Mr Alcus Dunn

: Social worker

: SW110297

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 03/01/2018 End: 12:30 03/01/2018

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Conditions of Practice

Allegation

The following allegation was considered by a Panel of the General Social Care Council (GSCC)’s Conduct Committee on 28-30 April 2010.

1. While employed by Hertfordshire County Council (“HCC”) as a Social Worker between August 2006 and April 2008;

(a)

(i) You approved a Child Protection report on a child service user (“DD”) dated 21 April 2008 which you had prepared yourself;

(ii) You thereby:

(a) did not follow a reasonable management instruction;

(b) placed vulnerable users of services, particularly children, at risk:

(b)

(i) You failed to include in the Child Protection Report on DD referred to at paragraph 1(a)(i), information which had been provided by DD’s school, namely that:

(a) DD had bruising on the top of her thigh;

(b) DD had passed urine with a pink tinge in it;

(c) DD was absent from school;

(d) DD was therefore considered to be at risk;

(ii) You thereby:

(a) Failed to act in accordance with your responsibility to collate and co-ordinate information on DD who was on the Child Protection Register;

(b) Failed to follow:

(i) Child Protection procedures;

(ii) Reporting mechanisms to senior management;

(c) Between around the middle of March 2008 and the end of April 2008 after receiving information expressing concerns about DD’s welfare;

(i) You visited DD’s home and DD’s grandmother’s home, but failed to see DD;

(ii) You did not tell a manager that you had failed to see DD;

(iii) You failed to identify that DD was missing;

(iv) You did not report that DD was missing to the Police;

(v) You thereby failed to;

(a) follow Child Protection procedures;

(b) follow reporting mechanisms to senior management;

(c) make adequate and informed risk assessments in respect of DD;

(d) recognise that child DD was at risk;

(d) On or around 24 January 2008,

(i) You agreed for child service user GP (“GP”) to be transported and left in Kingston;

(ii) You thereby failed to follow a specific management instruction from Manager Devika Naidoo not to allow GP to be transported and left in Kingston;

(iii) On 24th January 2008, you failed to notify the Emergency Duty Team and Central Placement Service that GP was missing, when Devika Naidoo instructed you to do so;

(iv) You thereby:

(a) failed to make adequate and informed risk assessments in respect of GP;

(b) placed GP at risk;

(e) On or around 4 April 2008;

(i) You were instructed by Team Manager, Pam Chetty, to obtain written consent from the mother of the B children (“Mrs B”) for her not to have unsupervised contact with her children;

(ii) You visited Mrs B and told her that if she gave written consent in the form of signing an agreement, you would amend the agreement so that she could have unsupervised contact with her children,

(iii) You thereby placed the B children at risk;

(f) Between 21 August 2006 and 1 May 2008;

(i) You did not complete formal case recording on any of your:

(a) paper case files;

(b) in-house computer case files; which were current as at 1 May 2008.

(ii) You thereby failed to follow clear recording procedures; And, in relation to the above facts you have committed misconduct.

The GSCC’s Conduct Committee found allegations 1(a)(i) and (ii)(a) and (b) proved; 1(b)(i)(a), (b), (c) and (d) and (ii)(a) and (b)(i) and (ii) proved; 1(c)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v)(a), (b), (c) and (d) proved 1(d)(i), (ii) and (iv)(a) and (b) proved; 1(e)(i) proved; 1(f)(i)(a) and (b) and (ii) proved 1(d)(iii) proved in part; and 1(e)(ii) and (iii) not proved.

Finding

Background

1. This is an early review at the request of the Registrant of a varied Conditions of Practice Order imposed on 24 April 2017, pursuant to Article 30 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 (the 2001 Order).

2. At a hearing of a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee held on 9 May 2016, the Registrant’s application for restoration to the Register was heard. The Registrant faced allegations whilst his registration was with the General Social Care Council, and was struck off the Register on 30 April 2010 due to poor record-keeping, failure to follow procedures and poor risk assessment.

3. At the hearing on 9 May 2016, the Registrant presented information which the Panel considered demonstrated that he had gained sufficient insight into his former behaviour and had taken appropriate steps to support his application to be restored to the Register.

4. At the review hearing on 24 April 2017, the HCPC acknowledged that the Registrant had on a regular basis engaged with the HCPC process. The Registrant had provided the HCPC with information relating to his attempts to fulfil the terms of the Conditions of Practice Order, and to obtain work as a Social Worker. The HCPC considered that, in view of his inability to fulfil the terms of the Order, a further period of restriction was appropriate. The HCPC drew attention to the continuing need for the terms of Condition 5, relating to record-keeping, following procedure, and risk assessments, to be shown to have been fulfilled and that it was unclear from the terms of the Registrant’s Personal Development Plan (PDP) with his new employer whether these issues would be fully addressed. That Panel concluded that a Conditions of Practice Order remained the appropriate and proportionate level of restriction. That Panel considered whether, and to what degree, the Conditions should be varied to reflect the current situation where the Registrant was not working as a Social Worker but within an allied field. The Panel imposed the following Conditions of Practice for twelve months from 17 June 2017:

Whilst registered as a Social Worker:

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 gaining employment. You must attend upon that supervisor as required and follow their advice and recommendations.

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

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

4. 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 the application); and

C. any prospective employer (at the time of your application).

5. You must work with your Supervisors to review and implement your personal Development Plan to continue to address the following deficiencies in the following areas of practice:

• Record keeping;

• Following procedures;

• Risk assessment. This may be within any social work or social care role.

6. Within one month of starting work as a Social Worker you must forward a copy of your Personal Development Plan to the HCPC.

7. You must meet with your Supervisor(s) on a weekly basis for one month and thereafter monthly to consider and record your progress towards achieving the aims (in relation to the issues set out in condition 5 above) in your Personal Development Plan.

8. 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.

Decision

5. This is an early review at the request of the Registrant. The Panel today has taken into account the Registrant’s oral evidence, the documentary evidence, the representations of the parties, the advice of the Legal Assessor and the Guidance in the HCPTS “Indicative Sanctions Policy” and the HCPTS Practice Note entitled “Article 30(2) Reviews”. The Panel has the power to confirm the existing Order, extend or reduce the period of the Order, replace the Order with any other order the original panel may have imposed at the Restoration Hearing, revoke the Order, or vary the conditions of practice.

Evidence and submissions

6. The Registrant submits that he has engaged with the HCPC process and has been employed in a social care role since April 2017. He said he has been unable to obtain employment as a Social Worker with the current Conditions of Practice in place. He has worked in the field of social work for 40 years and wishes to return to social work before he retires. He has developed his skills and addressed the deficiencies identified by the previous panels. He now works with older service users (including dementia sufferers) to enable them to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. He has a case load of service users for whom he provides personal care, monitors compliance with medication, takes them out, and provides advocacy services. He also completes case notes and core assessments and attends inter-disciplinary meetings. He previously worked with children. He has been given a training role with his current employer and he would like to obtain employment as a Social Worker with a local authority, both for financial reasons and because social work is his “calling”. If the current conditions of practice were removed, this would enable him to obtain such employment and return to social work practice.

7. The HCPC submits that the Registrant has shown insight into the reasons for the Striking Off Order, kept up to date with his Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and demonstrated a desire to return to Social Work practice by his proved ability to perform in a carer role and provide training to other carers.

Panel’s Decision

8. Where, as in this case, the application for review has been made by the Registrant, there is a burden of persuasion upon the Registrant. This being the case, the Panel is not satisfied that the Registrant has provided sufficient evidence that the conditions have been met or that a restriction is no longer required for service user protection and the wider public interest.

9. The Panel considered that a Caution Order would not provide the requisite level of service user protection as there would not be any direct supervision or monitoring of the Registrant’s practice.

10. The failings of the Registrant are remediable and he has obtained employment within a social care environment, where his practice is supervised. The Panel appreciates the extent of the Registrant’s engagement and the progress he has made since the last review hearing. However, not all conditions imposed by the previous panel have been met. The Registrant has not yet provided a PDP which directly addresses the areas identified by the last panel or provided any independent verification of progress towards these objectives. The Panel therefore concluded that a Conditions of Practice Order remains proportionate and appropriate under the circumstances. The Panel is confident that, with a variation in conditions to reflect the progress made by the Registrant and to focus upon the matters outstanding, in particular the lack of independent verification of the steps to be taken under the existing Order, the conditions can be met within the period of the existing order.

11. The Panel considers that variations of the conditions would enable the Registrant to address the outstanding issues and provide corroborated evidence of progress in the specific areas identified by the previous panel.

12. The Panel has removed conditions 1, 2 and 6 to reflect the fact that the Registrant does not need to be working as a Social Worker to be able to meet these conditions. The remaining conditions have been renumbered accordingly.

13. This Order will be reviewed before it expires and the reviewing panel is likely to be assisted by:

• A copy of the Registrant’s PDP;

• Supervision records;

• References and/or testimonials;

• Evidence of ongoing CPD;

• Information from the Registrant’s supervisor setting out the progress he has made towards achieving the aims set out in his Personal Development Plan.

Order

The Registrar is directed to vary the Conditions of Practice Order against the registration of Mr Alcus Dunn for the remainder of the period of the Order with immediate effect.

Whilst registered as a Social Worker:

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

2. 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 the application); and

C. any prospective employer (at the time of your application).

3. You must work with your Supervisor to record, implement and review your Personal Development Plan to continue to address the following areas of practice:

• Record keeping;

• Following procedures;

• Risk assessment.

This may be within any social work or social care role.

4. You must meet with your Supervisor on at least a monthly basis to consider and record your progress towards achieving the aims (in relation to the issues set out in condition 3 above) in your Personal Development Plan.

Notes

The Order imposed today will apply with immediate effect.

This Order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 17 June 2018.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mr Alcus Dunn

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
03/01/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
24/04/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice