Social worker struck off for falsely claiming more than £3000
HCPC strikes off social worker who claimed for hours she did not work
Published on 3rd June 2019
The HCPC has struck off a social worker from the register after she gained more than £3,000 by falsely claiming to have worked hours that she hadn't.
Mrs Jane Gordon was employed by South Gloucestershire Council from 9 April 2001 to 30 March 2017 and falsely recorded her working hours meaning she accrued £3,468.55 for hours she had not worked.
The Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service Panel described it as a "serious nature of misconduct which involved dishonesty over a prolonged period concerning a significant sum of money".
While working at South Gloucestershire, Mrs Gordon held two roles: from 9 April 2001 to 3 May 2009 she was employed as a Care Manager/Social Worker; and from 4 May 2009 to 20 March 2017 she was employed as a Hay 5 Social Work Senior Practitioner.
Her contractual hours were 7 hours and 24 minutes per day however, there was a flexi-time policy in place whereby staff could accrue time off in lieu. Staff were required to record their start and finish times each day.
In September 2015, Mrs Gordon's manager, PE, noticed that she was arriving late for work and leaving early but that her time recording of her hours of work did not reflect this. PE raised his concern at a supervision session with Mrs Gordon on 18 September 2015. He advised her to use the automated scanning system to record her hours of work and to stop manually recording her start and finish times.
However, in January 2017, PE again observed that Mrs Gordon was arriving after the start time for her contractual working hours and leaving before they ended. On checking her time recording, PE found that Mrs Gordon had reverted to manually recording her start and finish times.
PE concluded that Mrs Gordon was recording times exceeding those which she actually worked. An investigation of the relevant records between 1 January 2015 and 17 February 2017 ensued and established that the total number of hours which Mrs Gordon recorded as having worked exceeded her actual time at work by 385 hours, to the value of £3,468.55.
Mrs Gordon resigned from her employment on 30 March 2017.
At a previous HCPC hearing in November 2018, a Panel decided that the appropriate and proportionate sanction was to suspend Mrs Gordon for a period of six months to enable Mrs Gordon to reflect on her past misconduct and take steps to remediate her misconduct.
That Panel suggested that a future reviewing Panel may be assisted by a reflective statement about the outcome of these proceedings, her personal responsibility, and the implications of the finding of dishonesty and up-to-date references and testimonials from any employer and in relation to any work-related activities since the date of this Order.
However, at a review hearing in May, a HCPTS Panel said that the aggravating and mitigating factors identified by the previous panel were further aggravated by Mrs Gordon's non-engagement with the HCPC since the conclusion of the substantive hearing in November 2018.
Given the serious nature of the misconduct which involved dishonesty over a prolonged period concerning a significant sum of money, the Panel considered the matter too serious to take no action or for a caution order.
The Panel took into account that the previous Panel imposed a suspension order for six months to enable Mrs Gordon to reflect on her misconduct and take steps to remediate her misconduct.
However, the review Panel has been presented with no evidence of reflection or remediation by Mrs Gordon who has positively dis-engaged from her Regulator. In these circumstances, the Panel considered that no purpose would be served by a further period of suspension which would not protect the public or the public interest.
"In all the circumstances, the Panel determined that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction was a striking off order," the Panel concluded.
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