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.
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.”
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.