Miss Jemma L Redmond
The following Allegation was considered by a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee at the substantive hearing on 27 – 28 April 2016.
Between 11 February 2013 and 9 July 2014, during the course of your employment as a Social Worker by Cambridgeshire County Council, you:
1. In relation to Child A and Child B, completed a single assessment on 20 June 2014 and stated that you had consulted and/or contacted their school, when that was not the case. (Not proved)
2. In relation to Child C, did not record visits to this child between 1 June 2013 and 2 July 2013 within the required timescales.
3. In or around December 2013, in relation to Child F:
a) Did not record the chronology/background of the case;
b) Did not record the ‘Child’s Voice’ section within the assessment.
4. In relation to Child C:
a) Did not undertake and/or record visits to see the child every 2 weeks;
b) Did not record the outcome and/or minutes of a Child in Need (CIN) meeting held on 17 June 2013.
5. In December 2013, in relation to Family D, you:
a) Did not record home visits;
b) Did not record meetings with professionals.
6. On 7 January 2014, you completed a core assessment in relation to Child E, and you:
a) Copied and pasted parts of a previous ICS report and/or core assessment dated 28 September 2012 into the core assessment; and
b) Did not undertake and/or record a chronology of the family.
7. Your actions described in paragraph 1 were dishonest. (Not proved)
8. The matters described in paragraphs 1 and 7 amount to misconduct.
9. The matters described in paragraphs 2 – 6 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.
10. By reason of that misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.
At the substantive hearing the HCPC offered no evidence in relation to particulars 1 and 7 of the Allegation. The Panel found particulars 2, 3(a) & (b), 4(a) & (b), 5(a) & (b) and 6(a) & (b) proved and amounted to misconduct. The Panel found the Registrant’s fitness to practise impaired and imposed a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months as a sanction.
Service of Notice
1. The notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant at her address as it appeared in the register on 24 March 2017 and by email. The notice contained the date, time and venue of today’s hearing.
2. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, and is satisfied that notice of today’s hearing has been served in accordance with Rule 6(1) of the Conduct and Competence Committee Rules 2003 (the “Rules”).
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant
3. The Panel then went on to consider whether to proceed in the absence of the Registrant pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules. In doing so, it considered the submissions of Ms Alexander-Victor on behalf of the HCPC.
4. Ms Alexander-Victor submitted that the HCPC has taken all reasonable steps to serve the notice on the Registrant. She further submitted that the Registrant has not engaged with the HCPC, and that an adjournment would serve no useful purpose. She reminded the Panel that there was a public interest in this statutory review being dealt with expeditiously.
5. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised that, if the Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to notify the Registrant of the hearing, then the Panel had the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. He cautioned the Panel that the discretion was to be exercised with care and caution as set out in the case of R v Jones  UKHL 5.
6. The Legal Assessor also referred the Panel to the case of GMC v Adeogba and Visvardis  EWCA Civ 162 and advised that the Adeogba case reminded the Panel that its primary objective is the protection of the public and of the public interest. In that regard, the case of Adeogba was clear that “where there is good reason not to proceed, the case should be adjourned; where there is not, however, it is only right that it should proceed”.
7. It was clear, from the principles derived from case law, that the Panel was required to ensure that fairness and justice was maintained when deciding whether or not to proceed in a Registrant’s absence.
8. The Panel was satisfied that all reasonable efforts had been made by the HCPC to notify the Registrant of the hearing. It was also satisfied that the Registrant should be aware of the hearing.
9. In deciding whether to exercise its discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, the Panel took into consideration the HCPC practice note entitled ‘Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant’. The Panel weighed its responsibility for public protection and the expeditious disposal of the case with the Registrant’s right to a fair hearing.
10. In reaching its decision the Panel took into account the following:
• The Registrant has not made an application to adjourn today’s hearing;
• The Registrant has not engaged with the process;
• There is a public interest that this substantive order is reviewed before it expires.
11. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself from the hearing. It determined that it was unlikely that an adjournment would result in the Registrant’s attendance at a later date, in light of the non-engagement from the Registrant. Having weighed the public interest for expedition in cases against the Registrant’s own interest, the Panel decided to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.
12. Ms Redmond commenced her employment with Cambridgeshire County Council (“the local authority”) in mid-February 2013. She had qualified a year earlier, but it was understood that she had not worked as a Social Worker during the period between qualifying and the commencement of this employment. As it was her first employment as a Social Worker, the local authority offered her the opportunity to participate in the Newly Qualified Social Worker programme; it being thought that participation in that scheme would be beneficial to her. However, Ms Redmond declined that offer, apparently taking the view that she did not need the support the programme offered.
13. Ms Redmond worked in a Children and Young People’s Services Access Unit. In evidence to the Panel an Access Unit was described as “the front door service” to social care, dealing with referrals after initial review at the Contact Centre. The local authority organised this area of work on a unit basis. Each unit comprised two Social Workers and a Consultant Social Worker supervising the work of the Social Workers, as well as having clinical and administrative support. This system of working meant that, although cases would be allocated to individual Social Workers, each member of the unit would have knowledge of service users assigned within the unit.
14. In May 2013, approximately three months after the commencement of employment and when Ms Redmond was still in a probationary period, concerns were raised about her practice. These concerns resulted in her being placed on an action plan, and subsequently on an Informal Performance Plan. The local authority contended that these measures did not sufficiently address the identified problems, with the consequence that a disciplinary process was instigated. In the event Ms Redmond stopped working for the local authority on 9 July 2014.
15. The Registrant was reported to the HCPC and the final hearing on these matters above took place on 27 and 28 of April 2016. The Panel at the final hearing found the allegation and the particulars as set out above proved. It imposed an order suspending the Registrant’s practice for a period of twelve months.
16. Ms Alexander-Victor outlined the background of the case to the Panel. She submitted that in light of the lack of engagement on the part of the Registrant, taking no further action or imposing conditions upon the practice of the Registrant would not be appropriate. She further submitted that it might be appropriate for a further period of suspension to be imposed to allow the Registrant a further opportunity to engage. She reminded the Panel that as this was a case concerning misconduct, all sanction options were open to the Panel.
17. The Legal Assessor reminded the Panel that its purpose today was to conduct a comprehensive appraisal of the Registrant to determine if she is fit to return to unrestricted practice. Its role was not to conduct a rehearing of the allegations nor was it to go behind the previous findings. He advised that in carrying out this assessment, the Panel must exercise its own independent judgment.
18. The Legal Assessor advised that the Panel might find the questions formulated in the case of CHRE v NMC and Grant (2011) EWHC 927 (Admin) of some assistance, albeit slightly modified for these proceedings:
‘Does the evidence before the Panel today show that the Registrant’s fitness to practice remains impaired by reason of her misconduct in the sense that she:
a) is liable in the future to act so as to put a service user at unwarranted risk of harm; and/or
b) is liable in the future to bring the social work profession into disrepute; and/or
c) is liable in the future to breach one of the fundamental tenets of the profession?
19. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that if it determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired then the Panel must go on to consider what sanction, if any, should be imposed. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that if it determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired all the options under Article 30 of the 2001 Order could be exercised by the Panel. He also advised the Panel that it should bear in mind the principle of fairness and proportionality and have regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy document issued by the HCPC. He reminded the Panel that any order that it makes under Article 30 should not be punitive in purpose, and that it should be the least restrictive order that would suffice to protect the public and/or is otherwise in the public interest.
Panel’s considerations and decision
20. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel took into consideration all the documentation before it, and the submissions of Ms Alexander-Victor. In particular it noted the following factors:
a) This is a case of misconduct involving a failure to discharge a basic activity and there is no suggestion that the Registrant lacked the requisite competence to carry out this aspect of her role as a Social Worker.
b) There is no information from the Registrant regarding her current employment or evidence to demonstrate her insight or remediation. Given this lack of insight or remediation the risk of repetition remains high.
21. There is no evidence before the Panel today that could satisfy it that the Registrant’s fitness to practice is no longer impaired. She has not engaged with the HCPC, she did not make any submissions to the final hearing panel nor has she acted on the recommendations of the previous panel which were that, if she wishes to maintain a career in social work, then she should consider presenting evidence of:
• Her insight into her failings and the consequences of them.
• Her understanding of the importance of making good quality and timely records.
• References from any paid or unpaid work she has undertaken.
• Continuing personal and professional development.
22. In light of all the above, the Panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.
23. The Panel then went on to consider what the appropriate and proportionate sanction should be. It had regard to the Indicative Sanctions Guide issued by the HCPC and considered the available sanctions in order of severity, starting with the least restrictive. It took into account that the matters found proved were not at the higher end of the spectrum of severity, and that they could be remedied. However, without evidence of insight and acceptance of her misconduct, and without evidence of a willingness to remedy her conduct, the Panel determined that it was not appropriate to take no further action, nor was it appropriate to impose a caution order given that this would allow the Registrant to practise without restriction and therefore would not adequately protect the public.
24. Given the Registrant’s lack of engagement the Panel did not consider that there were practicable or verifiable conditions of practice which could be imposed.
25. The Panel went on to consider whether a further period of suspension would be the proportionate and appropriate sanction. It took into account that the Registrant has been suspended since 28 April 2016 and that there is no evidence of her desire to continue working as a social worker either now or in the future. It also noted that the previous Panel concluded that, at that time, it would not be appropriate to impose an immediate Striking-Off Order “so as to allow Ms Redmond an opportunity of demonstrating that she wishes to return to practise and intends to take the steps that would be required in order to do so.” The Registrant has not taken advantage of this opportunity, in that she has not engaged nor demonstrated any insight into her misconduct. In its determination, the previous panel specifically stated that the suspension order would be reviewed before its expiry and that all the sanctions available to it would be available to the reviewing panel today, including the making of a Striking-Off order.
26. In reaching its decision the Panel took note of the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy (ISP) which states that “where there are no psychological or other difficulties preventing the Registrant from understanding and seeking to remedy the failings then suspension may be appropriate.” However, the ISP further states that “striking off should be used where there is no other way to protect the public, for example, where there is a lack of insight, continuing problems or denial. A registrant’s inability or unwillingness to resolve matters will suggest that a lower sanction may not be appropriate.” Having considered all the matters outlined above, and in particular the Registrant’s apparent unwillingness to resolve matters, the Panel concluded that whilst a further period of suspension would protect the public it would serve no useful purpose and it would not further the public interest to have these matters prolonged.
27. The Panel determined that the appropriate and proportionate sanction now is to strike the Registrant’s name off the Register.
Order: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Miss Jemma L Redmond from the Register upon the expiry of the current Order.
The order imposed today will apply from 26 May 2017.
History of Hearings for Miss Jemma L Redmond
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|26/04/2017||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Struck off|