Claudette - Marie Jones

: Social worker

: SW09210

Interim Order: Imposed on 05 Sep 2011

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 08/08/2013 End: 12:30 08/08/2013

: Health and Care Professions Council, Whitefield House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London, SE11 4BT

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Suspended

Allegation

As found by the General Social Care Council on 05 September 2011.


In the course of undertaking work of SWIIS Foster Care Ltd (SWIIS) as A’s Form F Assessor, it is alleged that between November 2009 and March 2010, you:


1. From December 2009 onwards, met A on more than one occasion in a public house (“the Pub”), where you


a) Carried out A’s Form F assessment;
b) Consumed alcohol;


3. Accepted money from A in the sum of around £70;


4. In around November or December 2009, asked A to ask B to obtain theatre tickets for you


5. On an unknown date, interviewed B in the Pub as a referee for A’s Form F assessment


6. On or around 11 March 2010, asked A to ask B to assist you with preparing documentation for your court case;


7. Your actions in respect of 1-6 above were:
a) Inappropriate;
b) In breach of professional boundaries

Finding

1. The Panel is undertaking a first mandatory review of a suspension order imposed by another Panel on 31st August 2012. Miss Jones was first subject to a suspension order imposed by the General Social Care Council (‘the Committee”) on 5th September 2011.

2. Miss Jones attended this hearing but was not represented.


3. In undertaking the review, the Panel has considered carefully the HCPC’s Practice Note ‘Article 30(2) Reviews’ (August 2012) as far as it applies to this mandatory review under Article 30(1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 and Indicative Sanctions Policy (July 2013).

4. The Panel has carefully considered all the documents, the submissions of Miss Hall, the written submission and the oral evidence of Miss Jones. Miss Hall submitted that Miss Jones should still be subject to restricted practice as there is little evidence of insight in this case. Miss Jones submitted that a Conditions of Practice Order is the appropriate Order to be made now because she had changed and her life is no longer subject to the stresses she was under previously.

5. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor namely that it must undertake a comprehensive review of the order and that it was not the function of the Panel to go behind the original decision of the Committee on 5th September 2011, but to consider what, if any, action needs to be taken now to ensure public safety and public confidence when the current suspension order expires.

6. Miss Jones was employed as a Social Worker for a social care organisation on 22nd October 2009. Her main role was that of an assessor of suitability of prospective foster carers. She acted as A’s Form F Assessor. Between December 2009 and March 2010 a number of incidents occurred as a result of her relationship with A. Following those incidents, an allegation of misconduct was made against her, by the General Social Care Council. The Committee heard her case in September 2011. Miss Jones did not appear in person nor was she represented. The Committee found that the proved facts amounted to misconduct and so proceeded to the sanction.

7. On 5th September 2011 the Committee decided to suspend Miss Jones for a period of 12 months. The Committee decided that the behaviour of Miss Jones was so serious that the only appropriate sanction was a Suspension order. The Committee found the following aggravating factors: borrowing money from a service user; drinking whilst on duty; soliciting concert tickets from a service user’s referee; exploiting a service user; conducting confidential meetings in a public house; sharing personal information; taking advantage of B, A’s referee; inappropriateness in asking B for assistance in her private life; a lack of identifiable remorse; no real insight shown; abusing her power as a social worker; repeated behaviour over a number of months; blurring of professional boundaries and poor judgement. The Committee also identified the following limited mitigating factors: previous good work history; her admissions and acknowledgement that she had been silly and stupid; the fact that she repaid the money lent; the claimed personal difficulties at the time.

8. The Committee considered that the period of twelve months was appropriate and ‘reflected the seriousness of the misconduct and was proportionate’.

9. This Panel was impressed by the fact Miss Jones attended this hearing and was able to present her case.  The Panel found that she has moved on and has displayed a greater degree of insight, albeit still limited. The Panel concluded that there was an inability on her part to provide evidence of full insight. When she gave oral evidence before the Panel, she was unable to say what was wrong in the way she had behaved between 2009 and 2010. In addition, the Panel found that Miss Jones placed too much emphasis on outside factors which led to her misconduct and did not recognise where her own responsibilities lay.

10.  The Panel is of the view that the misconduct found against Miss Jones is extremely serious. The Panel concluded that Miss Jones is not a fit person to return to unrestricted social work and there are public protection issues for service users and for herself, if she were to return to social work now. The Panel found therefore that some restriction on Miss Jones’ practice as a social worker continues to be necessary to safeguard the public and the reputation of the profession.

11.  The Panel has considered the Indicative Sanctions Policy and has considered the minimum level of restriction required to provide adequate protection. It concluded that a caution order would be inadequate in the interests of public protection. It then considered whether a conditions of practice order would be sufficient. The Panel concluded that because Miss Jones has only partial insight, it would be extremely difficult to formulate and construct workable and realistic conditions, which would provide adequate protection for the public. Furthermore, Miss Jones’ plans for returning to practice are not sufficiently developed to give the Panel confidence that a practical conditions of practice order could be formulated at this stage.

12.  The Panel has determined that a suspension order is the only proportionate order that it can make that would provide the necessary protection for the public. The suspension order will be for the maximum period of one year. Of course, Miss Jones can request an early review at any time if she believes that she has addressed the issues identified by the Panel. At this stage, given the development in Miss Jones’ insight (albeit partial), the Panel does not consider that a striking-off order is proportionate.

13. This order will be reviewed before it expires. This Panel cannot bind the decisions of any future Panel. However, it may assist Miss Jones to understand that if she wishes to return to unrestricted practice as a social worker, she should be prepared to present to any reviewing Panel, some six weeks before the review hearing, references and testimonials as to what she did whilst working as a social worker before the events in question. In addition, it may assist to have evidence of a clear and convincing plan for her return to and reengagement with social work. A reflective written piece directed at the events of 2009 and 2010 may also assist. More specific independent evidence of her keeping up to date with her knowledge and skills would also help, including examples. If possible, Miss Jones may wish to give consent to her Counsellor, to provide a written report as to her progress and demonstrate how she has changed since 2010. Miss Jones will appreciate how her attendance did help the Panel and would encourage her to attend in person at the next review.    

Order

Order: The Suspension Order made on 31st August 2012 is extended for a period of 12 months with effect from the date the current order expires.

Notes

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Claudette - Marie Jones

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
02/01/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
07/07/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
05/08/2014 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
08/08/2013 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended