Miss Rebecca Jane Andrew

: Social worker

: SW00690

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:12:30 17/11/2017 End: 17:00 17/11/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Voluntary Removal agreed

Allegation

During the course of your employment as a Social Worker at the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS), between 1 June 2011 and December 2012 you:

 

1.Did not submit your Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW) portfolio due on 5 November 2012.

 

2. Did not adequately plan and manage your workload in that you:

a) did not complete the case closures identified in July 2012 in 10 of your 33 cases;

b) Not proved

c) did not file your reports in time to allow for reflection, learning and development.

 

3. Not proved

 

4. The matters described in paragraphs 1 to 2 constitute lack of competence.

 

5. By reason of your lack of competence, your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters:

Proof of Service and Proceeding in Absence

1. The Panel was satisfied that good service had been effected. The Registrant did not appear nor was she represented.

2. On behalf of the HCPC, Ms Stark applied for the hearing to be conducted in the absence of the Registrant on the basis that the Registrant had been notified of the date, time and location of the hearing at her registered address and that it was in the public interest for the hearing to proceed expeditiously.

3. Having considered the revised HCPTS Practice Note on proceeding in absence and the advice of the Legal Assessor on the case of GMC v Adeogba [2016] EWCA Civ 162 (“the fair, economical, expeditious and efficient disposal of allegations against medical practitioners is of real importance”), the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had received reasonable notice of today’s hearing.  The Registrant had not applied for an adjournment and had voluntarily absented herself.  There was no indication that she would attend at a later date if today’s hearing were to be adjourned. In balancing the Registrant’s interest and the public interest, the Panel decided that the matter should be heard expeditiously. The Panel had in mind that the Registrant had engaged constructively with the HCPC in agreeing to bring the proceedings to a conclusion and that the purpose of this hearing was to give effect to that agreement. It would be unfair to both parties not to proceed or to prolong the process.

Background

4. The Registrant was employed as Social Worker at the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) from 1 September 2010 and commenced a three years NQSAW training programme on 1 June 2011. She failed to submit a portfolio of evidence of her work at the end of the first year of the programme and after three extensions of time.  It was decided in November 2012 that no further extensions would be granted.  A formal capability meeting was held on 5 December 2012, which resulted in her dismissal on the grounds of lack of capability.  The matter was referred to the HCPC.

The Final Hearing in 2014

5. The panel at the final hearing in May 2014 found that the Registrant had failed to submit her portfolio in time or to adequately plan or manage her workload in that she had failed close ten cases within the required time frame or to produce five court reports in a timely fashion. The full details of the findings are set out in detail in the written decision of the panel at the final hearing. 

6. It was found that the facts as proved amounted to a lack of competence and that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired on the grounds that such a finding was necessary to protect service users and to maintain confidence in the regulatory process and the profession. The Registrant did not attend the final hearing and there was no evidence of insight or remediation.  In determining the appropriate sanction, the panel decided that a period of suspension of 9 months would provide the Registrant with the opportunity to reflect and to address concerns about her competence.   

Review Hearings

7. The matter was first reviewed on 27 January 2015.  The Registrant attended the hearing and provided the panel with a written statement concerning her reflection on the importance of time management and competent practice.  She had not practised as a Social Worker since 2012.  The panel gave the Registrant credit for attending the hearing but concluded that she had not yet taken sufficient steps to remedy her deficiencies. The Suspension Order was therefore extended for a further period of 9 months.  The case was next reviewed on 14 August 2015 when the Registrant attended the hearing and gave evidence of her work as a Health Care Assistant, in which she had improved her communication and record keeping skills. The panel concluded that her fitness to practise remained impaired but replaced the Suspension Order with a Conditions of Practice Order of 18 months’ duration to enable her to return to practice as a Social Worker under supervision.

8. The case was reviewed for a third time on 18 May 2017.  The Registrant did not attend this hearing, but she submitted a written statement in which she stated that she had, on reflection, decided to leave the field of social work and use her skills and knowledge elsewhere. She had gained promotion as an Ophthalmic Support Technician in the eye clinic at York Hospital. She was content in her current role and was fully aware that her name could be removed from the register.  The panel decided that the current Conditions of Practice Order would provide sufficient protection for a further period of six months whilst she considered her position further. The sanctions of suspension or striking off were disproportionate at that stage.

This Hearing – Voluntary Removal Agreement

9. This hearing is, in effect, the fourth review of the order. The HCPC and the Registrant have agreed that a revocation of the order and a Voluntary Removal Agreement (VRA) is the appropriate final disposal of this matter.

10. The Registrant confirmed her intention to proceed by way of voluntary removal from the register in an email dated 11 October 2017, in which she stated that her employment position remained the same and she did not intend to return to social work. She has signed the VRA dated 19 October 2017 in which she confirmed her understanding that the HCPC will not consider any future application for restoration to the register for a period of at least five years as a consequence of the agreement. The HCPC has agreed that this is an appropriate case for such a disposal, subject to the final approval of the Panel.  

11. For the HCPC, Ms Stark outlined the history of the case and the decisions of previous panels. She drew the Panel’s attention to the HCPTS Practice Note on Disposal of Cases by Consent and submitted that a VRA would adequately protect the public for the reason that the Registrant would no longer continue in practice for a period of at least five years. She further submitted that such an outcome was in the public interest in the circumstances of this case.

Decision

12. The Panel considered the public protection test as set out in the HCPTS Practice Note on the Disposal of Cases by Consent and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel concluded that this was an appropriate case for voluntary removal from the register. The Registrant had engaged constructively with the regulatory process, but she has not practised as a Social Worker since 2012 and has indicated her intention not to return to the profession.

13. The Panel’s view was that the public would be protected by the Registrant’s agreement to her removal from the register. The Registrant had signed the VRA in which she undertook not to practise as a Social Worker or to use any protected title associated with the profession. In signing the agreement, she also understood that any application for restoration to register would be treated as if she had been struck off the register as a result of the allegation.  The practical effect of the agreement was that she could not re-apply to for registration for five years.

14. The Panel was satisfied that a voluntary removal from the register was in the wider public interest and that proceeding in this way would not undermine public confidence in the profession or the regulator. There was no detriment to the public interest. The Panel also approved the agreement as an appropriate and practical means of disposal of the case.

15. On that basis, the Panel revoked the current Conditions of Practice Order with immediate effect and approved the VRA dated 19 October 2017.

Order

ORDER: The Registrar is directed to remove the name of  Rebecca Jane Andrew from the Register with immediate effect.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Miss Rebecca Jane Andrew

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
17/11/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed
18/05/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
14/08/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
27/01/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
20/05/2014 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended