A social worker who shared intimate details of his domestic life with a co-worker among other failings has been struck off by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
A HCPC conduct panel heard that Alan Peter Cunningham had behaved in ways that were either dishonest or inappropriate for a social worker.
In one instance Cunningham was found to have approached a colleague in the office kitchen and “made inappropriate comments about his taste in women and disclosed intimate details of his own domestic life”.
The panel also concluded that he acted inappropriately in relation to service users and in one case asked inappropriate questions about the sexual activity of disabled children in a situation where this was not relevant to the conversation.
Cunningham, whose failings spanned his employment at Knowsley, Salford and Wirral councils, was also found not to have an appropriate understanding of child protection issues. The panel found that his assessments were “parent-focused and material” and that he failed to recognise the child protection implications of reports that a teenage boy was having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
The panel also said that Cunningham failed to keep proper records by copying and pasting text from initial assessments into core assessments without any additional notes. In one case this resulted in a mix up over the identities of service users.
He also did not make children in need visits and failed to see children in their home environment.
The panel also heard that Cunningham had been dishonest in several respects. He falsely claimed £1,500 for mileage expenses, was absent from the office without honest explanation and did not tell his employers that he had dyslexia, which had implications for his ability to do his job without proper support.
Panel chair Brian Woe said: “In circumstances where Mr Cunningham has not disclosed details of any substantial remedial measures taken by him to address the serious and wide-ranging issues of integrity and professional performance identified, the panel is driven to the conclusion that his fitness to practise is as impaired at the present time as it was when the events occurred. It follows that there must be a risk of repetition.”
The panel decided that “given the nature and gravity of the failings” and because of “the significant element of dishonesty present in this case,” a striking Cunningham from the social work register was the only appropriate course of action.