Social Work England (SWE)

Stephen McCaffrey | General Medical Council (GMC) Defence BarristerI am a vastly experienced and successful healthcare defence barrister with a proven track record for successful outcomes for clients.  If you are a social worker facing fitness to practise issues or seeking restoration after removal hearing, contact me today for a free, no obligation case assessment.

Recent Cases

Recent testimonials

Mr McCaffrey and his team are beyond excellent.. I cannot thank them enough for their sheer dedication, expertise and efforts which went above and beyond their call of duty in my case.

Due to their hard work and I am now back to work and I cannot thank Stephen McCaffrey enough for his support during my difficult and traumatic time.

Quite frankly, the service they provide is extremely good value. I am sincerely grateful to both of them and cannot recommend them highly enough.

My case was dealt with speed and efficiency, highly recommend the service provided by Stephen McCaffrey

Stephen, I know we have not finished yet but without you I was going to be struck off. I cannot believe how bad my previous advice was and how good the outcome you got for me. I will be telling all of my colleagues. Thank you to you and your team.

I am renowned for being “hands on”, I give direct and realistic advice and I will not waste your time and money.

Legal advice at Social Work England hearings

Where a case has been referred to an interim order or fitness to practise hearing or a restoration after removal hearing, Social Work England is required to appoint a legal advisor to either chair the meeting or act as legal advisor.

It is therefore also imperative that social workers facing a fitness to practise investigations seek their own legal advice and representation at an early stage in the process.

I am a vastly experienced and successful healthcare defence barrister with a proven track record for successful outcomes for clients. 

If you are a social worker facing fitness to practise issues or seeking restoration after removal hearing, contact me today for an initial free and no obligation consultation on 0207 060 1983 or Stephen.McCaffrey@kingsviewchambers.com.

 

Social Work England – Fitness to Practise

On 2 December, Social Work England is due to take over responsibility, from the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC), for regulating England’s social workers.

Under Social Work England, social workers will face new fitness to practise criteria and procedures.  These will differ from the HCPC’s fitness to practise rules which has been criticised for being legalistic and punitive.

Triage process

The first stage in Social Work England’s fitness to practise process is triage.  This will involve an initial screening of the complaint.  Some complaints will be filtered out at this stage. 

Some very serious complaints will see immediate action or escalation; instances of registration fraud will be forwarded to a dedicated team and social workers convicted of serious ‘listed offences’ will face automatically being struck off.

For the remainder of complaints, a process based on Social Work England’s criteria will be followed to determine if there are reasonable grounds for an investigation.

The criteria referred to above include:

  • Seriousness of the complaint;
  • the likely availability of sufficient evidence to support an allegation of impaired fitness to practise; and
  • whether the social worker has taken any remedial action in respect of the concern.

Case Examiners

If after the initial triage process a decision is made that the complaint has merit, a case will be opened and passed to case examiners.

Case examiners are responsible for making decisions on the best course of action once a case has been considered at the triage and investigation stages.

These case examiners will consist of both:

  • Lay case examiners – to “bring experience from many different backgrounds but have never been registered as a social workers.”
  • Professional case examiners - registered and practising social workers “who will share their sector expertise.”

The case examiners will receive a case report from the investigation team which will outline the nature of the concerns. They will take into consideration the report, any response from the social worker and any further relevant information, such as a medical report or a response from a representative acting on behalf of the social worker.

If the case examiners decide that there is a realistic prospect, they will be given the opportunity to make use of our accepted disposal powers to resolve cases without the need for a contested hearing.

The disposal powers available to case examiners are:

  • Formal warning
  • Appropriate advice
  • Closing a case

If the social worker subject to the fitness to practise complaint agrees to deal with the complaint by way of a disposal through the case examiner (described above), the matter will be closed.

If not, the case will be referred to a panel of adjudicators.

Adjudicators

The adjudication panel will be made up of both lay people and one registered social worker. The regulations sets a minimum limit of one lay person and one registered social worker.

The adjudication panel are empowered to do a number of things:

  • Issue an Interim Order
  • Issue a Removal Order
  • Take no further action

The adjudication panel can also do a number of things in cases where a registrant has failed to either comply with the fitness to practise panel’s rules or directions:

  1. draw adverse inferences; and
  2. refuse to admit evidence where the failure relates to the admissibility of that evidence.

Legal advice at hearings

Where a case has been referred to an interim order or fitness to practise hearing or a restoration after removal hearing, Social Work England is required to appoint a legal advisor to either chair the meeting or act as legal advisor.

It is therefore also imperative that social workers facing a fitness to practise investigations seek their own legal advice and representation at an early stage in the process.

I am a vastly experienced and successful healthcare defence barrister with a proven track record for successful outcomes for clients. 

If you have been notified by the SWE that you’re under investigation or are facing difficulties with your registration, contact me today for an initial free and no obligation consultation on 0207 060 1983 or Stephen.McCaffrey@kingsviewchambers.com.

Contact Stephen

Contact Stephen today for a confidential free no obligation case conference.

Contact Stephen

Recent Blog & Publications

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14 Jun

One of the most important steps to protect your medical licence is avoiding what the GMC considers to be the very worst offences.

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6 Jun

We look at the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) “top priorities” for improvements to its fitness to practise investigations and processes.

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6 Jun

Overview of SWE’s “accepted disposal” process, the outcome of the PSA review and discussion on the fairness of this process.

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31 May

A brief overview of the Health and Care Professions Council’s fitness to practise investigation process and your opportunities to respond.

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31 May

In the recent case of Dad v GDC, the High Court commented on the correct approach registrants should take when considering their declarations.

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23 May

Dr Raied Haris lose further appeal in sexually “motivated” conduct case and where the GMC was advised to rethink the way it accuses doctors.