The General Social Care Council has agreed to pay the legal costs of a social worker who won a battle with the regulator to remain on the register.
In what is understood to be a legal first, Jaswinder Bains negotiated a £3,700 payout from the GSCC after a battle to have his name reinstated on the register.
This covers 80% of the costs he incurred during the appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal in December 2010, where a judge described the regulator’s handling of the case as “fundamentally flawed”.
Bains’ solicitor, Allan Norman, of independent law firm and social work practice Celtic Knot, claimed this was an unprecedented decision by the GSCC.
“The general rule in tribunals is that each side meets their own legal costs,” he said.
“But the law provides an exception where ‘a party or its representative has acted unreasonably in bringing, defending or conducting the proceedings’.
“Thus the order reflects not merely that the GSCC lost, but that it acted unreasonably in the way it defended its decision.”
Problems emerged in 2006 when the GSCC imposed a confidentiality condition on Bains’s registration. This required him to explain how information on any clients would be used and shared before he started work with them.
Then, in September 2009, his application to renew his registration was refused on the grounds that he had failed to supply enough evidence that he had complied with the condition.
Bains successfully appealed against the decision to the First-Tier Tribunal, formerly known as the Care Standards Tribunal.
Tribunal judge Liz Goldthorpe found there were no grounds for believing Bains was not suitable to be a social worker and ordered that he be reinstated on the register. Goldthorpe formally approved the amount of compensation negotiated between Bains and the GSCC in a costs order issued earlier this month.
Bains said after the case: “The losses I have experienced are far greater than just my legal costs.”
Michael Andrews, director of regulatory operations at the GSCC, said: “We considered the individual circumstances surrounding this case and agreed that it was appropriate to pay Mr Bains 80% of the costs he’d initially asked for.
“In doing so, we took on board the comments of the tribunal judge.”
The GSCC was unable to confirm whether this was the first time it had paid costs.
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