A hospital social worker who was struck off in 2009 has been allowed to re-join the register after the General Social Care Council was forced to re-hear her case in her presence.
Rosalind Shaw’s sanction was slashed to a one-year admonishment last week after a tribunal found the original conduct hearing had been “one-sided”.
The 65-year-old social worker was unable to attend the four-day hearing in September 2009 because of family circumstances, including the recent death of her father.
But she did not apply to adjourn the hearing until one day before it was due to begin, and the GSCC’s conduct committee decided to proceed without her.
During the hearing, the committee heard from Margaret Vincent, Shaw’s former manager at the London Borough of Waltham Forest, who gave witness to the social worker’s inability to follow procedures and instructions from management.
Shaw had been working for the council’s intermediate care assessment team, based at Whipps Cross Hospital, east London, as a locum in 2004, the committee was told.
At the end of the year, she was offered a permanent contract, but she did not complete the probationary period because of questions about her conduct.
The committee found Shaw guilty of a series of allegations, including failing to report an allegation of abuse by a carer and acting without management consultation. She was removed from the social care register in England.
Shaw appealed against the decision to hear the case in her absence to the First-tier Tribunal in October 2009. Tribunal judge Andrea Rivers allowed the appeal, finding Shaw’s absence from the GSCC hearing had put her at a “clear disadvantage”.
Rivers said: “The fact that [Shaw] was neither present nor represented meant that the hearing was inevitably one-sided.” She ordered the GSCC to re-hear the case.
At a new hearing last week, a conduct committee upheld the original finding of misconduct but cleared Shaw of the majority of individual allegations.
As a result, it slashed her sanction to a one-year admonishment.
The committee took into account the context in which Shaw had been working, including the “lack of any formal or structured supervision” during her probationary period.
It concluded: “In all the circumstances and in light of the mitigating factors, the committee was satisfied that the public interest would be served by an admonishment of one year, and that this was proportionate.”
A spokesperson for the GSCC said: “In this and all cases we take the decisions of the First-tier Tribunal seriously, learn from them and use the recommendations to improve our processes.
“We firmly believe that the engagement of the registrant in the conduct process is important for ensuring the fairest outcomes, and it is something that we try to encourage.”
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