A social worker who ran an unapproved and unsafe boarding school in which 11 boys were forced to live in crowded conditions has been suspended from the register in England.
Between September 2009 and January 2010, Muhammed Khurshid-Ul Haque allowed 11 boys to board at the Jalaliah Educational Institute, where he held the position of chairman of the board of trustees, even though the property had not been approved by the Department for Children, Schools and Families as a boarding facility.
Haque was employed as a senior social worker by Sandwell council at the time, the Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) conduct and competence committee heard. When the council learned of the boarding school’s existence, it sent in inspectors to investigate.
The inspectors found a number of unsafe conditions, including a lack of smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, potentially hazardous electric wiring and a garden full of rubbish, which blocked a potential fire exit. The pupils lived in crowded conditions, sharing only three bedrooms and insufficient washroom facilities, the panel heard.
It also emerged that Haque had failed to ensure all staff at the institute had completed a Criminal Records Bureau check.
Haque initially denied the allegation of operating an unregistered boarding provision, claiming the pupils were staying at his sister’s property as part of a separate contractual arrangement between her and parents of the pupils.
He later said in written evidence to the HCPC that he appreciated the risks that had been highlighted and expressed some remorse for his actions.
Panel chair Ian Crookall said: “The panel considered that, by his inactions and omissions as chairman of the board of trustees of the institute, Mr Haque had put the residents of the boarding house, most of whom were children, at risk of serious harm.
“The panel had no doubt that in doing so he had fallen far below the standard of conduct reasonably expected of a social worker, and that his actions and omissions, albeit outside his professional work, would seriously undermine confidence in Mr Haque as a social worker and in the profession of social care work generally.”
The panel decided a 12-month suspension was the appropriate sanction in this case.
Haque was not present or represented at the hearing.