Ms Annia Katarina Elsesser

: Social worker

: SW76490

: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 13/06/2017 End: 12:30 13/06/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Suspended

Allegation

In the course of your employment as a Social Worker for the London Borough of Islington:

 

1. On or around 25 October 2012, you gave unauthorised access to confidential information to a third party in that you:

a. Allowed the third party to view the information of a service user on the local authority's computer system without seeking the appropriate consents; and/or

b. Allowed the third party to stay unsupervised in the office.

 

2. In relation to the relative of service user A, your actions fell below the required standard in that:

a You did not respond to some of her telephone calls in a timely manner and/or

b. You did not provide her with the care plan and/or support plan within the required timescales.

 

3. On or around 12 October 2012 you made the following inappropriate comments to an employee at the Bremerton Estate Office:

a. 'British people are so lazy' or words to that effect;

b. 'No wonder England is at the bottom of the heap, as no one wants to work' or words to that effect and

c. 'Person B is a very lazy boy' or words to that effect.

 

4. You made inappropriate entries on service users' case files in that:

a. On 5 August 2012, you wrote: 'A great deal of time wasted this morning trying to complete work on a deceased service user. I completed the risk assessment but there is another risk

assessment on screen which has been aborted and which needs to be removed from IAS, IN ORDER FOR ME TO PROCEED TO THE NEXT STAGE , that is the Case Conference. I have alerted HASS SUPPORT, Ann' or words to that effect; and

b. On 8 August 2012, you wrote: 'Dear, I despair what a terrible system. I tried this morning with person C, to start a safeguarding alert but not possible. Yes if there is problem with draft support plan, cannot proceed with anything else. I want the support plan to be closed, whatever person D is doing, and I need to do my work. Why is the support plan in draft form when this was approved months ago? If you reassign it will have to be finalised once again by manager. I cannot waste more time. I need to amend support plan to include shopping Thanks' or words to that effect.

 

5. On or around 16 October 2012, you received a safeguarding alert regarding service user E and you did not escalate this alert with your manager within the required timescales.

 

6. The matters described in Paragraphs 1 to 5 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

 

7. By reason of that misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service

1. The Panel considered the Notice of Hearing dated 11 May 2017, the Certificate of Registration, and the signed proof of posting by first class post also dated 11 May 2017. The Panel determined that there was good service of the Notice of Hearing in accordance with the HCPC (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (the Rules).

Proceeding in absence

2. The Panel heard a submission by Ms Ebanks on behalf of the HCPC to proceed in the absence of the Registrant under Rule 11 of the Rules. The Registrant was not present or represented.

3. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice to take account of the relevant HCPTS Practice Note “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant” (March 2017) and considered all the circumstances. The Panel noted that the Registrant has not applied for an adjournment of this mandatory review of a substantive Order, and considered that there is a public interest in this review being dealt with expeditiously. The Panel has determined that the Registrant has exercised her choice not to attend or be represented at the hearing today, and is therefore unlikely to attend on a future date if this hearing was to be adjourned. It is therefore fair, proportionate and in the interests of justice to proceed in her absence.

Background

4. The Registrant is a registered Social Worker who qualified in 1987. In 2012 she was employed by the London Borough of Islington in the Adult Social Care Service and was responsible for older adults and adults with physical disabilities.

5. The previous panel found proved that:
• in August 2012, the Registrant made inappropriate entries on two service users’ files;
• in October 2012, the Registrant made inappropriate comments to an employee at Bremerton Estate Office;
• on or around 16 October 2012, the Registrant received a safeguarding alert regarding Service User E and she did not escalate this alert to her manager within the required timescales;
• on or around 25 October 2012 the Registrant gave unauthorised access to confidential information to a third party by allowing the third party to view a service user’s information on her employer’s computer system and allowed that third party to stay unsupervised in her office.

6. The previous panel determined that those facts amounted to misconduct and that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired. That Panel considered that the communication skills were remediable, and that the Registrant had reflected on and recognised the issues concerning confidential information and her communication skills, such that she had the potential to remediate. Although the Registrant had not engaged with the HCPC during the proceedings, or attended the hearing, that panel determined that the appropriate, proportionate and sufficient sanction was a Conditions of Practice Order for 12 months with effect from 14 July 2016.

Decision

7. Ms Ebanks submitted that the Panel should undertake a complete review of the appropriateness and sufficiency of the Conditions of Practice Order given the findings of the previous panel and the absence of any engagement of the Registrant.

8. This is a review under Article 30 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001. In reaching its decision today, this Panel has taken careful account of the findings of the previous panel. The Panel has accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and exercised the principle of proportionality and the full guidance in the HCPC’s “Indicative Sanctions Policy” (March 2017).

9. The Panel has taken into account that HCPC sanctions are not intended to be punitive, but are only imposed when it is necessary to do so, to safeguard the public and the wider public interest. Further, the sanction imposed must be proportionate by being the minimum order that is sufficient to achieve that protection.

10. In its decision the previous panel stated it imposed the Conditions of Practice Order for 12 months which would provide the Registrant the opportunity and framework within which she could develop good insight and fully remediate her behaviour. The Registrant has not engaged with the HCPC at all since that decision was made on 16 June 2016 and has not provided any evidence to be considered by this reviewing Panel. This is despite a condition requiring her to submit to the HCPC a reflective piece demonstrating the Registrant’s understanding of her personal responsibility for, and the consequences of, the issues found proved in this case.

11. The Panel determined that there remained a need for an Order because of the lack of evidence of remediation and current insight into the misconduct. The Panel determined that in these circumstances of non-engagement and non-compliance, the present Conditions of Practice Order was no longer a workable nor a sufficient safeguard for the public.

12. The Panel therefore next considered imposing a Suspension Order. The Panel determined that this would provide sufficient protection to the public and that it would be disproportionate, on this occasion, to make a Striking Off Order. This was because the previous panel had acknowledged some past evidence of the Registrant’s insight and the misconduct was remediable in nature. It was therefore sufficient and proportionate for a Suspension Order for 12 months to replace the current Conditions of Practice Order. This would provide the Registrant with a further, and perhaps last, opportunity to demonstrate her willingness and commitment to remediating her proven professional misconduct. With this in mind, the next review panel may be assisted by the personal attendance of the Registrant and evidence of the steps taken to remediate the matters that have brought her before her regulator, the HCPC, which might include a reflective piece, together with evidence of how the Registrant has maintained her skills in the social care environment.

Order

The Registrar is directed to replace the Conditions of Practice Order with a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months upon expiry of the current Order.

Notes

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 14 July 2018.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Ms Annia Katarina Elsesser

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
13/06/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended
14/06/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Conditions of Practice