DM v GSCC, Court of Appeal, May 27, 2011, [2011] UKFTT 317 (HESC)

Resolution Date:May 27, 2011
Actores:DM v GSCC
 
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[2011] UKFTT 317 (HESC)Care Standards Tribunal 1DMvGeneral Social Care Council[2010] 1766.SWBeforeMiss Maureen Roberts, Tribunal JudgeMrs Jenny Lowcock, Specialist MemberMr Michael Jobbins, Specialist MemberDECISIONHeard on 4 5 and 18 May 2011 at the Liverpool Civil and Family Court 35 Vernon Street Liverpool.Representation: The Applicant represented himself and gave evidence.The Respondent was represented by Ms K Bex of Counsel.The tribunal heard evidence from Ms Jodie Godden Team manager at the GSCC, Ms Doherty External Investigating Officer for the GSCC, Ms G McManus Team Manager at Salford City Council Social Services department, Police Sergeant Maloney and Police Constable Bruffell of the Merseyside Police.APPEAL1. The Applicant appeals against a decision made by the Respondent on 20 April 2010 to remove him from the Register of Social Workers. The Appeal is made under S68 of the Care Standards Act 2002. It is for the Care Standards Tribunal ("the CST") to confirm that decision or to direct that it shall not have effect: see section 68(2) of the Care Standards Act 2000. 2. The Tribunal has decided to continue the restricted reporting order, originally made in the preliminary directions, under Rule 14 (1) (b) of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) Rules 2008, prohibiting the publication (including by electronic means) in a written publication available to the public, or the inclusion in a relevant programme for reception in England and Wales, of any matter likely to lead members of the public to identify the Applicant. THE BACKGROUND3. The Applicant qualified as a social worker in 1995. He has worked in child protection since qualifying, thus working directly with children and families. He has had permanent full-time work but more recently, since 2002, he has worked through employment agencies. In March 2008 the Applicant started work on an agency basis for Salford Social Services Department.4. It was alleged that the Applicant had, at approximately 2:55 AM on Thursday, 10 April 2008 approached members of the public in Argyle Street Birkenhead, and made sexually suggestive advances to them. It was said that he had shown his social work identity card to members of the public and had made lewd suggestions to them.5. The police responded to a 999 call made by a man who complained of the Applicant's behaviour. The lead officer was PC Carey supported by PC Bruffell and with Police Sergeant Maloney present. When the police attended the Applicant was in the vicinity. They spoke to him and the police recorded that he was co-operative with them and admitted that he had taken cocaine and had asked young women if he could `piss in their mouths '. He produced to the police officers his social worker ID card.6. At this stage the original complainants, who were said to be young women were not present. The police officers warned the Applicant about his behaviour and issued him with a stop and search notice at the scene which the Applicant signed. The Applicant was not arrested and no further police action was taken by them against him.7. The next day the police sent a fax to the Family and Crime Investigation Unit notifying them that the Applicant, who was a registered social worker, had been behaving in the manner outlined above. In due course this information was passed to Wirral Social Services and then Salford Social Services.8. When Salford Social Services received the information, the Applicant's line manager Ms McManus, team manager of the Children and Family Court team for the City Council, interviewed the Applicant on 14 April 2008. She recorded her notes of the conversation and these were available to the Respondents Conduct Committee and the tribunal. In that meeting the Applicant accepted he had been stopped and spoken to by police officers in Birkenhead however he said that the incident occurred at about 11 PM at night when he had been approached by two young women who alleged he had had professional involvement with a member of their family.9. The Applicant said that he had been stopped by the police who had told him that an allegation had been made that he had been involved with young women in some sort of sexual orgy. The Applicant told Ms McManus that he had explained to the police what had occurred and shown them his ID card. He said that they were satisfied with this and no further action been taken. 10. The Applicant's account of what happened to his line manager was at odds with the account given by the police. Subsequently Ms McManus informed the Applicant that his placement with the City Council, through the employment agency, would be terminated.11. There was a multi agency meeting about the incident and the employment agency notified the Respondent of the allegations.12. The Applicant was notified of the investigation by the Respondent in a letter dated 6 May 2008. In a letter dated 5 March 2009 he was informed that no further action was going to be taken. However in a letter dated September 2009 he was informed that the matter had been reopened and was to be investigated. This resulted in an ISO in January 2010 and the Conduct Committee hearing in April 2010.13. On 20 April 2010 the Respondent's Conduct Committee met. The Applicant did not attend and made no representations to the Committee. The Committee heard live evidence from PC Carey and Ms McManus and had the relevant documents which will be referred to later in this decision. The Committee concluded that the allegations were proved against the Applicant and that they amounted to misconduct. In considering the sanction the Committee decided to remove the Applicant from the Social Care Register.14. It is against this order that the Applicant appeals.THE LAW15. The decision of the GSCC's Conduct Committee was made under S59 of the Care Standards Act 2000 (CSA) coupled with the General Social Care Council (Conduct) Rules 2008 (the Rules).16. Section 59, Removal etc from register of the CSA provides: (1) Each...

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