A social worker who faked documents she knew would be relied upon by the courts when arranging fostering placements for children has been struck off.
Philippa O’Callaghan, a social worker with 26 years’ experience, was working for Salford Council in 2009 when she carried out assessments of three couples, all of whom were prospective permanent foster carers.
For each assessment, O’Callaghan included the views three personal referees. However, when later challenged by her line manager, she admitted that she had falsified the references.
O’Callaghan also produced part of a Special Guardianship report in which she said reports from referees were attached – but she had not obtained said reports.
The General Social Care Council’s conduct committee found she had acted dishonestly, adding that “safeguarding provisions had been abandoned and vulnerable service users had been put at risk”.
O’Callaghan knew the falsified entries, which were produced over a period of nine months, would be relied upon by family placement panels and the courts, the committee found. She had had “ample time” to reflect upon her actions and take remedial steps, but failed to do so.
O’Callaghan did not attend the hearing, but the committee took into account her long period of service as a social worker, as well as a positive reference from her line manager at Salford.
However, the committee concluded that the mitigating factors did not outweigh the necessity to remove her from the register.
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