Mr Trevor Good

: Social worker

: SW25350

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:12:30 22/08/2017 End: 17:00 22/08/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Struck off

Allegation

The following allegation was amended, considered and found proved by a panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee at the substantive hearing on 29 September 2015.

During the course of your employment as a Social Worker with Leeds City Council, you:

1. On  the  17  September  2013 exceeded  your  authority  and/or demonstrated poor practice and/or judgement, in that you:

a) gave advice to two midwives that Baby A needed to be moved to the neonatal unit.

b) gave advice to a midwife that;

i) Service User A could have no contact with Baby A; and/or

ii) Service User A could not breastfeed Baby A.

2. Gave  the advice  set  out  in  paragraph  1  without  speaking  to  the Service Delivery Manager.

3. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

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

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service

1. Mr Good has neither attended this hearing nor been represented at it.  The Panel is satisfied that the letter dated 20 July 2017 addressed to him at his HCPC Register address informing him of the date, time and place of the hearing constitutes good service of the notice of hearing.

Proceeding in absence of the Registrant

2. The Presenting Officer made an application that the hearing should proceed in the absence of Mr Good. He was informed of the hearing date and has made clear in an email dated 28 March 2017 that he has no intention of returning to social work practice. He has not applied to adjourn this hearing and the Panel has concluded that he has voluntarily absented himself from the hearing today with the consequence that the hearing should proceed in his absence.


Background


3. Mr Good was working as a Senior Social Worker.  He had been employed as a Social Worker by Leeds City Council since 1982, and had been working in the Emergency Duty Team (“EDT”) since 2003.  The EDT exists to provide an out of hours city wide emergency service for those requiring the assistance of social services.  To be able to undertake EDT work a Social Worker is required to have reached a certain level of seniority and experience.  All are Approved Mental Health Professionals and they are required to have a working knowledge of child protection issues.

4. Service User A was known to social services.  Before the events being considered by the Panel, two children had been removed from her care, there was a history of domestic abuse, and there were concerns about her use of alcohol and cannabis, as well about the condition of her home.   Knowing that she was pregnant, a pre-birth assessment had been undertaken by the allocated Social Worker.  The outcome of that pre-birth process was that it had been decided that an application would be made for a care order to the appropriate court upon the birth of the baby, it not being possible to make such an application until the baby had been born.   The allocated Social Worker had communicated to staff at the hospital where Service User A would give birth that there would be social services involvement upon the birth of the baby.  It is relevant to note that these pre- birth processes had included consideration being given to the possibility that it might be necessary for the baby to be transferred to the neonatal unit as a result of medical complications resulting from Service User A’s lifestyle. The HCPC’s case  against  Mr  Good  is  that he received  two telephone calls while he was working on EDT duty overnight on 17 September 2013.  The calls were from two midwives.  The first midwife telephoned before the birth of Baby A whilst Service User A was in labour.  Her call was prompted by, and to enquire about, the notes that were available to her in the hospital.   The second call was made by another midwife after the birth of Baby A, and took place some three hours after the first call had been made.

5. Mr Good advised that Baby A needed to be moved to the neonatal unit and that Service User A was to have no contact with Baby A, and that there should be no breastfeeding.  The original Panel found that there was no lawful basis for a person in Mr Good’s position to advise on any of the matters included in particular 1. He exceeded his authority, demonstrated poor practice and poor judgement. So far as particular 2 is concerned, the original Panel was satisfied that the local authority protocol in force at the time required a person in Mr Good’s position to discuss with a SDM a matter such as that in issue and that Mr Good was well aware of that protocol but failed to follow it.  The Registrant breached the following standards of the HCPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics, namely: 1 (“You must act in the best interests of service users”); 6 (“You must act within the limits   of   your   knowledge,   skills   and   experience   and,   if necessary, refer the matter to another practitioner”); 7 (“You must communicate properly and effectively with service users and other practitioners”) and 13 (“You must ….. make sure that your behaviour does not damage the public’s confidence in you or your profession”). 

6. The original Panel was satisfied that Mr Good did not lack competence but he failed to act in accordance with the competencies he had and his behaviour could properly be categorised as misconduct.

7. The original panel found Mr Good had demonstrated limited insight into his actions and did not require training to know that in circumstances where there is no court order and the Police have not acted, a Social Worker has no power to deny contact between a mother and child. There was an absence of recognition that, however frustrating a Social Worker might find it, actions must be confined to those that are lawful.

8. The original panel found that there is a risk of repetition and Mr Good’s fitness to practise was currently impaired in respect of the personal and public component.

9. The original panel identified as aggravating factors, Mr Good’s experience as a Social Worker, his knowledge of the powers that existed in relation to child protection and his knowledge of the need to contact the SDM. Further aggravating factors were that his actions unlawfully deprived Service User A of contact with her baby and exposed his employer to the consequences of that fact.  Mitigating factors were the length of Mr Good’s career as a Social Worker without previous regulatory findings having been made against him, as well as the present matter being an isolated incident.

10. The original panel considered the statement made by Mr Good in his letter 21 August 2015 that he no longer wished to maintain his registration as a Social Worker.  The conclusion of the original Panel was that a Conditions of Practice Order was the appropriate sanction to allow Mr Good to return to practise as a Social Worker if he would wish to do so.  


11. On 24 March 2017 the first reviewing panel decided that:


The Panel has therefore determined that now the only appropriate and sufficient sanction is a Suspension order for a period of 6 months. This would give Mr Good a further opportunity to show that he is willing to take appropriate steps to remedy his misconduct and that he has maintained his professional knowledge and skills. The Panel did consider a Striking Off order, but concluded that at this stage this would be disproportionate.

Decision

12. The Panel has determined that Mr Good’s fitness to practise remains impaired.


13. In reaching its decision the Panel considered all the information before it together with the submissions from Ms Dudrah. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.


14. Mr Good has not engaged with the HCPC since the substantive hearing. The Panel therefore has no information as to whether he has taken steps to remedy his misconduct or that he has maintained his knowledge and skills.


15. In the absence of any evidence of remediation the Panel cannot be satisfied that there would not be a repetition of Mr Good’s misconduct with a consequent risk to Service Users. The Panel has therefore concluded that Mr Good’s fitness to practise remains impaired.


16. The Panel has had regard to the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy. It has approached the question of sanction from the least restrictive upwards. It has exercised the principle of proportionality at all times. It has accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.


17. The Panel first considered whether to revoke the existing order or to allow it to lapse.


18. In the absence of any further information from Mr Good this would be wholly inappropriate and insufficient to protect the public. Furthermore, for the same reasons a Caution would also be insufficient.


19. The Panel next considered another Conditions of Practice Order. However, he did not comply with the Order imposed in 2015 and he has not engaged since the Suspension Order was imposed in 2017.  There is nothing to indicate that Mr Good is prepared to remedy his misconduct and that he has maintained his professional knowledge and skills. Furthermore, he has not engaged with the HCPC in regard to this review and his email dated 28 March 2017 indicates that he does not propose to engage in the future.


20. The Panel has had in mind that Mr Good has in the past indicated a wish for voluntary erasure. In the light of these matters the Panel cannot be satisfied that he has a continuing commitment to practice. It has therefore concluded that a further Conditions of Practice Order would be inappropriate.


21. The Panel has no up to date information as to his current skills or remediation and concludes, with regret, that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction is a Striking Off Order to be imposed with immediate effect. 

Order

Order: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Trevor Good from the Register with immediate effect.  

Notes

The order imposed today will apply from 22 August 2017.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mr Trevor Good

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
22/08/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
24/03/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
28/09/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Conditions of Practice