date.

66. The Panel first considered the personal component which is the Registrant’s current conduct and behaviour.

67. The Registrant’s engagement with the HCPC has been very limited and there is no information about her current circumstances, level of insight, or any remediation.

68. Dishonesty is not easy to remedy, and in this case the dishonesty was not an isolated incident. The Registrant was dishonest in relation to the recording of visits for vulnerable service users. The dishonesty was in the course of the Registrant’s professional responsibilities and involved a breach of trust.

69. There was no evidence before the Panel that the Registrant has insight into her dishonest conduct, its seriousness, or its implications. The Panel noted that the Registrant sought to blame others by making an unfounded allegation of conspiracy during the investigation carried out by MS.

70. In the Panel’s judgment the risk of repetition is high. There was nothing which reassured the Panel that there has been a change in the Registrant’s attitude. The Panel therefore decided that the Registrant’s fitness is impaired on the basis of the personal component.

71. The Panel next considered the wider public interest considerations including the need to uphold standards of conduct and behaviour and to maintain confidence in the profession and the regulatory process.

72. The Registrant’s repeated dishonest conduct was a very serious departure from the HCPC required standards of conduct and behaviour. The Panel considered that it was necessary to mark the Regulator’s disapproval of such a serious breach and that this required a finding that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired.

73. A finding of current impairment is also necessary to maintain confidence in the profession and the regulatory process. An informed member of the public would be very concerned by the Registrant’s past dishonest behaviour and the consequent risk to vulnerable service users who did not receive the visits that should have taken place for their protection. The Registrant’s dishonest conduct undermined confidence in her as a Social Worker and in the service provided by the Doncaster Children’s Services Trust.

74. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired on the basis of the personal component and the public component.

Decision on sanction

75. In considering which, if any, sanction to impose the Panel had regard to the HCPC Sanctions Policy (SP) and the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Legal Assessor referred to case law guidance in relation to dishonesty and sanction and the guidance in O v NMC [2015] EWHC that if the more restrictive sanctions are under consideration the Panel should consider and evaluate any mitigating circumstances before dismissing the option of a Suspension Order.

76. The Panel reminded itself that the purpose of imposing a sanction is not to punish the practitioner, but to protect the public and the wider public interest. The Panel ensured that it acted proportionately, and in particular it sought to balance the interests of the public with those of the Registrant, and imposed the sanction which was the least restrictive in the circumstances commensurate with its duty of protection.


77. The Panel decided that the aggravating features were:

• the dishonesty involved a number of service users;

• a pattern of behaviour repeated over a period of time;

• vulnerable service users were put at risk of harm and there was a delay in the provision of support to those service users;

• the absence of evidence of insight, apology or remorse, instead she chose to blame others;

• the nature of the dishonesty, it was active pre-meditated dishonesty designed to mislead;

• a breach of trust.

78. In the Panel’s view the dishonesty was towards the higher end of the spectrum. It could not be described as an error of judgment. It was a cynical series of acts and the Registrant was reckless as to the consequences of her actions. She deliberately by-passed systems which were in place for the protection of vulnerable service users.

79. The Panel decided that a mitigating feature was:

• no fitness to practise history or evidence of prior concerns about the Registrant’s practice.

80. The Panel considered the evidence relating to the Registrant’s ill-health and some other personal difficulties which were outlined by ML. The Panel’s assessment was that these circumstances were not a mitigating feature in relation to dishonesty.

81. The Panel considered the option of taking no action, but decided that the misconduct was too serious and that this option would not address the risk of repetition the Panel has identified.

82. The Panel next considered a Caution Order. The Panel did not consider that the guidance in the SP for Caution Orders applied. The conduct was not isolated or minor and there was a risk of repetition. A Caution Order would also not be sufficient to address the wider public interest considerations because of the gravity of the misconduct.

83. The Panel next considered a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel considered that conditions could not be formulated to address the Registrant’s dishonesty. There is no evidence of insight which would be required for the Panel to consider the imposition of a Conditions of Practice Order. Further, the Registrant has not engaged with this hearing and conditions would not be workable or realistic. A Conditions of Practice Order would also be insufficient to mark the gravity of the Registrant’s misconduct.

84. The Panel next considered the option of a Suspension Order. A Suspension Order would guard against the risk of repetition of dishonesty in professional practice while the Registrant was suspended. However, Suspension Orders may be appropriate where there is a prospect that the Registrant can be rehabilitated to the Register as a safe practitioner. In this case there was nothing to indicate that the Registrant is motivated to take steps to reduce the risk of repetition to an acceptable level.

85. The Panel also considered whether a Suspension Order was a sufficiently severe sanction to act as a deterrent effect to other Registrants and to maintain public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process. The dishonesty in this case was repeated and in the course of the Registrant’s professional work. Members of the public would be very concerned that the Registrant created false records for vulnerable service users. The Registrant was not honestly carrying out her primary task as a Social Worker of ensuring that the children in her care were safe. In these circumstances the Panel considered that a Suspension Order would not be sufficient.

86. Before it discounted the option of a Suspension Order the Panel carefully evaluated the mitigating circumstance it had identified. The absence of fitness to practice history was a minor factor, when weighed against the seriousness of the Registrant’s dishonesty. The Registrant did not have a long history of unblemished service. The Panel therefore decided that the mitigating factor carried little weight and did not indicate that a Suspension Order was appropriate and proportionate.

87. The Panel considered the more restrictive sanction of a Striking Off Order. The Panel noted that the criteria in the SP for a Striking Off Order applied; in particular this case involved serious dishonesty and a breach of trust. The Registrant has not attended the hearing to give reassurances to the Panel that the dishonesty will not be repeated. In these circumstances the Panel decided that a Striking Off Order was appropriate and proportionate. A Striking-Off Order would mark the seriousness of the Registrant’s misconduct, act as a deterrent to other Social Workers, and maintain confidence in their profession.

88. In reaching its decision the Panel took into account the Registrant’s financial and reputational interests, but decided that they were outweighed by the need to protect the public and by the wider public interest considerations. The Panel decided that the appropriate and proportionate Order was a Striking Off Order.

 

Order

The Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mrs Lindsey Daniels from the Register from the date this Order takes effect.

Notes

Interim Order:

Mr Lee submitted that the Panel should hear his application for an Interim Suspension Order in the absence of the Registrant.

The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

The Panel decided that it was fair and appropriate to proceed and hear the application in the absence of the Registrant. The Registrant was advised in the Notice of Hearing dated 11 July 2019 that an application for an interim order might be made. There was nothing to indicate that the Registrant wished to make submissions in relation to this application, and it was in the public interest to proceed.

Mr Lee made an application for an Interim Suspension Order for the maximum period of 18 months to cover the 28 day appeal period and the time that might be required to conclude any appeal.

The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

The Panel decided that an interim order was necessary for the protection of the public. The Panel has identified a risk of repetition and therefore there is a potential risk to the public which is ongoing. The Panel also considered that an interim order was otherwise in the public interest. A member of the public would be shocked or troubled to learn that there was no interim restriction in place.

The Panel did not consider that the risks in this case could be addressed by an Interim Conditions of Practice Order because of its earlier conclusions that conditions would not be workable or sufficient to protect the public and the public interest.
The Panel decided to make an Interim Suspension Order for a period of 18 months, the maximum duration, to allow sufficient time for the disposal of any appeal.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mrs Lindsey Daniels

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
16/09/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off
25/07/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
02/05/2019 Investigating Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
07/02/2019 Investigating Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension