Social worker barred after relationship with ‘vulnerable’ client

A social worker in Northumberland has been barred from practising after having a relationship with a service user whom the General Social Care Council described as “extremely vulnerable”.

Stephen Douglas, who worked as a care manager for Northumberland Council, was found by an independent committee to have abused his position of power and trust by forming an inappropriate relationship with a female service user.

The committee noted Douglas’s lack of insight into his conduct towards the woman and his lack of remorse or apology for it.

He was also found guilty of failing to record that he had been employed by Northumberland when applying for a job with Cumbria Council and on his application to register with the GSCC.

So far 33 social workers have been found guilty of misconduct since the GSCC started hearing such cases in April 2006. In January this year, the council called for the development of codes of practice on sexual boundaries for social care staff.


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