“Social work gave me the chance to be useful in the world.”
A social worker who said entering the profession had “turned her life around” today admitted she failed to disclose a complete criminal record on her application to register with the General Social Care Council.
Bernice Mary Francois, a palliative care social worker employed by Tower Hamlets Council, admitted she had breached the regulator’s code of practice by failing to do so.
Francois, 50, had eight convictions for offences including theft and possession of cannabis between 1976 and 1986.
But she only included three of those on her application, claiming there was a lack of space on the form.
She told the committee she believed the GSCC would carry out a police check and that it would “not be possible to hide my convictions”.
However, on reflection she said she had been “naïve” to think that.
She told the committee she had a “difficult start in life”, which included leaving school aged 15 with no qualifications. But she qualified as a social worker in 1993 and said this had “turned my life around”.
She added: “Social work gave me the chance to be useful in the world.”
She also claimed her troubled background had made her a better social worker.
Her counsel, David Tyme, urged the committee to consider admonishment for the shortest possible period rather than suspension or removal from the register.