Struck-off social worker reinstated on register after proving commitment to the profession

Social worker who was convicted of assault becomes the first to be put back on the Welsh social care register after being barred from the profession

Photo: cacaroot/Fotolia

A social worker who was struck off after being convicted of assault has been reinstated on the register after proving her commitment to the profession.

At the first-ever Restoration Committee hearing held by the Care Council for Wales, the panel said the woman had shown exemplary conduct over a long period and so had convinced them she deserved to be allowed back on the social care register.

The committee noted that her removal from the register was based on public interest concerns rather than concern that she would be a danger to individuals. In light of this and her “very high level” of reflection and insight into her crime, the committee decided to reinstate her on the register without conditions.

The social worker was struck from the register in July 2011. Her ban came after she assaulted her then partner’s ex in March 2010 by grabbing her by the throat, pushing her to the floor, stamping on her twice and kicking her in the face.

Following the assault, the social worker was convicted of unlawful wounding and given a 36-week suspended prison sentence. At the time of the attack she worked for a youth offending team in Merthyr Tydfil.

Demonstrated commitment

Under the Care Council of Wales’ 2005 conduct rules those removed from the register can apply to be reinstated after three years. In 2011 this period was extended to five years but the 2005 rules applied in this case since they were in effect at the time of her removal from the register.

The rules require those seeking to be restored to the register must provide evidence of at least 180 hours of activities to update their professional knowledge and understanding. The minimum amount of activities for those applying to rejoin the register after six years is 360 hours.

The social worker in this case submitted evidence of more than 680 hours of activities including supervised practice, accredited training and references from employers for relevant paid and unpaid work carried out since her removal from the register.

“Since her conviction, [she] has carried out a considerable amount of work, both on a paid and voluntary basis, which does not require registration but which is of relevance to social care practice,” said the committee in its decision.

“We are satisfied that she has demonstrated through this work a commitment to upholding the requirements of the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care.

“There was nothing in [her] conduct before the 2010 event to suggest any history of loss of temper or of violence and since 2010 no other matters of concern have come to the attention of the Care Council. To the contrary, her conduct, as evidenced by the written references before the committee, has been exemplary over a long period of time.”

Positive response

The committee added: “She has shown an exceptionally positive response to the incident and her removal from the register. [She] showed to the committee a real ability to think about the perspective of her victim. We accept her evidence that she is now better able to deal with stress when it does arise.”

The woman is the first social worker removed from the Welsh social care register to have had her case for reinstatement heard despite the process having existed for more than a decade.

England’s social work regulator, the Health and Care Professions Council, has a similar process which also requires those barred from the profession to wait at least five years before applying for reinstatement.

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7 Responses to Struck-off social worker reinstated on register after proving commitment to the profession

  1. Andrea April 11, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    Seriously ???!!! she stamped on the woman and kicked her in the face – she worked for the Youth Offending Team – I’ve heard it all now…………………………

  2. Ann April 13, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    Completely agree with Andrea.

  3. Frances April 13, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    I agree with the previous comment from Andrea, Working for the Youth Offending Team, stomping on another person and kicking them in the face, akes a mokery of consequences. Can have all the insight you want but this person should not represent our profession. Would she be approved as a foster carer or adopter now? Sorry but this is plain wrong

  4. Ellie April 13, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    This just goes to show how unfair, unprofessional and judgmental the social care registration process can be – and how they can get it utterly wrong.

    We have seen Social Workers put through the wringer – disciplined, punished, suspended, investigated, struck off – for things that are NOT really their fault. Cases such as the one which Community Care has featured as a story, where the Social Worker was chastised and suspended for PUTTING QUALITY BEFORE DEADLINES. How is there really anything wrong in wanting to provide a quality service? That strikes me as ridiculous, to punish a person who wants to do a good job! Or other cases, where Social Workers have been struck off simply because they have found themselves embroiled in really difficult and complex cases, and have struggled to know what to do. Actually, the “Baby P” case is a REALLY good example of this – the newly qualified Social Worker who was at the heart of the case, and who had to muddle through with limited and ineffectual support from management, was initially the one made to pay the price. Or Social Workers who have been struck off for struggling to cope with the emotional toll of dealing with a lack of support during cases involving sexual exploitation, domestic violence, or other forms of abuse.

    It seems to me that Social Workers frequently pay the price of their careers, in some cases, for doing very little (if anything) wrong – for struggling to make the right decisions, or to meet tight deadlines, whilst faced with little support and few resources. HOW is that fair, or just?

    Especially when we now have to read that a Social Worker who genuinely DID do something wrong – who was convicted of a criminal offence – is allowed to be reinstated on the register. It cannot matted how much “commitment” she has shown to her profession. She grabbed her partner’s ex-girlfriend, pushed her to the floor, stamped on her twice and kicked her in the face! This is assault, most likely with grievous bodily harm resulting. HOW could that possibly be the behaviour of somebody who works in a Youth Offending Team? How could this person ever be considered appropriate to work in such a team? Just what sort of example does her behaviour show to the youths that she worked with?

    We should accept that serious assault and violent acts are NOT things that Social Workers should ever be permitted to get away with. When other Social Workers are facing suspension for matters that are FAR less serious, and are NOT really their fault, then it makes a mockery of the whole issue of registration to reinstate somebody who has committed a VIOLENT CRIMINAL OFFENCE.

    Now that she has been reinstated – how about reinstating ALL those other Social Workers who have faced suspension, been struck off or have lost their careers as a result of things that they DID NOT deliberately do wrong? Such as Social Workers mentioned above who have had to cope with difficult cases and little support. Or Social Workers who were penalized for “whistle blowing”. Or Social Workers who lost their jobs because of false allegations, or bullying at work. Surely THEY deserve a fair hearing? Surely THEY deserve reinstatement?

    If a person who has committed a VIOLENT OFFENCE can be considered fit to be a Social Worker, then what message does that give out? Especially to those Social Workers who have found themselves punished, or on the receiving end of disciplinary measures for matters that were NOT really their fault.

    Something about this stinks!

  5. Carys April 13, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

    Who is regulating the regulator? NOT the Professional Standards Authority in Wales it would seem….this maybe indicative of increasingly different standards being applied Nurses (NMC) regulated in Wales PSA

    Social Workers in Wales ….Welsh Government are overseeing CCfW.
    Can’t get back on the Social Work Register in England? Go to Wales?!!

  6. Pancho April 13, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

    Given some of the trivial things people have been suspended for, this looks a bit odd. I wouldn’t want anyone in my team who is capable of kicking someone in the face once, never mind stamping on them twice. I’d be *&^% scared to open my mouth!

  7. Andrea April 14, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    I’m intrigued that there has been such limited response to this article and question why? I noted also that the article disappeared from later postings of Community Care and that my comment took longer than usual to be posted. Were there really so few comments or were they unprintable ?