Mr Adeoye Ojajuni
During the course of your employment as a Social Worker at Northamptonshire County Council (the Council), between 30 July 2012 and13 September 2012 you:
1. Were unable to manage and respond to children safeguarding enquiries and social care enquiries made to the Council.
2. Were unable to use the children’s electronic record CareFirst system.
3. Acted in a verbally aggressive and abusive manner towards your line manager and in front of your colleague on 11 September 2012, in that you:
a) Repeatedly pointed your finger at your line manager
b) Shouted at your Line Manager, and
c) Were verbally abusive regarding your Line Manager
4. The matters described in paragraphs 1-3 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.
5. By reason of that misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.
Notice and Proceeding in Absence
1. The Panel was satisfied that appropriate notice of this hearing had been sent to the Registrant at his registered address on 13 April 2017. Ms Corbett sought that the Panel proceed in the absence of the Registrant, all reasonable efforts had been made to serve notice on him. He had not replied and has not engaged with the HCPC since May 2015. No request has been made for an adjournment. He has not attended the last two reviews and made no contact with the HCPC regarding this hearing.
2. The Panel heard and 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 has the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. He reminded the Panel that it should exercise that discretion with care. The Legal Assessor referred the Panel to the HCPC Guidance Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant and to the recent case of GMC v Adeogba  EWCA Civ 62. This case makes clear that the first question the Panel should ask is whether all reasonable efforts have been made to serve the Registrant with notice. Thereafter, if the Panel is satisfied that proper notice has been given, the discretion whether or not to proceed must be exercised having regard to all the circumstances of which the Panel is aware with fairness to the Registrant being a prime consideration, but fairness to the HCPC and the interests of the public also taken into account.
3. The Panel decided to proceed in the Registrant’s absence as it is satisfied that it is both in the public interest and in the Registrant’s interest to do so. In reaching this decision, the Panel has noted there has been no request for an adjournment. The Registrant has not communicated with the HCPC since May 2015. It balanced fairness to the Registrant with fairness to the HCPC and the public interest. It is of the view that the Registrant has voluntarily absented himself and no useful purpose would be served by adjourning the hearing. This is a mandatory review and the Panel weighed its responsibilities for public protection and the expeditious disposal of the case with the Registrant’s right to be present at the hearing. In these circumstances the Panel is satisfied that it is appropriate to proceed in his absence.
4. The Registrant qualified as a Social Worker in 2010. His first post as a Social Worker was with the Children’s Social Care Initial Contact Team (ICT), at Northamptonshire County Council (the Council). He started in July 2012. The ICT was part of the Adult and Children’s Services. The primary role of ICT was to manage all contacts and referrals to the Children’s Social Care team from the public sector and other professionals and be the first point of contact for a referral being made.
5. The nature of the work expected of Social Workers at ICT was to receive referrals, receive telephone calls, record information, act upon the information received and make recommendations. The ability to analyse information, to make an assessment of safeguarding issues, to communicate with the public by telephone and the ability to use the electronic record ‘CareFirst’ system, were all basic requirements of the Registrant’s social work role. The allegations found proved by the panel at the final hearing included both lack of competence and misconduct including failures in communication with colleagues and members of the public; analysis of information; making appropriate recommendations; and failures in recording and using the ‘CareFirst' electronic system. On misconduct the allegation found proved was that at a supervision meeting between the Registrant and his supervisor the Registrant had become agitated and upset, and exhibited behaviour to the extent that the supervisor asked a fellow colleague to join them as she felt ‘intimidated and concerned about his presentation’.
6. The panel at the final hearing found that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired, and imposed a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months. That Order was reviewed on 12 May 2015. The Registrant did not attend and sent in a reflective piece. The reviewing panel was of the view that this did not satisfy it that the Registrant had acknowledged or understood the inappropriateness of his actions. At that time, he produced no evidence that he had addressed the competency issues identified. The Suspension Order was extended by 12 months and has since been reviewed and extended by a further 12 months at a second mandatory review in May 2016.
Submissions for the HCPC
7. Ms Corbett reminded the Panel of the background and the allegations found proved by the Panel at the final hearing. She reminded the Panel that all sanctions were available to it today, including Strike Off. There was no evidence of insight or remorse and the reflective piece submitted in May 2015 was inadequate. She told the Panel that the Registrant had not contacted the HCPC since May 2015. Ms Corbett told the Panel that no information has been supplied by the Registrant as to remediation or insight. She reminded the Panel of its powers on review and of the importance of the public interest, including the upholding of proper standards in the profession and confidence in the profession and the regulator.
8. The Panel took and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He reminded the Panel that its purpose today was to conduct a comprehensive appraisal of the Registrant to determine if he was fit to return to unrestricted practice. Its role is not to conduct a rehearing of the allegations or go behind the previous findings. He advised that in carrying out this assessment, the Panel must exercise its own independent judgment based on the evidence before it.
9. The Legal Assessor advised that if the Panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired it should consider the HCPC Indicative Sanctions policy and advised that it should always consider the principles of fairness and proportionality. 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.
10. The Panel considered matters carefully, including the submissions for the HCPC and the HCPC Practice Note on Impairment.
11. The Registrant has disengaged with the HCPC and has not been in contact with them since May 2015. The Panel noted the findings of the panel at the final hearing as to both lack of competence and misconduct found proved. There is no evidence of insight, remorse or remediation before the Panel. The Registrant has not indicated any willingness to engage or provide any information on remediation or insight including the effect of his actions on the reputation of, and public confidence in, the profession. He has not provided any evidence to this Panel to assist it in the review of the substantive order. In these circumstances the Panel has determined that the Registrant remains currently impaired.
12. Turning to the question of sanction the Panel has considered the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy. It is mindful it must act fairly and proportionately and keep the public interest at the forefront of its mind. Neither a Caution Order nor a Conditions of Practice Order are appropriate in this case. The nature of the allegations found proved as to both lack of competence and misconduct is such that neither of those sanctions would be proportionate. Furthermore, workable, appropriate and realistic Conditions of Practice could not be formulated where there is a complete lack of engagement by the Registrant.
13. The Registrant has not engaged and he has chosen to provide no information to this Panel. He is aware of the possibility of a strike off order as it was raised in the letter sent to him by the HCPC. Despite this there is no evidence of remediation, insight or remorse and no indication of any willingness to resolve matters over the last three years. In these circumstances the Panel see nothing to be gained by the imposition of a further period of Suspension nor would that serve the public interest. It determined that a Striking Off order is the appropriate and proportionate sanction.
History of Hearings for Mr Adeoye Ojajuni
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|12/05/2017||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Struck off|
|12/05/2016||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Suspended|
|12/05/2015||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Suspended|
|12/05/2014||Conduct and Competence Committee||Final Hearing||Suspended|