Jeanette Reeve

: Social worker

: SW59166

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 14/10/2016 End: 13:00 14/10/2016

:

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Conditions of Practice

Allegation

During the course of your employment as a Social Worker with Nottinghamshire County Council between June 2003 and November 2011, you:

1. Did not recognise risk, which placed service users at risk of harm;

2. Did not carry out timely Section 47 (child protection) enquiries;

3. Did not keep child protection records up to date;

4. Did not attend scheduled child protection meetings;

5. Did not follow up concerns raised by a school about service users' welfare;

6. not proved

7. Did not provide minutes of child protection meetings to families;

8. The matters described in paragraphs 1 - 7 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence;

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

 

The Panel at the substantive hearing on 15 – 17 October 2013 found particulars 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (in respect of one school) & 7 proved. Particular 6 was not found proved.

 

The Panel found the proved particulars amounted to misconduct and found the Registrant’s fitness to practise impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Proceeding in private

1.             On the joint application of Ms Aumerally and the Registrant, the Panel decided that the hearing should be held in private under Rule 10(1)(a) of the HCPC (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003, insofar as matters were raised which concerned the health and other aspects of the private life of the Registrant. This is a redacted public copy of the private decision.

Background

2.             The Registrant started work as a Social Worker with Nottinghamshire County Council (“the Council”) in 2003. An audit of her cases was conducted in October 2009 following concerns about her practice, and a number of concerns were identified as a result. The Registrant had a period of absence from work due to sickness between December 2009 to June 2010. A further audit of her work was carried out in October 2010, which raised various concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the Registrant’s practice, and she was dismissed from her employment on 30 May 2012 following an internal disciplinary procedure.

3.             On 17 October 2013, a Panel of the HCPC’s Conduct and Competence found the Registrant’s fitness to practice to be impaired on grounds of misconduct arising from a number of failings arising out of her employment by the Council, namely that she:

a)             Did not recognise risk, which placed service users at risk of harm;

b)             Did not carry out Section 47 (child protection) enquiries;

c)             Did not keep child protection records up to date;

d)            Did not attend scheduled child protection meetings;

e)             Did not follow up concerns raised by schools about service users’ welfare; and

f)              Did not provide minutes of child protection meetings to families.

4.             The Registrant did not attend that hearing, nor was she represented. In its decision the Final Hearing Panel acknowledged that the Registrant had personal difficulties at the time of the events in question, but appeared to be unable to prioritise the most serious cases and address situations where service users were clearly at risk. It stated that an autonomous professional should have made her mentor or line manager aware of her difficulties and high caseload. That Panel concluded that the Registrant had failed to comply with basic principles of practice and that her actions had potentially put very vulnerable service users at risk.

5.             The original Panel found the Registrant’s fitness to practice to be impaired, but considered that her practice failings were remediable. That Panel stated that there was no evidence of remediation before it and that there was no information before it about the Registrant’s then-circumstances. The Panel imposed a period of suspension of 12 months and stated that a future reviewing Panel would be assisted if the Registrant were to produce evidence of reflective practice, particularly in relation to recognising and assessing risk and the need for appropriate action.

6.             The Suspension Order was reviewed on 27 October 2014 at a hearing attended by the Registrant. The Registrant gave oral evidence. There was also placed before that Panel an undated letter from the Registrant’s GP regarding her health.

7.             In its decision that reviewing Panel stated that the Registrant had shown limited insight, that it had seen no compelling evidence of remediation and that the evidence given by her did not go to the heart of the problems that had been identified. A further period of suspension of 12 months was imposed and in the decision it was also stated that a future Panel would be assisted by written evidence that the Registrant had fully reflected on her failings, fully recognised them, appreciated a need for appropriate action to be taken and had kept her professional skills and knowledge up-to-date.

8.             The further Suspension Order was reviewed on 15 October 2015 at a hearing attended by the Registrant. In her oral evidence given to that reviewing Panel, she acknowledged that towards the end of her employment by the Council her work had not been up to the required standard, that she fully recognised her mistakes and had put children at risk and that she should have asked for support from work colleagues. She made reference to her own ill health and added that it had improved. The Registrant produced a written piece on reflective practice, but that Panel found that it did “not go to the heart of things”, being too generalised and failing to address the particular concerns identified by the previous panels.

9.             That second reviewing Panel decided that although some progress had been made, it was not sufficient, particularly in relation to safeguarding. A further period of suspension of 12 months was imposed and in its decision that Panel stated that a future Panel might be assisted by written evidence that the Registrant had fully reflected on the specific failings identified by the original Panel and would be able to apply the lessons she had learned as a result.         

Decision

10.           At this hearing the Registrant gave oral evidence and produced further documents, one of which was a positive reference from MacMillan Cancer Support, for whom she has been doing voluntary work since June 2015. This role had allowed her to demonstrate equivalent social work skills in a non-statutory setting. The Registrant produced written reflections on social work and told the Panel that she fully accepted that her work had not been of an acceptable standard and had put families at “awful risk”. She explained how personal difficulties and her health had resulted in her being unfit to work and that she now realises she should not have been working at the time. She accepted that a period of supervision and further training would be necessary if she were to be permitted to return to work.

11.           In her detailed oral evidence, the Registrant demonstrated much improved insight into the failings that had led to the original finding of impaired fitness to practise. She unreservedly accepted her failings and if she were to find that events in her private life (whether caused by her health or otherwise) might adversely affect her safe and effective practise, her evidence was that she would inform colleagues before that happened, and consult medical advice.

12.           In those circumstances, the Panel has concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is still impaired, but she should be permitted to return to practice subject to a Conditions of Practice order of 12 months in the terms set out below. Those conditions are necessary to secure the appropriate degree of public protection. A period of 12 months is necessary to allow a return to work and for the Registrant to demonstrate compliance with the conditions.

Order

Order

The Registrar is directed to annotate the HCPC Register to show that, for a period of 12 months from the date that this Order takes effect, being 14 November 2016 (“the Operative Date”), you, Mrs Jeanette Reeve, must comply with the following conditions of practice:

1.     You must promptly inform the HCPC if you take up any employment or engagement or cease to be employed or engaged by any employer, person or other organisation with whom you propose to do social work.

2.     Within 7 days of taking up work as a Social Worker, you must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a workplace supervisor registered by the HCPC or other appropriate statutory regulator and supply details of your supervisor to the HCPC. You must attend upon that supervisor as required by condition numbered 3 below and follow their advice and recommendations.

3.     You must meet with your supervisor on a fortnightly basis for the first 3 months that you attend work as a Social Worker, to consider and document your progress towards achieving the aims set out in your Personal Development Plan, and thereafter at intervals agreed with your supervisor.

4.     You must work with your workplace supervisor to formulate a Personal Development Plan designed to ensure you are a safe and effective practitioner in the following areas of your practice: record keeping, risk assessment and safeguarding.

5.     Within 3 months of starting work as a Social Worker, you must forward a copy of your Personal Development Plan to the HCPC.

6.     You must allow your supervisor to provide information to the HCPC about your progress towards achieving the aims set out in your Personal Development Plan, and a first report from the supervisor to be received by the HCPC 21 days before the date of the next review at the latest.

7.     You must promptly inform the HCPC of any disciplinary proceedings taken against you as a Social Worker.

8.     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 social work;

B. any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with (at the time of application); and

C. any prospective employer (at the time of your application).

9.     You will be responsible for meeting any and all costs associated with complying with these conditions.

 

Notes

The order imposed today will apply from 14 November 2016.

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 14 November 2017.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Jeanette Reeve

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
16/10/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
14/10/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
15/10/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
27/10/2014 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
15/10/2013 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended