Director of Proceedings v David Ramsden

Director of Proceedings v David Ramsden [2022] NZHRRT 25 (27 July 2022)

The Director filed proceedings by consent against Mr Ramsden, a registered social worker, in the Human Rights Review Tribunal, regarding Mr Ramsden’s blurring of professional and personal boundaries in his relationship with Mr A, a mental health client.

Mr A, aged in his fifties, had a history of depression and anxiety. At the relevant time, financial insecurity had triggered his depressive mood and was the main stress in his life. Mr Ramsden, who has over 30 years’ social work experience, was working as a mental health practitioner and undertook an initial clinical assessment of Mr A. Mr Ramsden was aware from the consultation that Mr A was a tradesperson by background and had been doing a variety of casual work of this nature, while looking for full-time employment in other areas of work. Mr Ramsden invited Mr A to do some private trade work for cash at Mr Ramsden’s home. While Mr Ramsden subsequently referred Mr A to an external counsellor, there were continued interactions between them that suggested an ongoing professional relationship. The relationship deteriorated when Mr Ramsden went to Mr A’s house to pay him for the work completed to that point, without prior agreement, which upset Mr A. When Mr A raised his concerns with Mr Ramsden, noting that it was inappropriate for Mr Ramsden to visit unannounced, an acrimonious exchange occurred during which Mr Ramsden used his clinical knowledge of Mr A’s issues against Mr A.

The matter proceeded by way of an agreed summary of facts. The Tribunal was satisfied that Mr Ramsden failed in the care that he provided to Mr A, and issued a declaration that Mr Ramsden had breached Right 4(2) of the Code by failing to provide services that complied with legal, professional, ethical, and other relevant standards.

The Tribunal’s full decision can be found at: