Ms Jacinta Hofstetter

: Social worker

: Ms Jacinta Hofstetter

: Restoration

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 02/06/2017 End: 17:00 02/06/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Restored with Conditions of Practice

Allegation

As heard before the General Social Care Council (GSCC) on 19 May - 23 May, 6-10 October 2008 , 10-11 November 2008, 29-30 January 2009, 26-27 February 2009, 23 March 2009, 12 May 2009, 22 June 2009, 25 June 2009, 1 July 2009, 3 July 2009 and 13 July 2009.:

Part 1 of the Allegation

 

In relation to children 1A and 1B you were told by child 1B that he had witnessed a stabbing at his grandmother’s home.

 

(a)    The disclosure by child 1B was made to you in a car journey on the 13th March 2001.

(b)    You did not report this information to 1B’s foster carers to ensure that they were aware of the incident following the disclosure.

(c)    You did not report this disclosure to any therapeutic professionals involved in child 1B’s care or consult with any such professionals about this disclosure to help child 1B deal with what he had seen.

(d)    You did not inform your line manager and/or any other manager/ atBrent Council in relation to the disclosure by child 1B.

(e)    You did not record this information on child 1B’s file as you would be required to do in the case of any relevant information provided by a service user.

(f)     You did not discharge your social work duties to protect child 1B as a result of your actions as detailed in 1(a)-(e) above.

(g)    You did not disclose this information in the case proceedings by way of a witness statement and/or other communication to any other parties to the proceedings relating to child 1A until the hearing on 12th November 2001.

(h)    You did not consider that this information was relevant for Ms Dagoo to be made aware of when assessing the suitability of child 1A’s grandmother to become a permanent carer for child 1A.

(i)     You did not consider the impact of your actions in 1(g) above in protecting child 1A.

 

Part 2 of the Allegation

 

In relation to the children 2A 2B, 2C, you did not inform the principal officer of children protection and administration at Brent Council that:

 

(a)   Children 2A and 2C had returned to England on or around the 11th August 2001, as soon as you became aware of this information, on the 14th August 2001.

(b)   That children 2A and 2C were placed in foster care at another London Borough on the 14th August 2001.

(c)   As a consequence of 2(a) and (b) above, the child protection register was not up to date and was, therefore, inaccurate.

(d)   As a consequence of the above, the information held by the Police and emergency services was not accurate.

(e)   As a consequence of the above, the London Borough in which the children were placed had no formal notification that the boys were on Brent Council’s child protection register.

 

Part 3 of the Allegation

 

In relation to child 3 he was being cared for at Millfield Children’s

Home:-

 

(a)   [Was removed with the agreement of both parties]

(b)   You failed to advise those who were caring for child 3 at Millfield Children’s Home that you were disclosing to child 3 on the 3rd July 2001 that a permanent foster placement had been found for him.

(c)   You failed to update child 3 on the progress of the identified fostering placement between 3rd July 2001 and November 2001.

 

Part 4 of the Allegation

 

In relation to child 3:

 

(a)   In November 2001, you recorded on a review document that you had seen child 3 with his carers on five occasions on the following dates between June and November 2001 in accordance with statutory requirements:-

 

·         �� 11 June 2001

·         �� 03 July 2001

·         �� 24 September 2001

·         �� 28 September 2001

·         �� 03 October 2001

 

(b)   You did not see child 3 on the following dates:-

 

·         �� 11 June 2001

·         �� 24 September 2001

·         �� 3 October 2001.

 

Part 5 of the Allegation

 

In 2001 and 2002 you were rude and/or abusive towards professionals working with you/or other individuals, in particular:

 

(a)   [Was removed with the agreement of both parties]

(b)   You were rude and/or abusive during the disciplinary investigation led by Jan Fishwick at Brent Council between December 2001 and 9th August 2002.

 

Part 6 of the Allegation

 

In your application to the GSCC dated 14th March 2005:

 

(a)   You stated in section 6 that you had been involved in a dispute whilst employed as an agency worker some years previously.

(b)   You also stated in section 6 that this dispute had been settled amicably.

(c)   In fact, Brent Council had dismissed you for gross misconduct on 22nd August 2002.

(d)   Your appeal to Brent Council against it’s decision to dismiss you for gross misconduct was not overturned by the Council.

(e)   You did not disclose your dismissal from Brent Council to the GSCC.

(f)    And your failure to make this disclosure was dishonest.

 

Part 7 of the Allegation

 

In your application to the GSCC dated 14th March 2005:

 

(a)   You stated in section 4 that you were an agency worker between March 1998 and March 2002.

(b)   In fact, you were a permanent employee at Brent Council between July 1999 to August 2002.

(c)   The failure to give an accurate account of your employment as Brent

(d)   Council was dishonest.

 

Part 8 of the Allegation

 

In May 2004 you registered with Social Work Line Limited:

 

(a)   In the Curriculum Vitae submitted to Social Work Line it was noted that you worked at Brent Council between 1997 and 1999.

(b)   In fact, you were a permanent employee at Brent Council between July 1999 and August 2002.

(c)   You did not disclose to Social Work Line that you had been subject to disciplinary proceedings whilst you were employed by the London Borough of Brent.

(d)   You did not disclose to Social Work Line that you had been dismissed from employment for gross misconduct by the London Borough of Brent.

(e)   The failure to give accurate and complete details of this period of employment was dishonest.

 

Part 9 of the Allegation

 

In your application to the Barnet Adoption Agency to become an adoptive parent:

 

(a)   You did not declare on your application dated the 10th August 2004 that you worked at Brent Council on a permanent basis between 26th July 1999 and 9th August 2002.

(b)   During the assessment process between August 2004 and August 2005 you did not inform Barnet Adoption Agency that you had been employed on a permanent basis by Brent Council and that you were subsequently dismissed from Brent Council for gross misconduct.

 

And that, in relation to the facts alleged above, you are guilty of misconduct.

Finding

Background


1. The Applicant was a Social Worker registered by General Social Care Council (GSCC). She worked at Brent Local Authority (BLA) from 1999 until 2002 in the main role of child protection investigation and care planning. During 2001 a number of concerns were raised in relation to the manner in which she dealt with child Service Users. She was dismissed from BLA in 2002. She continued in employment as a Social Worker in a number of London Boroughs. Concerns were raised with the GSCC that the employment history the Applicant gave to these employers had omitted her dismissal from BLA. A hearing was held by the Conduct Committee of the GSCC between 19 May 2008 and 13 July 2009. The Committee found matters proved against the Applicant including dishonesty. It found that the matters found proved amounted to misconduct and imposed an immediate Removal Order. The HCPC took over from the GSCC in August 2012. The Applicant made an application to be restored to the register in 2016 to the HCPC.


2. In this hearing the Applicant gave evidence and called two witnesses, Dr MS and DG. She also put forward the character references of CD and MS. The panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor in relation to the admissibility of and weight to be attached to the character references of CD and MS.  The Panel noted that, with the exception of the character reference of MS, the remaining character references were made in October 2016. The two witnesses and CD and MS were able to comment positively about her personal characteristics.  However they were not in a position to provide evidence as to her professional ability to practise as a Social Worker.  The Panel carefully noted all of the evidence put before it by the Applicant and the documents relating to the original hearing held by the GSCC.


Decision

3. In reaching its decisions the Panel took into account the oral and written evidence, submissions from the HCPC and submissions made by the Applicant. The Panel considered and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and paid particular attention to the HCPTS Practice Note ‘Restoration to the Register’. It noted the passage:


‘The reasons why the applicant was struck off the Register will invariably be highly relevant to the Panel’s consideration of the application and it is insufficient for an applicant merely to establish that they meet the requisite standard of proficiency and the other general requirements for registration.’


An application for restoration is not an appeal from, or review of, the original decision. Panels should avoid being drawn into ‘going behind’ the findings of the original Panel or the sanction it imposed and attempts by the applicant to persuade the Panel to do so may be indicators of a continuing lack of insight or continuing denial.


In determining restoration applications, the issues which a Panel should consider include:


• the matters which led to striking off and the reasons given by the original Panel for imposing that sanction;


• whether the applicant accepts and has insight into those matters;


• whether the applicant has resolved those matters, has the willingness and ability to do so, or whether they are capable of being resolved by the applicant;

• what other remedial or rehabilitative steps the applicant has taken;


• what steps the applicant has taken to keep his or her professional knowledge and skills up to date.’

4. The Panel noted that the burden of proof is on the Applicant and the standard is the Civil standard. The Panel found the Applicant to be credible as a witness. The matters found proved against her had included dishonesty and were extensive and serious. The Committee of the GSCC had said that they imposed a removal order because ‘there is no other way to ensure necessary protection of the public given the lack of insight, regret or remorse on the Registrant’s part and her refusal to recognise the serious failings the Committee has identified.’. The Committee considered that the Registrant, at the time, showed a profound lack of insight.


5. In this hearing the Panel considers that the Applicant now accepts her responsibilities for the matters found proved, realises the actual and potential harm caused to Service Users by her actions and accepts her failings. Although it is difficult to remediate dishonesty, she has thought long and hard over her actions and made solid assurances that she would never act in a dishonest manner in the future. The Panel believes her and consider that she has demonstrated insight and has accepted her misconduct. In so much as it can be remediated the Panel consider that the misconduct has been remediated.


6. This is however a restoration hearing and the Panel considered all of the matters identified in the Practice Note above.  In determining restoration applications, the issues which a Panel should consider include:


• the matters which led to striking off and the reasons given by the original Panel for imposing that sanction;


• whether the applicant accepts and has insight into those matters;


• whether the applicant has resolved those matters, has the willingness and ability  to do so, or whether they are capable of being resolved by the applicant;

7. For the reasons identified above the Panel considers that in relation to these matters the Applicant has accepted her responsibility for and realised the actual and potential harm her actions caused to Service Users. She has accepted her failings and demonstrated good insight into them.

8. The Panel then went onto to consider the other matters identified in the Practice Note:


• what other remedial or rehabilitative steps the applicant has taken;


9. In her evidence the Applicant said how she had thought through what had happened and how she would change if she were presented with the same situation today. She gave some evidence about the remedial steps she had taken and support systems she had in place in to order to overcome stressful situations. However the Panel considers that although she had taken some action it was not as much as she could have or should have done.

‘What steps the applicant has taken to keep his or her professional knowledge and skills up to date.’

10. The Applicant gave evidence about the efforts she had made to keep her professional knowledge up to date. She said she had done some courses but she acknowledged that she was not up to date. She was doing a PhD but it was unclear how that was directly relevant to her necessary professional knowledge and CPD. The Applicant was not strong in relating what she was currently reading, her academic studies, to her present requirements for Social Work.


11. In all of the circumstance the Panel considers that in this case it is prepared to consider restoring the Applicant to the Register but because of the doubts about her current state of Social Worker knowledge, her ability to practice would have to be restricted by the imposition of conditions. The Panel considered that the most appropriate way of tailoring the appropriate conditions is by imposing restoration with a Conditions of Practice Order. In order to allow the Applicant sufficient time to complete the conditions, the order will be for a period of 2 years. Shortly before the end of the order there will be a review.

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to restore Jacinta Hofstetter (the Applicant) to the Social Work Part of the Register, but such restoration shall only take effect once the Applicant:

(i) has provided the Registrar with information and declarations required for admission to the Register; and,


(ii) paid the prescribed restoration fee.
The Registrar is further directed to annotate the Register to show that, from the date that this Order takes effect (the Operative Date), the Applicant must:


(iii) undertake a 60 day period of professional updating in accordance with the HCPC Standards for Return to Practice; and,


(iv) limit her practice to the completion of that updating until such time as the Applicant provides evidence which satisfies the Registrar that the Applicant has successfully competed that period of updating.


The Panel further orders that subject to the above being successfully complied with, the Applicant must comply with the following conditions of practice for a period of two years:

1. You must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a workplace supervisor registered by the HCPC and supply details of your supervisor to the HCPC within 14 days of the Operative Date.  You must attend upon that supervisor as required and follow their advice and recommendations.

2. You must promptly inform the HCPC if you cease to be employed by your current employer or take up any other or further employment.

3. You must promptly inform the HCPC of any disciplinary proceedings taken against you by your employer.

4. You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:

A. any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional work;

B. any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with (at the time of application); and

C. any prospective employer (at the time of your application).

5. You must work with your workplace supervisor to formulate a Personal Development Plan designed to assist your return to practice after eight years’ absence from the workplace.  This Personal Development Plan should specifically address record-keeping, safeguarding and the assessment and management of risk.

6. Within three months of the Operative Date you must forward a copy of your Personal Development Plan to the HCPC.

7. You must meet with your workplace supervisor on a monthly basis to consider your progress towards achieving the aims set out in your Personal Development Plan.

8. You must allow your workplace supervisor to provide information to the HCPC about your progress towards achieving the aims set out in your Personal Development Plan every six months.

9. You will be responsible for meeting any and all costs associated with complying with these conditions.

10. Any condition requiring you to provide any information to the HCPC is to be met by you sending the information to the offices of the HCPC, marked for the attention of the Director of Fitness to Practise.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Ms Jacinta Hofstetter

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
02/06/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Restoration Restored with Conditions of Practice