Mr Deljinder Singh Powar

: Social worker

: SW32032

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 24/01/2018 End: 12:30 24/01/2018

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Conditions of Practice

Allegation

While practising as a registered Social Worker with Kent County Council between 2007 and September 2012:


As Team Leader in the Tunbridge and Malling DIAT:


1. In relation to Child 1, you:


a. did not identify that the core assessments undertaken on 15 April 2010 and 10 June 2010 were inadequate;


b. on 30 June 2010 endorsed a decision that Child 1 did not meet the criteria for services as a child in need and closed the case;


c. not proved


d. not proved


e. did not ensure that strategy meetings were recorded;


f. not proved


2. In relation to Child 2, you:


a. did not ensure that a strategy meeting was convened following a referral received in August 2010;


b. not proved

c. not proved


3. not proved


4. In relation to Child 21, you:


a. did not ensure that an initial strategy meeting was held;


b. did not ensure that agency checks were completed;


c. not proved


d. not proved


5. not proved


6. not proved

During your secondment to the role of Independent Reviewing Officer:


7. Between April 2012 and September 2012;


a. you did not complete writing up the minutes, decisions and recommendations from the Looked After Child Reviews within the required time-scales; and


b. you did not ensure that you completed your backlog of:


i. not proved
ii. not proved
iii. not proved


iv. 74 sets of LAC review minutes which you were responsible for completing.


8. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 – 7 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence;


9. By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise in impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service


1. The Notice of today’s hearing was sent to the Registrant at his address in the register on 18 December 2017 by first class post.  The Notice contained the date, time and venue of today’s hearing.  The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and is satisfied that there has been good service.


Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant


2. Mr Pandya on behalf of the HCPC submitted that the Panel should proceed in the absence of the Registrant.  He submitted that the Registrant has had notice of the hearing and has responded by email on 22 January 2018 advising that he would not be attending, and that he was still seeking employment.  He had also been in contact by telephone on 23 January 2018 and again advised that he had nothing to add to the submissions already made and he would not be attending in person. At this time he was offered the option of participating in today’s hearing by telephone, subject to him confirming that he wished to do this before 10am on 24 January 2018. However, no contact has been made by the Registrant since that phone conversation and no adjournment has been requested.  Mr Pandya submitted that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself. 

3. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised that if the Panel was satisfied that all reasonable efforts had been made to notify the Registrant of the hearing then the Panel had the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. He reminded the Panel that it should exercise that discretion with great care and referred the Panel to the HCPC Guidance Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant and to Adeogba v GMC [2016] EWCA Civ 62.  This case makes clear that the first question the Panel should ask is whether all reasonable efforts have been made to serve the Registrant with notice. If the Panel is satisfied that proper notice has been given, the discretion whether or not to proceed must be exercised having regard to all the circumstances of which the Panel is aware, with fairness to the Registrant being a prime consideration, but with fairness to the HCPC and the interests of the public also taken into account.


4. The Panel agreed to proceed in the Registrant’s absence as it is satisfied that it is both in the public interest and in the Registrant’s interest to do so. In reaching this decision, the Panel noted the communications with the Registrant and that there has been no request for an adjournment. It balanced fairness to the Registrant with fairness to the HCPC and the public interest. The Panel is of the view that the Registrant has voluntarily absented himself and no useful purpose would be served by adjourning the hearing. The Panel has also noted that the order expires on 24 February 2018. The Panel weighed its responsibilities for public protection and the expeditious disposal of the case with the Registrant’s right to be present at the hearing and in the circumstances is satisfied that it is appropriate to proceed in his absence.


Application to Proceed in Private


5. Mr Pandya submitted that reference may be made to the Registrant’s private life and that those parts of the hearing should be heard in private.  The Panel took the advice of the Legal Assessor and bearing in mind the interests of justice and the HCPTS Practice Note on Conducting Hearings in Private, determined to hold the hearing in private where appropriate. 

Background


6. The Registrant commenced employment with Kent County Council on 1 October 1998 as a Social Worker in the Private Fostering Team. On 2 April 2012, the Registrant was seconded to an Independent Reviewing Officer post with the Independent Reviewing Service. During the secondment, concerns were raised in relation to the Registrant’s failure to write up recommendations, decisions and minutes of Looked After Children Reviews.

7. A Service Manager with the Council was commissioned by the Council to undertake an investigation in respect of the Registrant. The Service Manager focused on concerns raised during the Registrant’s secondment to the role of IRO, and also looked into the Registrant’s performance as a Team Leader prior to his secondment. As part of the investigation process, the Registrant was suspended by the Council on 5 November 2012. Following the completion of the disciplinary proceedings, the Council reported the Registrant to the HCPC.

8. Following a final hearing before a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee of the HCPC in January 2016, the Registrant’s fitness to practise was found to be impaired and a Condition of Practice Order was imposed on 28 January 2016 for 12 months.

HCPC Submissions


9. Mr Pandya referred the Panel to the background and told the Panel that the Registrant was keen to return to his profession and was seeking employment as a Social Worker.  Mr Pandya told the Panel that there is no evidence of what the Registrant is currently doing as regards remediating his practice. Given the Registrant’s current circumstances, Mr Pandya submitted that the Panel will likely find that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired. 


10. Mr Pandya referred the Panel to its powers on review and reminded the Panel that the Registrant had shown some insight. Bearing in mind the Registrant’s current circumstances, he submitted that a Suspension or a Striking Off Order would be disproportionate at this time and that a further, and final, period of Conditions of Practice ought to be imposed for a period of one year in order to give the Registrant time  to fully develop his insight, to remediate his failings and complete a return to practice programme. 


Decision on Impairment and Sanction


11. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who reminded the Panel that its purpose today was to conduct a comprehensive review of the Registrant’s fitness to return to unrestricted practice. Its role was not to conduct a rehearing of the allegations or go behind the previous findings. The Legal Assessor advised that, in carrying out this assessment, the Panel must exercise its own independent judgement. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that if it determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired, all the options under Article 30 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 could be exercised by the Panel. He reminded the Panel that it should bear in mind the principles of fairness and proportionality and have regard to the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy. He reminded the Panel that any order that it makes must be the least restrictive order that would suffice to protect the public or is otherwise in the public interest.


12. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel took into consideration all the documentation before it, the submissions of Mr Pandya and the advice of the Legal Assessor. 


13. The Panel carefully considered the HCPC submissions and the letter and e-mail from the Registrant. There is no information regarding how the Registrant has kept his practice up to date but the Panel was mindful of the Registrant’s personal circumstances. Nonetheless, although there has been some engagement by the Registrant with the HCPC, he has failed to provide any of the evidence that the reviewing panel on the 27 January 2017 suggested would assist the present reviewing panel. This Panel considered that this information would have been of assistance.

14. In these circumstances, the Panel has determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.


15. The Panel went on to consider what action, if any, it should take in light of its finding of current impairment. In doing so, it had careful regard to the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy.  The Panel first considered whether it would be appropriate to take no further action or to impose a Caution Order. The Panel determined that given the findings of the final hearing and the lack of evidence of full insight and remediation, it would not be appropriate to allow the order to lapse or to impose a Caution Order.  That would not be sufficient or proportionate to protect the public or the wider public interest, neither would it be in the Registrant’s own interests. 


16. The Panel next considered whether a Conditions of Practice Order would be appropriate.  The Panel anticipates that the registrant may now be in a position to focus on his return to practice. It considers that it would be fair, appropriate and proportionate to impose a Conditions of Practice Order for a further 12 months. This will allow the Registrant to to fully evidence his insight and make arrangements to return to practice. The Panel has revised the current Conditions of Practice to better balance the need to protect the public with the Registrant’s interests.

17. The Panel considered that a Suspension Order would not be fair or proportionate in the particular circumstances of this case at this time given the potential for the Registrant to return to practice.


18. The Panel considered that the following may assist a future reviewing Panel :-


• Documentary evidence of completion of CPD

• Documentary evidence of completion of any other courses, in particular any course or activity relevant to the deficiencies identified in Condition 6


• Any references or testimonials from any relevant employment, including any voluntary work

 
• A reflective account of how the Registrant now views his previous conduct and why he believes he has now remediated it.


• The Registrant’s attendance at the next review hearing


19. The Registrant’s attention is also drawn to the need for him to consider HCPC’s Return to Practise Guidance.

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to vary the Conditions of Practice Order against the registration of Mr Deljinder Singh Powar in the following terms for a further period of 12 months on the expiry of the existing order. The Conditions are:


1. You must not carry out any role which requires you to undertake line management or supervisory responsibility.


2. You must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a line manager registered by the HCPC or other appropriate statutory regulator and supply details of your line manager/supervisor to the HCPC within 14 days of the commencement of your employment. You must attend upon that supervisor as required and follow their advice and recommendations.


3. You must inform the HCPC within 14 days of your accepting any offer of employment, or if you cease to be employed, or if you change your employer.


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


5. You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:

• any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional work as a social worker;


• any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with (at the time of application); and


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


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


• Time management and organisational skills


• Record keeping


• Reflective practice (i.e. being open with your supervisor about any difficulties you are experiencing in your practice, including any personal stress, and the measures taken to overcome them)


7. Within one month of commencing employment you must forward a copy of your Personal Development Plan to the HCPC.


8. 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.


9. You must provide a written record of your monthly supervision meetings to the HCPC every three months. The written record should be signed by you and your supervisor.


10. Any condition requiring you to provide any information to the HCPC is to be met by you sending the information to the offices of the HCPC, marked for the attention of the Director of Fitness to Practise.

Notes

The order imposed today will apply from 24 February 2018.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mr Deljinder Singh Powar

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
24/01/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
27/01/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
20/01/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Conditions of Practice