The High Court has approved an application by Social Work England for an extension of an Interim Suspension Order (ISO).

The case involved allegations of dishonesty.  Fordham J explained:

“The regulatory concerns in this case include serious matters. In particular, there is this. The Defendant is said to have undertaken work for another local authority as an approved mental health practitioner (AMHP) social worker, (a) without giving the necessary notification to her principal local authority employer; and moreover (b) at a time when she was temporarily suspended from her principal employer’s AMHP rota because of practice concerns. It is said, in each respect, that this was in contravention of important regulatory obligations on her, both as to the giving of notification and as to not undertaking work as an AMHP with another authority while suspended. She is also said to have undertaken Mental Health Act assessments leading to deprivations of liberty during that work in those circumstances for that other authority. Issues relating to honesty and integrity, and issues regarding actioning deprivations of liberty without authority, have been raised.”

In opposing any extension, the Defendant’s written submissions emphasised – among other points – the harmful effects on her of what she describes as this “long punitive process”. She described this 28 month investigation and the detriment to her physical and mental health. She has provided a detailed picture as to health and health implications.

Fordham J had sympathy with the defendant, saying:

“I accept that there is a seriously detrimental impact of the long protracted process. I also accept that there is a significant detriment in the continuation of the ISO as an interim order pending the process running its course.”

However, he ultimately noted that:

“It is important to emphasise that I am concerned with whether or not to extend the ISO. I do not have the jurisdiction to curtail, or accelerate, the disciplinary process. Nor am I considering any application to challenge the decision not to accept the Defendant’s request for voluntary removal.”

UK Fitness to Practise News

In granting the extension, Fordham J said:

It is important for public protection and the public interest that the position should be fully secured. But I am not prepared to grant an 18 month extension to November 2025 based on the picture relating to the timeframe for dealing with cases through to hearings, including given the background and circumstances of the present case. I am persuaded only that it is necessary and proportionate to grant an extension of 12 months to 2 May 2025.”


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