‘Shortcomings’ in cultural awareness training provided to Romanian social worker accused of misconduct

The social worker was alleged to have committed misconduct after he bought a TV from service users

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Photo: BillionPhotos.Com/Fotolia

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has said there were “shortcomings” in the cultural awareness training provided to a Romanian social worker accused of misconduct.

In a preliminary hearing, to decide whether the regulator should accept a consent order to suspend the social worker for 12 months, a fitness to practice panel said mitigating circumstances meant his behaviour may not meet the threshold for misconduct.

The social worker worked for the council between September 2015 and March 2017 and has since the allegation of misconduct has returned to live in Romania. He had signed a consent order giving permission for the panel to suspend his registration without the need for a full hearing.

The allegations centred around the social worker purchasing a TV from two service users while working as part of a council’s learning disability service and driving without a valid driving licence.

Apparent shortcomings in support and training

The panel said the television purchase would be an “explicit breach of a social worker’s professional boundaries”. However, it was unsure, if the case went to a full hearing, whether the threshold for misconduct would be met given some shortcomings identified in an investigation report prepared by the council.

This report identified some “apparent shortcomings in the support, cultural awareness training and management provided to the registrant, in respect of his induction, training and assessment, and, potentially, his consequent lack of understanding of his professional boundaries while working in the United Kingdom,” the judgement said.

A line manager told the panel he felt there was “quite a difference in culture in coming [to the UK] and accountability” of social workers, and that the social worker was “fundamentally a very decent guy” who had since realised “that he can’t do that”.

After the incident he had been allowed to continue as a social worker, with a full caseload and no restriction from his employers while they investigated.

On the issue of the invalid driving licence, it appeared he was unaware of this, and officials, including a member of the police, had checked the licence and failed to highlight it on three occasions. There was no evidence, the panel heard, that he had sought to conceal his driving licence details.

Consent order rejected

The panel rejected the consent order, which would have suspended the social worker for 12 months with his permission.

“In relation to sanction, the panel was of the view that a suspension order for 12 months would be too severe, given the nature of the registrant’s conduct and all of the potential mitigation outlined,” it concluded.

A full hearing will now be held, where the panel will consider the evidence, whether the threshold for misconduct was met and if so what sanction could be given.

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7 Responses to ‘Shortcomings’ in cultural awareness training provided to Romanian social worker accused of misconduct

  1. Borstal Boy March 13, 2018 at 12:40 pm #

    Oh sweet Jesus. Social Workers pay a very significant fee to be allowed to practice. This absurd situation is a waste of time resources and money. His line managers should be castigated for wasting time referring him in the first place. And then the whole thing should be binned as a monumental waste of time. Examples like this make the HCPC look ridiculous and undermines any credibility it still has.

    • Lauren March 13, 2018 at 9:58 pm #

      Why even refer! There was no malice or bad practice in my view. HCPC isn’t got for purpose. And don’t get me started how on the rare occasion a manager gets referred and gets a caution and the social worker is suspended or worse.

  2. Spike March 13, 2018 at 8:10 pm #

    Once again HCPC demonstrating that they are not fit for purpose in respect of being the regulatory body for social work. Once again another Local Authority abdicates responsibility for the proper training and management of its social workers by just throwing them to HCPC. It’s an absolute disgrace and I’m continually amazed that ANYONE chooses a career in social work.

  3. Karen March 13, 2018 at 11:43 pm #

    Well done HCPC for acting appropriately. However, the managers responsible should never have referred it in , in the first year lace. An official warning would have been more than enough. The stress this would have caused to the social worker, unnecessary!

  4. Really March 14, 2018 at 2:23 am #

    Really? The rest of us have to follow the rules but this guy gets a pass. Let’s hope the ‘good guy’ didn’t add sleeping with his clients a symptom of his lack of awareness.

  5. jim March 15, 2018 at 12:10 pm #

    he took advantage of buying a TV off vulnerable learning disabled clients. Any social worker of any cultural or ethnic background would or should know that you dont buy or sell things to such or indeed anyclients. It may be that he thought he was doing them a favour and paid them good money for it but he should know that he leaves himself open to accusations of manipulation or exploitation.

  6. Sw111 March 18, 2018 at 1:56 pm #

    Management again appear to be incompetent and refer to HCPC when they could have considered their own internal investigations. Management has been using regulatory body to harass and cause n needless anxiety to the workers.
    For someone to consider worker of exploiting the vulnerable is incredible to say the least – is that the resonance of punitive management.