A social worker who was struck off after claiming a car allowance from her employer while disqualified from driving has been reinstated on the register.
Patricia Kakeeto was convicted in September 2007 at Barking Magistrates’ Court of failing to provide a specimen for breath analysis and failing to stop at the scene of an accident earlier that year.
She was disqualified from driving for a year and fined £250.
But the social worker failed to declare the convictions to her employer, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, or the General Social Care Council, and dishonestly claimed an essential car user’s allowance.
She continued to work in the council’s vulnerable adults and drugs team for two years before the offences came to light through a Criminal Records Bureau check in December 2009.
The GSCC’s conduct committee concluded that the dishonesty was “so damaging to…public confidence in social care services” that it necessitated a removal order.
But the First-tier (Care Standards) Tribunal noted that Kakeeto had been banned from driving for 12 months, whereas failure to provide a breath specimen usually results in at least a 17-month ban.
“Overall, the offending was considered as being at the less serious end of the spectrum or there was evidence of substantial mitigation,” the tribunal found.
In addition, the tribunal panel, led by Judge John Aitken, said Kakeeto’s 10 years in social work deserved more consideration.
It found the claims for car user’s allowance had been a “technical offence”; had the council known Kakeeto was unable to drive, it might have paid her an essential travel allowance instead, at a higher rate. As such, Kakeeto made “no financial gain”.
The dishonesty was not aimed at service users and Kakeeto had expressed remorse.
Aitken said it would be appropriate for Kakeeto to serve a two-year admonishment.
What do you think?Join the debate on CareSpace
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails