Miss Claudette-Marie Jones

: Social worker

: SW09210

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:13:00 07/07/2016 End: 17:00 07/07/2016

: Health and Care Professions Council, 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Conditions of Practice

Allegation

The following allegation as found proved by a Panel of the Conduct Committee at the General Social Care Council (GSCC) on 5 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;

2.             (This particular was not found proved by GSCC)

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

The GSCC Panel at the substantive found all of the particulars above proved bar particular 2. The Panel found that the proved particulars amounted to misconduct and imposed a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months as a Sanction.

Finding

Background

1.             On 22 October 2009, the Registrant was employed as a social worker with SWIIS Foster Care Ltd. It was her role to assess the competency of foster carers. One such foster carer was A. It was alleged and found proved that she met A, on more than one occasion, in a public house, and consumed alcohol whilst carrying out A’s Form F assessment. She also accepted approximately £70 from A, and asked A to ask B to obtain theatre tickets for her own benefit. She interviewed B in a public house as a referee for A’s Form F, and in March 2010 she asked A to ask B to assist her with preparing documentation for her court case. These actions were found to be inappropriate and in breach of professional boundaries.

2.             The substantive Panel found that the matters proved were repeated and persistent conduct that spanned many months and that the misconduct could not be described as an isolated incident. The Committee identified the following aggravating features in the case: “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, blurring of professional boundaries and poor judgment.”

3.             The substantive Panel found by way of mitigation that the Registrant had a previous good work history, had admitted the allegation, had repaid the money lent and had been undergoing personal difficulties at the time.

4.             The substantive Panel suspended the Registrant for a period of one year. That order was extended on two occasions for a total of a further two years until the Registrant last appeared before the Conduct and Competence Committee, on 5 August 2014, when the Panel concluded that her deficiencies were capable of being remedied, that she had now demonstrated a greater understanding of professional boundaries, of how she breached them and of how she would behave differently in the future, and that she would pose no risk of harm in the future if allowed to return to practise subject to the following conditions of practise:

“The Registrar is directed to annotate the Register to show that for a period of 2 years, from the date that this order comes into effect (05 August 2014), you, Miss Claudette-Marie Jones, must comply with the following conditions of practice:

1)             Within 12 months of the operative date you must successfully complete a re-entry to Social Work programme or equivalent course and forward a copy of your results and completion certificate to the HCPC.

2)             Upon gaining employment as a social worker you must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a HCPC registered social worker and supply the name and address of this person to the HCPC within 1 month of taking up any employment as a social worker. You must attend upon your supervising social worker as required and follow their advice and recommendations.

3)             You are to provide reports written by your supervising social worker, signed and dated by the supervisor, to the HCPC;

a)             The first report is to be sent to the HCPC 6 months after you commence employment as a social worker

b)             The second report is to be sent to the HCPC 12 months after you commence employment as a social worker

c)             The above reports are to set out your progress with particular reference to your understanding of/and maintenance of professional boundaries.

4)             You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:

a)             Any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional social work.

b)             Any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with (at the time of application) in respect of any work as a social worker; and

c)             Any prospective employer at the time of your application for employment as a social worker.”

5.             The reviewing Panel on 05 August 2014 decided that the order should be for a period of two years, to enable the Registrant to complete a return to practice course and obtain employment as a social worker before the review of the order. The Panel observed that it would be likely that any reviewing panel would require evidence of a successful return to practice and completion of the return to work programme having been achieved.

At the hearing today:

6.             The Registrant provided the HCPC with written submissions in advance of the hearing, in which she explained that since the last review hearing she had continued to develop her practice by reading articles relating to social work and practice in Community Care Daily, and had regular and frequent discussions with colleagues who continued to work within the field of Social Care. She had gained a place on a Return to Practice course at Medway University which she had attended between November 2014 and February 2015, which focussed on social work with both adults and children. As part of the course she had been assigned to the Looked After Children's Team and The Children in Need Team, where she worked alongside social workers and other practitioners and had the opportunity to shadow social workers.

7.             She said that within her local community she continued to work on a voluntary basis as a Reading Champion, promoting children’s reading and literacy and communicating with and advising parents/carers on promoting reading and communicating with children.

8.             From January 2016 to March 2016 she embarked on a Mentoring Course, offered through the Drug and Alcohol Charity “Bleheim”, which provided training for individuals who wished to mentor Service Users accessing drug and alcohol treatment to aid their recovery.

9.             In answering questions from the Panel, she said that she had not tried to find employment as a Social Worker for a number of different reasons, including family life, but if the Conditions were removed she would do so.

10.           Miss Shenton submitted that the Registrant had complied with Condition 1 of the Order, but had not secured a job as a Social Worker and therefore had not been able to demonstrate full remediation by complying with Conditions 2 and 3. She urged the Panel to extend the Conditions of Practice Order in its current form with the removal of Condition 1.

 

Decision

11.           The Panel comprehensively reviewed all the evidence before it, including the recent documentation provided by the Registrant and oral information provided by her in the course of today’s hearing.

12.           The Panel agreed with the substantive Panel that the Registrant’s failings had been persistent, had spanned many months and had demonstrated poor judgment and a blurring of professional boundaries.

13.           The Panel was encouraged by the fact that the Registrant had attended today and that she had completed a Return to Practice course and a mentoring course, which, in the judgment of the Panel, satisfied Condition 1 of the Order.

14.           However, the Panel was not satisfied that the Registrant had developed full insight into the issue of maintaining professional boundaries. The Panel also noted, in particular, that she had not attempted to remediate her failings by looking for work as a Social Worker since completing her Return to Practice course. The Panel concluded that there remained a likelihood that the Registrant would repeat her behaviour if she were to work as a Social Worker in an unrestricted fashion. The Panel also concluded that it was not in the wider public interest for her to be allowed to return to practise unrestricted in light of the seriousness of the allegation and the current lack of insight and lack of remediation demonstrated by the Registrant. The Panel found the Registrant remains currently impaired.

15.           The Panel questioned whether to make no further order or whether to impose a Caution Order but concluded that neither would be appropriate in light of the seriousness of the allegation.

16.           The Panel concluded that it would be appropriate and proportionate to extend the current order in its current form, with the removal of Condition 1, for a period of 18 months, to give the Registrant the opportunity to remediate her failings. The Panel took the view that a future Panel would be assisted by testimonials or references from third parties about any relevant work the Registrant is able to undertake, together with evidence of how she is able to maintain her knowledge and skills given that her Return to Practice course concluded in February 2015.

Order

The Registrar is directed to annotate the Register to show that for a period of 18 months, from the date that this order comes into effect (05 August 2016), you, Miss Claudette-Marie Jones, must comply with the following conditions of practice:

1)             Upon gaining employment as a social worker you must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a HCPC registered social worker and supply the name and address of this person to the HCPC within 1 month of taking up any employment as a social worker. You must attend upon your supervising social worker as required and follow their advice and recommendations.

 

2)             You are to provide reports written by your supervising social worker, signed and dated by the supervisor, to the HCPC;

 

a)    The first report is to be sent to the HCPC 6 months after you commence employment as a social worker

b)   The second report is to be sent to the HCPC 12 months after you commence employment as a social worker

c)    The above reports are to set out your progress with particular reference to your understanding of/and maintenance of professional boundaries.

 

3)             You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:

 

a)   Any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional social work

b)   Any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with (at the time of application) in respect of any work as a social worker; and

c)   Any prospective employer at the time of your application for employment as a social worker.

Notes

The order imposed today will apply from 05 August 2016. 

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry 05 February 2018.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Miss 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