Mrs Jayne Burgin

: Social worker

: SW42071

: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 17/10/2016 End: 17:00 25/10/2016

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Suspended

Allegation

Allegation (as amended):

During the course of your employment as a social worker at Sheffield City Council you:

1. In relation to Service User A, you did not:

a. commence and/or complete the parenting assessment between 16 August 2011 – 12 October 2011.

b. request the initial adoption paperwork from adoption business support in a timely manner.

c. attend the court hearing that was held on 04 October 2011 and/or on 06 October 2011 and/or did not inform management and/or business support of these planned court dates when you called in sick on 3 October 2011.

d. attend the court hearing that was held on 23 August 2011.

e. request the court timetable from the solicitors in a timely manner, despite being requested to do so by your manager on 16 August 2011.

 

2. In relation to Service User B you:

a. Did not attend Court on 09 September 2011 until prompted to do so by your manager.

b. Did not inform business support when you called in sick on 03 October                                  2011 that there were Court hearings on 05 October 2011 and 06 October 2011.                        

c. did not provide clear information to your manager(s) regarding  the  outcome  of  parenting  assessments  and/or further support which was required by the parents of Service User B

d. your actions in 1(c) 2(c)above led to you agreeing to a further assessment of Service User B’s parents at court without management approval of the same.

e. subsequent to the agreement referred to in allegation 1(d) 2(d) above you inferred to your manager that other parties had requested the additional parental assessment when this was not the case.

f. Did not complete the parenting assessment and/or did not progress parallel planning in a timely manner.

g. did not complete a viability assessment on the grandmother of Service User B.

 

3. In relation to Family C children, you did not

a. adhere to the Court timetable in that you did not:

i. submit your final evidence to the legal department in a timely manner or at all in time for the court deadline on 26 September 2011.

ii. complete the placement order report which was due on 11 January 2012 in a timely manner and/or did not inform your manager(s) that this needed to be done when you were on a period of sick leave.

b. adhere to the adoption process in that you did not:

i. request an adoption pack in a timely manner as agreed in your supervision session of 19 July 2011.

ii. complete the initial paperwork for the adoption panel in a timely manner.

iii. complete the Review Health Assessment Consent Form on time.

iv. arrange ‘goodbye contact’ in a timely manner.

v. prepare a child permanence report for the adoption panel on 11 January 2012 and/or did not inform your manager(s) that this needed to be done when you were on a period of sick leave.

c. maintain professional communication in that you did not:

i. return the calls of the Children’s Guardian for over two weeks;

ii. contact the legal department to discuss the court hearing in a timely manner.

 

4. In relation to Service User D, you did not:

a. complete the Lead Professional update within the 5 working days’ time limit.

b. verify the addresses for individuals attending the Child Protection Conference to enable the invitations to be sent to attendees in a timely manner

 

5. In relation to the Service User E you did not:

a. complete the case review panel report in a timely manner.

b. complete the statement and chronology in order to initiate care proceedings by the deadline of 06 December 2011;

c. maintain professional communication in that you did not:

i. reply to approximately 8 phone calls to you from the Health Visitor.

ii. consistently return messages left by the foster carer.

e d. complete the parenting assessment between 24 January 2011- December 2011.

 

6. In relation to Service User F:

a. Did not adhere to the Court timetable in that you did not:

i. complete the final evidence which was due to be filed on 19 December 2011.

ii.  inform  your  manager  when  you  went  on  sick  leave  on  12

December 2011 that the final evidence was due to be filed on 19 December 2011 but was not completed.

b. Did not undertake visits to the child every two weeks when the child was subject to a child protection plan between 09 May 2011 and 20 September 2011.

c. Did not visit the child at all after 20 September 2011.

d. You did not adhere to the Child Protection Monitoring Practice Standards for the Child Protection conference held on 20 September 2011, in that you did not:

i. make the report available to the chair a minimum of two days before the conference.

ii. share the written report with the parents a minimum of two days before the conference.

iii. include the parent’s views in your report.

iv. provide an up to date plan for that conference.

v. arrange core group meetings at the required intervals.

e. Inappropriately put a conference in the duty diary without the permission of your manager.

f. you did not maintain professional communication in that you did not:

(i) maintain any or any reasonable contact with the mother of

Service User F.

 

7. In relation to Family G children, you did not:

a. adhere to the Child Protection Monitoring Practice Standards in relation to the Child Protection conference held on 03 November 2011 in that you did not:

i. provide the report to the chair a minimum of two days before the conference.

ii. get the report authorised by your team manager.

iii. share the written report with the parents a minimum of two days before the conference.

iv. provide a report which was of an adequate standard.

v. keep the Child Protection plan up to date.

vi. arrange Core Group meetings at the required intervals.

b. progress the case to the PLO stage in a timely manner.

c. maintain professional communication in that you did not:

i. reply to approximately 9 phone calls and 6 emails sent to you by Colleague A and/or Colleague B and/or Colleague C of the Family Group Conference team between 30 August 2011 - 17 November 2011.

ii. contact Colleague A and/or Colleague B and/or Colleague C of the Family Group Conference team after you were asked to do  so  by  your  manager  on  17  November  2011,  and  despite knowing that they had made a complaint due to your lack of communication.

d. undertake the required number of child protection visits.

e.  Respond  to  emails  dated  3  and  21  November  2011  in relation to arrangements for a pre-birth conference in a timely manner.

8. Your actions described in paragraphs 1 -7 amount to misconduct and/or lack of competence.

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

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service

1. The Panel was informed that an original notice of hearing was sent to the Registrant’s address, as it appears on the HCPC Register, on 8 July 2016. It heard that some documentation which had been sent to the Registrant had been returned to the HCPC by the Post Office. The reason endorsed for this was that the documentation was “not called for”.  Nevertheless, the Panel was satisfied that good service had been effected in accordance with Rules 3 and 5 of the HCPC (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (‘the Rules’) and it was satisfied that all reasonable steps had been taken by the HCPC to inform the Registrant of today’s proceedings.

 

Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant

2. Ms Turner, on behalf of the HCPC, applied for the hearing to proceed in the absence of the Registrant pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules.  She referred the Panel to the fact that there had been no application for an adjournment by the Registrant who had not engaged with the HCPC throughout the entirety of the regulatory proceedings.

 

3. Ms Turner drew the Panel’s attention to correspondence received from the Registrant’s General Practitioner (”GP”) as follows:

• In a letter dated 22 March 2016, the Registrant’s GP indicated that he had advised the Registrant not to attend the hearing on the grounds of her ill health. He also confirmed that the Registrant had not sought work in ‘any related health care service’ since her resignation from her position with Sheffield City Council (“the Council”).

• In response to this letter the HCPC had requested further information and clarification as to whether an adjournment of the case would assist.

• In a letter dated 11 July 2016 the Registrant’s GP confirmed that the Registrant had ‘no intention to practice (sic) any further in the field of Health and Social Care’ and that it would be ‘medically unwise for her to attend’.  No further clarification or information was provided.

4. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, that the decision to proceed in the absence of the Registrant is a decision to be taken with the utmost care and caution.  The Panel had regard to the HCPC Practice Note ‘Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant’ dated September 2016, including the criteria set out in R v Jones [2002] UKHL 5 and the recent guidance in General Medical Council v Adeogba/ Visvardis [2016] EWCA Civ 162.

 

5. The Panel noted that the Registrant had not sought an adjournment. It was satisfied that all reasonable efforts had been made to serve the Registrant with the notice of hearing and, whilst there had been brief mention of health issues in the letters from her GP, no detail or specific information had been forthcoming, despite enquiries by the HCPC. There had been a distinct lack of engagement by or on behalf of the Registrant.  The Panel therefore concluded that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself from the proceedings. In the absence of her engagement in the regulatory process and any detail relating to her health condition, there was no information available to the Panel upon which it could assess a timescale for any potential adjournment and there was nothing to indicate that she was likely to attend if the matter were to be adjourned.

 

6. The Panel was also mindful of the fact that the incidents upon which the Allegation is based were of some age and the potentially negative impact any further delay in these proceedings would have upon the memories of the witnesses, all of whom had attended to give evidence today. It also noted that evidence itself could be diminished by the passage of time.

 

7. The Panel recognised that the Registrant could be disadvantaged if the hearing were to go ahead in her absence, as she would be unable to challenge witnesses and put her own case forward. The Panel determined that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself from the proceedings and she had also not taken the opportunity to put forward written representations.  However, the Panel was mindful of its role, in accordance with McDaid v NMC [2013] EWHC 586, to make such points on behalf of an absent Registrant as the evidence permitted, which would go some way to mitigating any disadvantage.

 

8. In all of these circumstances, and given the serious nature of the concerns raised, the Panel concluded that the public interest required it to consider the issues associated with this case expeditiously.  It was therefore appropriate to proceed in the absence of the Registrant today.

 

Application to Amend the Allegation as detailed above

9. The Panel next heard an application by Ms Turner to amend the Allegation to correct the lettering of sub-particular 5e. The Registrant had not been notified of the application. The Panel received and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It was satisfied that the amendment was necessary and desirable as it provided clarity, did not substantively change the nature of the Allegation as it was purely cosmetic, and was therefore not in the least prejudicial to the Registrant. The Panel, of its own volition, directed amendments to sub particulars 2 (d) and 2 (e) as shown above to correct typographical errors.

 

Background

10. The Registrant commenced work at the Council on 4 April 2000.  At the relevant time, the Registrant was an experienced Social Worker within a Child in Need team. Her responsibilities related to the safeguarding of children and included progressing matters for hearings within family court proceedings.

 

11. The Council was notified of concerns relating to the Registrant’s delay in progressing child protection cases by judges in two separate cases in family court proceedings. A separate and unrelated internal audit of the caseloads of all senior social workers at the Council identified further concerns associated with the Registrant’s work.

 

12. The Registrant was suspended from work by her employer on 1 May 2012. At this time, the Registrant self-referred the matter to the HCPC.

 

13. The Registrant resigned from her post in February 2013 prior to the completion of the internal investigation by the Council.

Decision on Facts

 

14. The Panel has carefully considered all of the evidence in this case. It has noted the submissions of Ms Turner and it has accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

 

15. On behalf of the HCPC, the Panel heard oral evidence from Witnesses 1, 2, 3 and 4. It received two bundles of documentation from the HCPC. The first comprised the witness statements of those who gave evidence and the second contained 5641 pages of exhibits.

 

16. The Panel reminded itself that the burden of proving the facts is on the HCPC alone and that the standard of proof is the ordinary civil standard, namely the balance of probabilities.

 

17. The Panel noted the case of Enemuwe v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2015] EWHC 2081 and disregarded the findings of the internal investigation. Furthermore, the Panel ensured that it was not influenced in its deliberations by its knowledge of the Council’s internal processes.

Credibility of the Witnesses and Assessment of the Evidence

18. The Panel first made an assessment of the credibility of the witnesses and the reliability of all of the evidence presented to it:

Witness 1

19. The Panel found that Witness 1 gave fair and balanced evidence.  It noted that he was willing to compliment the Registrant on her working methods where he felt it was appropriate.  The Panel found him to be a credible and consistent witness.

Witness 2

20. The Panel found that Witness 2 was credible and consistent.  She was disciplined in the way she gave her evidence and avoided straying from the facts into speculation and opinion.

Witness 3

21. Witness 3 gave evidence in respect of one sub-particular, namely 5c(i). The Panel found her to be credible and consistent.  It noted that this witness was meticulous in the way she recorded the relevant issues and she presented as fair and balanced in her oral evidence.

Witness 4

22. Witness 4 was the Registrant’s team manager at the relevant time.  She gave a more substantial piece of evidence in respect of all particulars of the Allegation. She relied, to a significant degree, on records made at the relevant time.  She was prepared to concede when she was unable to recall facts due to the passage of time.  The Panel found the chronology, which she exhibited, to be a particularly useful document as it was recorded as events unfolded.  Overall, the Panel found Witness 4 to be a fair, credible and consistent witness.

Hearsay Evidence

23. The Panel exercised caution in considering hearsay evidence.  It attached weight to the hearsay evidence, only to the extent that it was appropriate, where this evidence was corroborated or consistent with other evidence received.

 

The Registrant

24. The Panel did not hear from the Registrant.  Accordingly, it was unable to assess her credibility or reliability. Whilst no weight was attached to, nor inferences drawn from, her absence, all of the HCPC evidence was uncontested as a consequence.

 

Findings in Relation to the Factual Particulars of the Allegation

Service User A

25. Service User A was a baby who had been brought to the attention of the Social Work Team at a maternity hospital before she was born. The hospital had completed a pre-birth assessment based on the mother’s history and this raised questions about the parents’ ability to care for their baby.  The mother had had two previous children removed from the family home due to domestic violence, one of whom had suffered a non-accidental injury whilst in the mother’s care.  Both parents of Service User A had learning difficulties.

 

During the course of your employment as a social worker at Sheffield City Council you:

Particular 1 a - Proved

1. In relation to Service User A, you did not:

a. commence and/or complete the parenting assessment between 16 August 2011 - 12 October 2011

 

26. The Panel accepted the oral and written evidence of Witness 4 along with the case records. In addition, it took account of the national policy ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children Policy’ which provides a framework for assessment.  This evidence substantiated the fact that the Registrant had not commenced the required parenting assessment, in respect of this service user by 26 September 2011 and it was not completed by 26 October 2011.  The Panel was mindful of several periods of absence which the Registrant had had from work due to sick leave, annual leave and training days.  This amounted to eighteen working days during this period.  However, the Panel considered it to be the responsibility of the Registrant to either complete her work or ensure arrangements were in place to have it completed in her absence.  Failing this she should have highlighted her difficulties in completing this piece of work to her manager. Accordingly, particular 1a is found proved.

 

Particular 1 b - Proved

b. request the initial adoption paperwork from adoption business support in a timely manner.

 

27. The Panel found the evidence of Witness 4, which was corroborated by the supporting exhibits, namely the summary of concerns and the audit, to be compelling in this respect.  Accordingly, particular 1b is found proved.

 

Particular 1 c - Proved

c. attend the court hearing that was held on 04 October 2011 and/or on 06 October 2011 and/or did not inform management and/or business support of these planned court dates when you called in sick on 3 October 2011.

 

28. The Panel was satisfied that it was a well-known procedure at the Council for social workers to inform the Team Manager through the Business Support Team of any outstanding work when they were unable to work due to ill health. It was the personal and professional responsibility of the social worker to highlight any arrangements which would be necessary to cover work or court attendances due during periods of absence.  Based on the evidence of Witness 4 and the court attendance note, it is clear that the Registrant did not attend court on 4 October 2011 or 6 October 2011 and that she did not inform either her team manager or a member of the Business Support Team of the court dates when she reported sick on 3 October 2011.  Such messages were neither recorded nor passed on to her Team Manager on her behalf.  Accordingly, particular 1c is found proved.

 

Particular 1 d - Proved

d. attend the court hearing that was held on 23 August 2011.

 

29. The Court Attendance Record dated 23 August 2011 clearly stated “Social Worker: No one in attendance”. Witness 4 noted the same in her chronology.  The Panel was therefore satisfied that the Registrant did not attend this court hearing. Accordingly, particular 1d is found proved.

Particular 1 e - Proved

e. request the court timetable from the solicitors in a timely manner, despite being requested to do so by your manager on16 August 2011.

 

30. The Manager’s Action Plan document confirmed that the Registrant was instructed on 16 August 2011 to ‘speak to solicitor to request a court timetable’. The written evidence of the Looked After Child (”LAC”) Independent Reviewing Officer (“IRO”) substantiates the fact that the Registrant did not undertake this task. Accordingly, particular 1e is found proved.

Service User B

31. Service User B was a baby and the mother’s first child.  The parents of Service User B were both vulnerable and the mother had a very low IQ level.

 

2. In relation to Service User B you:

Particular 2 a - Proved

a. Did not attend Court on 09 September 2011 until prompted to do so by           your manager.

 

32. The court attendance record of 12 August 2011 confirmed that the Registrant was present on that date and that the matter was adjourned to 9 September 2011. Thus, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant knew of the latter court date.  Witness 4 confirmed that the Registrant did not attend court on 9 September 2011 and that she (Witness 4) had to prompt the Registrant to attend court by telephoning her in the office.  Accordingly, particular 2a is found proved.

 

Particular 2 b - Proved

b. Did not inform business support when you called in sick on 03 October                                  2011 that there were Court hearings on 05 October 2011 and 06 October 2011.

 

33. An e-mail from the Registrant to Witness 4, dated 28 September 2011, confirmed that the Registrant was aware of the court hearing scheduled for 5 October 2011. The evidence of Witness 4 was that the Registrant called the Business Support Team on 3 October 2011 to report sick, yet she received no message from that team to highlight the fact that there were court hearings on 5 and 6 October 2011 which required attention in her absence.  The Panel is satisfied, on all of the evidence received, that this forms part of an emerging pattern of poor communication on the Registrant’s part and it can safely be inferred from all of these circumstances that the Registrant did not inform the Business Support Team of these court hearings.  Accordingly, particular 2b is found proved.

 

Particulars 2 c, 2 d and 2 e - Proved

c. did not provide clear information to your manager(s) regarding  the outcome  of  parenting  assessments  and/or further support which    was required by the parents of Service User B

d. your actions in 1(c) 2(c) above led to you agreeing to a further assessment of Service User B’s parents at court without management approval of the same.

e. subsequent to the agreement referred to in allegation 1(d) 2(d) above you inferred to your manager that other parties had requested the additional parental assessment when this was not the case.

 

34. The evidence of Witness 4 was that the Registrant had told her that an additional parenting assessment was suggested by another professional in the case whilst she was at court. However, Witness 1 recalled clearly and convincingly that the suggestion for a further assessment of Service User B’s parents came from the Registrant herself. His clear recollection of the matter had been reinforced by the fact that he had been impressed with the Registrant’s analysis of the parents’ potential abilities at that time.

 

35. Witness 4 confirmed that there had been no management approval at the time the Registrant had agreed to the further assessment.  She also gave evidence of the unclear and inadequate information provided to her by the Registrant regarding the outcome of the assessments and the further support which was required by the parents of Service User B. These matters were corroborated by the documentation exhibited namely, the Manager’s Action Plan and the Chronology.  Accordingly particulars 2b, 2c and 2d are found proved.

 

Particular 2 f - Proved

f. Did not complete the parenting assessment and/or did not progress parallel planning in a timely manner.

 

36. A supervision note dated 19 July 2011 records that the target date for the filing of evidence in this case was 14 October 2011. An e-mail from Witness 1, dated 26 October 2011, confirms that this was not done and evidences the fact that there was a delay of seven weeks in this respect. Furthermore, Witness 4 gave evidence that she had to chase the Registrant for the statutory review in respect of Service User B on several occasions.  This is corroborated by a number of e-mails exhibited. Accordingly, particular 2f is found proved.

 

Particular 2 g - Proved

g. did not complete a viability assessment on the grandmother of Service User B.

 

37. The IRO’s report, dated 28 December 2011, clearly indicates that an assessment of the grandmother of Service User B was requested.  As the allocated Social Worker in this case, it was the Registrant’s responsibility to complete that assessment. There was no evidence to suggest it was ever commenced. Accordingly, particular 2f is found proved.

 

Family C Children

38. Service User C was a looked-after child who had been placed in foster care as both of her parents were substance misusers.  Previous children of these parents had been removed from their care. Service User C was the subject of a twin-tracking requirement (sometimes referred to as parallel planning).  This is a process whereby all of the potential options for a child are pursued by a Social Worker and includes simultaneous consideration of the parents and the wider family as potential carers and also adoption, in order to avoid delays later in the case if plans have to be changed.

 

3. In relation to the Family C children, you did not:

Particular 3 a (i) - Proved

a. adhere to the Court timetable in that you did not:

i. submit your final evidence to the legal department in a timely manner or at all in time for the court deadline on 26 September 2011.

 

39. In a Children and Young People Department (“CYPD”) supervision record dated 23 June 2011, it was noted that the final evidence in this case was due to be filed on 26 September 2011.  An e-mail from Witness 2 dated 18 October 2011 suggested that the evidence was not received by that date, although Witness 2 did confirm that the disengagement of Service User C’s mother by that stage may have caused the Registrant difficulties in filing it on time.  Nevertheless, it was clear that the court deadline was not complied with.  Witness 4 explained that, if the Registrant had progressed parallel planning, the mother’s disengagement should not have affected compliance with court deadlines. Accordingly, particular 3a(i) is found proved.

 

Particular 3 a (ii) - Proved

ii. complete the placement order report which was due on 11 January 2012 in a timely manner and/or did not inform your manager(s) that this needed to be done when you were on a period of sick leave.

 

40. The evidence of Witnesses 2 and 4 was that the Registrant had abandoned the adoption process in order to focus on the mother of Service User C as a permanent carer and that, consequently, the Registrant did not progress the placement order report which was a requirement of the adoption process. An e-mail, dated 8 October 2011, corroborated the fact that the placement order report was not completed by the Registrant.  The chronology and case records confirm that this task was subsequently allocated to another Social Worker.

 

41. During the period in which the placement order report should have been completed, there was evidence that the Registrant was away from work due to ill health.  However, there was no evidence that the Registrant had highlighted to anyone that this report needed attention in her absence and Witness 4 confirmed that she did not receive a message to that effect.  Against the background of the pattern of poor communication identified above, the Panel is satisfied that the Registrant did not inform her manager or anyone else that the report needed to be done whilst she was on sick leave. Accordingly, particular 3a(ii) is found proved.

 

Particular 3 b (i) - Proved

b. adhere to the adoption process in that you did not:

i. request an adoption pack in a timely manner as agreed in your supervision session of 19 July 2011.

42. The case record of 19 July 2011 confirms that the Registrant was tasked to request an adoption pack in this case.  The case records of 11 October 2011 and 17 October 2011 confirm that the Registrant had not progressed the task by those dates.  Accordingly, particular 3b(i) is found proved.

 

Particular 3 b (ii) - Proved                                                                      

ii. complete the initial paperwork for the adoption panel in a timely manner.

43. As stated above, there was compelling evidence from Witnesses 2 and 4 to suggest that the Registrant hoped for the rehabilitation of Service User C’s mother to the point where she was a suitable carer for Service User C.  However, the Registrant should have progressed the twin-track approach and commenced the adoption process which she did not do. This is corroborated by the case records. Accordingly, particular 3b(ii) is found proved.

 

Particular 3 b (iii) - Proved

iii. complete the Review Health Assessment Consent Form on time.

 

44. An e-mail from a member of the Business Support Team dated 28 September 2011 demonstrated clearly that the Review Health Assessment Consent Form was overdue and had not been completed by the Registrant at that time. Accordingly, particular 3b (iii) is found proved.

 

Particular 3 b (iv) - Proved

iv. arrange ‘goodbye contact’ in a timely manner.

 

45. A CYPD supervision record, dated 11 October 2011, recorded the fact that Service User C’s foster carer had expressed concerns that the “goodbye contact” had not been arranged and was two weeks overdue. Accordingly, particular 3b(iv) is found proved.

 

Particular 3 b (v) - Proved

v. prepare a child permanence report for the adoption panel on 11 January 2012 and/or did not inform your manager(s) that this needed to be done when you were on a period of sick leave.

 

46. The evidence of Witness 4 and the Chronology confirmed that a Child Permanence Report for the Adoption Panel was due on 11 January 2012. The Registrant went on sick leave on 12 December 2011.  However, she did not inform her manager of the deadline and, as a result, the work had to be undertaken by the manager and a fellow social worker. Accordingly, particular 3b (v) is found proved.

Particular 3 c (i) - Proved

c. maintain professional communication in that you did not:

i. return the calls of the Children’s Guardian for over two weeks;

 

47. An internal e-mail, dated 12 December 2011, corroborated the oral and written evidence of Witness 4 that the Registrant failed to respond to a number of calls from the Children’s Guardian over a period of two weeks. Accordingly, particular 3c(i) is found proved.

 

Particular 3 c (ii) - Proved

ii. contact the legal department to discuss the court hearing in a timely manner.

 

48. E-mails from the Council’s Legal Department, dated 10 October 2011 and 18 October 2011, confirm that the Registrant failed to contact that department in a timely fashion.  Witness 2, who worked within that department, confirmed that there was no contact with the Registrant between 3 June 2011 and 18 October 2011, at which point the Legal Department chased the Registrant for information. Accordingly particular 3 c (ii) is found proved.

 

Service User D

49. Service User D was a teenager involved in anti-social behaviour and who had previously been reported as missing.  He had exhibited violence towards his mother and siblings and had a long history of social work intervention.

 

4. In relation to Service User D, you did not:

Particular 4 a - Proved

a. complete the Lead Professional update within the 5 working days’ time limit.

 

50. The accepted process required that the Lead Professional update be completed within five working days of a case being allocated.  In this case the Registrant was the Lead Professional.  An e-mail trail between the Registrant and the Business Support Team clearly indicated that the request was made to her on 8 April 2011 and chased by Business Support on 15 April 2011 and then again on 27 April 2011, some nineteen days after it’s initial allocation.  Accordingly, particular 4a is found proved.

 

Particular 4 b - Proved

b. verify the addresses for individuals attending the Child Protection Conference to enable the invitations to be sent to attendees in a timely manner.

 

51. The Registrant was requested by the Business Support Team, in an e-mail dated 21 April 2011, to check the addresses of invitees to the Child Protection Conference (“CPC”).  According to Witness 4, this was a relatively simple task and she confirmed that this task was the responsibility of the Registrant in her capacity as the allocated Social Worker.  This task was chased by Business Support in an e-mail dated 4 May 2011.  Finally, in an e-mail dated 6 May 2011, Witness 4 directed the Registrant to undertake this task.  Accordingly, particular 4 b is found proved.

 

Service User E

52. Service User E’s mother suffered a number of mental health issues and was limited in her capacity to care for her children.  Service User E was born prematurely and received specialist care in hospital.  A core pre-birth assessment was carried out on 14 October 2010, and on 16 November 2010 Service User E was made subject to a child protection plan (“CPP”).  Service User E was placed into foster care in November 2011.

 

5. In relation to Service User E you did not:

Particular 5 a - Not Proved

i. complete the case review panel report in a timely manner.

 

53. The case was allocated to the Registrant on 25 January 2011. Her role was to prepare the case for presentation to the Case Review Panel on 4 April 2011. The case records referred to a discussion between the Registrant and her manager (Witness 4) stating that this work needed to be done.  There was evidence that the Registrant did complete the work in time for the panel meeting on 4 April 2011.  Accordingly, particular 5a is found not proved.

 

Particular 5 b - Proved

b. complete the statement and chronology in order to initiate care proceedings by the deadline of 06 December 2011;

 

54. It was the responsibility of the Registrant to complete a Memorandum, an Initial Statement, a Chronology and a Care Plan.  The Registrant completed the care plan and the memorandum.  However, she failed to complete the initial statement and the chronology which were subsequently completed by her Team Manager and a fellow Social Worker respectively. This was corroborated by Witness 4 and the exhibits.  The Registrant was asked, in an e-mail dated 29 November 2011, to complete these tasks by 6 December 2011 and she failed to do so.  Accordingly, particular 5b is found proved.

 

Particular 5 c (i) - Proved

c. maintain professional communication in that you did not:

i. reply to approximately 8 phone calls to you from the Health Visitor.

 

55. A hand-written note and the direct evidence of Witness 3, a Health Visitor, confirmed that Witness 3 left messages for the Registrant on at least eight occasions between 6 September 2011 and 2 December 2011 requesting an update regarding Service User C.  Witness 3 eventually spoke to the Registrant’s manager (Witness 4) in order to make contact and to receive the required update.  Accordingly, particular 5c(i) is found proved.

 

Particular 5 c (ii) - Not Proved

ii. consistently return messages left by the foster carer.

 

56. The evidence for this particular was vague.  It was reported to Witness 4 by an unnamed Social Worker (who did not give evidence to the Panel) that the Social Worker had received  a complaint by the foster carer of Service User E to the effect that the Registrant had not returned her messages.  Witness 4 repeated this report in her oral evidence and stated that she was not clear where the complaint had actually originated.  Given the vague nature of  this evidence and the fact that it was multiple hearsay the Panel exercised a significant degree of caution.  It did not consider it appropriate to attach weight to this evidence in the absence of any corroboration.  Accordingly, particular 5c(ii) is found not proved.

 

Particular 5 d - Not Proved

e d. complete the parenting assessment between 24 January 2011- December 2011.

 

57. The Registrant had a responsibility to carry out a parenting assessment in this case.  The Panel received evidence to suggest that this work was ongoing.  There was no evidence in the IRO report, as was suggested by the HCPC, that the assessment was not completed. Furthermore, the Panel was not persuaded by Witness 4 in her oral evidence that she could not find the assessment on the Council’s IT system.  The Panel approached this evidence with caution, given the passage of time and the fact that this evidence did not appear in her original witness statement. The Panel was not satisfied to the requisite standard in this respect.  Accordingly, particular 5d is found not proved.

 

Service User F

58. Service User F’s mother was vulnerable and there were concerns regarding her capacity to care for her child.  Service User F was subject to care proceedings and was in the care of her mother under an interim supervision order.  The Social Worker’s duties under the supervision order were to assist, advise and befriend.

 

6. In relation to Service User F:

Particulars 6 a (i) and 6 a (ii) - Proved

a. Did not adhere to the Court timetable in that you did not:

i. complete the final evidence which was due to be filed on 19 December 2011.

ii.  inform  your  manager  when  you  went  on  sick  leave  on  12 December 2011 that the final evidence was due to be filed on 19 December 2011 but was not completed.

 

 

59. The final evidence in the case of Service User F was due to be filed by 4pm on 19 December 2011. This was evidenced by the court attendance records.  A telephone call between Witness 4 and the Council’s Legal Department on 28 December 2011 confirmed that the evidence was not filed as required.  The matter was reallocated for completion by another Social Worker.  Witness 4 confirmed this.  There was evidence in the chronology that the Registrant had reported in sick on 12 December 2011 and, in doing so, she had not alerted her manager to this outstanding work.  Accordingly, particulars 6a(i) and 6a(ii) are found proved.

 

Particular 6 b - Proved

b. Did not undertake visits to the child every two weeks when the child was subject to a child protection plan between 09 May 2011 and 20 September 2011.

 

60. Service User F was subject to a Child Protection Plan (“CPP”) and, as such, should have received visits from the Registrant every two weeks.  It was recorded that the Registrant visited Service User F on 9 May 2011 and there was evidence that a further visit was arranged for 18 May 2011.  However, the case records confirmed that no more visits were recorded prior to 20 September 2011. Witness 4 corroborated these matters. The Panel noted that there was evidence of monitoring by a key worker and the manager of the service user’s supported accommodation during the relevant period.  However, this did not absolve the Registrant of her responsibility to carry out visits to Service User F.  Accordingly, particular 6b is found proved.

Particular 6 c - Proved

c. Did not visit the child at all after 20 September 2011.

 

61. The Panel was unable to find any conclusive evidence that the Registrant visited Service User F after 20 September 2011.  There was some evidence of monitoring by the key worker and the manager of the service user’s supported accommodation.  However, as stated above, this did not absolve the Registrant of her responsibility to carry out visits to Service User F.  Accordingly, particular 6c is found proved.

 

Particulars 6 d (i) to (v)  - Proved

d. You did not adhere to the Child Protection Monitoring Practice Standards for the Child Protection conference held on 20 September 2011, in that you did not:

i. make the report available to the chair a minimum of two days before the conference.

ii. share the written repo

rt with the parents a minimum of two days before the conference.

iii. include the parent’s views in your report.

iv. provide an up to date plan for that conference.

v. arrange core group meetings at the required intervals.

 

62. The Panel viewed the Child Protection Monitoring Practice Standards Report completed by the Child Protection Coordinator on 1 November 2011.  The report referred to the Child Protection Conference (“CPC”) of 20 September 2011.  That document clearly demonstrated that:

 

       the report was not made available to the chair a minimum of two days before the conference;

       the written report was not shared with the parent a minimum of two days before the conference;

       the Registrant did not include the views of the parent in her report;

       the Registrant did not provide an up to date plan for the conference;

       the Registrant did not arrange core group meetings at the required intervals.

 

63. Evidence in support of these sub-particulars was given by Witness 4, who attended the CPC on 20 September 2011.  Accordingly, particulars 6d (i)-(v) inclusive are found proved.

Particular 6 e - Proved

e. Inappropriately put a conference in the duty diary without the permission of your manager.

 

64. The Panel noted an e-mail which was sent to the Registrant from a Social Work Team Manager on 13 September 2011.  It referred to a CPC the following Tuesday when the Registrant was on annual leave.  The e-mail, corroborated by Witness 4, clearly demonstrated that the Registrant placed an unauthorised entry into the duty diary which would thereby result in another colleague having to attend a conference on the Registrant’s behalf.

 

65. Witness 4 attended the conference on behalf of the Registrant.  She described how she did not have full knowledge of the case which could have potentially caused risk to the service user and also potentially damaged the reputation of the Council and the profession. Accordingly, particular 6e is found proved.

 

Particular 6 f - Proved

f. you did not maintain professional communication in that you did not:

(i) maintain any or any reasonable contact with the mother of Service User F.

 

66. The oral and written evidence of Witness 4, along with two e-mails from social work colleagues which informed the Registrant that the mother of Service User F had left “several messages” for the Registrant to contact her, confirmed that that the Registrant had failed to respond to these requests. Witness 4 described how she had to help and reassure the mother of Service User F after the Registrant failed to maintain professional communication with her.  Accordingly, particular 6f is found proved.

 

Family G

67. Family G comprised 2 boys and 2 girls.  All of the children were subject to child protection plans owing to ongoing neglect concerns.

 

7. In relation to the Family G children, you did not:

Particulars 7 a  (i) to (vi) - Proved

a. adhere to the Child Protection Monitoring Practice Standards in relation to the Child Protection conference held on 03 November 2011 in that you did not:

i. provide the report to the chair a minimum of two days before the conference.

ii. get the report authorised by your team manager.

iii. share the written report with the parents a minimum of two days before the conference.

iv. provide a report which was of an adequate standard.

v. keep the Child Protection plan up to date.

vi. arrange Core Group meetings at the required intervals.

 

68. Witness 4 gave evidence in respect of the Family G children.  The case was allocated to the Registrant in May 2011. Witness 4 exhibited the Child Protection Monitoring - Practice Standards Form dated 3 November 2011 which referred to the CPC of the same date. The report was completed by the Child Protection Coordinator and its contents clearly demonstrated that:

 

       the Registrant did not provide the report to the chair a minimum of two days before the conference;

       the Registrant did not get the report authorised by her team manager;

       the Registrant did not share the written report with the parents a minimum of two days before the conference;

       the Registrant did not provide a report which was of an adequate standard;

       the Registrant did not keep the CPP up to date;

       the Registrant did not arrange core groups meetings at the required intervals.

Accordingly, particulars 7a(i) to 7a(vi) are found proved.

Particular 7 b - Proved

b. progress the case to the PLO stage in a timely manner.

 

69. The Registrant, as the allocated Social Worker for Family G, should have referred the matter to a Case Review Panel (“CRP”) for consideration of the Public Law Outline (“PLO”).  On 4 November 2011, the Registrant was tasked by her manager to refer the matter to a CRP. This was evidenced within the manager’s action plan.

 

70. Witness 4 carried out an audit of the Registrant’s work on 15 November 2011, when it became apparent that the Registrant had not referred the matter in accordance with the request made on 4 November 2011.  The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness 4 in this respect.  Accordingly, particular 7b is found proved.

Particular 7 c (i) - Proved

c. maintain professional communication in that you did not:

i. reply to approximately 9 phone calls and 6 emails sent to you by Colleague A and/or Colleague B and/or Colleague C of the Family Group Conference team between 30 August 2011 - 17 November 2011.

 

71. The Panel heard evidence from Witness 4 and viewed the Family Group Conference (”FGC”) Contact Sheet in this respect.  The Panel also noted an e-mail from the FGC Coordinator.  The Panel was satisfied that approximately nine phone calls and six e-mails were sent to the Registrant between 30 August 2011 and 17 November 2011, in respect of which, she failed to respond to her colleagues on the FGC Team.  Accordingly, particular 7c(i) is found proved.

Particular 7 c (ii) - Not Proved

ii. contact Colleague A and/or Colleague B and/or Colleague C of the Family Group Conference team after you were asked to do  so  by  your  manager  on  17  November  2011,  and  despite knowing that they had made a complaint due to your lack of communication.

 

72. The Panel was unable to identify any conclusive evidence that the Registrant failed to contact FGC colleagues after being asked to do so by Witness 4 in an e-mail dated 17 November 2011. In her written statement, Witness 4 stated that she ‘did not believe’ that the Registrant had done so.  The Panel did not find this evidence sufficiently compelling to enable it to find the particular proved to the requisite standard.  Accordingly, particular 7c(ii) is found not proved.

 

Particular 7 d - Proved

d. undertake the required number of child protection visits.

 

73. The Panel heard from Witness 4 that this case was transferred to the Registrant in June 2011. The Registrant carried out a visit on 27June 2011.  Supervision records for August 2011 imply that visits took place on 5 August 2011 and 17 August 2011.  However, there was no written record on the case files that those visits were actually undertaken.  The next recorded visit to be recorded in the case files was undertaken on 7 October 2011.  There was therefore a significant gap of several weeks between the visits recorded in August 2011 and October 2011.  In these circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that the required number of child protection visits were not undertaken by the Registrant.  Accordingly, particular 7d is found proved.

 

Particular 7 e - Proved

e.  Respond  to  emails  dated  3  and  21  November  2011  in relation to arrangements for a pre-birth conference in a timely manner.

 

74. The Panel viewed a copy of an e-mail sent from the Business Support Team, dated 3 November 2011, which requested an update on a pre-birth assessment in respect of a pregnant and vulnerable member of Family G who was subject to a CPP. Witness 4 gave evidence that the Registrant failed to respond to the e-mail despite a reminder sent on 21 November 2011. On 2 December 2011 the matter was escalated and a pre-birth conference was arranged for 9 January 2012.  The Registrant subsequently went on sick leave on 12 December 2011 resulting in a newly qualified Social Worker undertaking the necessary preparatory work for the pre-birth conference.  Accordingly, particular 7e is found proved.

 

Decision on Grounds

Misconduct

75. The Panel next determined whether the facts found proved amounted to misconduct. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It bore in mind that there is no standard of proof to be applied at this stage; consideration as to whether the threshold for misconduct has been reached is a matter for its own judgment. In considering the ground, the Panel first considered the individual particulars found proved and then the behaviour in the round.

 

76. The Panel had specific regard to the helpful guidance provided in Roylance -v- GMC (No 2) [2000] 1 AC 311, Meadows v GMC [2007] QB 462 and Shaw v GOsC [2015] EWHC 2721.

 

77. The Panel considered whether the proven facts amounted to breaches of the General Social Care Council Codes of Practice 2010 (“the Codes”) by which the Registrant was bound at the relevant time. It bore in mind that breaches of the Codes do not in themselves necessarily constitute misconduct.  

 

78. The Panel determined that the following GSCC Codes had been breached:

                2. As a social care worker, you must strive to establish and maintain the trust              and confidence of service users and carers. This includes:

                2.2 Communicating in an appropriate, open, accurate and straightforward way;

                2.4 Being reliable and dependable;

                2.5 Honouring work commitments, agreements and         arrangements and,                when it is not possible to do so, explaining why to service users and     carers;

                4. As a social care worker, you must respect the rights of service users while              seeking to ensure that their behaviour does not harm themselves or other              people.  This includes:

                4.4 Ensuring that relevant colleagues and agencies are informed about the                 outcomes and implications of risk assessments.

                6. As a social care worker, you must be accountable for the quality of your work          and take responsibility for maintaining and improving your knowledge and skills.               This includes:

                6.1 Meeting relevant standards of practice and working in a          lawful, safe and      effective way;

                6.2 maintaining clear and accurate records as required by procedures         established for your work;   

Particular 1

79. The Registrant was an experienced social worker who should have clearly understood what was required of her.  Nevertheless, she failed to follow accepted and established procedures.  She failed to attend court when she had a duty to do so and failed to progress outcomes for a baby in order to reach a timely outcome for the service user.

 

Particular 2

80. This was indicative of another failure to follow accepted procedures, namely the twin - track approach.  This approach was clearly required in this case and the Registrant departed from this approach without management permission.

Particular 3

81. The Registrant failed to follow the necessary and accepted procedure in relation to the adoption of a looked after child resulting in unnecessary delay.  Throughout her dealings with Service User C, the Registrant repeatedly failed to carry out a number of basic tasks, for example, arranging ‘goodbye contact’ and communicating effectively with professional colleagues.

Particular 4

82. Again, the Registrant failed to carry out the basic tasks expected of her as a Social Worker and the Lead Professional in the case.

Particular 5

83. This was indicative of the Registrant’s failure to complete the paperwork required within the care process and also a further failure in communication with other professionals.

Particular 6

84. The Registrant failed to undertake basic tasks, causing delays in the care proceedings relating to a child who was at risk of neglect. Furthermore, the Registrant’s failure to effectively communicate with her manager compromised the information available at a CPC.

Particular 7

85. In this instance, the Registrant failed to adhere to the Child Protection Monitoring Practice Standards regarding four vulnerable children.  Visits were not carried out and her errors were compounded when the Registrant failed to maintain communication with colleagues involved in the FGC.

 

86. In considering the identified failings, the Panel has noted a number of themes in the conduct of the Registrant:

 

 

       Assessments - the Registrant failed to carry out basic and fundamental timely assessments of service users and families.

 

       Communication - the Registrant failed, on a number of occasions, to communicate effectively with professional colleagues.  She failed to respond to telephone calls and e-mails, she failed to communicate with the families of service users; she ignored management instructions; she repeatedly failed to inform her manager when tasks were not undertaken or when she was unable to meet an essential deadline.

 

 

       Reports/paperwork - the Registrant failed to initiate and progress important reports despite clear direction and reminders from management.

 

       Visits - the Registrant failed to conduct appropriate visits and recording thereof. The Panel did note, however, that there was evidence of key worker involvement with some service users at the time of the failings, which may have reduced the risk.

 

       Court Attendance – on multiple occasion the Registrant failed to attend court and inform her manager when she would be absent in order that necessary action could be taken on her behalf.  She failed to obtain court timetables which are central to the progression of care plans.  This meant she missed deadlines and court dates.

 

87. The Panel considered the failings were particularly serious, as, central to the issues, were the delays caused in respect of children in care who were awaiting adoption or a timely resolution to their long-term care.  The potential for psychological harm to service users and their families was significant. The impact could have been particularly profound and long-lasting in respect of the children whose adoptions were delayed as a result of the Registrant’s conduct as attachments were being formed and achieving long-term stability for them was delayed.

 

88. In all of these circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that the failings constituted behaviour which fell far short of what would be expected of a social worker in the circumstances. The Registrant’s actions and omissions were serious and the Panel was in no doubt that they would attract a degree of strong public disapproval. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the statutory ground of misconduct is made out in respect of each of the acts or omissions described in the particulars found proved both individually and cumulatively.

Lack of Competence

89. Having determined that the proven facts amounted to misconduct, the Panel next considered the alternate statutory ground of lack of competence. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and noted the guidance in R (on application of Dr Calhaem) -v- GMC [2007] EWHC 2606.

 

90. In view of its findings on misconduct, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant knew how to perform her professional duties competently, but failed to do so on the occasions referred to. The Registrant was an experienced social worker and the Panel heard several examples of her good practice from the witnesses.  The Panel was satisfied that her duties were well within her capabilities.  In all of these circumstances, the Panel considered that the Registrant’s actions were more appropriately identified as misconduct rather than lack of competence. Accordingly, lack of competence is not proved.

 

Impairment

 

91. The Panel next determined whether, by reason of her misconduct, the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the HCPC Practice Note “Finding that Fitness to Practise is Impaired”, dated July 2013. It bore in mind that not every finding of misconduct will automatically result in a conclusion that fitness to practise is impaired and noted that impairment is ‘forward looking’.  The Panel had specific regard to the guidance in the case of Meadows v GMC [2007]1 All ER 1, and Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) v NMC and Grant [2011] EWHC 927.

 

92. The starting point for the Panel was that the misconduct identified was serious. The Registrant breached several of the fundamental tenets of the social work profession in: failing to undertake or complete duties in a timely fashion, failing to ensure she communicated effectively with professional colleagues, service users and her manager and failing to complete records/paperwork adequately.  Such failings did not adequately protect service users and the public from risk of harm.

 

93. The Panel noted that, whilst the failings identified in this case are possible to remediate, there is no evidence of any remediation on her part. She has not engaged in the regulatory process nor is there any evidence that she has acknowledge her culpability or demonstrated remorse. The Panel therefore concludes that the failings have not been remedied and there remains a high risk of repetition, should the Registrant be faced with similar situations again.

 

94. In considering the wider public interest, the Panel noted the public criticism of the Council by judges in family court proceedings in respect of the delays associated with the Registrant’s conduct.  This clearly undermined confidence in the relevant Local Authority and also the social work profession. The Panel was therefore satisfied that the public interest in upholding proper professional standards and public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made in these circumstances.

 

95. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired.

 

 

Sanction

 

96. The Panel considered the submissions made by Ms Turner and it accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

 

97. The Panel is aware that the purpose of any sanction is not to be punitive, though it may have a punitive effect. The Panel has borne in mind that its primary function at this stage is to protect the public, while reaching a proportionate sanction, taking into account the wider public interest and the interests of the Registrant. The Panel has taken into account the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy and applied it to the Registrant’s case on its own facts and circumstances.

 

98. The starting point for the Panel was that the misconduct was serious. It constituted numerous breaches of the GSCC Code and also breached fundamental tenets of the profession. Good communication and working effectively and in the best interests of vulnerable service users are fundamental obligations upon all social workers.

 

99. The Panel identified the following aggravating factors in this case:

·          the failings were wide ranging and continued over a 12 month period;

·          a number of families and service users were affected by the misconduct;

·          the Registrant failed to engage in the regulatory process.  There is therefore no explanation for the failings.  Neither did the Registrant provide an explanation for the failings to her manager at the relevant time.

100. To balance against those issues, the Panel identified the following mitigating factors:

·          The Registrant is of previous good character.  She was an experienced social worker of some ten years and the Panel are not aware that there have been any previous complaints regarding her work or conduct;

·          Witnesses spoke of the positive aspects of the Registrant’s work, including her professional judgement and she was viewed as capable in many aspects of social work practice.

101. Nevertheless, the Panel has found that the Registrant continues to present a risk of harm to the public and has damaged the reputation of the profession. In light of all of these matters, the Panel has considered what sanction, if any, should be applied, in ascending order of seriousness.

No Further Action

102. The safety of the public and the wider public interest would not be protected if the Panel were to take no further action in a case of this seriousness.

Mediation

103. The Panel does not consider mediation to be an appropriate option in this case.

Caution

104. A Caution Order would be entirely insufficient to mark the seriousness of the Panel’s findings and to protect the wider public interest.

Conditions of Practice

105. The Panel identified that there remains an ongoing risk of harm and therefore concluded that it would not be possible to formulate workable or practicable conditions that would adequately address the issues identified or adequately reflect the wider public interest. Even if the Panel could formulate appropriate conditions, it has no confidence that the Registrant would be willing or able to comply, given her lack of engagement in the regulatory process.

Suspension

106. The Panel was satisfied that there had been a serious breach of the standards of expected practice which caused a risk of harm to the service users involved and damage to the reputation of the profession. Further, the Registrant has not engaged in the regulatory process and, as such, has failed to adequately demonstrate insight, remediation or any remorse. She therefore continues to present a risk to the public. Nevertheless, the Panel recognised that failings such as the ones identified in this case can be remedied. The Registrant was an experienced Social Worker at the relevant time and, in some aspects of her practice, she inspired the respect of her colleagues. Furthermore, there had been no previous concerns relating to her practice.

107. There was some indirect information received from the Registrant’s GP (22 March 2016, 11 July 2016), indicating that she was not currently practising in the field of social work and that she was, at the time of writing suffering ill health.  There was no further information in this respect. However, the Panel considered that there still existed the possibility that the Registrant may wish to return to practise in the future. In light of this, a Suspension Order, which recognises that there is potential for a return to unrestricted practice at a future point, would be sufficient to protect the public and uphold the wider public interest.

108. Accordingly, a Suspension Order for a period of one year is imposed.  This will give the Registrant the opportunity to reflect upon and satisfactorily address the issues raised by the Panel, should she choose to do so.

109. The Panel is satisfied that this is an appropriate and proportionate sanction in these circumstances.  The need to protect the public and maintain confidence in the profession and the regulatory process outweighs any impact upon the Registrant of having her registration suspended. Nevertheless the opportunity to return to unrestricted practice in the future remains available to her.

Striking Off Order

110. In the judgement of the Panel, a Striking Off Order would be disproportionate and unduly punitive in the circumstances described. Furthermore, it would deprive the Registrant of the opportunity to return to safe and effective practice in due course.

Order

ORDER: That the Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Jayne Burgin for a period of 12 months from the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

The order imposed today will apply from 18 November 2016

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 18 November 2017.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mrs Jayne Burgin

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
20/10/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
17/10/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended