Social worker ‘smelled of alcohol at work,’ conduct committee hears

Social worker Gloria Eaton repeatedly failed to adhere to her employer’s absence reporting procedures and smelled of alcohol at work, a General Social Care Council conduct committee has heard.

The hearing in London sat today and yesterday and the committee has now retired to consider the evidence.

Eaton, who was dismissed by Wiltshire Council in July 2005, allegedly breached sections 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the GSCC codes of practice .

She did not attend the hearing or appoint a legal representative. A statement said she “disagreed wholeheartedly” that she had drunk alcohol at work, although she admitted drinking the night before on occasion.

Witness Christine Green, a social worker in Eaton’s team, said her colleagues had been concerned about Eaton following a family bereavement in March 2003.

Manager Jeremy Fletcher told the committee his team had taken the “extremely unusual” action of requesting a meeting to express concerns about Eaton, including her repeated shaking. He said there had been “rumblings” about her use of alcohol.

Eaton faces allegations that she:

• Failed to adhere to her employers’s absence reporting procedures
• Claimed expenses for mileage from her employer to which she was not entitled because she was absent from work on the days in question
• Failed to report a suspected breach of a bail condition relating to access to a vulnerable child, until her employer persuaded her to do so
• Smelled of alcohol during work time
• Had an unknown male in her car while transporting a child from a supervised contact
• Failed to adhere to her employer’s file management procedures by keeping a number of client files at home in a disordered manner
• Contacted a 15 year old service user by telephone that she had no professional or work relationship with

Hearings are the final stage in the GSCC’s conduct process. If found guilty, social workers can be removed or temporarily suspended from the social care register, or issued with a caution.


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