Ms Deborah Jacqueline Jackson

: Social worker

: SW75127

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 24/03/2017 End: 13:00 24/03/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Suspended

Allegation

During the course of your employment as a social worker with CAFCASS, you:

1. In relation to child A and B:

a) did not record case updates;

b) required three extensions from the court to prepare the ordered initial analysis and recommendations;

c) did not attend court on time on 26 September 2012.

2. Did not, as at the file audit on 31 January 2011, in relation to case:

a) 356017:

i. Not proved;

ii. Maintain an adequate case plan;

iii. Not proved;

b) 377486:

i. Update the case plan;

ii. Analyse the local authority proposals;

iii. Complete the case plan closure form.

c) 396440:

i. Record case plan;

ii. Record contact log and notes of any meetings/interviews;

iii. Ensure all reports were on file.

d) 376033:

i. Update case plan;

ii. Record a contact log;

iii. Ensure all reports were on file.

e) 331334:

i. Adequately update the case plan;

ii. Address the local authority care plan;

iii. Record all interventions in contact log.

f) 338210:

i. Complete case plan;

ii. Keep up to date contact log;

iii. Ensure all reports were on file.

3. The matters described in paragraphs 1 - 2 constitute lack of competence.

4. By reason of your lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Service

1. The Panel considered the service documents together with the submissions of Mr Claughton on behalf of the HCPC, It accepted the advice of the legal assessor.

2. The documents before the Panel indicate, and the Panel has found, that Mrs Jackson was served with the notice of hearing in accordance with the rules.
Proceeding in Absence

3. Mr Claughton informed the Panel that Mrs Jackson has not engaged with the HCPC at any stage since the previous review and that there has been no application for an adjournment. He submitted that the Panel should proceed with the hearing in the absence of Mrs Jackson.

4. In reaching its decision The Panel considered the information before it together with the submissions of Mr Claughton. It accepted the advice of the legal assessor.

5. The Panel has found that Mrs Jackson has voluntarily absented herself. She has not engaged with the HCPC since the review hearing on 18 April 2016. She has not applied for an adjournment. Furthermore there is nothing to indicate that if this hearing were to be adjourned Mrs Jackson would attend on any subsequent occasion. This is a mandatory review and the Panel has concluded that it is in the public interest that this matter should be heard without delay; it is satisfied that no injustice would arise to Mrs Jackson if the matter were to proceed in her absence. The Panel has therefore determined that the hearing should proceed despite in the absence of Mrs Jackson.
Background

6. At the relevant time, Ms Jackson was employed by the Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS.) There was in place an Electronic Case File System (ECF.)  Following an audit of Mrs Jackson’s caseload it was found that there were significant inadequacies in her record keeping using this system. Furthermore, there were failures by Mrs Jackson to submit in a timely fashion an Initial Analysis and Recommendations document to the court. Moreover, in regard to that particular case she had failed to attend the court on time.

7. As a result of these failings, following an internal capability procedure, Mrs Jackson was dismissed with effect from 14 December 2012.

8. On 26 March 2015 the original Panel determined that the matters found proved amounted to a lack of competence and it found that Mrs Jackson’s fitness to practise was impaired.

9. In regard to sanction, that Panel imposed a Conditions of Practice Order to enable Mrs Jackson to address the deficiencies that were identified in her practice, thereby protecting Service Users and maintaining public confidence in the profession.

10. That Panel did consider whether to impose a Suspension Order, but concluded that this would be disproportionate to the nature of the deficiencies that were identified. Furthermore, it would not enable Mrs Jackson to resume practice and to bring her record keeping to the standard required of a competent practitioner.

11. That Panel determined that a Conditions of Practice Order for 12 months would be the appropriate sanction.

12. At review on 18 April 2016 the reviewing panel found that Mrs Jackson, in an email to the HCPC, had demonstrated some insight, albeit there was no evidence that she had addressed the issues in her practice. That Panel concluded that her fitness to practise remained impaired. In regard to sanction it determined that the existing order of Conditions should remain for a further period of 12 months.

13. The reviewing Panel suggested that at any further review the Panel would be assisted by;

a) A personal reflective statement indicating how she had modified your practice, on record keeping, and how that had made a difference to her record keeping.

b) Evidence of maintaining her professional knowledge and skills.

c) Evidence of any training she had undertaken in relation to electronic case recording.

 

Decision

Impairment

14. The Panel has determined that Mrs Jackson’s fitness to practise remains impaired.

15. In reaching its decision the Panel considered all the information before it together with the submissions from Mr Claughton. It accepted the advice of the legal assessor. No further information has been provided by Mrs Jackson’s since the last review. In particular she has not responded to the suggestions made at the previous review in regard to matters which this Panel would find to be of assistance. There is therefore nothing to indicate that she has remedied her failings by attending relevant courses or undertaking online training, nor has she provided testimonials or letters of support from those organisations where she has indicated that she has been acting in a voluntary capacity.

16. In the absence of any evidence of remediation the Panel cannot be satisfied that there would not be a repetition of Mrs Jackson’s failings and a consequent risk to Service Users. The Panel has therefore concluded that Mrs Jackson’s fitness to practise remains impaired.
Sanction

17. The Panel has had regard to the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy. It has approached the question of sanction from the least restrictive upwards. It has exercised the principle of proportionality at all time. It has accepted the advice of the legal assessor.

18. The Panel first considered whether to revoke the existing order or to allow it to lapse. In the absence of any further information from Mrs Jackson this would be wholly inappropriate and insufficient to protect the public. Furthermore, for the same reasons a Caution would also be insufficient.

19. The Panel next considered a further Conditions of Practice Order. However, Mrs Jackson has failed to take any steps to remedy her failings nor has she indicated that she has maintained her professional knowledge and skills. Furthermore, she has not engaged with the HCPC in regard to this review. In the light of these matters the Panel cannot be satisfied that she has a continuing commitment to practice. It has therefore concluded that a further Conditions of Practice Order would be inappropriate.

20. The Panel has therefore determined that the only appropriate and sufficient sanction is a Suspension order for a period of 6 months. This would give Mrs Jackson a further opportunity to take appropriate steps to remedy her lack of competence.

21. A panel reviewing this order would be assisted by:

a) Mrs Jackson’s attendance at the hearing.

b) A personal reflective statement indicating how she has modified her practice, on record keeping, and how that has made a difference to her record keeping.

c) Evidence of maintaining her professional knowledge and skills.

d) Evidence of any training she have undertaken in relation to record keeping.

e) Up to date testimonials from any organisation where she has undertaken voluntary   work paid or unpaid.

Order

The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mrs Deborah Jacqueline Jackson for a period of 6 months on the expiry of the existing Conditions of Practice order.

Notes

The order imposed today will apply from 24 March 2017.

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 23 September 2017

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Ms Deborah Jacqueline Jackson

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
17/08/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
24/03/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
18/04/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
18/03/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Adjourned
23/03/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Conditions of Practice