RG v Secretary of State, Court of Appeal, June 13, 2011,  UKFTT 355 (HESC) (HESC)
|Resolution Date:||June 13, 2011|
|Actores:||RG v Secretary of State|
 UKFTT 355 (HESC)
IN THE FIRST TIER TRIBUNAL
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR CHILDREN, SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES
 1430.PC -  1431.PVA
MR. STEWART HUNTER (TRIBUNAL JUDGE)
MS BRIDGET GRAHAM
MR. JIM LIM
Heard on the 6th September, 2010, 7th September, 2010, 8th September, 2010, 9th September, 2010, 12th October, 2010, 6th April, 2011 and 13th April, 2011
Sitting at the: Shrewsbury County Court, Cambrian Business Centre,
Chester Street, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 1NA
The Appellant was represented by her sister, Ms. SP.
The Respondent was represented by Mr. T. Little of Counsel save for the hearing on the 13th April, 2011 when the Respondent was represented by Mr. D. Northfield a solicitor.
This is an appeal by Ms. RG under Section 4 of the Protection of Children Act 1999 against her inclusion on the list of persons considered unsuitable to work with children by the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 1 of the Act. She also appeals against her inclusion on the list of those persons unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults kept by the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to Section 81 of the Care Standards Act 2000.
On the 1st May, 2009 His Honour Judge David Pearl made a Reported Restricting Order under rule 14 (1) of the Tribunal Procedure (First-Tier Tribunal) (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) Rules 2008, (``The Rules'') 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 any vulnerable adult or child; the appeal to be referred to accordingly as ``RG v Secretary of State''.
Also on the 1st May, 2009, His Honour Judge Pearl made an order under rule 26 (3) that the hearing should be held in private.
In a written witness statement dated the 11th April, 2007, Mr. Paul Hurd indicated that he was the Regional Director for Care UK Children's Services, an organisation that operated a number of residential children's homes. These included properties known as the FM and SB. which was located just outside Welshpool and a third property called T.O situated about 2 miles from S.B. It was also stated by Mr. Hurd that young people were placed with Care UK by various social services departments across the UK. The age range of the young people concerned was between 10 and 16 with an average age of between 12 and 14. The young people were stated by Mr. Hurd to have emotional and behavioural difficulties with some exhibiting challenging behaviour. The minimum ratio of staff to an individual young person was 1:1 although it could be 2:1 if required and higher if it were deemed necessary.
RG was born on the 23rd September, 1975 and on the 19th June, 2006 she was interviewed by Care UK (formerly Coverdale Care) for the position of a residential care worker. RG's sister, SP. was already employed by Care UK as a care worker. Mr. Hurd in his witness statement noted that RG's application form indicated that her previous employment had not been in the care industry. RG had previously worked in Asda as a shop assistant and before that for a company called Hutchinsons as a laboratory assistant.
Mr. Hurd also noted that RG in her application form had listed her main interests as being judo, outdoor activities and caring for young children, RG stating that she had two young children of her own.
RG was interviewed by Care UK on the 19th June, 2006 included within the interviewers written comments was the following:-
``Although B (RG) has no formal experience in care work she is very open about herself. She is aware of her role and what comes with the job as her sister works within Coverdale Care.''
The interview form also contained a list of criteria for the job and a scoring system whereby candidates were scored between 1 and 5. One of the criteria was:-
``Experience in dealing with young people - particularly with challenging behaviour'' for which RG was scored 3 points.
Mr. Hurd stated that Care UK was happy for RG to join the staff and on the 6th July, 2007 RG was employed as a residential care worker. Mr. Hurd stated that the organisation offered full training, which included regular supervision and that before anyone took on employment with Care UK they were provided with a booklet entitled ``Pre-Appointment Programme''.
Included within the Tribunal bundle was a job description for residential care workers dated May 2006. That indicated that the salary paid at that time was £12,730.00 to £15,060.00 per annum depending on qualifications, experience and service. The normal shift pattern was stated to be two days on and four days off, working 173 hours per month. Included within the description of the main purpose of the post was the following:-
``You will be responsible for the supervision of young people and activities while both in and out of the homes.''
In respect of training and development, the job description stated that all residential care workers were required to undergo mandatory training within the first six months of their employment. The job description then listed the types of training.
The Tribunal received evidence in these proceedings from Ms. Zahra Leggatt in the form of a written witness statement and oral evidence. Ms. Leggatt stated that she was the HR Manager for Child Care UK Children's Services and had access to all rota and training reports for staff, including those of RG. Ms. Leggatt stated that she was able to confirm from those records that RG had undertaken a number of training modules in July, 2006, February, 2007 and March, 2007. The modules consisted of a day course each. Ms. Leggatt also stated that the Pre-Appointment Programme was something that had to be completed by all residential care workers before completion of their first shift.
Ms. Leggatt said that there was also a requirement for fortnightly supervision of a new residential care worker, which involved an individual meeting with their Line Manager. Ms. Leggatt had tried to find records of RG's supervision meetings but had not been successful and had only been able to find one set of supervision notes. Ms. Leggatt went on to state that she monitored the progress of all new employees, which would normally include an interview after six months with their Manager and if necessary an action plan would be drawn up at that stage. RG had not completed all of her training or her probationary period with the organisation.
In proceedings before the Crown Court in March, 2008 RG was asked by her barrister as to whether or not she had received any training from her employers. The transcript of the trial indicates her response was as follows:-
``A limited amount of training. It should have been completed within six months, but it wasn't, due to staffing levels, so I was put on an action plan and obviously I wasn't put in confirmation of post because you can't do that until you have completed all your training.''
RG went on to say that she thought that she had only completed four different sections of the training around the beginning of her employment.
The Tribunal were given a description of the SB home by Mr. Barry Argent who in late 2006 and early 2007, was employed by Care UK as a residential care worker and spent some of that time at the SB. He signed a witness statement in these proceedings dated the 30th July, 2009 and he also gave oral evidence. Mr. Argent described SB as a bungalow with two bedrooms for young people and two bedrooms for staff. In addition there was an office with a sofa bed, a utility room, a lounge and a kitchen/dining area.
As far as the staffing situation was concerned, Mr. Argent stated that residential care workers worked two days on and four days off, so that a care worker would be at SB for 48 hours from when they came on shift and took care of their responsibilities during that time. When shifts changed over and new care workers came on there would then be a handover meeting.
The Tribunal also heard evidence from Ms. Dianne Farmer who signed a witness statement in these proceedings in July, 2009 and also gave oral evidence. She stated that she had previously been the Regional Manager for Care UK Children's Services and her role at that time was to supervise the registered managers in each of the homes, one of the homes for which she had been responsible was SB. In relation to staffing Ms. Farmer stated that there were 9 staff who would be working at the home, when they were actually there would depend on their shifts. It was the normal procedure for there to be two members of staff sleeping overnight at SB, but Ms. Farmer accepted that from time to time there were staff shortages.
The Manager of SB between October 2006 and March 2007 was Ms. Rosa Marsh and she signed a witness statement in these proceedings in August, 2009 as well as giving oral evidence. Ms. Marsh stated that she was the Manager of both SB and TO, as a result of which she was not always available at SB; she considered that she had a difficult job. Ms. Marsh also stated that staffing was a problem at SB at this time. As far as staff sleeping over were concerned, Ms. Marsh stated that it was company policy that there should be 2 staff, but if the young person concerned was happy for there to be 1 member of staff then that could happen, it depended on the vulnerability of the child. SB had been due to be refurbished when Ms. Marsh became Manager and she said that she had tried to make it more homely, but quite often the rooms were trashed and they always needed refurbishing. SB was not as clean as Ms. Marsh would have liked, but she did not consider it to have been unhealthy.
At the time RG joined Care UK there were 2 young people in residence at SB. One was JP, who Ms. Marsh described as being a...
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