A HAMPSHIRE social worker, a graduate of Winchester University, has been suspended for incompetence.

Neil Rutland has been suspended from the Health and Care Professions Council register for 12 months for poor work whilst employed by Hampshire County Council.

A panel of the HCPC Conduct and Competence Committee heard that Mr Rutland took up his first post as a social worker in 2014 after completing a social work degree at Winchester University.

Concerns regarding his progress and performance over his first year came to light when he failed both to recognise risks to children during visits and to formulate plans to safeguard them when working in the north-east of the county.

The panel further heard that his failings included not highlighting safeguarding concerns of neglect in relation to the case of the A Children, failing to recognise concern for the A Children’s safety after referrals from two members of the public and submitting a child protection report for the C Children without highlighting that the father had admitted to assaulting one child.

Panel chairman Graham Aitken said: “The panel finds that Mr Rutland’s lack of competence was such as to bring the profession of social workers into disrepute, as he was unable to identify and implement appropriate safeguarding measures in respect of vulnerable children as represented by the standards identified under the statutory grounds above.”

The panel concluded to suspend the name of Neil Rutland from the HCPC Register for a period of twelve months.

Mr Rutland was neither present nor represented at the hearing.

The county council was asked to comment but did not respond.

The HCPC is an independent regulator set up by the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001.

It keeps a register for 16 different health and care professions and only registers people who meet the standards it sets for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health.

The HCPC will take action against professionals who do not meet these standards or who use a protected title illegally.