Ogoh v General Social Care Council  EWCST 0888(SW) (11 June 2007)
Heard at Manchester Tribunal Centre
1 June 2007
Ms Ogoh, the Appellant, acted in person.
The General Social Care Council, the Respondent, was represented by Messrs Field, Fisher Waterhouse LLP, solicitors.
Ms Evelyn Onajite Ogoh appeals under section 68 of the Care Standards Act 2000 (the Act) against a decision of the General Social Care Council (GSCC) dated 18 October 2006 to refuse her registration as a social worker under section 58 of the Act.
"I also want to bring to the tribunal's knowledge that I have colleagues with the same d.s.w. & law qualifications as I do who were registered by the GSCC."
- Diploma in Social Work granted by the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria
- Social work trainee placements in Benin City 21 November 1998
- Award of Bachelor of Laws Degree by the University of Benin on 17 October 2003
- Certificate of call to the Nigerian Bar on 12 August 2004 with details of the courses undertaken during qualification and record of employment which included work as a Child's Rights and Welfare Officer.
"Before registration takes place this candidate should do at least sixty days in a statutory setting to broaden her knowledge and compensate for her lack of experience."
- "Recommendation: That the applicant has not met the requirements of the Diploma in Social Work
- Reasons: There is a mismatch between the applicant's professional activities and that of the DipSW. The academic level of the applicant's social work training in Nigeria is lower than that required by the DipSW and neither do they appear to have worked as a social worker.
Because the training substantially falls below the standards of the DipSW, the applicant would not have trained at sufficient depth and breadth. There is no evidence that this has been made up through any relevant social work post qualifying training or work experience as a social worker.
- Qualifying as a social worker in the UK: However, if you successfully complete qualifying training social work training in the UK, it would be possible for you to apply for registration on the basis that you had completed required training under Section 58 of the Care Standards Act."
The findings of the Tribunal
i. The GSCC was formed by virtue of Section 54 of the Care Standards Act 2000 ("the Act") with the responsibility for promoting in England high standards of conduct and practice and training among social workers.
ii. By section 56 of the Act the GSCC became responsible for making and maintaining a register of social workers. Section 57 of the Act provides that applications for registration shall be made to the GSCC and section 58 sets out the grounds upon which applications shall be granted.
iii. Section 64(1)(b) of the Act provides that an applicant for registration satisfies the requirements of the section, if he has, elsewhere than in England, undergone training in relevant social work and either (i) that training is recognised by the Council as being to a standard sufficient for such registration or (ii) is not so recognised, but the applicant has undergone in England or elsewhere such additional training as the Council may require.
iv. Section 68 of the Act provides the right of appeal against a decision to refuse an application for registration to the Care Standards Tribunal.
Tribunal's conclusions with reasons
a. From the information provided about Ms Ogoh's qualifications and experience we are satisfied that she does not fulfil the requirements for registration contained in section 64 of the Act. We conclude that a refusal of registration was appropriate.
b. Ms Ogoh's submissions reflect her remarks in her Notice of Appeal which indicate that she may not disagree with the decision to refuse her registration but that the GSCC should have allowed registration once she has undertaken further supervised practice. This accords with Ms Gregory's recommendations for additional 60 days qualifying training experience.
c. The Act does not provide for conditional registration. Section 64(1)(b)(2) refers to "undergone," We conclude that in order to qualify for registration any additional training must have been completed.
d. Following c. we conclude that Ms Ogoh's appeal cannot succeed as there is no evidence or suggestion that such additional training or experience has taken place.
e. Our unanimous decision is that this appeal is dismissed.
i.. Having reviewed the documents issued by the GSCC during the application process, we have sympathy with Ms Ogoh's expressed view that an assessor's report was overruled. Ms Gregory's report appears to suggest that her Benin diploma is sufficient provided it is supplemented by appropriate qualifying practice training. Ms Smith's decision appears to concur although it is less detailed. This ambiguity is now cleared by the refusal letter dated 18 October 2006. This repeated and reflected a previous "minded to refuse" notification.
ii. We note from the papers that the parties had some contact after the "minded to refuse" letter but before the refusal during which mention was made to the standard three-year Social Work qualification course for undergraduates.
iii. The terminology utilised in the "minded to refuse" and refusal letters may be standard GSCC wording by which "completed required training under section 58 of the Care Standards Act" is considered a reference to section 58(a)(i) that is "He has successfully completed a course approved by the Council under section 63 for persons wishing to become social workers." If this is the case, it is not explicit and if meant, should be stated.
iv. We can understand a Recipient's confusion. We recommend that the GSCC give consideration to the format and wording of such letters. Requirements for registration and the underlying reasons should be clear and relevant to the particular application. In this instance reference was made to the IRS report but the requirement communicated appears to be different from that recommended by the assessor.
Ms Ogoh's appeal is dismissed.
Mr Laurence J Bennett
Ms Michele Tynan
Mr James Churchill
Date: 11 June 2007