Ajao v General Social Care Council, Court of Appeal - Social workers/social care workers, October 20, 2008, [2007] EWCST 1155(SW)

Resolution Date:October 20, 2008
Issuing Organization:Social workers/social care workers
Actores:Ajao v General Social Care Council
 
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Care Standards Tribunal 1Ajao v General Social Care Council [2007] EWCST 1155(SW) (20 October 2008)Babajaide Ajao-v-General Social Care Council[2007] 1155.SWBefore:Ms L Goldthorpe (Nominated Chair)Mr Andrew WilsonMrs Jenny CrossDECISIONAppeal Mr Ajao (the Appellant) appeals under Section 68 of the Care Standards Act 2000 (CSA 2000) against the refusal of the General Social Care Council (the Respondent) to register him as a social worker on the Register maintained under Section 56 (1) of the Act. 2. The appeal is dismissed for the reasons set out below.Representation3. Mr Ajao appeared in person. Mr Andrew Swan of Ward Hadaway, Solicitors, represented the RespondentPreliminary Matters4. The appeal was originally set down for hearing on 24 April 2008 but was adjourned part heard to clarify precisely what evidence the Appellant wished to challenge and to give the parties the opportunity to pursue direct evidence sought by the Appellant. The hearing was resumed on 19th September 2008.5. In response to the directions given on 24 April 2008, the Appellant confirmed he had only ever had in his possession two photocopies of two Child Protection Review Conference reports dated 12 and 23 January 2004 respectively belonging to the London Borough of Hackney (`Hackney'), the originals of which remained in Hackney's possession. He had sent copies of these photocopies to the Respondent and had destroyed the first set of photocopies at an unspecified date. 6. The Appellant contended he had been denied the opportunity to challenge directly the evidence of witnesses relevant to his case. At an earlier stage in the appeal process he had been served with a witness statement from Mr McGill. Mr Swan made it clear to the Appellant that the contents of that statement could not be challenged if Mr McGill did not attend to give oral evidence. The Respondent contacted two other former GSCC employees who had had contact with the Appellant during the registration process, Mr Field and Ms Bennett, the latter by forwarding a letter from the Appellant. Mr Swan confirmed that Mr Field was willing to attend the resumed hearing subject to receipt of a witness summons. The letter from Ms Bennett indicated she had no recollection of the events and could not offer any helpful assistance.7. Following the adjournment, the Appellant chose not to seek legal advice or to be represented. It was also made clear to him that he could apply for witness summonses and he confirmed he had been told both Mr Field and Mr McGill were available to give evidence. However, he said he did not need these witnesses as they had not been his in the first place and their evidence could not now be relied upon. 8. We accepted Mr McGill's signed statement dated 11 March 2008 on the basis that its contents could not be challenged, as he did not appear to give oral evidence.Witnesses9. The Respondent witnesses were Ms Krysia Hayes, GSCC Casework Manager and Ms Sue Morris, a social work Group Manager for the London Borough of Hackney. 10. The Appellant had no witnesses.Restricted Reporting Order and Exclusion Order 11. The Tribunal made orders under Regulation 18 (1) of the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults and Care Standards Tribunal Regulations 2002, prohibiting the publication (including by electronic means) in a written publication available to the public, or inclusion in any programme for reception in England and Wales, of any matter likely to lead members of the public to identify any child in these proceedings. The Law12. The General Social Care Council (`the GSCC') was formed by virtue of Section 54 of the Care Standards Act 2000 ("the Act") with the responsibility for promoting in England high standards of conduct and practice and training among social workers. By Section 56(1) of the Act it is required to maintain a register of social workers. Section 57 (1) of the Act provides that an application for registration as a social worker must be made to the Council of the GSCC in accordance with the relevant rules. These are set out in the GSCC Registration Rules 2005 and the GSCC (Conduct) Rules 2003. On the 4 March 2008 the GSCC (Registration) Rules 2008 and the GSCC (Conduct) Rules 2008 came into force but under the transitional arrangements the old rules continue to apply in respect of any application referred to a Regulation Committee prior to that date.13. The GSCC must refuse to register an applicant if it is not satisfied that he is of good character (Section 58 (1) of the Act). Section 57(1) of the Act also provides that an application for registration must be made in accordance with any rules made by the GSCC, which must refuse registration where the applicant does not satisfy any requirements as to conduct and competence imposed by these rules (Section 58(3) of the Act). Rule 4(3)(a) of the GSCC (Registration) Rules 2005 provides that in connection with his application an appellant must provide evidence as to: (i) his good character (as it relates to his fitness to practise the work expected of a social care worker), including endorsements from an employer or where the Appellant is self employed or not in employment, from a social care employer or other person acceptable to the GSCC as being fit to provide such an endorsement; (ii) good conduct; and (iii) competence.14. In making a decision about registration, the GSCC must take into account the Code of Practice. This sets out the conduct expected of social care workers by reference to a number of principles, including the fact that social care workers must protect the rights and interests of service users and strive to maintain their trust and...

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