Raising concerns about a worker

How to refer a concern

We are responsible for holding a register of social care workers and social work degree students. As part of the registration process, workers have to agree to work to the standards set out in the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers.

The Care Council has a duty to investigate complaints of alleged misconduct made against Registered Social Workers, Social Work Degree Students, Social Care Workers and Managers in Wales who allegedly do not meet the standards set out in the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers for incidents of misconduct and fitness to practise which occurred prior to 1st of July 2015. The standards in the Codes of Professional Practice for Social care will be used for incidents of impaired fitness to practise which occur after 1st of July 2015.

> Code of Practice for Social Care Workers

Misconduct means conduct which calls into question the suitability of a registrant to remain on the Register. A registrant is an individual who is registered with us.

The Care Council can take action when it receives this information and there is a process for investigating information and imposing sanctions on those whose suitability to remain on the Register and work in the social care sector in Wales is brought into question, including suspending and removing registrants from the Register.

The full details of the conduct process can be seen in the Conduct Rules 2011:

> Conduct Rules 2011

What kind of issues should I refer?

We will be able to investigate:

  •  Information about a social care worker who is registered with us; and

  • Information that makes a specific allegation in relation to a worker’s conduct.

To find out if a social care worker is registered, you can check the public register:

> Search the Register

We will not be able to investigate cases:

  • Where the social care worker is not registered with us; or

  • Where the concern involves information about services or resources, for example, the amount of day care that someone receives.

Examples of the types of cases we can consider are:

  • Misconduct (such as inappropriate behaviour, failing to follow procedures, or dishonesty);

  • A lack of competence that leads to misconduct over a period of time(not having the necessary skills and knowledge);

  • A conviction or caution for a crime in the UK (or somewhere else for an offence     that would be a crime if it was committed in England and Wales);

  • Where alleged misconduct has been caused or contributed to by  physical or mental ill health;

  • A determination (a decision) made by another regulator responsible for health or social care and with whom the Registrant is also registered;

  • A Registrant being included on a barred list which prevents him/her working      with vulnerable adults or children.

We can also consider allegations about whether an entry to the Care Council for Wales register was made fraudulently or incorrectly. This might be the case if, for example, a registrant gave false information when they applied to be registered or failed to disclose full information.

Because our function is to protect the public, there are no time limits for the receipt of a referral and we can consider cases where events took place many years ago, or at a time when the social care worker was not registered. In these situations, the investigation may be impaired because of difficulty in obtaining evidence and possible witness statements.

If you are unsure whether or not we would be able to look into your concern or the information you have, please contact us and we will discuss it with you.

However, we would also suggest you consider the employer’s complaints procedure in the first instance. The employer will then have opportunity to investigate your concerns and it may be that you will then be satisfied with the outcome of their investigation. If the social care worker, manager or social work degree student is already being investigated by other organisations, such as the police or the employer, we may put our investigation on hold until we know the outcome of the other investigations.

The information you provide must:

  • Be in writing;

  • Identify the registrant you are telling us about;

  • Be a specific allegation(s) about a registrant; and

  • Set out the nature of your concerns in enough detail so that the Care Council is clear about your concerns and that the Registrant can understand them and then be able to respond.

If you want to tell us about concerns you have about a registrant, you can do this in one of the following ways:

By completing the referral form below

> Referral form 

> Guidance for members of the public 

You can email us at investigations@ccwales.org.uk

You can send us a letter, addressed to the Conduct Investigations Manager, at the postal address provided below:

Conduct Investigations Manager
Care Council for Wales
South Gate House
Wood Street
Cardiff
CF10 1EW.

Phone: 029 2078 0644

Confidential Fax: 029 2078 0619

You will need to include:

  • Your full name and contact details;

  • As much information about the registrant as you can give, such as their name, profession and place of work;

  • If possible, the social care worker/ manager or social work degree student’s registration number, which can be found on the online Register, (this is not essential);

  • As much information about the concern as you can provide, such as names, dates, places and circumstances; and

  • Details of any other individual or organisation that you have referred the matter to.

If you need any more information or advice, we will be happy to help you.

What to expect from us if you raise a concern

If you raise a concern with us about a registrant we will keep you up-to-date with the progress of our investigation. We will give you contact details for the Conduct Investigations Officer allocated to the case, whom you can contact if you have any questions.

Role of the Conduct Investigations Officer

They cannot give you legal advice. However, they can explain how the process works and what we consider when making decisions. The Conduct Investigations Officer will formally acknowledge your complaint by letter.

Time

The time a case takes to reach the end of the conduct process will depend on the nature of the investigation we need to carry out and how complicated the issues are. The types of issues that can delay a case include:

  • Difficulty in getting information from another organisation;

  • An on-going police investigation or criminal trial – this is because we will wait      until  any criminal case is concluded;

  • An on-going employer investigation – this is because we will wait until that      investigation has finished and any disciplinary hearing and Appeal (if relevant) has concluded before we obtain the relevant documents.

Further, if the matter proceeds to a Conduct or Health Committee, time delays can occur due to:

  • Difficulty in obtaining a date that suits all parties; and / or

  • Adjournment requests for any reason.

The Conduct Investigations Officer will keep you informed at regular intervals about the progress of the case, but if you have any questions about what is happening with the concern you raised, or why it may be taking longer than you expected, you can contact the Conduct Investigations Officer who is dealing with it at any time.

Keeping your information confidential

When we are investigating a case, we will need to tell the Registrant that a referral has been made. This is likely to include the name of the person who has raised the concern. We will always make sure that we remove your contact details from the documents we send out. The Registrant will be given details of the concerns referred and be invited to provide a written response.

The investigation process

The Care Council investigates matters that relate to the conduct of a registered social worker, social care worker, manager or registered social work degree student which may call into question their suitability to remain on the social care register.

In undertaking investigations, the Care Council is able to obtain many different documents and pieces of information from many different sources. For example, employer disciplinary documents and outcomes, certificates of convictions, medical reports, and witness statements. The Care Council will also examine relevant documents such as case recordings, time sheets and expenses records, relevant to each concern being investigated.

An initial risk assessment is considered at an internal case conference. The internal case conference comprises of the Director of Regulation and Professional Standards, the Conduct Investigations Manager and the Conduct Investigations Officers. An initial risk assessment is undertaken to determine whether there are any matters which might affect public protection or be in the public interest or be in the interest of the Registrant and which may require immediate attention.

The Care Council can recommend that an Interim Order be imposed on the Registrant. There are two types of Interim Order available to the Care Council, an Interim Suspension Order (ISO) or an Interim Conditions of Practice Order (ICPO). Recommendations for both types of Interim Orders are considered at an Investigating Committee where an independent panel will make a decision.

An Interim Suspension Order means that a registrant cannot practice for the duration of the Order and whilst further investigation is undertaken. An Interim Conditions of Practice Order means that a registrant has conditions imposed on their registration status with which the registrant must comply, for the duration of the Order and whilst further investigation is undertaken.

Outcomes

During an investigation there are several options available to the internal case conference considering each concern referred. It can make the decision that the case is to be closed and that there should be no further action.

The internal case conference can impose an undertaking on a Registrant, which enables the registrant to continue working. An undertaking can be imposed if the Registrant admits the allegations made and also admits that the allegations amount to misconduct. An undertaking is an agreement that the Registrant will comply with certain specific requirements set out by the Care Council and will depend on the nature of the concerns raised against the Registrant. For example, an undertaking may be imposed on a social worker where there have been concerns raised about their practice and the Registrant would have to agree to undertake further training relating to specific areas of their work.

The internal case conference is also able to refer concerns to an Investigating Committee (IC), which consists of an independent panel of three members. The IC sits in private to decide upon concerns referred to it by the Care Council’s internal case conference. A report is presented to the IC by the Conduct Investigations Officer, disclosing the evidence obtained throughout the investigation and making a recommendation as to the outcome for the panel. The IC considers the report and attached evidence and also a response from the registrant if obtained.

Investigating Committee

The role of the Investigating Committee (IC) is to consider information referred to it by the Care Council and decide whether;

  • The information questions the suitability of the Registrant to remain on the Register;

  • No further action should be taken on that case;

  • No further action should be taken and that the case should be closed with a written reminder given to the Registrant of the responsibilities set within the      Code of Practice for Social Care Worker;

  •  Further information is needed;

  • The information should be referred to a Conduct Committee or Health Committee;

  • It is necessary, for the protection of the public, in the public interest or in the interest of the registrant to make an Interim Suspension Order (ISO);

  • It is necessary, for the protection of the public, in the public interest or in the interest of the registrant, to make an Interim Conditions of Practice Order (ICPO).

Orders imposed by Investigating Committees

Interim Suspension Order (ISO)

This is an Order that suspends a registrant from the Register whilst investigations are carried out into allegations of misconduct that have not yet been found proven. It is only applied where a Committee considers that it is necessary for the protection of the public, is in the interests of the public or in the registrant’s own interests.

The first ISO can be imposed for a period of no more than 6 months. It will then be reviewed. The total period of interim suspension cannot be for more than two years.

Whilst it is in place, the Order can be reviewed at any time.

Interim Conditions of Practice Order (ICPO)

This Order temporarily places conditions on a registrant’s registration. As with an ISO, the ICPO cannot be imposed for an initial period of more than 6 months and will be reviewed at that point. An ICPO can be reviewed at any time and cannot be in place for more than two years in total.

It is only applied where a Committee considers that it is necessary for the protection of the public, is in the interests of the public or the registrant’s interests and where an ISO is not considered to be appropriate.

Examples of conditions that may be imposed are;

  • The registrant is to undertake specific training within a defined period and provide evidence of the successful completion of that training to the Care Council;

  • The registrant is to provide the Care Council with a regular report signed by the registrant’s employer confirming that the registrant is continuing to comply with a relevant requirement (e.g. not undertaking a particular activity without supervision);

  • The registrant is to only practice within Adult Services.

The IC usually meets in private. If the Committee is considering an ISO or an ICPO, the registrant is invited to attend the hearing.

What happens if a case is referred to a Conduct Committee or Health Committee?

What happens if a case is referred to a hearing?

If the Investigating Committee decides that there is reasonable prospect of a finding of misconduct the case will be referred to a Conduct Committee or Health Committee.

Please see the Hearings Process pages for further information.

> Hearings Process

Appeals

The registrant has a right to appeal against the decision made by a Care Council for Wales Committee where the registration status of the worker has been changed.

The First Tier (Care Standards) Tribunal hears appeals against decisions made by Care Council for Wales Committees.

The Tribunal considers applications for appeals against decisions made by the Care Council, in respect of a decision on:

  • The registration of an applicant or registrant by a Registration Committee;

  • The outcome of an Investigating Committee (where an ISO or ICPO is imposed);

  • Sanction imposed by a Conduct or Health Committee.

All Tribunal decisions and reasons are posted on their website; www.carestandardstribunal.gov.uk