Ms Carol Ann Gould

: Social worker

: SW73045

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 22/09/2016 End: 12:30 22/09/2016

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Suspended

Allegation

This is a Health Committee Substantive Review Hearing at HCPC London on 22 September 2016 at 13:30pm

 

While registered as a Social Worker, between 18 November 2010 and 19 March 2013:

1. You were employed by Benecare between 4 January 2011 and 12 November 2012 and you:

a. Did not communicate effectively with colleagues and/or foster parents and/or third parties in that:

i. You did not respond in a timely manner or at all to emails and other communications such as telephone calls and text messages;

ii. You did not attend a scheduled meeting with Foster Carer B on or around 28 September 2012;

iii. (Not proved)

b. (Not proved)

c. Did not consistently create or maintain records in relation to the foster carers you supervised.

2. You were employed by Kaleidoscope between 19 February 2013 and 19 March 2013 and you:

a. Did not carry out a risk assessment in relation to placing child 1 prior to placing him with Foster Carer D;

b. You lost the annual review paperwork for Foster Carer E;

c. You lost the initial screening visit (ISV) paperwork in respect of two foster carers;

d. You did not create records of your supervision with foster carers.

3. The matters described in paragraphs 1-2 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

4. By reason of that misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Background

1. Ms Gould qualified as a Social Worker in 2003.

2. From the 4 January 2011 until the 12 November 2012, she was employed by Benecare Fostering Ltd as a Supervising Social Worker and she took on a management role with this agency in May 2011.

3. An internal investigation into the quality of her work was conducted. As a result of its conclusions, she resigned her post in mid-November 2012.

4. In communications with colleagues and/or foster parents and/or third parties, the Registrant had failed to respond to a number of emails, telephone calls and text messages. Furthermore, she did not consistently create or maintain records in relation to the foster carers she was supervising.

5. Later on in time, in February 2013, the Registrant obtained a post with Kaleidoscope Therapeutic Child Care. This placement lasted no more than a month because of dissatisfaction with the Registrant’s performance.

6. The Registrant had failed to carry out a risk assessment in relation to a child before placing him with a foster carer. She lost important paperwork and she failed to make formal records of supervision sessions with foster carers.

7. The previous panel, having found that lack of competence was made out, noted that, to offer a proper degree of public protection, the Registrant should, in its view, demonstrate that she has remedied her shortcomings in the identified areas.

8. The previous panel noted that the Registrant had undertaken no training since 2011 and concluded that she had demonstrated very little insight into the gravity of her shortcomings. It was further concerned about a “strong possibility of recurrence”.

Decision 

9. The Panel, in listening to Mr Thompson’s opening of the case, noted that he did not suggest that the Panel should take a particular course today.

10. The Panel heard evidence from the Registrant. She informed the Panel that, over the last 12 months, she had been working for two companies, the most recent of which is Vanguard Logistics Ltd, for which she has been working as a Receptionist since the 15 February 2016. In testimonial letters, both companies spoke highly of the quality of her work.

11. The Registrant accepted that she had not undertaken any formal training or obtained any CPD points since her suspension, although she described having given some informal advice to fellow employees who had been suffering emotionally and one employee involved in the adoption process.

12. She added that she wanted the opportunity of returning to social work in the area of fostering, but she did concede that her skills needed to be updated in a fast changing profession. In this context, she ventured a suggestion that she might require about 6 months to bring her skills up to date.

13. In considering these matters, the Panel took into account that the previous panel had noted that the Registrant had not undertaken any training since 2011, nor had she engaged in any recognisable CPD. The Panel’s view was that she demonstrated very little insight into her shortcomings, or how serious they were. It went out of its way to express concern that the Registrant should be seen to have remedied her shortcomings in the identified areas before being fit to return to practise as a Social Worker. A proper degree of public protection demanded that.

14. Additionally, the Panel was concerned by the Registrant’s evidence that there was no need for her to have carried out the risk assessment referred to in particular 2 a. of the allegation, which the previous panel had nevertheless found proved. This was an example of a lack of insight into her shortcomings.

15. There is no doubt, in the judgement of the Panel, that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired. She, seemingly, has not reflected on the previous panel’s findings and has not addressed its recommendations. The skills she said she used in seeking to help her fellow employees over the last 12 months have limited significance in this context.

16. The Panel is well aware that the primary function of any sanction is to address public safety from the perspective of the risk the Registrant may pose to those using her services in the future. In reaching its decision, the Panel must also give appropriate weight to the wider public interest considerations, which include the reputation of the profession and public confidence in the regulatory process. The Panel has considered the sanctions available to it in ascending order of severity and had regard to the Indicative Sanction Policy.

17. The Panel concluded that the imposition of a Conditions of Practice Order would be inappropriate and unworkable. The only appropriate and proportionate sanction is to extend the current order of suspension for a further 9 months.

18. In making this order, the Panel considers that this period of time should suffice for the Registrant to update her CDP and undertake any appropriate training courses.

19. The Panel strongly recommends that any future panel may be assisted by evidence from the Registrant to confirm any training and CPD undertaken together with a reflective piece of writing, to demonstrate that the Registrant is fully aware of the gravity of the shortcomings that were found proved.

20. The Panel reminds the Registrant that she can apply for an earlier review if she considers she has addressed her failings before the expiry of the order.

Order

The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Ms Carol Ann Gould for a further period of 9 months on the expiry of the existing order.

Notes

The order imposed today will apply from 22 October 2016.

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 22 July 2017.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Ms Carol Ann Gould

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
14/12/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Hearing has not yet been held
22/06/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
22/09/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
22/09/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended