Ms Alison Louise Davy

: Social worker

: SW70492

: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 23/03/2017 End: 17:00 23/03/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Caution

Allegation

On Wednesday 04 March 2015, you:

1)    Received a simple caution for possession of a Class A substance, namely a quantity of Cocaine;

 

2)    Received a Cannabis Warning for possession of a Class B substance, namely a quantity of Cannabis.

 

3)    The matter set out at particular 2 constitutes misconduct.

 

4)      By reason of your caution as set out at particular 1 and/or your misconduct as set out at particular 2, your fitness to practise as a registered Social Worker is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters:

Proof of Service

1. The Panel was provided with a signed certificate as proof that the Notice of Hearing had been sent in a letter, by First Class post on 19 December 2016, to the address shown for the Registrant on the HCPC register. The Notice of Hearing had also been sent to the Registrant by email on the same date. The Panel was satisfied that Notice had been properly served in accordance with Rule 3 of the Conduct & Competence Committee Rules and that the HCPC had taken all reasonable steps to bring notice of this hearing to the Registrant’s attention.

Proceeding in Absence

2. Having determined that service of the Notice of Hearing had been properly effected, the Panel went on to consider whether to proceed in the Registrant’s absence, as permitted by Rule 11 of the Conduct & Competence Rules. The Panel also took into account the guidance as set out in the HCPC Practice Note “Proceeding in Absence”.

3. The Panel determined that it was reasonable and in the public interest to proceed with the hearing for the following reasons:

a) The Registrant, having been properly served with the Notice of Hearing, signed the proposed Consent Order on 17 March 2017, which was received by the HCPC on 22 March 2017. In these circumstances the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s non-attendance was voluntary and therefore a deliberate waiver of her right to attend.

b) The Registrant has been in correspondence and very recent contact with the HCPC and has not made an application to adjourn. There is no indication that even if the case were to be adjourned that she would attend on any future date. Therefore adjourning this hearing to another date would serve no useful purpose.

c) It is in the public interest that this hearing, having been scheduled, should commence and proceed expeditiously.

Background:

4. The Registrant is a registered social worker. On 4 March 2015, the Registrant was arrested by the police following the execution of a search warrant at her home address. The warrant was in the name of the Registrant’s daughter. In the Registrant’s bedroom the police found a small quantity of cocaine and cannabis.

5. During the police interview, in a pre-prepared statement, the Registrant admitted that the cannabis was for her own personal use and that although the Class A drugs did not belong to her, it was in her possession. Following the police interview the Registrant accepted a simple Caution for Possession of Class A drugs and a Warning for Possession of Cannabis. During the Registrant’s detention in police custody she tested negative for any Class A substances.

6. On 5 March 2015, the Registrant informed Hertfordshire County Council, where she was employed as an Independent Reviewing Officer, that she had accepted a Caution and a Warning. As a consequence of the Registrant’s disclosure the Council invoked its disciplinary procedures. The Registrant resigned prior to the disciplinary hearing.

7. On 3 July 2015, via email, the Registrant referred herself to the HCPC. The HCPC and the Registrant are in agreement that a five year Caution Order is a suitable sanction.

Submissions

8. Ms Chaker, on behalf of the HCPC, submitted that the proposed Consent Order would maintain public confidence in the profession and would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.

9. Although there were no written submissions from the Registrant, the Panel took into account her email to the HCPC, dated 22 December 2015, in which she stated that she was not “considering returning to statutory social work, but would like to practice in related fields and to remain a registered social worker.” She further outlined the steps she had taken to avoid repetition. The Panel also took into account the mitigating factors outlined in the Disciplinary Investigation Report, dated 13 May 2015.

Decision

10. Prior to reaching a decision, on the proposed Consent Order, the Panel carefully considered all of the information and evidence before it, including the terms of the Order. The Panel also took into account the guidance contained within the HCPC Practice Note:  Disposal of Cases By Consent which states it is required to ensure that:

“any remedial action proposed by the registrant and to be embodied in the Consent Order is consistent with the expected outcome if the case was to proceed to a contested hearing.”

11. In considering the appropriateness of the proposed Consent Order the Panel carefully considered the appropriate balance between the protection of the public and the interests of the Registrant. The Panel also had regard to the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy and took into account paragraph 22 which states:

‘A caution order is an appropriate sanction for cases, where the lapse is isolated, limited or relatively minor in nature, there is a low risk of recurrence, the registrant has shown insight and taken appropriate remedial action.’

12. The Panel determined that the Consent Order would provide adequate public protection and would not be detrimental to the wider public interest. The Panel noted that the Allegation has been admitted in full and based on the documentary evidence the particulars of the Allegation were capable of being found proved on the balance of probabilities. The Panel was provided with a signed copy of the proposed Consent Order and was satisfied that the Registrant had demonstrated insight by recognising the serious nature of the allegation and that the risk of repetition is low. In particular, the Panel identified and accepted the following mitigating factors:

• the Registrant’s admissions to the matters and her immediate disclosure to her employer;
• the Registrant’s daughter was named on the search warrant;
• the cocaine did not belong to the Registrant;
• the Registrant kept the drug in order to investigate who had brought it into her home;
• the Registrant underwent a Class A drug test at the police station which proved negative.

13. The Panel balanced the mitigating factors against the aggravating factors. The aggravating features include the fact that the police were involved, and she was in possession of two types of drugs, one of which falls within the most serious classification.

14. In all the circumstances, the Panel concluded that approval of the proposed Consent Order is both proportionate and appropriate. The Panel determined that a 5 year Caution Order is the appropriate length given the aggravating features as outlined above and the need to meet the public interest concerns as raised by the Registrant’s previous conduct. The Panel also determined that there is a legitimate public interest in avoiding a Final Hearing, in circumstances where full admissions have been made to allegations which have the potential to undermine public confidence in the profession and where the Registrant has consented to being made subject to a five year Caution Order. 

15. Therefore, the Panel approves the Consent Order.

Order

ORDER: That the Registrar is directed to annotate the register entry of Ms Alison Louise Davy with a caution which is to remain on the register for a period of 5 years from the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

This was a Consent hearing of the Conduct and Competence Committee convened to hear the case of Ms Alison Louise Davy at 405 Kennington Road, London on 23 March 2017 at 10am.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Ms Alison Louise Davy

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
23/03/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Caution