Mr William I Figuracion

Profession: Operating department practitioner

Registration Number: ODP35018

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 11/08/2020 End: 17:00 12/08/2020

Location: Hearing taking place virtually

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Caution

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Allegation

Whilst registered with the Health and Care Professions Council as an Operating Department Practitioner and whilst employed by North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (previously Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Trust),

1.On or around 17 November 2014, you:

a. Created a certificate of attendance for Health and Safety Training dated 17 November 2014.

b. Provided said certificate to:

i. Pertemps Agency.

ii. Your World.

c. Forged the signature of Colleague B on the certificate in 1a.

2. On or around 18 November 2014, you:

a. Created a certificate of attendance at a Clinical Update day dated 18 November 2014.

b. Stated in said certificate that Manual Handling training was included on the day, when this was not the case.

c. Provided said certificate to Your World Agency.

d. Forged the signature of Colleague A on the certificate in 2a

3. On a date prior to August 2015, you:

a. Created a Confirmation of Training Document.

b. Stated that you had attended Paediatric Life Support on 10 August 2015 when you had not.

c. Provided said certificate to Your World Agency.

4. On or around 16 November 2015, you:

a. Created a Certificate of Attendance for Clinical Update Day dated 16 November

2015.

b. Provided said certificate to:

i. Pertemps Agency.

ii. Day Webster.

iii. Your World.

5. On or around 15 November 2016, you:

a. Created a Certificate of Attendance for Clinical Update Day dated 15 November

2016.

b. Provided said certificate to Your World.

6. On or around 23 November 2017, you:

a. Created a Certificate of Attendance at Life Support and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) training dated 23 November 2017, which you had not attended.

b. Forged the signature of Colleague A on the certificate in 6a.

c. Submitted the certificate you had created to Pertemps agency.

7. Your actions as described at particulars 1 to 6 were:

a. Misleading; and/or

b. Dishonest.

8. Your actions as described at 1 to 7 amount to misconduct.

 

Finding

Preliminary matters:

Application to amend the Allegation:

1.    At the outset of the hearing, Ms Bagott for the HCPC applied to amend the Allegation (i) so that the sub-particulars in Particulars 1 and 2 reflected the chronological sequence of actions alleged, and (ii) in relation to Particular 3, to correct an error in the date in the stem and to amend a word in sub-particular (c) to ensure consistency in the description of the document in question.  

2.    The Panel, having received and accepted legal advice, has decided to grant the application. Mr Walker for the Registrant does not object to the proposed amendments. The Panel is satisfied that the proposed amendments will not prejudice the Registrant in any way as they are each more a matter of form rather than substance.

3.    After both parties had closed their cases and before making their closing submissions, the Panel suggested a further amendment to Particular 3 to properly reflect the evidence that had been given, namely that the Registrant had completed the document in question rather than creating it from scratch. Neither party objected to the proposed amendment or suggested that there was any unfairness or prejudice caused by it.  The Panel following the previous legal advice given regarding amending an allegation, decided to make the amendment.  

Background:

4.    The Registrant was employed as a Band 5 Operating Department Practitioner (“ODP”) by Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which later became the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (collectively “the Trust”).  The matters which form the subject matter of this Allegation came to light when, in December 2017, an employment agency called Pertemps requested verification of two certificates which the Registrant had provided to them.  One of these was a Certificate of Attendance at Life Support and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) training. Due to concerns about the legitimacy of this certificate, the Registrant was spoken to and admitted that he had created the certificate, forged the signature on it and sent it to Pertemps as part of his compliance documentation.  

5.    As a result of this admission, the Trust conducted an internal investigation in line with its Disciplinary Policy, during which further concerns arose in respect of other certificates that had been provided by the Registrant to a number of employment agencies.  

6.    On 18 June 2018, the Trust referred the Registrant to the HCPC. 

 

Evidence:

7.    The Panel heard evidence from four witnesses called by the HCPC and considered documentary evidence. The Registrant gave evidence and produced character witness statements and other documentary evidence. At the outset, Mr Walker on his behalf indicated that save for Particulars 1(b) and 2 (c) which related to alleged forged signatures, the Registrant admitted Particulars 1 to 6.   Particular 7 (a) was also admitted in full.  In relation to Particular 7(b), the Registrant admitted dishonesty only in relation Particular 6; otherwise dishonesty was denied. 

Witness SM

8.    SM has worked at the Trust since December 2014, first as Theatre Team Manager of the Family and Public Health Speciality Team.   Between May 2017 and April 2018, SM was seconded to the role of Clinical Education Lead for the Main Theatre at Peterborough City Hospital (“the Hospital”).  SM conducted the internal investigation into the Registrant on behalf of the Trust. The Panel found SM to be a credible and reliable witness.   She gave her evidence in a balanced way and was careful not to give replies if she was unsure of the answer.   She had a good memory of the investigation she had conducted and there was no evidence that she was in any way biased against the Registrant. Indeed, she had set out certain matters which she considered to be mitigating factors in her investigation report and in her evidence. SM also gave hearsay evidence of what other members of staff whom she had interviewed in the internal investigation had told her. This included hearsay evidence of LS and JT, both Lead Practitioners who had each signed one of the certificates or documents in the Allegation, and from VD, another colleague of the Registrant’s, who could not say if she had or had not signed another certificate on which her signature appeared.   The Panel has no reason to doubt the reliability of their respective accounts as given to SM, particularly as the Registrant himself accepted their evidence. These were professional people and LS and JT had effectively made statements that might have been detrimental to them.  

Expert witness – Fiona Marsh M.Sc

9.    Fiona Marsh is a Questioned Document Examiner and gave independent expert evidence in relation to documents where it is alleged that the signatures had been forged.  The Panel found her to be an experienced witness whose expert evidence was measured and helpful to the Panel. For reasons that will be set out below, the Panel felt unable to act on Mrs Marsh’s conclusions.

Colleague A

10. Colleague A (AO) is employed by the Trust at the Hospital where she has been the Lead Practitioner for Education for the last three years.   Prior to that she worked as a Clinical Educator within the Operating Department. The Panel found Colleague A’s evidence to be credible and reliable although her memory of five years ago is understandably vague.  On occasions the Panel found her to be somewhat cautious in giving her evidence but considers that this may have been a result of being nervous. She took care to give her answers accurately, made it clear if she did not know the answer or could not remember and overall gave balanced and even-handed evidence.   

Colleague B

11. Colleague B (MBT) is employed by the Trust as an Assistant Safety Advisor and is based at the Hospital. In this role, Colleague B deputises for and assists the Head of Non-Clinical Risk Management in the delivery of health and safety support and security support. He also delivers training. The Panel found that in giving his evidence, Colleague B was very clear and definite in his answers.  His evidence was balanced, consistent and the Panel found him to be a credible and reliable witness, although it considers that his memory of detailed events five years ago may not be wholly reliable because of the passage of time.

12. In relation to both Colleague A and Colleague B’s evidence, the Panel noted that it might be difficult for either of them to accept the possibility of having signed a document five years ago which they now know was not a genuine Trust certificate.

Original certificates 

13. During Colleague B’s cross examination, the original of the Certificate referred to in Particular 1 was produced by the Registrant. At the conclusion of Colleague B’s evidence, Ms Bagott on behalf of the HCPC was given time to take instructions as to whether or not to apply to recall Mrs Marsh to look at the originals of the certificates in Particulars 1 and 2 where the signatures were alleged to have been forged by the Registrant.   In the event, Ms Bagott did not apply to adjourn for this purpose but she did invite the Panel to consider whether it would be assisted by further evidence from Mrs Marsh. Mr Walker for the Registrant opposed any adjournment in order for Mrs Marsh to be recalled, on grounds of fairness to the Registrant and delay to the hearing.

14. The Panel was also invited by Ms Bagott to take the two original certificates to check that the copy certificates in the exhibit bundle on which the HCPC was relying were copies of those originals. The Panel is satisfied that they are. 

15. The Panel received and accepted legal advice. It has had in mind that the proceedings are brought by the HCPC which has the burden of proving its case against the Registrant. The HCPC has stated that it is content to rely on copies of the original documents and has never asked the Registrant to produce these so that they could be forensically examined.  The Panel noted that the originals were freely produced by the Registrant.  The first certificate was produced while Colleague B was giving his evidence and as a result of something he had said.  The second certificate referred to in Particular 2 was produced to the Panel the following day.  The Panel took the view that it was not for it to help the HCPC with its case.  There was also a clear public interest in cases being heard expeditiously and to have recalled Mrs Marsh would have resulted in it not being possible to complete the case in the allotted time. The Panel was also satisfied that it was not unfair to either party for the proceedings to continue on the basis of the evidence  Mrs Marsh had already given in light of her evidence that sight of the originals would not affect her conclusions in this case.  The Panel therefore declined the HCPC’s invitation to recall Mrs Marsh.

The Registrant

16. The Registrant gave evidence. The Panel found the Registrant to have given a consistent account from the initial investigation onwards, including his oral evidence to this Panel.  His consistency continued during cross examination and Panel questions. The only time when he said something which differed from his statements to the Trust was when he suggested he had used the words “can you sign my self-made certificate” to Colleague B. He reflected on this answer during a break and then corrected himself, saying that the words he had used may have been “will you sign my certificate”. The Panel does not consider that this correction undermines his credibility. The Panel also notes that there were a few occasions when his answers appeared to be somewhat careless; whether this was a result of nervousness or whether he had not fully understood the question (although he did not say so), is unclear.  Overall, the Panel found him to be credible as a witness.  They considered that he was very aware of the hierarchy within the Hospital and within his own department, so much so that he considered practitioners in the Band above his own to be far above him in that hierarchy and he tended to be overly deferential as a result. He was nervous when giving his evidence and anxious to please, but the Panel found his explanations to be genuine, although they did demonstrate his significant naivety in relation to producing his own certificates of attendance. He repeated his admissions and repeatedly apologised for his mistakes.    

17. The Registrant produced character witness statements from people who knew him both personally, and/or professionally. All apart from one of these witnesses know of the nature of the allegations which the Registrant is facing in this hearing. What they said about the Registrant confirmed the Panel’s view of his credibility.

 

Decision on Facts:

Particular 1(a) was found proved

18. The Panel has seen a Certificate of Attendance for Health and Safety Training dated 17 November 2014 which purports to certify that the Registrant attended training on that date.  The Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague B that the Trust does not routinely provide certificates of attendance for either Health and Safety Induction or Health and Safety Awareness training. It accepts Colleague B’s evidence that there are errors in the wording of the name of the course and in his job title and department on the certificate. The Panel also accepts the Registrant’s admission at the outset of the proceedings and repeated in his evidence that he created this certificate himself.

19. The Panel therefore finds this Particular proved.

Particular 1(b) was found not proved

20. In relation to forgery, the Panel received and accepted legal advice as to the definition of forgery and how to approach this matter. This involved answering two questions; i) whether it was more likely than not that the Registrant wrote the signature of Colleague B and/or A on the certificate and ii) if he did, is it more likely than not that the Registrant when he wrote the signature did so with the intention of using it a) to induce somebody to accept it as genuine; and b) by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person’s prejudice. The Panel has decided on balance, that it is not persuaded that the Registrant wrote the signature.  Even had the Panel found that the Registrant had written Colleague B’s signature, it would not have found this to have been a forgery as there was no evidence of the relevant intention required for forgery at the time the certificate had been created. He did not “use” the certificate until almost a year later when he registered with Pertemps.

21. The Panel accepts the Registrant’s evidence that he had created the certificate in order to put it into a Continuing Professional Development portfolio (CPD) which he had started to put together for his own purposes.  He did not provide a copy of this certificate to Pertemps Agency until after he had registered with them, which according to the Registrant was in September or October 2015.  The Panel takes the view that as the Registrant had attended the training in question, he had no obvious reason to forge the signature on the certificate.  It notes that the name of the trainer is not printed on the certificate, only that he was a Health and Safety “Officer” (his correct title was Assistant Safety Advisor). The Panel considers that if the Registrant had intended to deceive Pertemps by forging a signature, he would have typed the name as well in order to give it a more apparently official appearance, as he did on the certificate where he admits forging Colleague A’s signature (Particular 6). 

22. The Panel also accepts the Registrant’s evidence that, at the time, he genuinely did not think there was anything wrong in creating a certificate himself. The Panel notes that after November 2014, the Registrant had asked two or three members of staff who were each senior to him, to sign similar certificates in 2015 and 2016. It accepts his evidence that if he had thought there was anything wrong in creating a certificate, he would not have done so. The Panel asked itself rhetorically “why forge a signature on a certificate in November 2014 particularly if he had attended the training, and then ask colleagues to sign other homemade certificates over subsequent years?”  

23. The Panel has considered with care the evidence of Colleague B on the matter of the signature on this document.  At the time when this matter first came to light, Colleague B was unable to say if it was his signature although he had spotted that it was not a genuine certificate, pointing out that his title and department were incorrect.   At that time, he did not mention that the name of the course was also incorrect. In front of the Panel, Colleague B became increasingly certain in his evidence that he would not have signed the certificate.  When seen by SM as part of the internal investigation in January 2018, Colleague B was unable to recall signing the certificate.  He said that at first look he did recognise the signature but on closer inspection “he felt less able to be certain he had signed it, although it was close…”.  The Panel takes the view that Colleague B, who was new in the Health and Safety role back in 2014, has, with the benefit of hindsight, become convinced that he would not have signed it. The Panel accepts his evidence that he would sign timesheets for Bank staff at the end of training sessions and that he might have signed these kneeling down or on a lectern.   The Panel notes that Colleague B is now convinced that he would not have signed the certificate for the Registrant. However, the Panel is not satisfied that, just because five years later and being alive to the issues, he would not now sign such a certificate, this excludes the possibility that he did so back in November 2014 and now has no recollection of it.

24. The Panel acknowledges Mrs Marsh’s experience and expertise in the examination of handwriting. As Mrs Marsh explained, her examination of the signature on the certificate was on a copy document.  When asked she made it clear that having sight of the original would not have altered her conclusions. She stated “differences don’t become similarities”. The Panel notes that her finding is in relation to one signature only, and on her qualitative scale describing the strength of the evidence (which contains 6 different levels with 1 being conclusive and 6 being no evidence), she has concluded that there was strong evidence (level 3 in the list) that Colleague B had not written the signature in question. The Panel appreciates that there is a measure of imprecision in the assessment of handwriting and particularly signatures. So even though Mrs Marsh’s conclusion on its own might satisfy the civil test of proof, her evidence is not the only evidence the Panel has to consider on this point.  The Panel has decided that, on balance and bearing in mind the evidence of both Colleague B and that of the Registrant which it accepts (referred to in paragraph 21 and 22 above), it cannot rely on Mrs Marsh’s conclusion with regard to this signature. It considers that it is more likely than not that Colleague B wrote the signature and he has now forgotten that this is what happened. The Panel therefore finds this Particular not proved.

Particular 1 (c)(i) and (ii) were found proved

25. The Panel has considered each of the sub-paragraphs of this Particular separately. The Panel accepts the evidence of SM that during her internal investigation she had asked Pertemps Agency and Your World for copies of all training certificates provided to them by the Registrant.  Those agencies provided her with various training certificates which the Registrant had provided to them, including this certificate.  SM had also seen this certificate in the Registrant’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) portfolio which he had produced for her during her first interview with him.  The Panel also accepts the Registrant’s admission given at the outset of the proceedings and repeated in his evidence that he had provided copies of the certificate to Pertemps Agency and to Your World. In these circumstances, the Panel is satisfied that this Particular is proved in its entirety.

 

Particular 2 (a) was found proved

26. The Panel has seen a certificate of attendance at a Clinical Update Day dated 18 November 2014. It accepts the evidence of SM that the Trust does not provide certificates of attendance for Clinical Update Days.  It also accepts the Registrant’s admission made at the outset of the proceedings and repeated in his evidence that he had created this Certificate of Attendance. The Panel therefore finds this Particular proved.

 

Particular 2 (b) was found proved

27. The Panel accepts the evidence of SM that she checked the relevant Trust documents and Manual Handling training had not been included in the training given as part of the Clinical Update Day on 18 November 2014. It is clear from the face of the certificate that Manual Handling was listed as one of the sessions provided as part of the training on that date. The Panel also relies on the Registrant’s admission given at the outset of the proceedings and repeated in his evidence that he had included Manual Handling training in the list of sessions for that day when it had not been.   In these circumstances, the Panel finds this Particular proved.      

 

Particular 2(c) was not found proved

28. In reaching its decision on this Particular the first question the Panel considered was whether it was more likely than not that the Registrant wrote the signature of Colleague A on the certificate.   The Panel has decided that on balance, the evidence does not persuade it the Registrant wrote the signature. Even if  the Panel had found that the Registrant had written Colleague A’s signature, it would not have found this to have been a forgery as there was no evidence of the relevant intention required for forgery at the time the certificate had been created.  

29. The Panel accepts the Registrant’s evidence that he had created this certificate in order to put into a CPD portfolio which he had started to put together for his own purposes.  He did not provide a copy of this certificate to Your World until October 2015. The Panel takes the view that as the Registrant had attended the training day in question, he had no obvious reason to forge the signature on the certificate.   

30. The Panel also accepts the Registrant’s evidence that, at the time, he genuinely did not think there was anything wrong in creating a certificate himself. The Panel notes that after November 2014, the Registrant had in 2015 and 2016 asked two or three members of staff who were each senior to him to sign similar certificates.  It accepts his evidence that if he had thought there was anything wrong in creating a certificate, he would not have done so.  The Panel again asked itself rhetorically “why forge a signature on a certificate in November 2014, particularly if he had attended the training and then ask colleagues to sign other homemade certificates over subsequent years?” The Panel is of the view that as it has found that the Registrant did not forge the certificate in Particular 1, there would be no reason why he would then go on to forge a certificate which he created at around the same time. To have done so would have made no sense and would have been unnecessary when he would have been aware that he could obtain a signature on the certificate.  The Registrant knew Colleague A well, and she had given one of the training sessions on the day.  

31. The Panel has considered with care the evidence of Colleague A on the matter of the signature on this document. At the time when this matter first came to light, Colleague A was unable to say if it was her signature. This is in contrast to her reaction to the signature which purported to be hers on the certificate in Particular 6, when Colleague A was able to say straightaway that this was not her signature and told SM this shortly after receiving the certificate from Pertemps for verification.

32. The Panel notes that Colleague A now thinks that she would not have signed the certificate for the Registrant.  However, the Panel is not satisfied that just because, five years later and being alive to the issues, she would not now sign such a certificate, this excludes the possibility that she did so back in November 2014 and now has no recollection of it.

33. The Panel again acknowledges Mrs Marsh’s experience and expertise in the examination of handwriting. This too was an examination of a copy document, but the Panel has accepted Mrs Marsh’s evidence that having sight of the original would not have made any difference to her conclusions. The Panel notes that her finding was in relation to one signature only.  On her qualitative scale describing the strength of the evidence she had concluded that there was only moderate evidence (number 4 on the list) that Colleague A had not written the signature in question.  The Panel takes the view that were Mrs Marsh’s evidence the only evidence on this signature it might be just about sufficient to satisfy the civil test of proof.   However, her evidence is not the only evidence the Panel has to consider on this point.  The Panel has decided that, on balance and bearing in mind the evidence of Colleague A and that of the Registrant (referred to in paragraph 29 and 30 above), it cannot rely on Mrs Marsh’s conclusion about this signature. It considers it is more likely than not that Colleague A wrote the signature and that she has now forgotten that this is what happened. The Panel therefore finds this Particular not proved.

 

Particular 2(d) was found proved

34. The Panel accepts the evidence of SM that during her internal investigation she had asked Your World for copies of all training certificates provided to it by the Registrant.  Your World provided her with various training certificates provided by the Registrant, including this certificate.  SM had also seen this certificate in the Registrant’s CPD portfolio which he had produced during her first interview with him.  The Panel also accepts the Registrant’s admission given at the outset of the proceedings and repeated in his evidence that he had provided a copy of this certificate to Your World. In these circumstances, the Panel finds this Particular proved.

 

Particular 3(a) was found proved

35. The Panel has seen a Confirmation of Training document.  It accepts the evidence of SM that she obtained this during her internal investigation from Your World Agency.  The Panel also accepts the Registrant’s evidence that he was initially emailed this document by Your World Agency for completion. He had completed the document himself and then arranged for it to be signed by JT, after which he had stamped it with the Hospital stamp and then sent it back to Your World Agency.  In these circumstances, the Panel is satisfied that the Registrant has completed this document and finds this Particular proved.

 

Particular 3(b) was found proved

36. The Panel accepts the evidence of SM that she checked the relevant Trust records and that the Registrant had not attended any Paediatric Life Support training on 10 August 2015.  The Registrant confirmed in his evidence that he had not attended that course on 10 August 2015.  It would seem from the evidence of SM that the Registrant had in fact attended Paediatric Life Support training on a different date to that shown in the Confirmation of Training document which the Registrant had created, namely on 18 March 2015.  The Panel has seen confirmation of this in the exhibits bundle. In these circumstances, the Panel finds this Particular proved

 

Particular 3(c) was found proved

37. The Panel accepts the evidence of SM that during her internal investigation she had asked Your World for copies of all training certificates provided to it by the Registrant.  Your World provided her with various training certificates provided by the Registrant, including this Confirmation of Training Document.  The Panel also accepts the Registrant’s evidence that he had provided a copy of this document to Your World.  In these circumstances, the Panel finds this Particular proved.

 

Particular 4(a) was found proved

38. The Panel has seen a Certificate of Attendance at a Clinical Update Day dated 16 November 2015.   It accepts the evidence of SM that the Trust does not provide certificates of attendance for Clinical Update Days.    It also accepts the Registrant’s admission made at the outset of the proceedings and repeated in his evidence that he had created this Certificate of Attendance.   The Panel therefore finds this Particular proved.

 

Particulars 4(b)i, ii and iii were found proved

39. The Panel has considered each of these sub-particulars separately.  The Panel accepts the evidence of SM that during her internal investigation she had asked Pertemps Agency, Day Webster and Your World for copies of all training certificates provided to them by the Registrant.  Each agency had provided her with various training certificates, including this certificate.  SM had also seen this certificate in the Registrant’s CPD portfolio which he had produced during her first interview with him.  The Panel also accepts the Registrant’s admission made at the outset of the proceedings and repeated in his evidence that he had provided a copy of this certificate to each of the agencies.  In these circumstances, the Panel finds this Particular proved in its entirety.

 

Particular 5(a) was found proved

40. The Panel has seen a Certificate of Attendance at a Clinical Update Day dated 15 November 2016.   It accepts the evidence of SM that the Trust does not provide certificates of attendance for Clinical Update Days.  It also accepts the Registrant’s admission at the outset of the proceedings and repeated in his evidence that he had created this Certificate of Attendance.   The Panel therefore finds this Particular proved.

 

Particular 5(b) was found proved

41. The Panel accepts the evidence of SM that during her internal investigation she had asked Your World for copies of all training certificates provided to it by the Registrant.  Your World had provided her with various training certificates, including this certificate.  SM had also seen this certificate in the Registrant’s CPD portfolio which he had produced during her first interview with him.  The Panel also accepts the Registrant’s admission at the outset of the proceedings and repeated in his evidence that he had provided a copy of this certificate to Your World.  In these circumstances, the Panel finds this Particular proved.

 

Particular 6(a) was found proved

42. The Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A that in December 2017 she was asked by Pertemps Agency to verify two certificates of training, one of which was a Certificate of Attendance at Life Support and Automatic External Defibrillator training dated 23 November 2017.  Colleague A was asked to confirm that the Registrant had attended the training and that she had signed the certificate.   Colleague A checked the Trust’s attendance lists record for that training session to see whether the Registrant had attended and found that he had not done so.  The Panel also accepts the Registrant’s admission at the outset of the proceedings and repeated in his evidence that he had created this certificate and that he had not attended the training session on 23 November 2017.  In these circumstances, the Panel finds this Particular proved.

 

Particular 6(b) was found proved

43. The Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A that she did not write the signature in her name which appears on the certificate.   The Panel also accepts the evidence of the Registrant that he had forged Colleague A’s signature on the certificate in order that Pertemps Agency would accept it as a genuine document and by doing so provide him with the opportunity of receiving paid work as an ODP.  The Panel notes that the Registrant admitted this Particular at the outset of the proceedings.  In these circumstances, the Panel is satisfied that the Registrant forged Colleague A’s signature on the certificate and therefore finds this Particular proved.

 

 

Particular 6(c) was found proved

44. In finding this Particular proved, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A that she was provided with a copy of this certificate by Pertemps Agency in order to verify it.  The Panel also accepts the admission of the Registrant made at the outset of the proceedings and repeated in his evidence that he had provided Pertemps Agency with a copy of the certificate.   The Panel therefore finds this Particular proved.

 

Particular 7(a) was found proved in its entirety

45  The Panel has considered each of Particulars 1 to 6 which it  has found proved separately.  However, it will deal with its determination on Particular 7 (a) compendiously.   It has considered whether it is more likely than not that the Registrant’s actions in creating the five certificates in Particulars 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 and in completing the document in Particular 3, and in then providing these certificates and document to one or more of the agencies were objectively misleading.

46  In relation to Particulars 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6: the Panel notes similarities between the five certificates.   The Panel has found that the Registrant created each of these certificates.  In all but Particular 2(b) and Particular 6, the Registrant had in fact completed the various training courses referred to in the certificates.   It is clear from the Registrant’s evidence that he created the certificates using a computer at the Hospital where he downloaded the Trust’s logo onto each of them from the Trust’s intranet site. The Panel accepts his evidence that he had designed the format of each certificate.  It is clear from these that he designed them to look as if they were certificates produced by the Trust.   He set out the date of the training, the names of the course or training sessions provided and included in each, a signature section which showed what purported to be the role of the signatory.   The Panel is satisfied that it is more likely than not that any agency receiving one of these signed certificates would have been misled into believing that the Trust had issued the signed certificate as confirmation of the Registrant’s attendance on the course or training set out, when the Trust had not done so.   The Panel is therefore satisfied that the Registrant’s actions in creating each of these signed certificates and providing them to the agencies were misleading.   

47  In addition, in relation to Particular 6, the Panel is also satisfied that the entire content of this certificate is misleading: it not only has the Trust logo but it purports to confirm the Registrant’s attendance  at Basic Life Support (AED) training which he did not attend and it purports to be signed by Colleague A when the Panel has found that the Registrant forged her signature.   

48  In relation to Particular 2 (b): which relates to the Manual Handling session which had not been provided on 18 November 2014, the Panel is also satisfied that the Registrant’s actions in including the Manual Handling training in the list of sessions held on that date was misleading.

49  In relation to Particular 3: the Panel is satisfied that in completing the Confirmation of Training document provided by Your World and then returning it to them, the Registrant’s actions were misleading.   The document purports to confirm that the Registrant had attended Paediatric Life Support training on 10 August 2015 when he had not.  It is a document that purports to have been completed and signed by “a tutor, training provider or unit manager” when it has not been.   It was also stamped by the Registrant with the Hospital stamp to “authenticate” the document. The Registrant’s actions in completing the form himself, using the Hospital stamp and getting a colleague in a higher Band who was not a tutor, training provider or unit manager to sign it were misleading.

50  In reaching its decision in relation to Particular 7 (a) the Panel has also relied on the Registrant’s admission at the outset of the hearing and repeated in his evidence that his actions in creating and submitting the certificates in Particulars 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 and the document in Particular 3, and in forging the signature on the certificate in Particular 6, were misleading. 

51  In these circumstances, the Panel finds that Paragraph 7 (a) is proved in its entirety.

 

Particular 7(b) was found proved in relation to Particular 6 and not proved in relation to Particulars 1 – 5.

52 The Panel has considered the submissions of Ms Bagott for the HCPC and Mr Walker for the Registrant on the issue of dishonesty.  It has received and accepted legal advice as to how it should approach the issue of dishonesty. The Panel has considered each of the Particulars it has found proved and applied the test for dishonesty as set out in the case of Ivey v. Genting Casinos [2017] UKSC 67 (at para 74) [the Ivey test]. In applying the Ivey test, the Panel has first decided the Registrant's knowledge or belief as to the factual circumstances of his conduct in relation to each Particular of the Allegation. The Panel understands that the Registrant’s belief does not have to be reasonable, so long as it is genuinely held. The Panel has then considered whether, based on the factual circumstances as it has found the Registrant believed them to be, his conduct was dishonest by the (objective) standards of ordinary decent people. The Panel understands there is no requirement that the Registrant must appreciate that what he has done is, by those standards, dishonest. 

53  In relation to Particular 1 (a), and 1(c)i and ii, the Panel finds that the factual circumstances in 2014 at the time when the Registrant created the certificate and later provided copies of it to the two agencies were: that the Registrant had attended the Health and Safety training course and did not understand that it was wrong to create a certificate of attendance at that training which had been given by Colleague B.  The Trust’s logo was generally available on the Trust’s intranet to which staff had access.  The Panel accepts the Registrant genuinely believed that it was acceptable to create his own certificates, a belief that was reinforced when he had asked Colleague B to sign the certificate which he had done without querying the certificate.    

54  On balance, the Panel accepts the Registrant’s explanation as to why he created the certificate and later provided it to Pertemps. Applying the Ivey test, the Panel does not consider that ordinary decent people would find the Registrant’s actions to be dishonest in circumstances where he had attended the training session and the certificate had been signed by the trainer, who had not queried the certificate. The Panel therefore finds Particular 7(b) not proved in respect of Particular 1(a) and 1(c)i and ii.

55  In relation to Particular 2 (a), (b) and (d), the Panel finds that the factual circumstances in 2014 when the Registrant created this certificate, when he wrongly included a training session which had not been taught, and when he later provided the certificate to Your World Agency were essentially the same as set out in relation to Particular 1 (a) and (c)i and ii above. The Registrant had attended the Clinical Update Day and completed all the courses listed on the certificate with the exception of Manual Handling which he did on a later date.  He did not understand that it was wrong to create this certificate of attendance for the Clinical Update Day training sessions which had been given by a number of different trainers. The Trust’s logo was generally available on the Trust’s intranet to which staff had access. The Panel accepts the Registrant genuinely believed that it was acceptable to create his own certificates, a belief that was fortified by having obtained the signature of Colleague B on the first certificate he had created.  

56  With regard to Particular 2(b), the Panel accepts that this was a genuine mistake made by the Registrant.  By the time he provided the certificate to Your World in October 2015, he had completed the Manual Handling training. According to a record of all his training, the Registrant completed this on 22 April 2015.  

57  On balance, the Panel accepts the Registrant’s explanation as to why he created the certificate and then later provided it to Your World, and that he had made a genuine mistake by including the Manual Handling session on the certificate. Applying the Ivey test, the Panel does not consider that ordinary decent people would find the Registrant’s actions to be dishonest in circumstances where he had attended the Clinical Update Day, completed the training sessions offered that day, had mistakenly included a training session that he completed at a later date before providing the certificate to Your World, and where the certificate had been signed by someone who appeared to be involved in Learning and Education at the Trust. 

58  The Panel therefore finds Particular 7 (b) not proved in relation to Particular 2(a), (b) and (d).

59  In relation to Particular 3 (a), (b) and (c): the Panel finds that the factual circumstances in 2015 when the Registrant completed this Confirmation of Training Document were that it had been provided to him pre-populated with those training sessions which Your World required either a tutor, training provider or unit manager to confirm that the Registrant had completed, and to give the date on which he had done so.  Your World also asked for the document to be authenticated with the Hospital stamp. The Panel accepts the Registrant’s evidence that did not read the small print which indicated by whom the form should be completed and in error, he completed the document himself, including inserting one incorrect date in relation to Paediatric Life Support training. By not reading the instructions on the document carefully enough the Registrant made a further error: he failed to get the correct person to sign the completed document. He also used the Hospital stamp to “authenticate” it when he should not have done so. The Panel is satisfied that the Registrant had in fact completed the Paediatric Life Support training on 18 March 2015 and that when he completed the Confirmation of Training document for Your World he genuinely believed that he had done this on the same date as other life support training which was on 10 August 2015. The Panel finds the Registrant had no reason to falsify the date and he had carelessly entered the wrong date.  It is also satisfied on the basis of the hearsay statement within the exhibits bundle that JT (a Band 6 Lead Practitioner) had been asked by the Registrant to sign the document and had done so. He was also aware of the Registrant’s intention to put the Hospital stamp on the document.

60  On balance, the Panel accepts the Registrant’s explanation as to why he completed the document before returning it to Your World, and also accepts his explanations for the errors in the document.  Applying the Ivey test, the Panel does not consider that ordinary decent people would find the Registrant’s actions to be dishonest in circumstances where the information provided in the Confirmation of Training document was accurate as to the fact that he had completed the various life support sessions set out, even though he had given an incorrect date in relation to one of these, and where the document had been signed by someone who clearly set out his role in the Hospital.  

61  The Panel therefore finds Particular 7 (b) not proved in relation to Particular 3(a) (b) and (c).    

62  In relation to Particular 4(a), 4(b)i,ii and iii: the Panel finds that the factual circumstances in 2015 when the Registrant created this certificate of attendance at the Clinical Update Day, and when he later provided the certificate to Pertemps Agency, Day Webster and Your World were essentially the same as set out in relation to Particular 1 and Particular 2 above. The Registrant had attended the Clinical Update Day and completed all the courses listed on the certificate.  He did not understand that it was wrong to create a certificate of attendance for Clinical Update Day training sessions which had been given by a number of different trainers. The Trust’s logo was generally available on the Trust’s intranet to which staff had access. The Panel accepts the Registrant genuinely believed that it was acceptable to create his own certificates, a belief that was fortified by the fact that by this time he had two certificates and a Confirmation of Training document which had been signed by members of staff who were senior to him.

63  On balance, the Panel accepts the Registrant’s explanation as to why he created the certificate and later provided copies of it to Pertemps Agency, Day Webster and Your World. Applying the Ivey test, the Panel does not consider that ordinary decent people would find the Registrant’s actions to be dishonest in circumstances where he had attended the Clinical Update Day, completed the training sessions and did not appear to be trying to get credit for training he had not done, and where the certificate had been signed by someone who appeared to be a member of staff in a more senior position than the Registrant.  

64  The Panel therefore finds Particular 7 (b) not proved in relation to Particular 4(a) and 4(b)i, ii and iii.   

65   In relation to Particular 5(a) and 5(b): the Panel finds that the factual circumstances in 2016, when the Registrant created this certificate of attendance at the Clinical Update Day, and when he later provided the certificate to Your World were essentially the same as set out in relation to Particular 1, Particular 2 and Particular 4 above. The Registrant had attended the Clinical Update Day and completed all the training sessions listed on the certificate.  He did not understand that it was wrong to create this certificate of attendance.  The Trust’s logo was generally available on the Trust’s intranet to which staff had access. The Panel accepts the Registrant genuinely believed that it was acceptable to create his own certificates, a belief that was fortified by the number of different colleagues who signed them, the fact that by this time he had three certificates and a Confirmation of Training document which had been signed by more senior members of staff.  The Registrant’s evidence was that he had sat next to VD during the training sessions. He had later asked her to sign the certificate which he says she did. The Panel accepts his evidence on this point.  VD was not called in the hearing, but she was interviewed during the internal investigation. She could not remember whether she had signed the certificate and Mrs Marsh stated that the evidence with regard to the signature on the certificate in VD’s name was inconclusive on this point. The Panel considers that printing this certificate on yellow paper demonstrates that the Registrant was not attempting to deceive anyone.  There was no evidence that the Trust’s genuine certificates were ever printed on yellow paper. The Panel accepts the Registrant’s evidence that he used yellow paper because there was no white paper available on the day he printed the certificate.

66  On balance, the Panel accepts the Registrant’s explanation as to why he created this certificate and then provided a copy of it to Your World. Applying the Ivey test, the Panel does not consider that ordinary decent people would find the Registrant’s actions to be dishonest in circumstances where he had attended the Clinical Update Day, completed the training sessions and did not appear to be trying to get credit for training he had not done, and where the certificate had been signed by someone who had sat next to him during the sessions and so knew he had attended, and was a member of staff in a senior position to the Registrant.  

67  The Panel therefore finds Particular 7 (b) not proved in relation to Particular 5(a) and 5(b).

68  In relation to Particular 6(a), (b) and (c):  the Panel finds that the factual circumstances in 2017 when the Registrant created the Attendance at Life Support and AED training certificate were that he was in danger of becoming out of date on these important clinical skills and was unable to secure a place on a relevant training session before his current certificate ran out.  In order to satisfy Pertemps Agency that his training in Life Support and AED was up to date, he decided to create a certificate which purported (i) to show that it came from the Trust when he knew it had not, (ii) to show that he had attended training on 23 November 2017 when he knew he had not, and (iii) purported to be signed by Colleague A when he knew that he had forged her signature.  The Panel notes that at the outset of the proceedings and in his evidence, the Registrant admitted that his actions, as set out in Particular 6, were dishonest. The Panel agrees with the Registrant that they were.

69  In these circumstances, and applying the Ivey test, the Panel is satisfied that it is more likely than not that Registrant’ actions were dishonest.   The Panel therefore finds Particular 7 (b) proved in relation to Particular 6(a), 6(b) and 6(c).

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to enter on the Register against the name of Mr William I Figuracion, a Caution Order for the period of 4 years.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr William I Figuracion

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
11/08/2020 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Caution
20/01/2020 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Adjourned part heard