The Health and Care Professions Council say this about themselves:
We are a regulator, and we were set up to protect the public. To do this, we keep a Register of health and care professionals who meet our standards for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health.
As they maintain the register of social workers they also investigate complaints against them. they say:
If a registrant does not meet our standards, we can take action which might include stopping them from practising. This means that if you are unhappy with the care or services you are given, or worried about the behaviour or health of a registrant, you can always raise your concerns with us.
HCPC provide the following documents on their website in support of their Standards and Ethics:
- HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance, and Ethics PDF
- HCPC Our rules on how health and care professionals behave PDF
- HCPC Standards of Proficiency: Social Workers in England PDF
- HCPC Standards for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) PDF
- HCPC Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and your registration PDF
- HCPC Standards of Education and Training PDF
- HCPC Standards of Education and Training Guidance PDF
Someone made a request to the HCPC in July 2017 as follows:
“1. I am writing to request the total number of FTP complaints you received about Cafcass personnel registered with you from January 2016 to date.
2. How many of these complaints were about Family Court Advisors?
3. How many of these were accepted and investigated by HCPC?
4. How many of the investigated complaints led to the removal of the Fitness to Practice status?
5. How many of the total number of complaints were from members of the public?
6. How many of the total number of complaints were made by Cafcass themselves?
7. How many of the investigated complaints were from members of the public?
8. If any of the investigated complaints led to the removal of the Fitness to Practice status, how many of these complaints were initially raised by members of the public
Please note: For the avoidance of doubt by “members of the public” I am including individual service users or whatever terminology you use to describe “people” rather than “organisations”.”
HCPC responded to say:
We have identified 7 cases received from 1 January 2016 to the date of your request, where the employer is recorded as being Cafcass.
Of the 7 cases, 4 specifically refer to the registrant being a Court Advisor. For the remaining 3, the person’s role within Cafcass is not specifically stated.
You asked: “How many of these were accepted and investigated by HCPC?” We have taken this to mean whether or not our Standard of Acceptance (SoA) was met. 6 of the cases were closed as they did not meet the SoA.
1 case is currently at the initial enquiry stages and it has yet to be decided whether or not it meets the SoA.
There were no cases in this period where a sanction was imposed.
All of the complaints referenced in question 1 were from members of the
You asked: “How many of the total number of complaints were made by Cafcass themselves?”. None.
You asked: “How many of the investigated complaints were from members of the public?” None – as per question 3 we have interpreted “investigated complaints” to mean complaints that met the SoA.
You can view the HCPC Standards of Acceptance document here:
Following this response from HCPC someone made a similar FOI request to Cafcass.
Bear in mind that Cafcass say this about their employees and reporting them to HCPC:
Disciplinary procedures are outlined in Cafcass’ Employee Relations Policy (section 5). Please see paragraph 5.21 in particular which sets out the circumstances in which it might be necessary for Cafcass to notify the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) of a practitioner’s fitness and ability to practice.
You can view Cafcass’ Employee Relations Policy here:
“Please could you confirm how many complaints you made to the HCPC about your own FCAs during the years 2014, 2015, and 2016?”
Please see the below table for detail of the number of referrals made to the
HCPC in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Year Number of Referrals to HCPC 2014 5 2015 0 2016 3
“Please would you provide, if you are able to, a breakdown of how many of these complaints were Private Law related against Public Law.
Information on whether referrals/complaints to the HCPC were specifically related to public/private law is not recorded or not limited to one law type or other.
Please would you confirm how many FCAs have left Cafcass during the years 2014, 2015, 2016 following a complaint by either Cafcass or another entity to HCPC”
There have been no FCAs in any of these years who have left Cafcass following a complaint/referral to the HCPC either by Cafcass or another entity.
The individuals who Cafcass referred to the HCPC were referred after they had left Cafcass or had been dismissed.
So we have HCPC saying they’ve had no referrals from Cafcass and the ones they have had have not been subject to investigation or sanctions. And we have Cafcass saying that they’ve made referrals and that FCAs have been sanctioned and were either dismissed or are no longer with them…
In a Family Law system designed for combative parents there is no real allowance for the views of children and any understanding of how Family Law ultimately impacts on children most of all.
We speak for the children in Family Law so that, finally, the children have a voice.