A growing proportion of cases involving dishonest behaviour by social care workers in Scotland are coming before the Scottish Social Services Council.
A report by the regulator for Scotland found that between April 2008 and March 2009, 24 cases were referred to sub-committees for misconduct involving 15 social workers, two social work students, four children’s home workers and three children’s day care workers.
Almost a third of the total of 38 breaches of the SSSC’s code of practice for social service workers during this time related to section two of the code of practice, requiring honest and trustworthy behaviour towards service users.
A previous report by the SSSC showed that of the five cases referred to conduct committees between 2003 and 2008, only 12% of breaches related to section two.
Action taken by SSSC conduct committees in 2008-9 led to three suspensions, including one for dishonesty, and six removals from the register, of which two were for dishonest behaviour.
Unlike the previous five -year period, inappropriate contact with service users did not feature highly, with only one removal resulting from this type of misconduct.
One case which hit the headlines was that of Kevin Glancy, formerly of Edinburgh Council’s children and families department, who was removed from the register for possession of child pornography in December 2008.
However, critics have challenged the lack of information made available publicly by the SSSC regarding conduct cases. Although most cases are held in public, the regulator only started publishing details of allegations against social workers and other registrants on its website earlier this year.
Nevertheless, the report concluded that the care council’s processes for holding social care workers to account for inappropriate behaviour and poor practice were “fair and transparent”. It added that, as in the previous five years, “only a tiny fraction” of the social services workforce in Scotland were refused entry or subject to conduct proceedings. Only 0.8% of workers came into contact with the conduct system in Scotland in 2008-9, compared to 2% in 2003-8.