Torfaen care home manager suspended for misconduct over criminal record checks

An adult care home manager from Torfaen has been suspended from working as a registered social care professional for one year after a Social Care Wales hearing found her fitness to practise was impaired because of misconduct.

Donna Priest was accused of failing to make sure the staff at the care home she managed had up-to-date criminal records checks and failing to accurately record one staff member’s criminal convictions.

Ms Priest was employed as the manager of the care home from 2009 until April 2016 when she was suspended by her employers over the allegations.

The hearing was told that in failing to record the staff member’s convictions, Ms Priest led others to wrongly believe the staff member had a clear criminal records bureau/disclosure and barring service certificate, and that her actions were deliberately misleading and dishonest.

She also failed to make sure staff had up-to-date training, supervision and appraisals. This resulted in the necessary paperwork being unavailable for inspection by the Care Inspectorate Wales.

Ms Priest gave evidence at the four-day hearing which also heard from three witnesses – an inspector from Care Inspectorate Wales, the home’s deputy manager and the home’s owner.

Having heard the evidence, the committee decided that Ms Priest’s fitness to practise was impaired because of her misconduct.

Explaining its decision, the committee told Ms Priest: “Our finding of dishonesty gave rise to a question over your integrity and amounted to a breach of a fundamental tenet of the social care profession.

“You expressed your willingness to undertake further training and we were satisfied that you were developing insight into the shortcomings of your practice. [But] there was no evidence that you had already taken significant remedial steps or that your insight is fully developed.”

The committee decided to impose a suspension order with conditions for 12 months  to provide her with an opportunity to remedy her conduct. Under the conditions, Ms Priest must complete training within the next 10 months on safeguarding, supervision and appraisal, and core competency in relation to IT and time management.

She must also provide reflective essays that show what she has learned from her training, the practice guidance for social care managers and the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care.