HCPC strikes off social worker for making up records

Tribunal hears 'homegrown' children's practitioner falsely claimed to have consulted child's parents and attended meetings and visits

Health and Care Professions Council
The HCPC will hand over responsibility to Social Work England on 2 December

A social worker has been struck off after he was found to have made up records relating to the case of a two-year-old whose family he was working with.

The practitioner, who had been employed for eight years at the same local authority, had started work as a social worker in 2015 after being encouraged to apply for training via a programme called ‘Grow Your Own’.

But little more than a year later, the local authority referred him to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) on the basis of failures to conduct visits, properly keep records or communicate with relevant parties.

The HCPC’s subsequent tribunal, which took place at the end of July, found that the social worker’s “sustained dishonesty” left no alternative but to remove him from the register.

‘It was clear something was wrong’

The hearing, which the social worker did not attend, took “careful, considered” evidence from four other practitioners along with a support worker and a counsellor.

The panel felt “able to give weight” to evidence supplied by one experienced manager, ‘JH’, that the social worker had not visited the child, Child A, on two occasions despite having recorded that he had done so.

“While JH’s evidence was based on what she had been told by Child A’s parents, JH is an experienced and senior social worker, whose judgment in believing Child A’s parents can be relied upon,” the tribunal report said.

“JH’s evidence is also supported by the fact that at a strategy meeting regarding Child A the registrant was very obviously ‘not up to speed on the case’, and it was clear something was wrong.”

Notes ‘not credible’

The tribunal also found the social worker had recorded on an electronic case notes system that he had attended child in need (CIN) meetings relating to Child A, when he had not in fact done so.

A support worker, CC, who had been named in records as having been at one CIN meeting on 3 September 2015, told the hearing she had not attended any meeting on that date. Other notes made regarding the apparent meeting, relating to Child A’s mother’s drinking, were “not credible”, the panel found.

The tribunal also accepted evidence from Child A’s parents that they had not been consulted prior to a child and family assessment, which included their supposed views, being completed.

It also found further particulars, around record-keeping and the failure to properly transfer Child A’s case to another local authority, to be proved.

‘Complete abrogation of fundamental duties’

The HCPC panel described the social worker’s conduct as a “complete abrogation of the basic and fundamental duties required of a social worker”.

It added that the practitioner had failed Child A’s family, as well as his own colleagues by falsely recording their attendance at meetings.

Child A – who faced “grave” domestic circumstances, encompassing addiction and violence – had been put under unwarranted risk of harm by the social worker’s actions, which had brought the profession into disrepute, the tribunal concluded.

In deciding to strike the social worker off, the panel noted that it had not been provided “with any evidence of remorse, insight or remediation other than the apology in the registrant’s investigatory interview, and could not be satisfied that the misconduct was highly unlikely to be repeated”.

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14 Responses to HCPC strikes off social worker for making up records

  1. Andrew August 29, 2018 at 11:15 am #

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of this case it does seem pertinent to wonder why if the social worker was referred to the HCPC a year after starting work in 2015 it has taken until July 2018 for this to be heard.

    Maybe the HCPC are being so inefficient in order to make social workers feel more positive towards our new Regulatory body.

    • Mary Ellis August 29, 2018 at 2:00 pm #

      I am continually surprised by how long it takes the HCPC to act in such cases.

      • Stuart August 29, 2018 at 7:35 pm #

        And we all know, ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ – for everyone concerned.

        For once, I find it hard on the reported information to argue against the hcpc except for how long it took but what does this story tell us about the employer and the ‘grow your own’ (like tomatoes in a growbag I presume) scheme?

    • Hacked off August 30, 2018 at 3:40 pm #

      It took 3 years for my hearing to be heard, and even though I was cleared my self confidence has been destroyed.

  2. Moinul Khalique August 29, 2018 at 11:24 am #

    This practitioner was a liar and the HCPC took the right decision.

  3. sw111 August 29, 2018 at 10:26 pm #

    In this particular case, there were serious ethical issues and clearly I cannot see any other consequence would have been justified.

    Is hcpc not accountable to anyone for taking three years to hear the case. It’s shocking.

    However, in the other hcpc case that was published a few days ago where a newly qualified was suspended, the consequence was too punitive. That was an instance of systemic failures that contributed to the the newly qualified being left vulnerable. That worker was scared of the young person but she didn’t report that to the managers.
    It sad that the worker did not feel confident to share her experiences with her supervisor.
    Wish hcpc had looked at the context to address systemic failure instead of the blaming the individual. The organisation and the regulatory body is not doing justice to the service users/clients by having such a blinkered approach.

    • Ann September 27, 2018 at 8:01 am #

      Here here! It worries me that the focus is all on the individual rather than considering the context of the system.

  4. Peter Ward August 30, 2018 at 6:03 am #

    The hcpc are often late which iis unfair to the person accused but also to the employer and colleagues.Also the hcpc never take into consideration the qualty of the msnagement ,staffing levels,the culture of the workplace.Look at the circumstances sw in Northamton have to work under.

  5. fact finder August 30, 2018 at 9:01 am #

    It because people are unaware of odd our rights

  6. Gordon Spalding August 30, 2018 at 1:56 pm #

    This has been ongoing for years. One SW reported out of hundreds of thousand failures. Not impressed. If Social Services was working with families adoption rates should go down but instead is rising at a totally unacceptable rate. Why is the government failing to protect families. Surely it’s time to scrap the current legislation and introduce new legislation which would open to public scrutiny. As it stands parents have no rights that has to change.

  7. Lmao2018 August 30, 2018 at 11:23 pm #

    The thresholds for HCPC seem confused and disorganised. The timescales are so lax! 3 years of waiting to be heard must be excruciating for all parties and in the meantime LA money is spent on paying the member of staff no doubt to sit at home in the sunshine.

  8. sw111 August 31, 2018 at 11:14 am #

    Is hcpc accountable for taking such a long time to hear the case.

  9. EJ August 31, 2018 at 9:45 pm #

    “While JH’s evidence was based on what she had been told by Child A’s parents, JH is an experienced and senior social worker, whose judgment in believing Child A’s parents can be relied upon,” the tribunal report said.” So how is the word of parents is usually disbelieved when it suits?

  10. sw111 September 2, 2018 at 4:32 pm #

    These workers who are referred to hcpc would not be on the payroll as the LA would have sacked them. However, if the worker is referred by someone outside the LA, then the LA generally start their own investigations or not (depending on how much the worker has the clout, or to what extent LA is willing to protect that worker) and that determines the ongoing paying.