Social worker who disputed her sanction as ‘defamatory’ struck off

A sanctioned social worker told an organisation which refused to employ her that published HCPC judgements were 'untruthful and defamatory'

Photo: tashatuvango/Fotolia

A social worker has been struck off by the HCPC after she consistently disputed a fitness to practice panel’s findings and called them “defamatory”.

A conduct and competence committee decided the social worker, who was initially found to have not communicated appropriately with colleagues and failed to follow management instructions, should be struck off after a review of her conditions of practice order.

When she was first sanctioned last year, she appealed for an early review which saw her two year conditions of practice order reduced to just one year after she “recognised and accepted the need to develop in the areas identified”.

Limited acceptance

However, in a review hearing this month, the panel concluded the social worker no longer accepted the findings of the verdict given last year.

“Whatever limited acceptance of responsibility she may have expressed at either the final hearing or the November 2015 review hearing (as recorded in those determinations) the registrant has very clearly departed from that position,” the judgement said.

“She has consistently and repeatedly disputed those findings over the 14 months since the final hearing. She has repeatedly said to this panel that she is the one who ‘speaks the truth’ and that everyone else involved has lied, been dishonest and been corrupt, borne of bias, prejudice and self-interesting including her former manager and work colleagues.”

It added: “She has accepted very little, if any, wrong-doing or responsibility on her part for facing these regulatory proceedings. She described having to ‘crush this corruption’.”


When the registrant was refused employment, she claimed the HCPC judgements  published online  were “incorrect, untruthful and defamatory”.

“The registrant spoke of reflecting on events but when she described these reflections they focused on identifying the wrongdoings, as she perceived them, of others, not of her own,” the panel said.

It said she had a “restricted view” on what work to pursue after her conditions of practice order, opting to focus on jobs in social work, and not recognising that other jobs could provide a route back to unrestricted practice.

“When asked what steps she had considered to facilitate a return to work it was clear from her evidence that she had not considered undertaking a ‘return to work’ process nor that she needed to refresh her skills or knowledge. She expressed the view that she was a good social worker who could return to work with no additional support other than a good manager.”

It concluded the social worker “demonstrated significant inflexibility, an over-stated belief in herself and her judgements over those of other professionals”.

The panel decided  she would put service users at risk by not appropriately communicating with fellow team members and not complying with management instructions.

“The panel had in mind the registrant’s lack of insight and continued denial of her shortcomings,” when it issued a striking off order.

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18 Responses to Social worker who disputed her sanction as ‘defamatory’ struck off

  1. Momma October 17, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    I would like to know exactly what she was accused off, why she disagreed and what jobs the panel felt she could have done to correct her misconceptions. This is a one sided review which is clearly not realistic, the supposed jobs she could do? To correct what. It would seem all of these panel crush the social worker without any information as to why?
    I smell a rat

  2. A Man Called Horse October 18, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    Yes crush Social workers that’s what they do. Not accountable in anyway other than to their Lords and Masters the Tory Government. It will only get worse with the direct regulation of Social Workers by the Government.

    Understand you will not be agents of Social change, you will be Government puppets doing exactly what you are told. Fail to do what we tell you, you will be struck off. Welcome to 1984

    • Yvonne Bonifas October 19, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

      What ever made you think you would be an agent of social change? Even when I trained in the 80s it was patent rubbish.

  3. David Steare October 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    It may be important to note that these Community Care reports are lifted directly from the HCPC narrative. There is no alternative narrative to report as the HCPC does not offer registrants an opportunity to comment publicly on a panel’s findings as part of their reporting.

    Whilst reading this morning I came across the following quote that may be relevant:
    “He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection.”  (Foucault, 1991, p.202)

  4. graham October 18, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    It would be interesting to have a transcript of the case laid against this social worker to ascertain what criteria and failings were felt, other than one-sided opinion of justification with no opportunity to analyse and reflect. Dealing with investigative work it is nice to know as much of the picture as possible rather than interpretation of the situation evaluated 3rd hand.

    The broad brush strokes of failure to communicate, to record and engage our easy statements justify based on a few incidents where they were pivotal.

    More information, less justification !.

    • Graham October 20, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

      Just a note to say I am not the graham above, I am a different Graham.

      • Graham October 20, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

        I don’t have much to add except that some social workers are not very good and should be struck off. I don’t know about this case as we do not have a right to details of disciplinary cases unless the social worker concerned makes them public. This protects their privacy.

  5. Pancho October 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    I’d like to know what experience these panels have and how they come to their judgements which often seem unduly harsh.

    I don’t know if this judgement was harsh as there is no information to go on, but reading it, the thought occurred that maybe she is right.

  6. Daisy October 18, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

    Anyone who has ever been bullied by management knows that they can make a good worker appear incompetent.

    Just because several people are saying the same thing about her it does not mean they are right and she is wrong.

  7. Fayeos October 18, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

    So disagreeing can get you struck off now. Wow

  8. Paul Bennett October 19, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

    Could the social worker in question be viewed as a whistle blower rather than as incompetent? We just don’t know enough, and I echo the thoughts of others who feel these panels are draconian and opaque.

  9. Queensheba October 19, 2016 at 7:55 pm #

    Maybe she was a member of a minority ethnic group. If you look through previous hearings and judgements you will see a pattern of bias towards those of colour. They are racist in my view.

  10. Susan Lowthian October 19, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

    I am if the opinion that management often are listened too more than the common worker. Management can crush a social worker and use them as a scape goat. I’m aware of a manager that left a child in a residential home not covered by fire regulation for 3weeks, when social worker reported this HCPC contacted the local authority which covered it up, despite written evidence HCPC took no action. HCPC is not fit for purpose it states it’s not there to discipline but to protect the public but this poor Social Worker was vilified couldn’t find alternative employment and because she stood up for herself was struck off …… disgusting

  11. Planet Autism October 19, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

    I don’t normally defend social workers, unless they are honest and good of course. But like some of the other commentators, I don’t automatically believe a one-sided article either. What this SW claims is eerily similar to how social services falsely accuse parents. It’s also a common pattern of behaviour among state services generally against parents who dispute findings or have an opinion which differs. Regulatory bodies frequently do not do the job they were set up to do.

  12. Ellie October 19, 2016 at 10:37 pm #

    It’s interesting to see that most – indeed all – comments support the Social Worker in this case. Doesn’t that say something important?

    For a start, no real details of the case are provided, other than to say that the Social Worker in question was accused of “not communicating appropriately with colleagues and failing to follow management instructions”. Just what exactly does this mean? It strikes me – as it strikes many who have posted comments above – that this is a very vague accusation, which could pretty much mean anything. Personally, I would have huge concerns about vague criticisms such as this when made against a worker – they sound more like evidence of bullying and harassment, than they do of actual guilt on the part of the worker concerned. My point being that, when a really vague accusation is made against a person, almost anything can be used as “evidence” to “prove” that it is true.

    “Not communicating appropriately with colleagues” means what? It could imply anything from forgetting to be polite and say “hello” or “good morning” to colleagues when one arrives at work, just because you are delayed in traffic and arrive late and stressed. It could suggest that the worker did not use recording systems in a way that was consistent with others in the office – but this could simply be an issue of training, and not genuine malpractice. It might mean that the worker was quiet and shy, so did not seem to engage much or socialize with colleagues – who thus misinterpreted the worker as “rude” or “distant”. It could imply that the worker was rude. There are just so many interpretations of such a claim that it becomes nigh impossible to see how somebody who wanted to bully and harass this worker (which may be the truth) could not have made it stick.

    Again, “failing to follow management instructions” is vague. Besides, ought we not to be considering why the worker did not always follow management instructions? It may have been that the worker was in the wrong. However, it could equally have been that management were in the wrong, and that their instructions could have lead to practice or to a decision that was not in the best interests of a service-user. Sometimes, a Social Worker may be justified in not doing as management say – if they are suggesting that the worker, for instance, cuts corners to save money or maybe closes a case before it is actually appropriate to do so.

    As Daisy (above) points out, anyone who has been bullied by management (and indeed colleagues) knows that they can make a good worker appear incompetent. Just because several people say the same thing about someone does not make them right, and the target of the comments wrong. In truth, workplace bullies do not always operate alone. Many much prefer to operate in groups, just so that they do have others who will back up what they say even if it is not the whole truth.

  13. Betty October 20, 2016 at 9:27 pm #

    Anyone who wishes to can go to the HCPC website and read the full decision(s), which will have an awful lot more information than that which Community Care picks out to publish. Perhaps don’t criticise the decision until and unless you have actually read it ?? I thought that social workers looked at all the available information and considered the views from all sides before coming to a judgement ???

  14. Nell October 26, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

    Betty, What I would say is exactly the same only in relation to the HCPC. I am not confident that they also look at all the information available before making a judgement. I say this in relation to a few cases I have known of personally where I found it barely credible that the worker was as incompetent as judged.

    As a senior manager, I have a keen interest in HCPC because I strongly believe that if a worker can be counselled, supported, trained and developed, there are few situations which can not be improved. In 12 years as a service Head, I have only found it necessary to dismiss two members of staff. And before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusions, we achieved Outstanding in 2010 and 2012 for safeguarding and my services have all had a good record of improved outcomes.

  15. Max November 15, 2016 at 12:08 am #

    The exact reasons why the social worker was struck off the register is not given so it would difficult to comment either way on the outcome. To give a fair and balanced view on the decision all relevant information would be needed to review the findings, as critical reflection is upon which professional practice is accorded and from experience the HCPC need credible evidence of impaired fitness to practice to make reasoned informed decisions about striking people off. The summary seems to highlight that the social worker lacked insight into their conduct and behaviour, changed their view in fact, which led to the final decision of the HCPC – the social worker was given an opportunity to learn from conduct issues through conditions of practice in the first instance. I have worked with some incompetent social workers over the years and have to have faith in the HCPC process to investigate impartially and do what is best for the general public.