Social worker suspended for forging a ‘glowing’ reference

Deborah Bonner rewrote a poor job reference after her recruitment agency said it would hinder her chances of finding another job.

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A social worker who dealt with a poor job reference by rewriting it in “glowing” terms and later lying about her employment history has been suspended for six months.

Deborah Bonner received a poor reference from her line manager at the London Borough of Camden in 2010, after which her then recruitment agency said it would not be able to place her elsewhere.

Bonner reacted by first forging a reference under the same line manager’s name and then trying to disguise the fact that she had worked at Camden when applying to other recruitment agencies, the General Social Care Council’s (GSCC) conduct committee heard.

She told one recruitment agency that the gap in her employment history was due to a career break following the death of her mother.

Bonner did not attend the hearing, but in a letter to the GSCC she said she was “deeply ashamed and embarrassed” about the fraudulent reference.

She explained that she had been worried about money at the time and desperate to find a new job, but admitted that her actions had been “unprofessional and dangerous”.

The conduct committee noted that she had a good employment history and had shown some remorse and insight.

It concluded that this was an isolated incident and so a period of suspension was appropriate.

Read the full notice of decision

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