Mr Elaisah Grace Badda

: Social worker

: SW19933

Interim Order: Imposed on 13 Jan 2016

: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 09/06/2017 End: 17:00 09/06/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Struck off

Allegation

Whilst registered as a Social Worker, on:

1. 11 October 2016 at Harrow Crown Court you were convicted of:

(a) dishonestly making false representations to make gain for self/another or cause loss to other/expose other to risk;

(b) fraud by abuse of position;

(c) fraud by abuse of position.

2. By reason of your conviction as set out at paragraph 1 your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Background

1.     The Registrant worked as a Social Worker for the London Borough of Barnet. On 19 October 2016, after pleas of guilty, the Registrant was sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on one count of dishonestly making false representations to make a gain for himself and two counts of fraud by abuse of position. He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months on each count to run concurrently. He was also ordered by the Judge to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and a compensation order in the sum of £10,090 was made in favour of the London Borough of Barnet.

 

2.     These three offences related to frauds committed against the London Borough of Barnet in relation to a carer’s allowance involving Colleague A, Service User B and Service User C.

 

3.     Colleague A was a carer for Service User A who received direct payments of money from Barnet Council. The Registrant told Colleague A that he would help her to calculate her tax and insurance payments which were based upon her wages.

 

4.     Colleague A was deceived into directing these amounts to the Registrant on the basis that he himself would later pay them to HMRC. A total of £1,935.56 was thereby obtained by the Registrant in three separate payments from January – July 2015. The Registrant dishonestly kept this money.

 

5.     In respect of Service Users B and C, the Registrant set up direct payments on their behalf but instead of providing to the Council the correct bank details, he gave his own in order to obtain the benefit for himself. £2,144.90 was paid into the Registrant’s bank account in respect of Service User B and £6,010.14 in relation to Service User C. Service User C was elderly and the sole carer for his wife who had a terminal brain tumour. The purpose of providing the money was in part to fund her post-operative care.

 

6.     The sentencing Judge, in noting that the total loss involved in these frauds was in excess of £10,000, described the Registrant’s activities as ‘a very careful abuse of position’ and stressed that ‘there were a number of vulnerable victims and it [the fraud] was committed over a significant period of time.’

 

Facts

7.     Particular 1 – The Registrant, from the outset of these proceedings, admitted the conviction. The relevant certificate of conviction was contained within the Panel’s bundle of papers.

 

8.     Particular 1 is proved.

 

Impairment

 

9.     Whether or not a registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired is a question for the Panel alone, after consideration of all the circumstances of this case.

 

10.   In reaching its determination the Panel has, amongst other matters, had regard to the public interest and the interests of service users.

 

11.   The Panel paid due regard to the fact that the Registrant, again at the outset of these proceedings, admitted current impairment of his fitness to practise.

 

12.   Although it could be argued that his entry of pleas of guilty to the indictment constituted an element of insight, the Panel’s strong view was, not least because of the Registrant’s admission to this effect, that his fitness to practise is currently impaired.

 

Sanction

13.   Ms Sheridan submitted to the Panel that the only appropriate sanction in this case was the imposition of a Striking Off Order, so serious was the nature of the frauds that the Registrant had committed. She pointed out that the operational period of the suspended sentence was still active, that the offences extended over a period of time and were committed without thought of the consequences to those whom he defrauded. The service users concerned were vulnerable people. The Registrant had grossly abused his position of trust.

 

14.   Mr Atanda, by contrast, advocated the imposition of conditions. He drew the Panel’s attention to the two documents in mitigation provided by his client and stressed the facts that he had pleaded guilty, was now deeply ashamed of his behaviour, apologetic, remorseful and determined never to reoffend.

 

15.   The Panel considered these submissions with care, reminded itself of the contents of the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy and noted the advice of the Legal Assessor that it should apply the principle of proportionality, weighing the interests of the public with those of the practitioner. The public interest includes not only the protection of service users but also the maintenance of public confidence in the profession and the declaring and upholding of proper standards of conduct and behaviour. Given the serious nature of the Registrant’s crimes, the Panel is of the view that it would not be sufficient to conclude this case by taking no action or referring it to mediation.

 

16.   The Panel considered it would be entirely inappropriate to conclude this case by the imposition of a Caution Order.

 

17.   The same considerations applied to the question as to whether or not the imposition of a Conditions of Practice Order would suffice.

 

18.   The Panel is of the view that an imposition of an order of suspension would not reflect the gravity and cynicism of these crimes.

 

19.   The Panel did not fully accept the Registrant’s contention that he had cooperated with the criminal investigation. He denied these frauds in interview and only entered pleas of guilty to 2 of 3 counts on the indictment at the very last moment.

 

20.   These acts of dishonesty, in the view of the Panel, are not capable of remediation. They are wholly incompatible with the basic tenets of social work, those being honesty and integrity. They represent a gross abuse of trust of the position that the Registrant then occupied. In all the circumstances, the only proportionate sanction to impose is to make an order of Striking Off.

Order

Order: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Elaisah Grace Badda from the Register on the date this order comes into effect     

Notes

The order imposed today will apply from 07 July 2017 (the operative date)

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mr Elaisah Grace Badda

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
09/06/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off