Newly qualified social worker referred to HCPC after struggling with time management given further suspension

The former Cafcass social worker has not taken steps to remedy her conduct during the original suspension period because of a bereavement

NQSW struggled with time management. Photo: Shardayyy Photography/ flickr

A newly qualified social worker (NQSW) has had her suspension increased for a further nine months for failing to manage her workload.

The NQSW was dismissed from her post at the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) on grounds of lack of capability in December 2012.


The inexperienced social worker  was not closing cases or filing court reports on time. Her paperwork was below the standards required of her , a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) panel was told.

She began a three year NQSW programme with Cafcass in June 2011 for which she had to submit a portfolio of evidence at the end of the first year. She failed to submit the portfolio for the deadline.

There was no mention in the panel’s finding of the level of support made available to her by Cafcass.

‘Dealing with stress’

At a further hearing  this month, nine months on from the original suspension in May 2014, the social worker told the panel  that her health had had a negative impact  on her work at the time and she recognised she needed to adopt better strategies for dealing with stress.

However, due to a bereavement, she had not undertaken any employment, care-related voluntary work or specific training since her original suspension.

Because of this, the panel found she had not done enough to remedy her practice.

The panel Chair Nicola Bastin said: “The appropriate and proportionate sanction is to renew the suspension order for a period of nine months.

“This will give [her]  further opportunity to demonstrate that she has taken steps to acquire the competencies in which she was previously found to be deficient.”

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17 Responses to Newly qualified social worker referred to HCPC after struggling with time management given further suspension

  1. Asye February 25, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    Why no mention of employer support? The big elephant in the room never gets discussed which is no service has the capacity to take NQSW or ASYE supervision seriously.
    The HCPC never seems to address this.

    • KJK February 26, 2015 at 7:39 am #

      I completed my ASYE in December & received substantial support from the Local Authority where I’m employed! The team I work for are supportive and the LA has a learning & development department which provided me and my fellow asye colleagues with a variety of support & additional training opportunities!

  2. TJHA1 February 25, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

    A friend I studied with did her second placement at CAFCASS and had an awful experieince with no guidance and workign in an environment that was basically bullying and negkectful to her learning. I am not suprised by this and do feel that good supervision would easily have supported this NQSW to continue in her role.

  3. tracey February 25, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

    I agree with Asye’s comments why was their support and at a time when she needed additional support.

  4. Goldilocks February 25, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

    Once again, an outragous narrow minded judgement from the bullies who call themselves regulators.
    How on earth is this poor newly qualified socil worker going to obtain work to get the experience needed to meet the competencies required to demonstrate she has remedied her practice???

    Once again the HCPC turn a blind eye to the real issue – that of poor management and lack of support. I strongly suspect she spoke out about the lack of support thus getting herself labelled as a trouble maker.
    NQSW’s need every bit of support and encouragement they can get to help them on their carreer pathway.
    Every social worker has made mistakes at some point in their career, that includes those who sit on the HCPC panels pontificating on the unfortunate folk who find themselves hauled before them.
    The HCPC and those who sit on the panel abuse our enforced fee’s. We actually pay them to wreck our lives.
    I feel for that poor girl, she must be wrecked, all her hard work for nothing execpt public humiliation. After an experience like this, why would she ever want to be a social worker again?

  5. Sandy beach February 25, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

    Please can we have an exact criteria of what the hcpc are doing?
    Why do they seem to take on cases that seem to be better managed in house, the fact that cases like this are being pushed out to an external agency instead of being managed internally or by HR departments is indicative of wider weaknesses in management.
    Can the HCPC please clarify why they are getting involved as this should be an absolute last resort, and unless there is more we are not being told this would not be something I would think should go to the HCPC.

    I don’t want to pay for this awful service, it’s not value for money, it’s aims and culture are not transparent and it seems to be a jobsworth type of organisation, prehaps all those HSE administrators who banned conker fights at school have found new jobs?

    Do the HCPC have to investigate so many allegations a year to justify themselves or they lose their jobs?

  6. Yvonne Bon if as February 25, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

    The fact is none of us know what really happened here. I feel sorry for her.

    • patrick graham February 26, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

      This is what I would call the best response –
      To feel for people, absolutely right, –
      and recognise that ONLY those on hand/witnesses can possibly form any judgement about decisions like this.

  7. spank me February 26, 2015 at 10:07 am #

    All asye should have two weekly supervision were all of this should be picked up. I hope carcass are taking their responsibilities seriously and can demonstrate they have supported this person throughout.

  8. Rob February 26, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    “Some stress is natural, but when this is out of balance with the support available, the work can quickly become toxic to social workers’ health, and mental health in particular.”

  9. Fred February 26, 2015 at 10:31 am #

    HCPC (and its Scottish neighbour the SSSC) are both expensive and useless QUANGOs. What do they actually achieve for social work?

    1. Waste £millions every year that could be better spent on front line services
    2. Bring the social work profession into disrepute by publicising staff who get into trouble
    3. Duplicate the work employers have to do when a staff member does something wrong
    4. pays ludicrous salaries, gives out really gold plated pensions and holiday entitlements to its own staff – conditions of service that
    5. Employs few social work qualified people who know what the actual pressures on social workers really are.

    Abolishing these terrible expensive ineffective Quangos would bring major benefits to social work.

  10. Lorna Fitzpatrick February 26, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    the assessed and SUPPORTED year in employment

  11. Jen February 26, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

    I have an employee that is suffering from this problem as well. We have repeatedly provided her guidance and help and support and she continuously does nothing. We have given her rewards for when she does it right and she still takes it upon herself to make executive decisions about files that are not the right decisions nor does she have the authority to do it. Sometimes you can’t help someone that is not willing to help themselves or that won’t admit they need help.

    You can only extend the olive branch for so long before you just give up and either get rid of them or they leave.

    We do not know the full story but my guess is this person has a learning disability and is embarrassed to admit it or doesn’t know she/he has it.

  12. Roselyn Thompson February 26, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    When social workers find themselves before HCPC there is no accountability of their employers. CAFCASS as an employer has a negative reputation as inexperience social workers not appropriately and they’re given very difficult cases that should managed by senior social workers. CAFCASS is not the only department in Children Young People and Families that have this culture of working practice some Local Authorities displayed bullying and victimisation of workers. I just feel HCPC should support the Registrants when they come across employers that do not allow appropriate or good enough supervision to social workers.

  13. The Underdog February 26, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

    Along with all the other criticisms-it still beggers belief the sanctions imposed by the likes of HCPC usually anything between 6-12 suspension from the register renewable up to when they get fed up with their own ridiculous systems one hopes. Implications are you cannot work in the profession and no self respecting employer will touch you with a barge pall in the sector. You might be able to get a voluntary role as close as possible but it still is no match for mainstream social work or statutory shall we say. Back in front of the panel 6-12 months down the road you will have insufficient evidence if any how can you? The work place is not the same nor can you replicate conditions outside your previous work environment not when you are not allowed to practise. Suprise surprise with a restriction on working in the sector, a tarnished and well publicised reputation right there for all to see what are the chances you will get any where? These people need some serious soul searching because they are masters at trashing people’s dignity and destroying their lives and making sure they live off the under dog’s misery. Thieves and Murders are treated far better in the criminal justice system if you think about it they may even be given a new identity! It really does not matter does it, but you never know what goes round comes round so HCPC panels etc your turn is coming be very afraid!!!

  14. Uzume February 27, 2015 at 12:16 am #

    This makes a complete mockery of the purpose of the ASYE. Management should be held equally accountable for proving their competence when supporting a NQSW! The stressful nature of aSW’s first job post uni and the aditiional issues this SW appeared to experiencing should be accounted for. The accountability aspect of the role is a real eye opener after graduating, so this needs huge support and guidance, also solid support regarding the processes. A SW’s basic passion may be inherent but everything else has to be learned on the job. Poor management and understanding of the basic needs of a NQSW is a blight on the profession overall. I am aware that I do no have all the details of this case, however, I am seeing similar cases around ne all the time and it is desperately sad. Once NQSWs have been driven from the service due to poor experiences post qulaifyintg, how to we replace people/reduce high turnover and where do experieced workers come from when people retire?

  15. Fred March 2, 2015 at 10:43 am #


    I agree absolutely. Certainly in Scotland the “conduct” or “investigations officers” from the SSSC seem to be mainly young people with law degrees with a mission to try to deregister social workers whenever possible. They try to take oppressive action against workers and don’t even bother to contact employers about what action they are planning to take – their view is that its the duty of employers to contact them, not the other way round.

    The SSSC and the HCPC seem to contribute nothing at all worthwhile to social work or social care – nothing. They both cost a fortune and need to be urgently abolished before they cause even more damage to the profession.