A social worker who falsely claimed £7,000 in benefits has been suspended from the social care register for a year.
Janet Bannerman covered up the fact that she was being investigated for benefit fraud in order to get a job, a conduct committee of the General Social Care Council found.
Bannerman was interviewed on suspicion of fraud in November 2007 and suspended from her job at the Department for Work and Pensions, pending an internal investigation.
But when she applied to the GSCC for inclusion on the social care register in April 2008, she failed to mention the police investigation and the fact she had by then resigned from the DWP.
She also failed to disclose this information to Sutton Council when she applied for a position in its family support services in June 2008, the GSCC’s conduct committee was told.
In March 2009, Bannerman pleaded guilty in court to falsely claiming about £7,000 in housing and council tax benefit and income support and sentenced to 250 hours’ unpaid work.
But she concealed her conviction from her employer and the GSCC, going so far as to doctor her flexitime sheets to show she had been working when in fact she had been attending court and probation meetings.
The committee found there were many “aggravating features” in the case, including the relatively high value of the benefits she had obtained and her lies to cover it up over.
However, the committee also noted that Bannerman had not abused her position of trust or power to claim the benefits; no service users had suffered as a result.
Bannerman had shown remorse and her supervisor had praised her abilities as a social worker.
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