A social worker who circulated offensive e-mails, including one showing Gary Glitter carrying a child in a plastic bag, has been struck off the register in Scotland.
William Simpson, who qualified in 1992, forwarded an e-mail with the subject heading “Gary Glitter at Duty Free” from his work e-mail at South Lanarkshire Council in August 2008.
The e-mail showed an image of convicted sex offender Paul Francis Gadd, known by his stage name Gary Glitter, carrying a bag apparently containing a child of south-east Asian origin.
The council sacked Simpson for forwarding this and a further three e-mails containing racist, sexist and homophobic content to people outside the office between July 2007 and September 2008. One was in the form of an opinion poll, which contained sexually explicit images and made reference to a child being placed for adoption.
Simpson told a Scottish Social Services Council conduct sub-committee that there was an “e-mail sub-culture” within the council.
But the committee found he had failed to take personal responsibility for his own actions, and had shown a lack of insight into the potential consequences.
It said Simpson would have been fully aware of the council’s policy on using e-mails and the internet, as a disclaimer appeared on screen whenever an employee logged into the system.
It also noted that two of Simpson’s qualifications included training on diversity and discrimination issues.
There was no evidence that the sending of any of the four e-mails had caused offence or distress, or that any of them had reached service users, their families or their carers.
However, the committee said: “By forwarding the e-mails, [Simpson] risked the e-mails being viewed by members of the public.
“Any member of the public learning of the content of the forwarded e-mails might reasonably deduce that [Simpson] held views which are racist, sexist and homophobic.”
This, it said, could have brought into disrepute the reputation both of South Lanarkshire Council and the wider social work profession.
Simpson was one of 12 staff disciplined by South Lanarkshire Council for sending the e-mails in 2008. Social workers Charles Devlin and James Mina also face misconduct charges.