Libby Anderson Represents Social Worker at SWE.

19 November 2021

Libby Anderson was instructed to represent a social worker, AB, facing a range of regulatory concerns before Social Work England. The concerns related to failures in safeguarding vulnerable youths, accessing confidential records, and dishonesty.

The two most serious charges faced by AB were a failure to report a safeguarding concern, and that in failing to report the safeguarding concern, AB had been dishonest. The evidence against AB hinged on the account given by a manager, who had given evidence at the internal disciplinary hearing to the effect that no safeguarding report had ever been made. AB’s case had always been that they had reported the safeguarding concern, and that the manager was either mistaken or untruthful in their evidence. When the manager subsequently refused to attend the SWE hearing, SWE made an application to admit their evidence as hearsay. Libby successfully opposed this application, making robust submissions anchored on the guidance found in Thorneycroft v NMC [2014] EWHC 1565 (Admin). In rejecting the application, the panel found that the manager’s evidence was the sole and decisive evidence in relation to these two charges, and that it would be unfair to admit it. Accordingly, SWE offered no evidence in relation to those two charges.

Two lesser charges, namely a failure to follow up a safeguarding report over a period of 8 years, and improperly accessing service user records, were admitted by AB. Libby was able to persuade the panel to impose a conditions of practice order, rather than a suspension or strike off as had been sought by SWE, notwithstanding the seriousness of those charges in their own right.

Libby was instructed by Michelle Stewart of Thompsons Solicitors.

More news stories
Libby Anderson.