The General Social Care Council no doubt had a difficult time
setting the criteria for “fitness to practice” as a social worker,
and the goalposts have been left necessarily wide.
But if the criteria are broad, the onus falls even harder on the
group of people who have to make the difficult case-by-case
judgements about who to register and who to reject. Unfortunately
this crucial filter appears to be seriously dysfunctional. In a
damning first case, the care standards tribunal has overturned a
GSCC decision to refuse registration to a man with dyslexia and a
previous mental health problem.
The tribunal condemned the GSCC’s decision-making process as
“wholly inadequate”, cataloguing a series of failures and
omissions. These included breaking its own rules, failing to assess
the applicant’s evidence, refusing to let him put his case in
person and ignoring favourable medical and occupational health
reports. The GSCC says the registration process is new for everyone
and it will “continue to learn how best to protect the public”. But
with power comes responsibility, and here it has been misused.