Social worker texting service user outside of work hours ‘inappropriate’, conduct panel says

The HCPC panel cautioned the social worker after finding she also disclosed personal information to the service user

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Photo: David Stuart/Fotolia

A Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) conduct and competence committee has said it was “inappropriate” for a social worker to text a service user out of work hours.

The panel cautioned the social worker for three years after she disclosed personal information to a service user. She was also criticised for sending messages to a service user on a Saturday and Sunday while working for a drug and alcohol charity, though the service was only open Monday to Friday.

The panel said texting the user outside of work hours was “inappropriate”, but the content of the messages was not.

“Social workers were expected to switch off their mobile phones at 5pm on Friday and to respond to messages on Monday mornings. The expectation was not reinforced by a written policy,” the HCPC said.

Personal information

The social worker was also found to have disclosed personal information to the service user and failed to maintain adequate records of her work with him.

The panel concluded that disclosing personal information constituted misconduct and that sending text messages “fell below the expected standards of a social worker”, but did not meet the threshold for misconduct.

Failing to keep accurate records did not constitute a lack of competence, as the panel had not seen a wide enough example of the practitioner’s work.

The social worker told the HCPC she did not want to remain on the social work register, and the panel found she had accepted she should not have shared personal information with a service user.

The HCPC concluded the social worker should be made subject to a caution order for three years, as that would be appropriate “taking into account all the circumstances of the case”. This sanction enables social workers to continue to practise without restriction, but also aims to send “a clear message that… conduct was entirely unacceptable”.

Update: This piece was changed to better reflect the HCPC’s comments in the case and more appropriately reflect the reasons for the social worker’s sanction.

68 Responses to Social worker texting service user outside of work hours ‘inappropriate’, conduct panel says

  1. Tom J September 25, 2017 at 9:58 am #

    Blimey! Calling all service users who have ever received a text message out of core working hours- Please refer to HCPC immediately.

    In fact looking at my phone records I now need to self refer as I can see that I answered a call at 5.15pm on Friday (my core hours are 9-5). There must be thousands of social workers who text out of core hours in order to assist the service user.

    Now don’t get me wrong- I think that social workers need clear gaps between work and home life for their emotional wellbeing and subsequent practice.

    However- The answer is not for social workers to be run through the HCPC kangaroo court. Why can Local Authorities not deal with this?

    • Jj September 25, 2017 at 10:55 pm #

      The world has gone mad.. this poor person clearly has a”bad boss” issue. I’ve done this job for 20 years and find it so sad on how managers are using an excuse to get rid of good workers.

    • Richard Leighton September 28, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

      The text messaging is a separate issue, which elicited a criticism as “inappropriate”. Yes, many, many of us have done this to ensure service users get the best provision. The crime is the HCPC criticised the social worker, when the identify that there was NO policy prescribing this. If HCPC think texting out of hours to be so heinous, penalise the employer’s for lax policies.

      The major penalty was for the misconduct of “disclosing personal information”. Both CommCare and, subsequently, SWT have largely glossed over this, suggesting between them that the SW was ‘struck off’ for texting…

      They weren’t, the SW was cautioned, which allows her to continue to practise, under heightened guidance and supervision for 3 years.
      There’s less hyperbole in that fact! Sadly, the SW has chosen to walk away, hopefully, they might return to the profession and continue to support their service users with appropriate information, out of hours.

  2. londonboy September 25, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    ..really???

    Was the service user helped/comforted? Was there a crisis? Was the SW helping in their own time when no-one else would?
    These tensions between caring and ‘being professional’ are at the heart of what SW’s do. Does the HCPC think callousness is the answer?

    No wonder SWs are leaving the profession in droves.

  3. Bec September 25, 2017 at 11:13 am #

    I agree – there must be thousands of social workers who text out of work hours. There are also thousands of social workers who visit service users out of core work hours too (all recorded of course).
    There must be something wrong with our contracts as they usually state core hours AND some out of hours working required. We already have a shortage of social workers in Children and Families – the HCPC has a mammoth job to do if it is going to strike us all off and social services departments will be empty! (Or perhaps we have not been told the subtleties of this case?)

  4. Heleh September 25, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    I would be interested to know who referred to HCPC. Given many service users and carers work whilst we are at work, I would have thought being flexible enough to call or text outside of core hours would be in the interests of that service user. Who wants to have a difficult conversation with a social worker then go back into the day job. Who wants colleagues to know they need a social worker.
    Some flexibility and discretion is needed here, I will be interested to see if more is involved in this judgement than just texting outside of core hours. 9-5 social work should be a thing if the past. It assumes those we work with don’t have their own 9-5 work commitments.

    • Lauren September 25, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

      If you read the case it was the service users wife. Think she suspected an affair which wasn’t the caee

  5. Bex F September 25, 2017 at 11:38 am #

    The panel said texting the user outside of work hours was “inappropriate”, but the content of the messages was not.

    If there were more services available over the weekend and outside of office hours for drugs and alcohol support, maybe the social worker would not have needed to contact the service user. But instead of challenging the system they punish the social worker who was presumably trying to assist a vulnerable person. How dare she not switch off her ‘I care about people’ button at 5pm on a Friday.

  6. Andy September 25, 2017 at 11:54 am #

    Why is this a matter for the HCPC?

    • Dixy doo September 25, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

      Gives them something to do

  7. Anita Singh September 25, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    1. What experience do HCPC panel members have of trying to call Out of Hours after 5.00pm?

    2. What would the HCPC suggest a SW who is dealing with safeguarding a child should do when the clock strikes 5pm – drop everything and refer to OOH?

    4. Should the SW tell a two year old, sorry, I can’t ring your other family members to come and look after you as your mum or dad is too drunk or drugged, or are fighting again or the house is filthy? You are going to have to wait until I can get through to OOH to make sure you are safe when they are available in two or three hours time. Bye, I’ve got to go home as I clock off at 5pm?

    5. What does the HCPC recommend to ALL Local Authorities about what the Policy should be?

    6. Can the HCPC stop giving out piecemeal advice to individual social workers and instead issue a National directive to all LAs to dictate that all SWs are banned from communicating with any safe family member of a child after 5pm?

    7. Who is going to resource the massive increase in the workforce to fund the OOH SWs that are going to be needed due to deal with the surge in referrals when the clock strikes 5?

    8. Does the HCPC have some really good advice, so that we can all go home and enjoy our personal time for ourselves, put our feet up and have a cuppa instead of doing all of this extra work?

    9. I wonder just what the response would be?

    • Tony S September 25, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

      Well said Anita. Your response is spot on and the HCPC really need to read and respond to all of the points you raise. When I was in Child Protection I would often have to visit families in crises outside of core hours (typically on a Friday), the OOH teams are just not well enough resourced and don’t know the cases well enough to offer a realistic and viable alternative which ensures children are safe and protected from harm.

    • Sharon w September 26, 2017 at 5:36 pm #

      Totally agree with this Anita, I don’t know the fuller detail but to send a message all day time SW should not communicate with service users is appalling and very short sighted. Communication is situational, some one can leave until Monday and other one must Act or this omission to act could cause significant harm.

      In all the years HCPC has taken social workers money I have never seen support, they tend to lean towards health staff and these ‘panels’ make headlines for every wrong reason !

      Nurses and SW are hung drawn and slaughtered publicly and disproportionately too.

      Councils would simply go bust if day Sw stopped working above core hours if OOH had to pick up the cases.

  8. Andy September 25, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

    A couple of other points…. a 3 year sanction?! Where is the proportionality here? The “sentence” doesn’t seem to fit the “crime”.

    What kind of personal information was shared? Don’t we use “self” with service users at time to illustrate and support from personal experiences?

    If this is the kind of thing that is being passed to AND heard by the HCPC, we should all be very afraid.

  9. Manzar iqbal September 25, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    NO WONDER SOCIAL CARE IS IN CRISES. WE NEED TO LET OUR SOCIAL WORKERS DO THEIR JOB.
    RATHER THEN MICRO MANAGE THEIR CONDUCT,WHY DOOESNT THESE JOBSWORTH PEN PUSHERS GIVE THE RESOURCES SOCIAL WORKERS AND OTHER PROFESSIONALS WHO WORK WITH CHILDREN YOUNG PEOPLE AND FAMILIES THE RESOURCES AND RESPECT THEY NEED THEN A TELLING OFF FOR MINOR ISSUES.

    WOULD THE SAME BE SAID IF OUR PRIME MINISTER MADE A PHONE CALL OUTSIDE HER CONTRACTED NORMAL HOURS?

    MANZAR IQBAL (MBA)
    EXECUTIVE OFFICER
    PENDLE CLP

  10. rosemarytrustam September 25, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

    I have to agree. Whilst we don’t know the full circumstances, the idea that social work is 9-5pm surely is a joke! It’s not shift work where we can handover to the next shift. Professionals have to have a duty of care and it seems to me too many authorities actually aren’t caring sufficiently for the social workers let alone considering the needs of clients. I can’t blame the social worker for deciding she doesn’t want to be on the list. Surely we want social workers who care enough to be willing to work flexibly in the interests of their clients (whilst ensuring they do get time for themselves). The balance of this should be something supervision supports. The implication of this seem to me outrageous – I suppose we must expect all clients to fit in with 9-5pm even though it won’t work for people in employment and certainly not for people with chaotic lives – surely prime clients? It’d be helpful if the HCPC explained their take on this – can Community Care get them to explain this apparent new rule for social work.

    • C Cor September 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

      Outrageous behaviour by HCPC! Social work seems to be the only profession being penalised and sanctioned! Dont know what circumstances are but sounds to me like inept management! Sould have been dealt with inhouse!

  11. David Steare September 25, 2017 at 12:53 pm #

    As a recently struck off social worker – who argued that the HCPC fabricated its charges against me as I had not infringed any LA policy or procedure or any legislation and guidance – I am unsurprised at these latest fabrications.

    The message seems clear – anything that a social worker might do or not do that gets reported to the HCPC is likely to lead to an allegation – and if there are no obvious grounds for an allegation then one will be made up. The HCPC’s mission also seems clear – sanction any social worker who gets reported to them.

  12. A social worker September 25, 2017 at 2:11 pm #

    The sooner we are outside the HCPC, the better. All I ever see is “social worker sanctioned by HCPC”, or nonsensical practice “guidelines” which seem to have no basis in professional best practice.
    Come on HCPC, show us you CARE about social work, and aren’t just an internal police force.

  13. Jennifer September 25, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

    This is ridiculous and the consequences totally disproportionate. The content of the SW message was appropriate but not the time she contacted the service user- surely if a SW feels the need to send appropriate information to a user outside of her allocated hours then she should be able to?? I am a health professional working in safeguarding (9-5) and work alongside social workers everyday. I have often been in CP conferences until after 5 on a Friday so what’s supposed to happen then- we all shut down at 5 and reconvene Monday morning??

  14. Sandra September 25, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

    O.M.G is this for real.

  15. Eco Social Worker September 25, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

    I can turn my mobile off at 5PM??!?

    Wow. Who knew?

  16. rob September 25, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

    So:

    The social worker exchanged text messages with a service user out of working hours. The messages were noted to be appropriate. I know soooo many SWs who have done this at some point. Its because we care !!! Seems spiteful and a Jobsworth to raise this with the HCPC if the SW agrees in supervision this will not happen again. unfortunately the info doesn’t say if this was discussed in supervision and if so what was the outcome

    The social worker was also found to have “disclosed personal information to the service user and failed to maintain adequate records of her work with him”. Firstly until we know what the SW disclosed its hard to comment. All i know is, i have adult ADHD and as an experienced social worker i was told by 2 different LAs that disclosing this to clients breaches professional boundaries. Some will agree but i found it ridiculous, offensive and discriminatory. So sharing personal information could be anything !

    The HCPC said, “failing to keep accurate records did not constitute a lack of competence, as the panel had not seen a wide enough example of the practitioner’s work”.

    So, the employer decided this was so serious it warranted putting this woman through emotional hell for up to a year, while waiting for the hearing

    The HCPC then decided this was so serious it warranted the social worker subject to a caution for THREE YEARS for, A) texting work related messages with a client out of working and, B) for disclosing personal information to a client, which as discussed could mean anything. There is no set guidelines on what constitutes what is off limits other than common sense most of the time.

    The HCPC said, “This sanction enables social workers to continue to practise without restriction….” Im wetting myself with laughter. Do the HCPC think really believe someone will employ a social worker with this hanging over their head.

  17. Mark C September 25, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

    Switch your mobile / phone off at 5pm, hmmm, … obviously not worked frontline service in quite sometime.

    • Alan September 25, 2017 at 9:06 pm #

      Always turn my phone off at the end of the day and switch back on the next day. Emergencies are for police, A&E and EDS teams, if it’s not an emergency it can wait till the morning.

  18. Israel September 25, 2017 at 5:06 pm #

    Hi All

    A good intention does not mean you break the law. Will you steal food because you have to give it to the starving child? HCPC is just advising social workers that we are not there to help but offer professional service within the law.

    • Stuart September 25, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

      ”Will you steal food [if that is the only way you can] give it to a starving child?”

      Actually, probably yes.

      Please don’t make excuses for the hcpc, this is the most incomprehensible of all their incomprehensible decisions.

      I cannot make a single hint of a head or tail of it Looks to me like the thrashings about of the dying monster it is and the sooner it and all within it finally bite the dust the better off we shall all be – unless the beloved leader creates something worse… is that possible do we think?

  19. Andrew September 25, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

    Any ideas how we as a profession can say to HCPC that we have had enough of their nonsense.

    Perhaps the Chief Social Workers could actually stand up for the profession for once and demand a meeting with the head of HCPC.

    Mind you by now he will be too involved in organising their staff Christmas lunch that cost us members c£17,000 last year.

    On what planet do these people live – have they never heard of austerity and its effects on services, service users and social workers.

    It would be interesting to see Community Care try to get an interview with the CEO and put some of the points from this and other threads to him.

  20. Paul Sear September 25, 2017 at 5:28 pm #

    I had a social worker at mine until 19.30 as she was trying to sort things out. Perhaps I should report her as this is clearly and issue to the HCPC. As far as I am concerned this ruling is very silly and a little bit over the top. If it were a child I would say stop messing about and calm down.

  21. Passionate SW September 25, 2017 at 6:39 pm #

    I agree with all comments in support of this poor Social Worker driven out of the Social Work profession by overzealous HCPC gods. HCPC in even considering this case has gone way beyond their remit. We are Social Workers 24/7 to those who need our support. If a client text me to say they are struggling with whatever and they need to talk to someone they trust and I’m the only one there is, I’ll be there at 6:00 pm or on weekend. I will if course inform my Manager who, like me, will most likely agree. I can’t switch off my passion for my profession like what HCPC recommends we all do after office hours. What about Social Workers working for charity? They should all be sanctioned as well if fairness prevails.

  22. Dazed and Confused SW September 25, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

    There has to be more to this than what we have read because as everyone has said this is absolutely absurd and completely disproportionate. For the HCPC to state that texting the user outside of work hours was “inappropriate”, my goodness how many of us have done that, made calls, made visits because we are person-centred. This is not a 9 am – 5 pm job. How many managers have asked us to go out on visits to ensure someone is safe and we are still there after 5 pm? If we are asked at 4 pm do we now have to carry out a risk assessment to determine whether we are liely to be there after 5 pm, and therefore are putting our registration at risk? And, if it is likely we will be there after 5 pm do we then then have to say No to our managers because the HCPC says it is “inappropriate? C’mon get real.

    With regards to the SW who has now decided to not carry on with his/her registration, it deeply saddens me that this is the outcome for that person. HCPC unless you give us more detail if the decision you have made is based on “inappropriateness” then shame on you, you have no idea what this job is about and should not be sat on this panel.

  23. Dave September 25, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

    Wow. Just a thought. I can put my hands up to speaking to a service user out of my contracted time. Now if the HCPC took all the thousands of social workers who have done this to a panel. There would be nobody left to do the work if they then quit the job. Therefore no workers means the HCPC would not have an income so would have to look elsewhere for work. Some of the decisions lately make me ponder about is the hard work dedication and sleepless nights really worth all the agro. HCPC start to support us before its to late.

  24. Lauren September 25, 2017 at 8:24 pm #

    I’ve called parents from home at 7pm on my work mobile as hadn’t had chance in work day and they needed to unload or share info. As long as I record it what’s the issue?? Rather that than a complaint that I didn’t respond to them.

  25. K September 25, 2017 at 8:27 pm #

    I don’t understand the finding. Until services are needs led rather than resource led, there is no sense. Teenagers taken out of school to be seen within work hours makes no sense. This is inappropriate, embarrassing and wrong. Have you any idea what it feels like to have a social worker, nurse and head of year drag you into a meeting when you should be in class, completely humiliating. I see my clients out of hours and therefore have to be contactable. This is why I’m a social worker not an accountant.

  26. Amy lou September 25, 2017 at 8:30 pm #

    Hcpc sanctioning again over something ridiculous, What a surprise!!

  27. Old timer September 25, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

    Wow, how about local authorities being sanctioned for the culture that they create where we work 24/7?

  28. SW 111 September 25, 2017 at 9:22 pm #

    why doesn’t anyone challenge hcpc – its become a joke.

  29. SW 111 September 25, 2017 at 9:30 pm #

    why doesn’t anyone challenge hcpc – its become a joke.
    I think hcpc should be taken to court for harassment;
    The credibility of hcpc is completely lost by such draconian actions.

  30. NQSW September 25, 2017 at 9:34 pm #

    I forgot to turn my work phone off after 5pm once and was stunned to see lots of missed calls and texts from a desperate service user who felt she had no one to turn to but me. There was absolutely no way on earth I was going to ignore her cry for help and leave her with such high levels of anxiety over that weekend. I told my manager what I had done and (apart from them feeling sorry for my elongated Friday) there were no problems. I just don’t understand this, the HCPC are really confusing me.

  31. Stuart September 25, 2017 at 10:40 pm #

    Despair is the only solution to this nonsense.

    Better wait though, it’s ten thirty eight pm as I write this & I don’t want a sanction. I’ll have a nice cup of tea and despair at 8.30 tomorrow.

  32. Chris Sterry September 25, 2017 at 11:16 pm #

    I really feel sorry for the social worker, not only do they have to deal with an ever increasing work load and the complexities becoming more complex they are also restricted to their working hours.

    Care and life is 24 hours 365 days per year and invariably crisis can occur outside the norm of 9-5 Monday to Friday.

    This Social Worker should have been commended for working in her own time, instead of being admonished for doing so.

    Say the service user contact her at 4.59 on a Friday, would that mean that the social worker should have told the service user they would have to wait until 9 the next Monday.

    If it was classed as being urgent then the social worker could have passed it to the Duty social worker, but in practice this may have also meant waiting till Monday as the Duty would not have known the service user, while the social worker could have.

    This would be so if it was classed as urgent, but what is urgent within the realms of the social work system could be completely different to that of the service user. Even if the system would view the problem as non-urgent, this may not be so for the service user to whom it could be very urgent. So I few minutes of a social workers own time could avert a serious situation for the service user and de-escalate the situation.

    Common sense prevails, but does the system allow for common sense.

  33. Maria September 26, 2017 at 12:10 am #

    Surely if Hcpc are there to support social workers they should be advocating for better services so that social workers shouldn’t have to work outside core hours. This is desperately needed as I could never have done the job if I hadn’t worked outside core hours. it’s hyprotical. Shame on the Hcpc.

  34. Sarah Phillips September 26, 2017 at 1:51 am #

    So we are not meant to respond out of hours?

    Give us less cases and more resources and we wouldn’t have to

    Stop penalising the dedicated professionals who work so hard

    Focus on fixing the broken system

  35. Angela September 26, 2017 at 7:53 am #

    So when i had an 8yr old boy at hospital waiting for the crisis team to assess him i should have gone “see ya” at 5pm instead of staying with him until midnight when the crisis team still didnt turn up. I would like the HCPC to come out on the front line on a friday and see what its really like.

  36. chrissie September 26, 2017 at 8:42 am #

    Ridiculous or outrageous – get rid of the HCPC. A so called ‘professional’ body which wants to get rid of people who care! This country is so far down the tube there is no return. To all you people out there who care please carry on caring – those of us who need you really appreciate it! Enough said.

  37. stuart September 26, 2017 at 8:50 am #

    I’m perfectly happy to only work within ‘core hours’ and never tell a service user whether I’m gay, pregnant, disabled, alcoholic, atheist or Australian but we need and deserve clearer
    guidance.

    Maybe the worker in question did something really bad, but there’s nothing to explain that in this report and that being the case I think an urgent demand by each of us who are HCPC registered social workers to our individual managers quoting

    <>

    demanding to see our own agency policy on the matter and indicating that we will follow HCPC instructions to not work outside specified core hours until receipt thereof..

    Those who are members of a trade union or professional body should press them to obtain clarification on this.

    Also we should all flood the HCPC with complaints and requests for clarification.
    I’m off to do that now. (I know it’s within ‘core hours’ but I think this constitutes ‘work’, and anyway, they owe me and doubtless you too for all the unpaid overtime I’ve done outside hours in the past!)

    • Stuart September 26, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

      The comment system inadvertently deleted the quote I wanted in that item above.

      Where it says it should say:

      “Social workers were expected to switch off their mobile phones at 5pm on Friday and to respond to messages on Monday mornings. The expectation was not reinforced by a written policy,” the HCPC said.

      And my point is, we need to demand that written policy both from our individual employers and from the HCPC in some form that guarantees our employers can’t have us working outside core hours.

      It won’t be forthcoming of course but we should demand it.

  38. Glennis September 26, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    I am a frequent reader of the hearings from HCPC. I must say I think this is bizarre. I very much doubt that you’ll find many social workers that haven’t messaged clients profesionally outside of core working hours. It’s the nature of the job, clients work and our case loads often permit us to respond within core hours. It’s experiences like this that increase the pressures for Social Workers who work so hard and seem to be criticised from every possible angle. I think HCPC need to reflect on this…

  39. Glyn September 26, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    After 21 yrs in the profession, each time I read something like this, I despair just a little more! We are not allowed to defend ourselves, we are not allowed to be human, we are not allowed to use good old fashioned commonsense… we are overseen by an agency who clearly know little about our roles and how to use proportional sanctions if or when needed, employers use them to deal with issues that they should deal with themselves and people are leaving the profession more than ever before….come on Chief of SW, grow a backbone and a set of you know what’s and support us to do our jobs!

  40. Eco Social Worker September 26, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    Does this ruling only apply to texting, or does it apply to all contact with clients outside of work hours?

    If I meet a client in Tesco, am I allowed to say hello, or do I have to refuse to talk to them?

  41. Victoria September 26, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

    If this isn’t the clearest indication that we’re expected to be robots, I don’t know what is.

    She shouldn’t have texted but what she did text was appropriate.

    So… when the person we’re trying to build a trusting working relationship with communicates, we just put that on hold until Monday morning. Nothing like the message that we only care when we’re paid to care.

    The HCPC operates with magical thinking because they seem to think we’re in a perfect world where 5pm comes and everyone’s problems and need for support disappears until Monday.

    Pure speculation but I wonder if the text was asking for out of hours numbers, does responding make it inappropriate if it’s after 5?

    I don’t think this was a LA, they don’t mind you working all the hours you’re able to keep your eyes open for, in fact they count on it.

  42. Anne September 26, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

    I want to know what HCPC do about managers phoning social workers after hours?
    I want to know what HCPC do about social workers being expected to work and eat at their desks every lunch break, not to mention hot desking and the filthy conditions of the desks, the phones and the computers?
    I want to know what the HCPC are doing about social workers being expected to work through lunch breaks and the gasps if you do happen to take a break and go out of the office?
    I want to know what HCPC are doing about social workers being given visits on duty going up to 5pm and being out till all hours of the night?
    I want to know what HCPC are doing about social workers having no admin support whatsoever, having to type own letters and mail them, having to format all reports, including those for court?
    I want to know what HCPC are doing about social workers having had ‘a real’ reduction in pay and therefore the standard of living for the past 7 years?
    I want to know what HCPC are doing about all the times social workers are going on visits blind, with no risk assessment, often in the dark and alone?
    I want to know how long I will be waiting for any answers? I won’t hold my breath!!!!

    • Love life September 27, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

      I totally agree with your comments.
      What is HCPC doing about managers who abuse the position of power if a social worker challenges them working after hours. How are social workers protected?
      Why managers tarnish you and attempt to discredit you and makes it difficult to get new employment.
      Should a social worker say they cannot work beyond the legal requirement because we are not protected?
      The ethos of social work practice is a flaw. We as social workers continue to be reprimanded because of bad minded human beings who don’t care that you have a personal life, you have personal responsibilities, you have a family life…
      It makes me question is there any point being in a profession that you trained hard for, just to be surrounded by toxic human beings who lose their focus and attack you personally for their own personal gain! Whereas as my focus are safeguarding children.
      I always say” people treat the wrong people right, and the right people wrong”

  43. lilybright September 26, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

    Sack. Me. Now.

  44. SW 111 September 26, 2017 at 10:28 pm #

    Does the HCPC know what is proportionate and what is disproportionate – they appear to be unrelenting gods; shouldn’t they be sanctioned for causing needless delays causing unnecessary harassment.
    Who are they accountable to.

  45. Catherine September 26, 2017 at 11:03 pm #

    Our codes of professional practice are clear that we have to follow them 24/7 in and out of work!
    This latest ruling is ridiculous

  46. John Smith September 27, 2017 at 6:39 am #

    If people actually read the decision which is linked in the first paragraph of the report, the panel’s decision is a lot more nuanced than the report makes it appear.

    It worries me that people think the HCPC is there to do something about working arrangements or conditions – those are the responsibility of your professional bodies or trade unions. The government decided that HCPC should regulate the profession, not hand-hold social workers.

    If anyone is in doubt about the harm which social workers can do, remember Baby P and Victoria Climbie.

    I fully expect this will not be published as social workers cannot stand the slightest criticism and believe they are entirely above reproach.

    • David Steare September 27, 2017 at 11:32 am #

      Regulating the profession in terms of: government legislation and guidance; regulating the profession in terms of local policies and procedures; and regulating the profession in terms of an evidence-based good-enough professional practice – is one thing – and fabricating allegations that rely on none of those things – not only shows that the regulation is not fit for purpose but also that it can be arbitrary, discriminatory and abusive.

    • LongtimeSW September 27, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

      Baby Peter? Victoria Climbie?

      ‘. . . . the harm which social workers can do . . . . .’

      What was the name of the social worker who killed either of those children? It was those children’s parents/carer’s who killed those children NOT the social worker.

      I am not sure what you mean by ‘criticism and being above reproach’ – (if only!) – No I think you will find that it is unfair and sometimes unjust criticism that is resented.

      In fact in Vitoria Climbie’s case a police officer refused to visit the family home because they did not want to get scabies – no sanction. In Baby Peter Connelly’s case, he was seen by a paediatrician in hospital and, as I understand it, discharged with no x-rays or skeletal survey completed shortly before he died – again no sanction or vilification of the Dr.

      Social workers are all to easy to blame for the guilt that society feels whenever a vulnerable person dies – not sure John Smith if you have ever been in social care related professions or still are – please take time to look at your own attitudes and consider whether the maxim that ‘there but for the Grace of . . .etc.’ applies.

    • Stuart September 27, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

      Well John, I’ve read the decision and all the reasoning about it on the HCPC website and I have not changed at all my view that the HCPC has gone over the top in it’s decision.

      There is no publicly available information about some key details but nevertheless this worker has been sanctioned for working above and beyond the call of duty and the hours she is paid for. Social workers all do that and if we suddenly stopped there would be a whole host more situations like Baby P., Victoria Climbie and others you will have heard of.

      You need to remember they were not injured and ultimately killed by social workers but by responsible people in parenting role. Certainly social workers would wish to have prevented those deaths and I don’t think anybody doubts there have been failings but that’s not what this article and the comments are about.

      It is precisely because social workers are aware of the risks of providing a less than maximal service that we go above and beyond virtually every day but there is no evidence at all to support your final paragraph and plenty to refute it.

      I doubt however that your views are subject to exploration so won’t bother.

    • lucy September 27, 2017 at 11:19 pm #

      John Smith; your write every week, and respond negatively to social workers, so I gather you are probably a service user.

      • SW999 September 29, 2017 at 9:49 pm #

        A service user or an HCPC employee. May be both.

  47. Anita Singh September 27, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

    Dear John,

    I think you should research the number of SWs who communicate with families after 5pm, get their names, details etc and immediately report them for failing this latest diktat from the HCPC.

    We can then benefit from greater clarity from the HCPC. Please remember to ask CC to report or even better, perhaps you could contact the Daily Mail or the Sun or other reputable newspaper who would love to hear your views and could hopefully help to reduce the number of arrogant SWs who are above reproach and should be booted out of the profession, don’t you think?

  48. Ken Terry September 27, 2017 at 2:34 pm #

    When I first became a social worker I worked on average 45 hours a week as did the rest of my team. I had home visits to do at least twice a week to be able to see working parents and four times a year attending reviews in Wales requiring an over night stay. Time off in lieu (TOIL) sometimes was possible and each summer the whole team went on an away day. On one occasion for a picnic in the countryside and another we hired a mini bus and went to France. Senior management approved of this. Those were the days !

  49. Danielle September 28, 2017 at 9:35 pm #

    Makes you wonder why we pay them our registration fee! Never forget being in a union. Since there are worrisome leaders, unhelpful registration and a culture of placing blame and claiming for damages. Its a difficult job that needs much more support amd recognition. I feel for her. Its such as shame helping people is over politicised.

  50. Danielle September 28, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    So busy at work with all the assessments and a family wanting to meet and discuss important matters, so i arranged the meeting for the following monday, saturday came and i realised monday was a bank holiday! So what am i to do? I went and met with them in my own time because i knew they would benefit, completed my assessment. Is that a breach? Because if not i would have had to contact them outside the 9-5 monday to friday working hours! Or just leave them waiting for my arrival and go to work tuesday with a complaint, and left a bad reflection on the practice; i could have also harmed further engagement with them and potentionally in this day and age be disciplined for arranging an assessment on the wrong day! – sorry i just think the HCPC has gone mad!

  51. Jules September 29, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

    I cannot accept the HCPC reasoning and decision . As a SW that has now left the job I loved and was good at this is why I got out, I always had my phone on and would respond to my families as often I was all they had .

  52. Pandora October 13, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    You are a workforce of some 80 thousand. Organise yourselves. Join BASW at the very least to give that organisation some teeth. Don’t expect the chief social worker or community care to be fully behind you. The latter are there to maintain the status quo.

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