Social worker who lacked ‘basic knowledge’ struck off

A tribunal service panel found the social worker had insufficient knowledge of legal frameworks and assessment processes

Photo: Prachid/Fotolia

A social worker who showed “a lack of basic social work knowledge” after he moved to practice in England from Portugal has been struck off.

At a review hearing held this month, a HCPC tribunal service panel found the social worker had not addressed failings that led to him being suspended in 2015.

The panel found the social worker had insufficient knowledge of legislation, including the Mental Capacity Act and Mental Health Act. His understanding of adult social care assessments and the differences between working with children and adults was also lacking, the panel said.

The social worker qualified in Portugal in 2007 and registered with the HCPC in 2013. The regulator assesses all international applications for registration against its standards of proficiency.

After securing registration, the social worker joined a council’s temporary staff register and began a voluntary placement organised by a local NHS care trust. His line manager became concerned he lacked knowledge on key legislation and processes.

Fundamental concepts

At an interview and assessment at the end of his placement, he showed a “lack of understanding of fundamental social work concepts”, and he was referred to the HCPC.

The social worker was originally given a conditions of practice order, but was later suspended by a HCPC panel for failing to address issues with his practice.

He complained that the suspension had “been having a severe effect on his ability to work in any unqualified role in social care, undermining his success at job applications”, and called on the panel to reduce the sanction to a conditions of practice order.

However, the panel ruled against him, and said he had still not shown enough insight into his failings to be deemed fit to practise. An employer dismissed him from an unqualified post during the suspension, which the panel said showed “he was not competent even within that lesser role”.

His employers shared concerns that he had been “misunderstood” by service users and that he had “put his agenda” on to other professionals. He denied the latter and argued colleagues had misunderstood him.

The panel concluded the social worker had not taken the necessary steps to remediate his practice, despite being suspended for a year and a half. It had “no confidence that the registrant is capable of resolving his failings” and ordered the social worker be struck from the social work register.

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13 Responses to Social worker who lacked ‘basic knowledge’ struck off

  1. Too old for this stuff May 24, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

    Does this indicate that the HCPC’s registration process is less than rigorous?

  2. Mel May 24, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

    How do you get a job without being able to demonstrate that understanding in the first place? I’ve not had a job interview yet that hasn’t asked in quite a lot of detail about legal frameworks and theory and values…

  3. Cristina May 24, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    I am just wondering if there was any proper induction. Social workers are being “imported” from abroad with no clear induction package .
    Social Work legislation is different in other countries. I do not know the specifics of this case but I have seen social workers being brought in the UK without clear knowledge of how the system works and send back as they never had clear induction and support.

  4. lucy May 24, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

    The social worker came from Portugal, and obviously needed time and training to know all of the systems and legislative frameworks. I think it was a bit harsh to suspend him, when he may have not been give a proper induction and proper support. He probably should have started as an AYSE.

    • Dave May 25, 2017 at 7:08 pm #

      Agree he needed time to learn to be competant (and an SW in ASYE he would know all or most of this stuff) but he should have had the humility and respect for the profession to do that himself before applying for a job. And as Mel says, what kind of job interview didn’t expose these failings? Though his comment about him being unable to take on unqualified work was fair enough, I thought.

      Bottom line for me is; Would I want him as my social worker if I needed one?

    • Caroline May 26, 2017 at 7:58 am #

      I’m sorry but how can you say he needed time. People’s lives are in the hands of these people. You can’t take chances like that.

  5. Planet Autism May 24, 2017 at 9:42 pm #

    Very shoddy interview and screening process then, how could he have possibly been allowed to work in such an important job without proper caution? To be assessed at the end of his stint is crazy.

  6. Ros May 25, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    So dissapointing that you have homegrown socoal workers who are unable to even get a job despite numerous interviews and preparations/passion to secure their first roles . Social work recruitment sucks and so many qualifted end up in unqualified roles. Other professionals are so supportive towards their own

  7. mayuri shah May 25, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    I have worked with social workers in England for 13 years….possess all the knowledge, assessment procedures, mental health regulations, qualified from India, was working in the capacity of social worker after coming here.
    My registration was declined simply because, the institution I had studiedhad closed….. The HPCC wanted me to redo the graduation in UK…. I refused…. To waste my time… In this country, I’ve noticed that only certificate count NOT EXPERIENCE… Hence many councils have huge turnover of social workers….

    I work closely with CAFCASS, in courts, but many times I observe that professionals though qualified, lack sufficient know how and smartness to handle cases…
    This is indeed very sad
    I also

  8. Nancy May 25, 2017 at 10:05 pm #

    The fact that he or she lacked basic understanding was enough to stop her from practising. This is about vulnerable individuals relying on you as a Social worker to help them and enlighten their way to recovery. Legislation from other countries and uk may not be too much of a difference when it comes to basic knowledge of a Social worker.

  9. pamela May 26, 2017 at 1:09 am #

    he should be thinking for taking his case to court , I Feel discrimination has a part to play in his dismisal. he should of been assessed, trained and supported.. An how safe is social service system when taking people on to work from any where even the Uk

    • Mark May 30, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

      I think it is vitally important when working as a fully qualified social worker in the United Kingdom that you should be able to demonstrate a very high level of competence in the use of written and spoken English such that service users have no problems in understanding reasonably clearly what you write or say to them.

  10. Carla May 26, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

    This guy took a voluntary placement and was referred to HCPC because he had a lack of understanding of basic social work – MCA, MHA, FACS, financial assessment. None of the above is basic social work in Portugal, so it does make sense to take a placement instead of a paid job, don’t you think? This was a voluntary placement and a short one.

    I’ve read the info on HCPC and feel appalled how the organisation dealt with this in he beginning. Not commenting on anything else – but the fact this was a placement and if I’m not wrong it was less than 1 or 2 months.