A social worker who entered into a financial transaction with the aunt of one of her service users has been cautioned by the Care Council for Wales (CCW).
Amelita Noriega Nacion, a former Rhondda Cynon Taff council employee, admitted negotiating a reduced price for the woman’s car, but failing to give her the money she received for it straight away.
Nacion did not inform her team manager that she was in debt to the aunt, even after child protection concerns were raised about the woman’s niece or nephew, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
“In entering into this transaction, the registrant failed to maintain an appropriate professional boundary. Entering into any financial transaction with a service user or members of a service user’s family should not take place,” the CCW’s conduct committee said.
Nacion argued that the arrangement was entered into between two professionals of equal standing, but the committee disagreed, arguing that Nacion had access to information about the woman’s circumstances, so there was potential for exploitation.
The CCW’s conduct committee also heard that Nacion had failed to properly account for petty cash payments received in June 2010, including £168 that should have been paid to a foster carer.
In January 2011, she applied for a job at Brent council and, when asked on the application form whether she had ever been subject to investigation by an employer, lied and said “no”.
“The allegations are of a serious nature, particularly the dishonesty involved in lying on the application form,” the committee said. “In addition, they involve matters at work and connected with the registrant’s professional practice.”
However, it noted that Nacion had previously held a clean disciplinary record for seven years and the misconduct appeared to be an isolated incident. She admitted the facts, showed remorse and apologised.
The committee also took into account the fact Nacion had been experiencing difficult personal circumstances at the time – and she had not had a team manager for a while before the incidents occurred.
The CCW decided a one-year admonishment was appropriate.
Read the full notice of decision