The first social worker to appear before the General Social Care Council’s conduct committee successfully applied for her case to heard in private after arguing that publicity could damage her health.
Yvonne Doyle, from Darlington, was due to attend a three-day hearing in Newcastle last week over allegations that she had advertised herself as an escort, breaching the GSCC’s code of practice.
But she did not appear on the first day of her hearing and her counsel applied for the hearing not to be held in public, citing rules that allow cases to be heard in private on health grounds.
Committee chair Barry Picken granted the application after more than two hours of legal debate. He said the case would not be held in public because of the impact on Doyle’s health and “the potential impact on her of publicity in respect of this case”.
He added: “It was submitted by the registrant’s representative, and accepted by the presenter, that there is a great probability of her attending this hearing and giving oral evidence if it is heard in private.”
The conduct committee will reconvene after Easter to announce its verdict.
British Association of Social Workers director Ian Johnston would not comment on the case but said there had been concerns about the inclusion of the clause on health grounds when the rules for conduct cases were being drawn up.
The GSCC declined to comment on the case but said it had no plans to review its conduct rules, saying they were in line with those for other professions such as teaching and medicine.