Mr Paul N Manyara
Allegation (as amended at Final Hearing):
1. On or around 12 January 2017 at Liverpool Crown Court, you were convicted of dishonestly making false representation to make gain for self/another or cause loss to other/expose other to risk.
2. By reason of your conviction described in paragraph 1, your fitness to practise as a Social Worker is impaired
Application to amend the Allegation:
1. Ms Ryan on behalf of the HCPC made an application to amend the date in Particular 1 of the allegation so as to read “on or around 12 January 2017”. This was in response to the Registrant confirming orally to the Panel that he was found Guilty on this date. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and decided that it was fair to allow this amendment on the basis that it did not prejudice the Registrant by changing the substance of the case against him.
2. In January 2017 at Liverpool Crown Court the Registrant was found Guilty of an offence of “dishonestly making false representation to make gain for self/ another or cause loss to other/ expose other to risk”. On 13 January 2017 the Registrant was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment and a collection order to pay a Victim Surcharge of £100. The Registrant was released from custody on 30 March 2017 and commenced supervision, which will continue until his sentence expires on 12 October 2017.
3.The background to this matter as set out in the Judge’s sentencing remarks of 13 January 2017 is that at the time of the offence the Registrant was employed as a senior social worker by St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC). In March 2014 the Registrant was subject to internal disciplinary action which resulted in a finding of gross misconduct. As an alternative to summary dismissal, the Registrant was offered a demotion to the post of Early Intervention Officer with a reduction in salary. Shortly afterwards, the Registrant contacted Caritas, a recruitment agency, in order to find work which paid a higher salary. A reference obtained from Mr P was emailed from his PA on 25 April 2014 to the recruitment consultant at Caritas. That reference referred to the finding of gross misconduct against the Registrant and assessed his honesty and integrity, as well as his reliability as “needing improvement”, using a 5 point scale going from poor, needing improvement, average, good and excellent. The reference also referred to areas of practice needing improvement.
4. The Registrant was found at trial to have subsequently altered the reference, to make it more positive, to have sent it by forging an email purporting to have come from Mr P, and that this was done to enhance the Registrant’s prospects of finding employment.
Decision on Facts
5. On the basis of the Registrant’s admission, and the signed Certificate of Conviction from Liverpool Crown Court dated 30 January 2017, the Panel found Particular 1 of the Allegation proved.
Decision on Impairment
6.The Panel heard live evidence from the Registrant, and took into account the documentary evidence put before it by both parties. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who referred to the case of CHRE v (1) NMC and (2) Grant  EWHC 927. The Panel took into account the HCPC’s Practice Note on “Finding that Fitness to Practise is “Impaired” ”. The Panel was aware that the question of impairment is a matter for its own independent judgment.
7. The Panel read the Registrant’s character references, work appraisals dating from 2015 and 2016, as well as the letter from the Registrant’s Probation Officer dated 17 July 2017.
8.The Panel took into account the Registrant’s positive employment appraisals dating from 2015 and 2016, a period of work which occurred after the criminal offence but before the trial. The Panel also accepted that whilst the Registrant has not practised as a social worker since May 2016, he has taken some steps to keep his knowledge and skills up to date by way of reading.
9. However, having carefully listened to the Registrant’s evidence, and making allowance for the fact that he is representing himself, the Panel concluded that while he has taken steps to reflect upon his wrongdoing, the insight which he has demonstrated into his dishonesty is limited. Despite the jury finding that he altered the reference himself before sending it, he maintained before the Panel today that he was not himself the author of the reference, although he did email it knowing that it was untrue. His denial was also maintained during his trial. The Panel noted the Judge’s remarks during sentencing (at page 14 – 15 of the transcript) that:
“I note that you continue even in the face of overwhelming evidence, even in the face of the jury’s verdict to deny that you are responsible for this offence and that as it seems to me is a real stumbling block to any sort of meaningful intervention with you”.
10. The Panel was mindful that someone who has been convicted may still maintain innocence, but show an acceptance of a verdict and insight into the effects of a conviction and what is required to address the concerns which a conviction raises in a regulatory context. The Panel found no evidence of such insight on the Registrant’s part. The Panel was of the view that there continues to be a minimisation by the Registrant of responsibility, for his wrongdoing and its wider impact. The Panel was also of the view that some of his answers to its questions were opaque and lacking in focus.
11. The Panel also took into account the Judge’s sentencing remarks regarding the internal disciplinary findings which found, amongst other matters that the Registrant had falsified case records which, in the Judge’s view added to the seriousness of the offence for the purpose of sentencing. The Panel is not making any findings of fact about these matters, but has taken into account the Judge’s view, as well the observation he made of the Registrant’s “insistence that it was others rather than you who were lying” in the internal disciplinary process. The Judge further took into account that during the trial the Registrant also called into question the good faith of the investigation.
12. Having taken into account the Judge’s sentencing remarks, and the Registrant’s evidence today, the Panel is of the view that the Registrant has a deep-seated inclination to minimize his responsibility and to shift blame on to others.
13. The Registrant provided the Panel with evidence of only superficial reflection. No written reflective statement or reflection based on a recognised professional model, for instance, were provided. The Panel was unable to conclude that any meaningful remediation of his wrongdoing had taken place.
14.The Panel took into account the questions of Dame Janet Smith from the Fifth Shipman report as set out in the case of Grant. The Panel concluded that the effect of the Registrant’s actions which constituted the offence put service users at unwarranted risk of harm. This is because the false reference which he submitted to the recruitment agency attested to abilities and a standard of work which he did not have. This was particularly serious in the context of his intention to work with vulnerable children and families. The Panel also concluded that these actions brought the profession into disrepute.
15.The Panel next considered the risk of repetition. It concluded that due to the Registrant’s limited insight and lack of any real remediation of his dishonesty, that he is liable in the future to repeat his dishonest conduct, to put service users at unwarranted risk of harm and to bring the profession into disrepute.
16.With regard to the wider public interest, the Panel was mindful that the Registrant had been released early from custody, and that the sentence does not expire until October 2017. The Registrant is therefore still subject to this sentence. Further, his dishonest actions undermined the core processes of safe recruitment of social workers who work with the most vulnerable of society, including children. His intention to work with children in such circumstances of fraud is also particularly serious. In these circumstances, the Panel concluded that if a finding of impairment were not made, the need to uphold proper professional standards and public confidence in the profession would be undermined.
17.The Panel therefore concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired.
Decision on Sanction
18.The Panel heard further evidence from the Registrant and heard submissions from both Ms Ryan and the Registrant. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who referred to the case of CRHCP v GDC and Fleischmann  EWHC 87. The Panel took into account the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy. The Panel was aware that the matter of sanction is one for its own independent judgment and that the purpose of sanction is not to punish the Registrant, but rather to uphold the public interest, which includes protection of the public, upholding proper standards, and maintaining public confidence in the profession and the regulator.
19.The Panel first considered the mitigating and aggravating features of this case.
20. The mitigating features are as follows:
i. the Registrant has engaged with these proceedings;
ii. positive testimonials attest to good practice between the time of the offence and the trial;
iii. a personal testimonial from the Registrant’s priest and a letter from his probation officer indicate co-operation with them;
iv. no other convictions;
v. apart from the disciplinary finding in 2014, he worked as a social worker without any previous incident, and attained promotion to senior social worker;
vi. an adverse family incident at the time.
vii. the Registrant was, at the time of the offence and subsequently has been, the main provider for his wife and young children.
21. The aggravating features are as follows:
i. the Registrant continues to deny full responsibility in that he does not accept he created the false reference;
ii. limited insight into the impact of his behaviour on public confidence in the profession;
iii. his offence struck at the heart of the recruitment process for social workers;
22. The Panel first considered taking no action in this case, and decided that this would not be appropriate. This is a serious offence and such an outcome would not be commensurate with the seriousness of the case. Nor would it address the risks to public protection in this case, because it would not restrict the Registrant’s right to practise.
23.The Panel considered a Caution Order, but again rejected this sanction because public confidence in the regulatory process would be undermined in the light of the seriousness of this case. Further, it would not address the risks to public protection as it would leave the Registrant’s practise unrestricted.
24.The Panel next considered a Conditions of Practice Order. However, this is not a case of incompetence, rather one of honesty and integrity. The Panel decided that it could not formulate conditions which could address the risk of repetition of dishonest conduct in this case. Thus, conditions would not be workable, and in any event in the Panel’s view, the dishonesty was too serious for such a sanction to be appropriate.
25. The Panel then considered a Suspension Order. The Panel considered carefully the Registrant’s evidence at the sanction stage that he is still on a journey of gaining insight. The Panel also took into account his evidence that due to cultural factors, he is not used to expressing insight and emotions, and the Panel made allowance for this. However counterbalanced with these factors were the fact that the Registrant has worked for some 10 years as a social worker, with part of that time as a senior social worker. He is a professional who is aware of the need for constant reflection in his professional life. Further, the Registrant’s lack of acceptance of full responsibility even at this stage in the hearing led the Panel to be unpersuaded that he has demonstrated the ability to attain the required level of insight into the gravity of his actions. While a Suspension Order would protect the public because it would prevent the Registrant from practising, the Panel, in the circumstances, was not satisfied, on the basis of the aforementioned factors, that such a sanction would be sufficient to protect the public interest.
26. The Registrant’s actions were deliberate and planned. The Panel views the offence as a most serious act of dishonesty. The Registrant sought to mislead future employers for financial gain, and put his own interests above that of the profession and service users. His offence was so serious that the Panel is of the view that any lesser sanction than a Striking Off order would undermine public confidence in the profession and in the HCPC as regulator. The Panel is of the view that a Striking Off Order is necessary to send a clear message that the Registrant’s actions in submitting a false reference in order to obtain employment were unacceptable. These actions are, in the Panel’s view, incompatible with the Registrant remaining on the register, taking into account all the circumstances of this case.
27.The Panel carefully considered the principle of proportionality, and took into account the impact that a Striking Off Order will have on the Registrant, including a financial impact and on his career. However, the Panel was of the view that in this case, the public interest, namely the need to uphold proper standards and public confidence in the profession and the regulator outweighs the Registrant’s interests.
28.The Panel therefore decided to impose a Striking Off Order.
ORDER: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Paul N Manyara from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.
The order imposed today will apply from 25 September 2017
The Panel makes an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, the same being necessary to protect members of the public and being otherwise in the public interest. This order will expire: (if no appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) upon the expiry of the period during which such an appeal could be made; (if an appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) the final determination of that appeal, subject to a maximum period of 18 months.
History of Hearings for Mr Paul N Manyara
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|21/08/2017||Conduct and Competence Committee||Final Hearing||Struck off|