Social worker struck off after falsely claiming she had met child for assessment
Following several periods of suspension, HCPC strikes off social worker who failed to engage with them
Published on 12th September 2018
The Health and Care Professions Council has struck a social worker from the register following allegations of dishonesty.
A previous final hearing panel had found that while she was employed as a social worker at Liverpool City Council, Joyce Evelyn McConlough had failed to meet Child A in relation to an assessment in accordance with section 47 of the Children Act 1989 in February 2014.
Furthermore, Mrs McConlough recorded on the Liverpool City Council case management system that she had spoken with Child A to obtain her views when she had not.
On 11-12 August 2016 a panel at a substantive hearing found the facts proved and that they amounted to misconduct.
The panel concluded: “The absence of the Registrant and her disengagement from the process means that the panel has little evidence of insight on the part of the Registrant into her misconduct nor any evidence of remediation.
"In the absence of any such evidence, the panel cannot be certain that the Registrant has taken any action in relation to her misconduct and the panel could not be assured that she does not pose a risk to the public or may in future bring the profession into disrepute.
"The panel also considers that dishonesty on the part of a Registrant is particularly serious, regardless of whether it results in harm to service users. The panel determined that in these circumstances, failure to make a finding of impairment would undermine the need to uphold proper professional standards and public confidence in the profession.”
That panel imposed a 12 month Suspension Order.
On 11 August 2017, at the first review, the reviewing panel found that given Mrs McConlough had failed to engage with the regulatory process and the absence of any evidence of insight or remediation, her fitness to practise remained impaired.
At the second review on 8 February 2018, the reviewing panel found that although, in her email submissions of February 2018, Mrs McConlough had demonstrated a degree of insight, there was no indication that she had taken steps to remedy her misconduct. Furthermore, she had said that she had no intention to return to practise as a social worker. That panel concluded that her fitness to practise remained impaired in that she posed a risk of harm to service users and that public confidence in the profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made and issued a further six month suspension.
The Panel this month reviewed the suspension. It considered whether to extend the suspension order. However, the misconduct occurred as long ago as 2014 and Mrs McConlough has not practised as a social worker since then. She has indicated that she no longer has any commitment to social work practice and there has been no recent engagement. She failed to complete the voluntary removal application which she had requested despite frequent reminders from the HCPC.
Furthermore, there is nothing to indicate that she has maintained her knowledge. In the circumstances a further period of suspension would serve no useful purpose.
The Panel has therefore concluded that the only appropriate, proportionate and sufficient sanction is that of a Striking Off order. Only this order would adequately protect the public and address the wider public interest.
Panel Chair Lesley White said: “Dishonesty on the part of a Registrant is particularly serious, regardless of whether it results in harm to service users. Honesty, integrity and trustworthiness are the bedrocks of any profession and the Panel determined that in these circumstances, failure to make a finding of impairment would undermine the need to uphold proper professional standards and public confidence in the profession.”
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