A “poorly supervised” social worker criticised for being a “led practitioner” has been cautioned by the HCPC over case recording failures.
The social worker failed to record meetings, assessments and visits on her council’s case management system for 18 children and two families between February 2014 and June 2015, a conduct committee found. She referred herself to the HCPC and “frankly admitted being overwhelmed at the relevant time,” the panel heard.
The committee found the social worker had “tried her best” and “came across as someone who wanted to help people”. But the panel found she had also struggled to practise autonomously.
“She seemed to expect a great deal from supervision in that she needed to be told what to do and when. The revelation that the registrant needed to block time out in her diary to write up notes and records was one the panel found to be surprising. She did not seem to be an autonomous worker, but more of a led practitioner.”
The panel also found that the supervision offered to the social worker had been inadequate. She received too few sessions and “insufficient” support from her manager.
The panel considered this as a mitigating factor in the case but noted that the social worker also failed to actively seek more support. The committee concluded the “fundamental problem” was the social worker’s failure to prioritise her work effectively and record it.
“The examples of the registrant’s handwritten notes in her day books were seriously deficient. If another professional had needed to intervene in a case they would not have been able to understand what had gone before even if they had been given access to the daybooks,” the panel said.
The committee held in the social worker’s favour that she admitted certain failings early on in the process, had received a positive reference from her recent employer and had been poorly supervised and not offered any chance to undergo formal performance management.
However, it concluded the findings amounted to misconduct and were serious enough to justify a sanction. A caution will remain on her registration for the next three years.