Mr Mohammed Muzibul Islam

: Social worker

: Mr Mohammed Muzibul Islam

: Restoration

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 18/05/2017 End: 17:00 18/05/2017

: Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS), 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Restoration not granted

Allegation

The Conduct Committee of the General Social Care Council met from 13 to 20 February 2012 to consider an allegation of Misconduct.

Whilst employed in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets as a Social Worker in the Community Learning Disabilities Service team (CLDS) between approximately 01 July 2007 and 01 October 2009:

1. In relation to Mr A, a service user with learning disabilities;

1.1. On or around 22 August 2007 you met with Mr A, his sister and guardian Ms B, his mother Ms E, his MENCAP advocate, and his carers

1.2. During the meeting described at paragraph 1.1 above, you

                                1.2.1. declared that Mr A was not ready for any activities;

                                1.2.2. declined to listen to his concerns;

                                1.2.3. NOT FOUNDED

                                1.2.4. NOT FOUNDED

2. In relation to Mr J, a service user with a mental health history;

                2.1. On or around 26 September 2007 you encountered Mr J outside the Specialist Addiction Unit;

2.2. Whilst inside the Specialist Addiction Unit on this day you shouted to Mr J: "I will have you sectioned as I did before” or words to this effect;

                2.3. Whilst inside the Specialist Addiction Unit on this day you were asked by NHS staff to leave the unit;

                2.4. NOT FOUNDED

                2.5. Following the request in 2.3. above, you continue an argument with Mr J..

3. In relation to FS, then a 20 year old psychology student undertaking a volunteer work placement at CLDS;

                3.1.Between approximately 3pm and 4pm on 6 November 2008, you were in the presence of FS;

3.2.Whilst in the presence of FS, you said "lovely tender breasts; I had lovely tender chicken breasts" or words to this effect;

                3.3.Whilst uttering the remarks at 3.2. above, you looked directly at FS

4. In relation to Ms O, the sister of Mr C, a client of CLDS;

                4.1.On or around 3 March 2009 you conducted a home visit to assess Ms O as a carer for Mr C;

                4.2. During the home visit at paragraph 4.1 above, you said that Ms O was attractive or words to this effect.

5. On or around 3 March 2009, in the course of a car journey following the home visit at paragraph 4.1. above;

                5.1. You told Ms O that you felt a connection to her or words to this effect;

                5.2. You asked Ms O how she felt about you or words to this effect;

                5.3. You persisted with your enquiries of Ms O after she asked you to stop;

                5.4. NOT FOUNDED

6.During the evening of 3 March 2009, or around that dates, you telephoned Ms O twice.

7. On or around 4 or 5 March 2009, you sent text messages to Ms O, asking her to meet you for lunch or words to this effect.

8. Your conduct towards Ms O as described in paragraphs 4, 5, 6 and/or 7 above;

                8.1. Was inappropriate;

                8.2. Was offensive;

                8.3. Amounted to harassment

                8.4. Was sexually motivated.

9. On or around 25 September 2009;

                9.1. You were present during a Tower Hamlets disciplinary hearing;

                9.2. You told the disciplinary hearing at paragraph 9.1. above that Ms O had been in prison, when she had not;

9.3. You told the disciplinary hearing at paragraph 9.1. above that Ms O had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, when this was not true.

10. Your actions at paragraph 9.2 and/or 9.3 above were:

                10.1. misleading;

                10.2. dishonest.

11. In relation to Ms F, the wife of service user Mr F;

                11.1. In the course of one or more telephone calls to Ms F on or around 19 to 22 March 2009 you:

                                11.1.1. asked Ms F if she was happy in her relationship with Mr F or words to this effect;

                                11.1.2. said that your wife was like a coke without fizz or words to this effect;

                                11.1.3. said that you knew how Ms F felt in her marriage or words to this effect;

                                11.1.4. told Ms F that she needed a friend or words to this effect;

                                11.1.5. told Ms F she was no ordinary Bangladeshi or words to this effect;

                                11.1.6. told Ms F she was special or words to this effect.

12. Your conduct at paragraph 11 above:

                12.1. Was inappropriate;

                12.2. Was offensive;

                12.3. Amounted to harassment;

                12.4. Was sexually motivated.

13. On or around Friday 20 March 2009, Ms F asked you to stop telephoning her.

14. Despite the request made by Ms F at paragraph 13 above, on or around 20 March 2009 to 22 March 2009 you made at least three telephone calls to Ms F on each day.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service

1. The Applicant did not attend today’s Hearing (18 May 2017) which had been convened to consider his application for Restoration to the Register. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor in respect of service.

2. The Panel had regard to the fact that as this is an Application for Restoration to the Register of Social Workers, the Applicant does not have a registered address. In such a case, the Rules are that the notice must be sent to the last known address of the person. The Panel was informed that the Applicant had carbon copied the HCPC into emails which described that he had been made homeless in November 2016. The Panel was informed that the Applicant had regularly corresponded through an email address with the HCPC up until 15 May 2017. On 8 February 2017, notice was emailed to the Applicant’s email address stating the time, date and venue of the Hearing. Emails received from the Applicant on 9, 13 and 15 May 2015, refer to the Hearing and its date of 18 May 2017. The Rules state that the notice may be sent by first class post, but do not preclude sending by email. The Panel was satisfied that there had been good service of the notice.

Application to Proceed in Absence

3. Mr Claughton, on behalf of the HCPC applied for the Hearing to proceed in the absence of the Applicant. He acknowledged that this was a somewhat unusual situation, as essentially the Hearing was for the Applicant’s application for Restoration. However, he submitted that the emails received from the Applicant demonstrate that he is aware of the date of Hearing. Further, Mr Claughton said that the emails show that the Applicant had requested predictions on how his case may proceed at the Hearing and suggested he would only attend if there was a chance of a finding in his favour.

4. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who advised that the discretion of whether or not to proceed in the Applicant’s absence is one that must be exercised with the utmost care and caution.

5. The Panel acknowledged that this was an unusual application to proceed in the Applicant’s absence, as it was the Applicant’s application for Restoration, and that there may be some degree of disadvantage to the Applicant. However, it decided to exercise its discretion and proceed in the Applicant’s absence for the following reasons:

a. There had been good service of the notice;

b. The Panel was satisfied that the HCPC bundle had been served on the Applicant, in light of the emails from the HCPC to the Applicant of 3 and 10 May 2017. Furthermore, the Applicant had received the HCPC bundle as presented today at the adjourned Restoration hearing which took place on 8 July 2016;

c. The Applicant had not complied with the directions of the second Restoration Panel of 8 July 2016, for service of material that he wished to rely upon;

d. The Applicant’s request for a prediction from the HCPC as to the likely outcome of his application and his suggestion that he would not attend if it was unfavourable, was both unreasonable and inappropriate, and the Panel was satisfied that he had deliberately and voluntarily decided not to attend, thereby waiving his right to attend;

e. An adjournment was not likely to secure his attendance, and the constraints on his absence were of his own making; and

f. It was in the public interest for the Hearing to proceed, given that matters were unresolved from the second Restoration Hearing, which was adjourned.

Application for parts of the hearing to be heard in private

6.  Mr Claughton applied for parts of the hearing to be in private which related to sensitive matters in respect of the Applicant and his family’s private lives.

7.  Having accepted the advice of the legal assessor, the Panel determined that any references to the private lives of the Applicant and his family should be heard in Private in order to protect their rights to private life.

Background

8. The Applicant qualified as a Social Worker in 2001 and became registered with the General Social Care Council (GSCC).

9. At a Substantive Hearing between 13 and 20 February 2012, a Panel of the GSCC considered an allegation of misconduct against the Applicant, in relation to his employment as a Social Worker in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in the Community Learning Disability Service Team (CLDS) between 1 July 2007 and 1 October 2009. Misconduct was found in respect of a number of areas, namely that he:

a. Misused his power as an Approved Mental Health Practitioner and Social Worker by using words to a Service User, with mental health problems, to the effect that he could have him sectioned, and continuing an argument with the Service User, having been asked to leave by staff;

b. Engaged in lewd and vulgar behaviour towards a female student; and

c. Abused his professional position by behaving in a persistent, offensive and sexually motivated way towards a female carer of a Service User, which was aggravated by dishonesty in that he lied at a disciplinary hearing about the carer having been to prison and having a history of drug and alcohol abuse.

10. The Substantive Hearing Panel, in its determination, considered the Applicant’s behaviour to have been a persistent course of conduct, which was inappropriate and sexually motivated behaviour to individuals he encountered in his professional life. It also considered that this behaviour was compounded by his dishonesty in seeking to discredit a carer at a disciplinary hearing, which demonstrated ‘a complete lack of insight’ on his part. At that time the Substantive Hearing Panel concluded that the Applicant’s behaviour was fundamentally incompatible with remaining on the Register and imposed a Striking Off Order.

11. On 1 August 2012, the powers and responsibilities of the GSCC with regard to the statutory regulation of Social Workers in England were transferred to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

12. In February 2013, the Applicant submitted a written application to the HCPC, for Restoration to the Register as a Social Worker, which was considered at a Hearing on 23 April 2015. He attended and gave evidence, during which it emerged that he had been convicted and sentenced for an assault in around 2013 or 2014. The first Restoration Panel was concerned that the Applicant had not previously disclosed that conviction, and further, that he had not disclosed that he had been the subject of disciplinary and regulatory proceedings in his written application for Restoration. The first Restoration Panel, did not find that the non-disclosure had been a mistake. It concluded that it was a significant failure in light of the findings of dishonesty made by the Substantive Hearing Panel, such that this lack of openness and transparency demonstrated that he had not, by the time of the first Restoration application, remediated his dishonesty.

13. The first Restoration Panel was not satisfied that the Applicant had developed any significant insight into his misconduct and the impact of his actions on the complainants and on the wider public, continuing to deny the underlying facts which gave rise to the GSCC proceedings. In view of the lack of insight into his misconduct and the absence of any effective remedial action taken by him, the first Restoration Panel was not satisfied that the Applicant was capable of safe and effective practice as a Social Worker. Furthermore, in view of the Applicant’s dishonesty and sexually motivated behaviour, lack of insight into his misconduct, lack of openness regarding his criminal conviction, and the circumstances surrounding his written Restoration application, the first Restoration Panel was not satisfied that the Applicant was a ‘fit and proper’ person to practise as a Social Worker.

14. The first Restoration Panel therefore refused the Applicant’s application for Restoration to the Register. 

15. On 20 January 2016, by way of email, the Applicant submitted a further application for Restoration to the Register, and on 8 July 2016, a second Restoration Panel was convened to hear the application. On that occasion, the Applicant submitted a significant amount of documentation on the day of the hearing relating to employment and membership of various organisations. The HCPC representative stated that she had not previously received the material and that it would need to be gone through and investigated with the organisations concerned. The second Restoration Panel adjourned the matter with directions giving timescales in which the Applicant was to disclose all documents he wished to rely upon.

Decision

16. The Applicant has not attended today’s application for Restoration.
Mr Claughton submitted that the Applicant’s conduct and behaviour since the adjourned Restoration Application Hearing are such as to demonstrate that he has no insight and has not remediated his misconduct and so the Application should be refused.

17. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. She advised that Article 33 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 (the 2001 Order) states:

(5) The Committee shall not grant an application for Restoration unless it is satisfied, on such evidence as it may require, that the applicant not only satisfies the requirements of article 9(2)(a) and (b) but, having regard in particular to the circumstances which led to the making of the order (under article 29, 30 or 38), is also a fit and proper person to practise the relevant profession.

(6) The Committee may make the granting of an application subject to the applicant satisfying such requirements as to additional education or training and experience as the Council has specified under article 19(3) and which apply to him.

18. The Panel had regard to the Practice Note on Restoration. It understood that it was for the Applicant to provide evidence to satisfy it that he meets the general requirements of registration, and is a ‘fit and proper person’ to practise in the profession. It also had regard to the HCPC guidance on ‘Returning to practice’.

19. The Panel considered the Application in three stages. The first stage was whether the Applicant had the approved qualification and appropriate education, training and experience. The second stage was whether he would be capable of safe and effective practice. The third stage was whether he is a "fit and proper" person to practise as a Social Worker, having regard to the circumstances which led to the Strike Off.

20. In respect of the Applicant’s academic background, the Panel was satisfied that he had the appropriate educational qualifications to carry out social work. He had been awarded a degree in Social Work from Brunel University in 2001; a Diploma in Social Work in 2001; a Post Qualifying Award in Social Work, Part 1, in 2003; and a Mental Health Social Work Award in 2003. His Certificate of Registration shows that he was admitted to the Social Work Register on 20 December 2008. While employed as a Social Worker, he maintained his professional development.

21. In respect of the Applicant’s current knowledge and skills, the Panel was aware that he has not now practised as a Social Worker since 2012. The Panel had no evidence before it that the Applicant would be able to satisfy the Continuing Professional Development requirements (CPD). It was not satisfied that the Applicant had kept his knowledge and skills up to date and so any return to practice as a Social Worker would necessarily require him to complete a period of updating, supervised practice, formal study and private study, as set out in the HCPC guidance on ‘Returning to practice’.

22. In respect of whether the Applicant would be capable of safe and effective practice, the Panel had regard to all of the material before it. This included information within the supplemental bundle that a Recruitment Consultant at an employment agency which the Applicant had been in contact with, had complained to the HCPC that the Applicant had sent her sexually explicit texts and attached copies of the texts. Whilst the Panel did not make any findings of fact in relation to this material, it considered that this was credible information, indicative of a pattern of inappropriate behaviour. The Panel concluded that the Applicant had not satisfied it that he had gained insight into his behaviour, or that the risk of repetition of such behaviour was low.

23. In respect of the Applicant’s dishonesty, the Panel was not satisfied that the Applicant’s integrity and openness could now be relied upon. In reaching this view, the Panel had regard to the nature and content of the emails which the Applicant had sent to the HCPC in the period since the adjourned Restoration Hearing in July 2016. The Panel considered these emails to be inconsistent, erratic and inappropriate. At times the purpose of some of the Applicant’s emails was unclear. They included making unsubstantiated criminal allegations against individuals; the indiscriminate copying in of other parties such as the Mayor of London to such emails; the making of coercive and veiled threats to the HCPC of negative consequences to it; including that the Applicant had written to the Queen and Prime Minister; and making derogatory comments about HCPC employees. On 21 December 2016, the Case Manager at the HCPC had emailed the Applicant to advise him that he did not need to include the HCPC into emails which were irrelevant to his Restoration hearing. The Applicant continued to copy the HCPC into irrelevant emails, which in the Panel’s view showed a lack of judgement on the Applicant’s part.

24. The Panel was of the view that the Applicant had not addressed any of the concerns identified by either the Substantive Hearing Panel or the first Restoration Panel. The emails indicated a general failure to follow appropriate and professional routes for raising matters, leaving the Panel to conclude that the Applicant would be unreliable and unpredictable in his interactions with potentially vulnerable Service Users and other professionals with whom he would come into contact. The Panel was therefore not satisfied that the Applicant would be capable of safe and effective practice.

25. In respect of whether the Panel was satisfied that the Applicant is a fit and proper person, having regard to the circumstances of his Strike Off, the Panel had regard to the determinations of the previous Panels whilst recognising that it was not bound by their decisions. Lack of insight had been identified both by the Substantive Hearing Panel in 2012, and by the first Restoration Panel in 2015. Given the paragraphs above, the Panel was of the view that the Applicant had still not developed any meaningful insight into his misconduct. At no stage in the documentation before the Panel, has the Applicant demonstrated that he has reflected on the potential impact his behaviour would have had on the complainants.

26. The Panel therefore has no evidence before it to satisfy it that the Applicant now understood how his actions would have affected the complainants themselves, or the adverse reputational damage behaviour such as his, particularly in respect of his dishonesty and sexually motivated behaviour, would have had on public confidence in the profession. In the Panel’s view this persistent lack of insight in respect of his behaviour towards a vulnerable Service User, a student, and a Service User’s carer, meant that there remained a risk of repetition of resorting to such behaviour in the work place in the future. In such circumstances, the Panel was not satisfied that he is a fit and proper person to be restored to the Register.

27. In all the circumstances the Panel has decided not to grant the application to restore the Applicant to the Social Work part of the HCPC Register.

Application for Indefinite Suspension of the Applicant’s Right to Apply for Restoration:

28. Mr Claughton invited the Panel to make a direction to the Registrar under Article 33(9) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 that the Applicant’s right to make any further Restoration Applications be suspended indefinitely. He submitted that the HCPC do not make such an application lightly and such an application is rare.

29. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

30. Article 33(9) reads: If, while a striking‐off order is in force, a second or subsequent application for Restoration to the register, made by the person who has been struck off, is unsuccessful, the Committee which determined that application may direct that that person's right to make any further such applications shall be suspended indefinitely.

31. Article 33(10) reads: A person in respect of whom a direction is made under paragraph (9) may, after the expiration of three years from the date on which the direction was made, apply to the Registrar for that direction to be reviewed and, thereafter, may make further applications for review but no such application may be made before the expiration of three years from the date of the most recent review decision.

32. The panel notes that today’s hearing was the second unsuccessful application for Restoration to the Register by the Applicant. The Panel understood that it was a matter for its discretion as to whether or not to make a direction under Article 33(9) and in exercising that discretion it must act fairly.

33. The Panel acknowledges that the Applicant would not have had advance notice of the HCPC’s intention to invite it to make a direction under Article 33(9). He has not attended today, and none of the material previously sent to him would have identified that as a possible outcome of today’s Hearing, and so there may be some disadvantage to him in not being able to make submissions. However, the Panel concluded earlier that the Applicant’s absence was deliberate and voluntary.

34. The Panel has decided to exercise its discretion to suspend the Applicant’s right to make any further Applications for Restoration indefinitely for the following reasons:

a. There is information before the Panel, from which it infers that the Applicant has continued to seek Social Work roles, given his consistent contact with recruitment agencies who are informing him of Social Work roles;

b. For the reasons identified earlier, the Applicant has continued to act unprofessionally;

c. The Applicant’s behaviour falls far below the standards to be expected of a Social Worker;

d. The Applicant has had a period of 8 years since the misconduct occurred and in that time he has not remediated his behaviour, in fact the Panel is of the view that his insight has deteriorated in that time;

e. The Panel is of the view that it is highly unlikely that the Applicant would be in a position to be able to remediate his behaviour in a period of less than three years;

f. For the reasons identified earlier, the Applicant has shown a persistent lack of insight throughout these and previous regulatory  proceedings;

g. The Panel is of the view that a direction is also appropriate in order to maintain public confidence in the profession and the role of the HCPC as its Regulator.

Order

Application Not Granted

The Panel directs that the Applicant’s right to make any further Application for Restoration to the Register is suspended indefinitely under Article 33(9).



 

Notes

After the expiration of 3 years from today’s date [18 May 2017], the Applicant may apply to the Registrar for this direction to be reviewed and, thereafter, may make further applications for review but no such application may be made before the expiration of three years from the date of the most recent review decision.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mr Mohammed Muzibul Islam

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
18/05/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Restoration Restoration not granted