Dorothy E Goodier

: Social worker

: SW66426

: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 02/10/2017 End: 17:00 09/10/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Conditions of Practice

Allegation

Allegation (as amended):

While employed as a Social Worker with the London Borough of Hounslow between 10 February 2014 and 20 March 2015, you:

1. Did not take the necessary steps to access the London Borough of Hounslow’s electronic case recording system.

2. In relation to Child A, did not record and/or upload onto LCS (Liquid Logic Children’s Social Care system):

a. Case notes of meetings scheduled with Child A on or around the following dates:

i. 5 March 2014;
ii. 12 March 2014;
iii. 24 March 2014;
iv. 31 March 2014;
v. 7 April 2014;
vi. 15 April 2014;
vii. 6 May 2014;
viii. 14 May 2014;
ix. 23 June 2014;
x. 25 June 2014;
xi. 30 June 2014;
xii. 14 July 2014;
xiii. 15 July 2014;
xiv. 11 November 2014;
xv. 17 November 2014;
xvi. 24 November 2014;
xvii. 8 December 2014;

b. records of counselling sessions with Child A which were scheduled to take place on:

i. 21 July 2014;
ii. 22 September 2014.

c. concerns regarding Child A’s foster carers on the following dates:

i. 6 May 2014;
ii. 25 June 2014.

d. a full clinical report completed on or around 4 June 2014;

e. communications with other professionals regarding Child A;

f. a letter to Child A date 28 January 2015

3. In relation to Child B, did not record and/or upload onto LCS records in relation to:

a. Communications with Child B’s social worker on or around 17 March 2014.

4. In relation to Child C, did not record and/or upload onto LCS records of:

a. Your communications and/or meetings with Child C on or around 7 July 2014;

b. Your communications with Child C’s social worker on or around 26 March 2014.

5. In relation to Child D, did not record and/or upload onto LCS:

a. Notes relating to an attempt to visit Child D on or around 15 April 2014;

b. Case notes of a meeting scheduled with Child D on 31 March 2014.

6. In relation to Child E, did not record and/or upload onto LCS:

a. A record of a meeting with Child E on or around 16th July 2014;

b. A record of a meeting scheduled with Child E on or around 22 September 2014;

c. A record of a joint visit to Child E scheduled on or around 10 November 2014

7. In relation to Child F, did not record and/or upload onto LCS:

a. Records of meetings scheduled with Child F on or around the following dates:

i. 9 September 2014
ii. 24 September 2014
iii. 8 October 2014
iv. 22 October 2014
v. 2 December 2014
vi. 3 December 2014
vii. 10 December 2014
viii. 23 February 2015

8. In relation to Child G, did not record and/or upload onto LCS:

a. A record of a counselling session on 22 September 2014;

b. A record of a telephone conversation when a meeting due to take place on 17 December 2014 with Child G was cancelled.

9. In relation to Child H, did not record and/or upload onto LCS:

a. Records of meetings with Child H at school scheduled on or around:

i. 10 December 2014;
ii. 23 January 2015.

10. Inappropriately forwarded emails which contained sensitive information relating to and identifying service users and/or their families to your personal email account:

a. In relation to Child A on:

i. 13 November 2014;
ii. 11 December 2014.

b. In relation to Child D, on:

i. 23 June 2014;
ii. 1 October 2014.

c. On 3 December 2014 in relation to a consultation session with Dr J;

d. In relation to three cases on 28 April 2015;

e. In relation to a young person attending the Short Break Unit and his family on 6 May 2015.

11. In an audit of paper case records, did not make any, or any adequate, records relating to any work undertaken in respect of:

a. Child A;
b. Child B;
c. Child C;
d. Child D;
e. Child E;
f. Child F;
g. Child G;
h. Child H;
i. Child I.

12. The matters described in paragraphs 1 – 11 amount to misconduct and/or lack of competence.

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

Finding

Preliminary matters:

Application to Hear Evidence in Private

1. At the beginning of the hearing Ms Sheridan on behalf of the HCPC applied to have matters in this hearing which dealt with the Registrant’s health to be heard in private. Ms Bracken on behalf of the Registrant did not object. The Panel allowed the application and directed that matters in the hearing dealing solely with the Registrant’s health should be heard in private.

Application to amend the allegation

2. Ms Sheridan then applied to amend the allegation by amending particulars 2, 7(a)(viii) and 8(b). In particular 2 the initials LCS were used. The initials stood for Liquid Logic Children’s Social Care System. The definition should be added to particular 2 to explain the initials LCS. In particular 7(a)(viii) the date read 23 February 2014 and it should read 23 February 2015. In particular 8(b) the year 2014 should be added to the date 17 December. All of the amendments were being asked for in order to clarify matters and to correct typing errors. No injustice would be caused by those amendments. There was no objection to the proposed amendments from Ms Bracken. The Legal Assessor advised that the allegation could be amended provided that the Panel was satisfied that no injustice was thereby caused. The Panel allowed the application for amendment of all three of the particulars. It considered that there was no injustice caused and accepted that the amendments helped to ensure clarity in the allegation but did not change the nature of it or make it more serious for the Registrant. 

Background:

3. The Registrant was employed by the London Borough of Hounslow (Hounslow) as a Clinical Social Worker with Children’s, Housing and Adult Services. She commenced her employment on 10 February 2014 and remained in the team until March 2015. Her duties included working with looked after Children, undertaking risk assessments and liaising with internal and external agencies, carers and birth families. She provided therapies to address individuals’ and families’ problems, including serious illness, substance abuse, domestic conflict and being in the care system.

4. In March 2015, the Registrant was seconded to the children with a disability team for a trial period of three months. In the first few weeks of her secondment, her manager (PH) raised issues with her performance, including the use of LCS. This led to a review of all her casework relating to the period of time since she commenced working at Hounslow.

5. Upon that review it appeared that the Registrant had not been uploading case notes to the electronic recording system, LCS. She did not have access to the system until October 2014 as she had not completed the relevant training. She was therefore unable to upload key information for a number of Service Users she was working with before then. Her emails were also audited and it was found that a number of emails containing confidential information were sent to her personal email address from her Hounslow email address.

6. An investigation into the allegation was carried out by PH. The matter was subsequently referred to the HCPC.

Decision on Facts:

7. The allegation was read out. The Registrant admitted particulars 2, 3, 4(b), 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.

8. The Panel acknowledged the fact that those admissions had been made and bore the admissions in mind when considering whether each particular had been proved or not. The Panel bore in mind the burden and standard of proof and considered each particular separately.

9. The Panel first considered the witnesses who had given evidence. The HCPC called three witnesses, PH, SH and DH. The Registrant also gave evidence.

10. PH was the Registrant’s Team Manager during her secondment and the investigating officer. The Panel found him to be credible, honest, knowledgeable and fair minded. His evidence was consistent with his witness statement and his very thorough investigation report. He was willing to admit when he was unsure about anything asked of him and was balanced in his responses. The Panel considered that he did his best to assist the Panel by explaining the investigation he undertook and the detail of how it was approached.

11. At the conclusion of PH’s evidence, Ms Sheridan made an application to amend particular 11 by deleting the words “had made no records” and replacing them with the words “did not make any or any adequate records”. She said that this change reflected the evidence that had been given by PH. Ms Bracken made no objection to the proposed amendment and said that the Registrant had always understood the particular to be drafted in the way of the proposed amendment. Both parties were clear that the proposed amendment reflected the evidence and no injustice would be caused by the amendment. The Panel accepted this and amended the particular accordingly.

12. The Panel found SH to be an honest and open witness who tried to assist the Panel about the nature of the role she played in the clinical supervision of the Registrant. She assisted the Panel by her evidence that she was unaware that the Registrant could not access LCS until told of this by another Social Work colleague in September 2014.

13. The Panel found DH to be a straightforward and credible witness whose evidence was consistent with her witness statement. She did her best to assist the Panel in understanding her role as the Registrant’s Social Work supervisor and was clear about what was discussed at the only two supervision meetings held with the Registrant in October and November 2014.

14. The Registrant gave evidence. The Panel found her to lack credibility. Her responses to direct questions were often evasive and obfuscating. The Panel found some of her answers to be incredible. In her oral evidence, the Registrant made statements that she was unable to support, either with the relevant documents or through cross examination of the HCPC’s witnesses. She also changed her responses to direct questions and previous admissions when challenged. For example, the Registrant stated that she had not kept appropriate paper records because she had “limited access to stationery”. This was despite telling the Panel that her paper case records kept in her pedestal were appropriate and not having put forward previously any issue about lack of stationery.

15. The Panel then considered the individual particulars. 

Particular 1

16. The Panel finds this particular proved. The Panel accepts that the Registrant on a couple of occasions raised an issue with accessing the e-learning with a previous manager and the helpdesk (CAS). Even when given alternative ways of access, the Registrant did not take the necessary steps to complete the e-learning modules in a timely way.  The Panel noted that it took the Registrant eight months before she completed the training despite repeated requests and reminders from CAS. It was the Registrant’s responsibility to keep proper records. She never raised any problems about keeping records or problems accessing LCS with either of her supervisors. There were opportunities afforded to her through the supervision process with two managers to raise these problems and these were not taken up by the Registrant. It was only brought to the attention of her clinical supervisor by another Social Worker in September 2014.

17. The Panel considered that whilst the Registrant had taken some steps to access the e-learning, they were minimal and fell far short of the necessary steps required. In coming to this conclusion, it took account of the Registrant’s specific difficulties in accessing e-learning in a work environment and that she only worked part-time.

Particular 2

18. The Panel finds this particular proved in its entirety. In making this finding the Panel accepts the admissions made by the Registrant. The Registrant made no entries on LCS in relation to Child A. The Panel also took account of the investigation report and its supporting documentation along with the oral evidence of PH in corroborating the admissions.

Particular 3

19. The Panel finds this particular proved in its entirety. In making this finding the Panel accepts the admission made by the Registrant. The Registrant made no entries on LCS relation to Child B. The Panel took account of the investigation report and its supporting documentation along with the oral evidence of PH in corroborating the admission.

Particular 4(a)

20. The Panel finds this proved in relation to communications with Child C. The Registrant had been requested by Child C’s allocated Social Worker to provide information to Child C in relation to the Youth Counselling Service. The Panel accepted the evidence in the investigation report that, no case note or document was uploaded onto LCS or found elsewhere regarding whether this information was provided to Child C by the Registrant.

21. In relation to recording or uploading onto LCS records of a meeting with Child C, on or around 7 July 14, the Panel did not find this alternative proved.  In coming to this decision, the Panel noted that there was no meeting recorded in the Registrant’s diary; the Registrant claimed she was off sick at the time; and PH made no reference to a meeting in his investigation report.

Particular 4(b)

22. The Panel finds this particular proved. However, it considered that this was not significant in that the Registrant took appropriate steps to ensure that the relevant information was recorded and uploaded onto LCS records by the allocated Social Worker. Further, in making this finding the Panel accepts the admissions made by the Registrant.

Particular 5

23. The Panel finds this particular proved in its entirety. In making this finding, the Panel accepts the admissions made by the Registrant. In particular, the Panel noted the witness statement of PH in relation to Child D. He stated that there was an email dated 16 April 2014 from the Registrant informing the allocated Social Worker that Child D did not attend an arranged meeting on 15 April 2014. The email also contained details of concerns that the Registrant had in relation to Child D. The Panel noted that the Registrant did not record or upload nor request that the allocated Social Worker upload this information.

Particular 6

24. The Panel finds this particular proved in its entirety. In making this finding, the Panel accepts the admissions made by the Registrant. The Panel took account of the audit screen shots of LCS in relation to Child E which show that the Registrant did not upload any information relating to contact with Child E on 16 July, 22 September and 10 November 2014.  The Panel noted in the witness statement of PH that an email was sent by the Registrant to the allocated Social Worker on 16 July about the meeting with Child E on that day.  The email was uploaded on to LCS on 21 July 2014 by the allocated Social Worker.  However, the Panel noted that this upload of information had not been requested by the Registrant. 

Particular 7

25. The Panel finds this particular proved in its entirety. In making this finding the Panel accepts the admissions made by the Registrant. The Panel took account of the audit screen shots of LCS in relation to Child F which show that the Registrant did not upload any information relating to contact with Child F. However, the Panel noted in relation to particular 7(a)(i), regarding a meeting with Child F on 9 September 2014, that information was uploaded to LCS by a Clinical Psychologist. In his investigation report, PH stated that the case note does not make it clear who would complete the report and upload it to LCS.

Particular 8

26. The Panel finds this particular proved in its entirety. In making this finding, the Panel accepts the admissions made by the Registrant. The Panel took account of the audit screen shots of LCS in relation to Child G which show that the Registrant did not upload any information relating to contact with Child G. The Panel took account of the investigation report and its supporting documentation along with the oral evidence of PH in corroborating this admission.


Particular 9

27. The Panel finds this particular proved in its entirety. In making this finding, the Panel accepts the admissions made by the Registrant. The Panel took account of the audit screen shots of LCS in relation to Child H which show that the Registrant did not upload any information relating to contact with Child H. The Panel took account of the investigation report and its supporting documentation along with the oral evidence of PH in corroborating this admission.

Particular 10

28. In considering this particular in its entirety, the Panel noted that in her evidence, the Registrant accepted that she had forwarded all of the emails set out in this particular to her personal email address, but she denied that the sending of them was inappropriate.

29. The Panel considered that it is clearly inappropriate to send confidential service user information to an unsecured personal email account without redaction or encryption.  It is also a clear breach of any Data Protection Policy to send confidential information in this way.  The Panel considered that the explanations given by the Registrant for this behaviour could not in any way justify these serious breaches of data protection and the subsequent risks thereby posed in relation to potential breaches of confidentiality. 

30. The Panel therefore finds this particular proved in its entirety.

Particular 11

31. The Panel finds this particular proved in its entirety.  The Panel accepted the evidence of PH who gave a detailed explanation of the extent of the investigation that he undertook. This included: an audit of the documents in the Registrant’s pedestal and on her desk top; an interrogation of her electronic personal and shared drives; and an audit of the paper case records of each child. In evidence, PH told the Panel that he found nothing in her pedestal or on her desktop that could be described as case records. He said that there was nothing that was of a good enough standard or clear enough to identify what work had been done in any of her cases in any place that he searched. Whilst the Panel noted the explanation of the Registrant that the notes found in her pedestal were acceptable case records, the Panel accepts the evidence and the investigation report of PH and concluded that they were not.

Decision on Grounds:

32. The Panel took account of the submissions made by Ms Sheridan and Ms Bracken and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

33. Having found all of the facts proved, the Panel went on to consider whether they amounted to misconduct and/or lack of competence. The Panel first considered whether the facts found proved amounted to lack of competence. The Panel accepted the definition given by Mr Justice Jackson in the case of (R v Calhaem v GMC [2007] EWHC 2606 (Admin) para 39) for deficient professional performance and accepted that the definition was applicable to lack of competence.

34. At the time of these events, the Registrant was an experienced Social Worker. She qualified in 1989 and had worked since then either as a statutory Social Worker or in management roles that relied on her social work skills. The facts found proved could be said to be a fair sample of her work. However, they all related to a failure to meet the basic standards required of a registered Social Worker. The Registrant accepted that her standards of practice had fallen well below those expected. She was aware of what needed to be done to remedy her poor practice but in relation to her case recording, she failed to ensure that she was able to undertake the necessary training. She was also aware of the relevant policies at Hounslow. In relation to using her personal email, the Registrant acknowledged that both before and after she worked at Hounslow, she knew the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of service users in her care.

35. The Panel does not consider therefore that the matters found proved amounted to a lack of competence.

36. The Panel then considered whether the facts found proved amounted to misconduct. In doing so, the Panel noted that misconduct has to be “serious” or conduct that would be regarded as “deplorable” by fellow professionals.

37. The Panel considered whether the totality of the behaviour found against the Registrant could amount to misconduct. The Panel considered that the failings were serious and widespread in relation to record keeping and confidentiality. Of particular concern is that the Registrant, as an experienced Social Worker, must have been aware of the importance of keeping appropriate records in relation to vulnerable service users and their families. The Registrant must have known that the absence of records could have a serious impact upon the safeguarding of vulnerable or child Service Users. The lack of recording by the Registrant in Service Users’ records created a real risk for those Service Users. In her evidence, the Registrant maintained that she was fully aware of the importance of keeping records but there is a period of nearly a year in which no adequate records were made or uploaded to LCS by the Registrant. She took eight months to access LCS despite frequent reminders. Despite the Registrant’s apparent difficulties in accessing LCS, she did not make adequate or sufficient written case records that could subsequently be uploaded onto LCS. Even when she had access to LCS by October 2014 she had made little or no effort to use the system or upload her handwritten notes.

38. The Panel is particularly concerned that confidential service user information was sent to an unsecured personal email address. This is in breach of data protection and confidentiality policies in place on the Hounslow intranet, of which the Registrant admitted that she was aware.  The Registrant made no attempt to redact or encrypt the confidential emails or attached documents, thereby putting Service Users and their families at risk of their confidential information being exposed.

39. The Panel considered that the findings of fact did amount to serious professional failings which had the potential to cause harm to Service Users and their families. In the Panel’s view, it amounted to misconduct which was serious. The Panel therefore finds that the facts found proved amounted to misconduct.

Decision on Impairment:

40. Having found that the matters found proved amounted to misconduct, the Panel went on to consider whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. It bore in mind all the evidence, and took account of the submissions made by Ms Sheridan and Ms Bracken. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and the HCPTS practice note of ‘Finding that fitness to practise is impaired’.

41. The Panel considers that the actions found proved against the Registrant showed that she breached the following standards of the HCPC’s Standards of conduct, performance and ethics (2012) which applied at the time: 1, 2, 7, and 10.

42. The Registrant also breached the following standards of the HCPC’s Standards of proficiency for Social Workers in England: 7 and 10.

43. The Panel then considered the two component parts relating to impairment, the ‘personal’ component and the ‘public’ component. It first considered the personal component, whether the conduct was remediable, whether it had been remedied and whether it was likely to be repeated.

44. The Panel has found serious failings in relation to the Registrant’s standards of record keeping and the ways in which she has handled confidential information.

45. The Registrant has made some admissions. However, in her evidence, she attributed her actions to problems with IT or a “mental block” rather than to her failure to take full personal responsibility. She was evasive, unclear and inconsistent in her evidence. In particular, she failed to satisfy the Panel as to any valid reasons why she took such a long period (eight months) to complete the e-learning required to access LCS. She did not adequately explain to the Panel her reasons for failing to upload case records onto LCS when she had gained access to it.  The Panel acknowledge that throughout her evidence the Registrant apologised for her behaviour but frequently then went on to attribute blame elsewhere. For example, limited access to stationery; confusion about having two supervisors. The Panel considers that the Registrant has shown limited insight into her behaviour and it therefore considers that there is a real risk of repetition.

46. In relation to all of the matters found proved the Panel considers that they are remediable. They have not been remedied and although in giving evidence, the Registrant made a number of apologies, they do not appear to fully relate to failures of record keeping and the importance of confidentiality and seem to be made to minimise her responsibility. She produced a number of references and testimonials and a certificate showing that she had attended a workshop on confidentiality on 17 May 2016. Nevertheless, the Panel considers that the failures identified relate to basic core requirements of a Social Worker and the Registrant has not remedied them. The Panel considers that there is a risk of repetition in relation to record keeping. The Panel therefore finds that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired on the basis of the ‘personal’ component of impairment.

47. The Panel is aware that it must also look to the ‘public’ component of impairment. It notes the passage in the practice note of ‘finding that fitness to practise is impaired’

It is important for Panels to recognise that the need to address the “critically important public policy issues” identified in Cohen - to protect service users, declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour and maintain public confidence in the profession - means that they cannot adopt a simplistic view and conclude that fitness to practise is not impaired because, since the allegation arose, the registrant has corrected matters or “learned his or her lesson”.”

48. The Panel noted the test formulated by Dame Janet Smith in her Fifth Report from Shipman, referred to in the case of Paula Grant.

49. “Do our findings of fact in respect of the doctor’s misconduct, deficient professional performance, adverse health, conviction, conviction or determination show that his/her fitness to practise is impaired in the sense that s/he:

a. has in the past acted and/or is liable in the future to act so as to put a patient or patients at unwarranted risk of harm; and/or

b. has in the past brought and/or is liable in the future to bring the medical profession into disrepute; and/or

c. has in the past breached and/or is liable in the future to breach one of the fundamental tenets of the medical profession;

50. The Panel considers that all of these apply in this case.

51. The Panel also considered the judgement of Mrs Justice Cox in the case of Paula Grant

52. 74. “I agree with that analysis and would add this. In determining whether a practitioner’s fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct, the relevant panel should generally consider not only whether the practitioner continues to present a risk to members of the public in his or her current role, but also whether the need to uphold proper professional standards and public confidence in the profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made in the particular circumstances.”

53. The Panel considers that members of the public, knowing the facts and findings in this case would be caused great concern and their confidence in the profession would be undermined if a finding that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired was not made. The Panel therefore also finds that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired on the basis of the ‘public’ component.

Decision on Sanction:

54. Having found that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired by reason of her misconduct, the Panel went on to consider the question of sanction. It heard submissions from Ms Sheridan and Ms Bracken.

55. It bore in mind all of the evidence. Before reaching its decision, the Panel considered the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

56. The Panel considered the gravity of the matters found proved and identified the following aggravating and mitigating factors.

57. The aggravating factors:

• The Registrant lacks full insight into her misconduct as demonstrated by her evasive and unconvincing evidence.

• The Registrant knew what she should be doing but did not do anything sufficient to rectify her failings. In particular, as an experienced social worker, she was fully aware of the serious consequences of not keeping case records.

58. The mitigating factors:

• The Registrant is of previous good character.

• The Registrant’s case records were never audited by either of her supervisors during the period in question.

• The Registrant appeared to have some personal difficulties accessing e-learning.

• The Registrant has produced a number of excellent references and testimonials. These attest to her generally good Social Work practice and her understanding of data protection and confidentiality.

•  The Registrant has fully engaged throughout this process.

59. In deciding what sanction, if any, to impose, the Panel has reminded itself that the purpose of sanctions is not to be punitive but to protect the public and the public interest, although a sanction may have a punitive effect. The Panel has taken into account the principle of proportionality, balancing the interests of the public with those of the Registrant.

60. The Panel is aware of the risk of recurrence from which the public needs to be protected. Although there is no evidence of actual harm having been caused to any Service User, the Registrant’s actions had the potential to cause harm.

61. There is a need to demonstrate to the public and the profession, the importance of adhering to the fundamental requirements of keeping high standards of conduct, by declaring and upholding proper standards of behaviour and adhering to the essential core practices of the profession.

62. There is also a need to maintain public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process.

63.  Accordingly, the seriousness of this case meant that taking no action was not an option and a Caution Order, even for the maximum duration, was inadequate. The Panel took account of paragraph 28 of the Indicative Sanctions Policy which states that a caution is suitable for cases where the lapse was isolated, limited or relatively minor in nature and where there is a low risk of recurrence and the Registrant has shown some insight.  In this case, such an outcome would not protect members of the public or provide the required level of public reassurance.

64. The Panel then considered the imposition of a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel considers that the Registrant has demonstrated that she is capable of safe practice. As it has previously stated, the failings identified in this case are remediable. The Panel considers that the Registrant is capable of remediating those matters. The Panel considers that a period of Conditions of Practice where the Registrant is under supervision and can fully show that she understands and had remedied the defects in her practice would ensure the continuance in the profession of a useful Social Worker. The Registrant is an experienced Social Worker and is fully aware of what she needs to do and the consequences of her not doing it. The Panel considers that a Condition of Practice order would adequately protect the public. Such an Order would also adequately address the public reassurance requirements and act as a sufficient deterrent for others.

65. In terms of the length of the Order, the Panel was satisfied that 12 months will give the Registrant sufficient time to further develop her insight and to remedy her failings through the proper use of supervision and reflective practise. In the Panel’s view this sanction balances the protection of the public with the interests of the Registrant.

66. This outcome will maintain confidence in the regulatory process. It is also in the public interest that a member of the profession whose clinical practice is generally good is not lost to the profession but is allowed the opportunity to remediate her failings.

67.  In addition, there was merit in imposing an Order that was capable of being reviewed. A review will give her an opportunity to engage with this process and demonstrate that her fitness to practise is no longer impaired.

68. The Panel did consider whether the matter was so serious that a Suspension Order should be imposed. Such an Order would be disproportionate when a lesser Order satisfies the need for public protection and reassurance and the matters were capable of being remedied. It would have been contrary to the public interest to impose an order of suspension as it would mean that the Registrant could not practice in the period of suspension and would not have an opportunity to remediate her failing.

69.  In all the circumstances, the Panel believes a 12 month Conditions of Practice Order, to be a necessary and proportionate sanction. Shortly before the expiry of the order there will be a review.

70.  A reviewing panel may be assisted by the following:

(a) The Registrant’s personal attendance at the Review Hearing.

(b) Evidence of insight and remedial steps.

(c) Up to date References or testimonials in respect of paid or voluntary work, with particular reference to record keeping and data protection.

(d) Evidence that the Registrant has kept her knowledge of Social Worker practice up to date through relevant certified CPD.

(e) Any other evidence the Registrant considers being relevant.

Application for Interim Order:

71. Ms Sheridan made an application for an Interim Conditions of Practice Order to be imposed. She submitted that given that the Panel had imposed a substantive Conditions of Practice order, an Interim Order was necessary to cover the period of any appeal. She made her submission on the basis of the protection of the public and otherwise in the public interest. Ms Bracken did not object. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

72. The Panel carefully considered whether to grant an Interim Order in this case. Given its findings in relation to the need to protect the public and the wider public interest, it was of the view that the application was well founded and that not to grant an Order would be inconsistent with its earlier findings.

Order

ORDER: The Registrar is directed to annotate the Register to show that, for a period of 12 months from the date that this Order comes into effect (“the Operative Date”), you, Dorothy E Goodier, must comply with the following conditions of practice:

1. You must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a workplace supervisor registered by the HCPC or other appropriate statutory regulator and supply details of your supervisor to the HCPC within one month of the Operative Date. You must attend upon that supervisor as required and follow their advice and recommendations.

2. You must work with that supervisor to formulate a Personal Development Plan designed to address the deficiencies in the following areas of your practice:

• Case Recording
• Data Protection 
• Confidentiality

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

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

5. You must allow your supervisor to provide information to the HCPC about your progress towards achieving the aims set out in your Personal Development Plan.

6. A reflective account, prepared by the Registrant, which demonstrates her understanding of the impact of her behaviour on others. Her personal responsibility for that behaviour and how the Registrant will prevent any recurrence of the behaviour in the future.

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

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

9. 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).

Notes

This Order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 03 November 2018.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Dorothy E Goodier

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
02/10/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Conditions of Practice
18/04/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Hearing has not yet been held