Stressed social worker falsified records ‘to keep bosses off his back’

The HCPC has suspended the mental health practitioner for 12 months after finding his actions had put service users at risk

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A social worker who created false records to keep managers “off his back” has been suspended by the HCPC.

A conduct panel found the mental health social worker failed to tell colleagues he was struggling with his workload and instead “deliberately and systematically” concealed this by creating forms that gave managers the impression he’d seen service users to review their care when he had not.

The social worker admitted to creating the forms after a case audit by his local authority identified “significant problems” with 10 files he’d worked on.

A subsequent investigation into care records relating to three service users found forms created by the social worker were duplicates, contained no information relevant to the review, or were documents that should have been filled out by a doctor.

The social worker said he was suffering from stress at the time and had been “unable to cope with the demands of his work”. He created the documents to make it look like he was up to date with his record keeping, “keep management ‘off his back'” and avoid his name appearing on his team’s “review outstanding list”.

The social worker expressed remorse for falsifying documents, and didn’t try to excuse the conduct. He said he had taken steps to manage stress since and had gained insight into the potentially harmful consequences of his misconduct.

The panel concluded his actions had harmed a group of service users whose reviews were delayed “significantly”, and put others at risk. His suspension will last 12 months.

13 Responses to Stressed social worker falsified records ‘to keep bosses off his back’

  1. Atoosa August 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm #

    How come Hcpc do not strike off the managers from the registrations when they falsify the record detrimental to the integrity and practice of the front line social worker? I have lots of evidence.

  2. cc August 30, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    This kind of practice appears to be going on across many different statutory services – health included according to users but there isn’t any real deterrent or even better any monitoring and management before it ever gets to this stage. What happened to honour and trust!

    • Andrea August 30, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

      quite

    • Mike August 30, 2016 at 10:05 pm #

      I am sad that this is your experience. We can’t blame managers for our own Misgivings and the social worker was in the wrong. Please don’t use ex uses for poor professional behaviour. Where are you guys working that your managers are obfuscating the process. IT goes against all our values and ethics. It’s always best to be upfront and report poor practice.

  3. Andrew Foster August 30, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    Let’s not complicate this…..it is simple…….permanent removal please, never mind a 12 month suspension.

    • Andrea August 30, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

      seconded

    • Mark September 2, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

      shocking response Andrew.

  4. Billy August 30, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

    I disagree I think this naming and shaming with the strike off campaign on here is terrible and needs to stop. The punishment is fair, with extra training needed.

  5. Lucy August 30, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    Was he stuck between a rock and a hard place. Ive asked for help and told managers i was stressed and was reprimanded for the terminology i used and given 4 more cases that day. So asking for help isnt always the best thing to do. The HCPC also need to investigate the management culture of this social worker’s team and reprimand the managers as to why he couldnt ask for help!!

    • Michael August 31, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

      Agreed.

  6. Harry August 31, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

    I’d be inclined to Lucy’s perspective. Doesn’t seem right to waste all the training at first sign of a difficulty.

  7. Blair Mcpherson September 1, 2016 at 5:50 am #

    The police were investing a case of serious child abuse. It was clear the child was in a very bad way not dead but close to death when the police had visited on another matter and discovered the young child in a back bedroom. It was clear that the neglect and abuse must have been going on for months. And yet the family were know to social services and the social worker had visited weekly, each time recording she had seen the child and mother was coping well in difficult circumstances. Only the social worker hadn’t visited for months. Under police questioning she admitted she had falsified her records she claimed to have an impossible case load and I order to meet her targets had ” missed some visits with some clients”. She also claimed the practise was widespread in the team. During this period she had revived bonuses and a promotion for hitting her targets. Her manager and senior manger expressed shock and horror at the deception. All three end up in court charged in connection with the death of the child. Only the social worker went to prison. This was New York and an episode of Law and Order SVU. It seems that the case was fiction but the problem is very real.

  8. Ashley September 4, 2016 at 7:28 pm #

    Falsifying records is SERIOUS and not to be taken lightly. We are talking about people lives and we ought to uphold our jobs with the ought most care, integrity and respect when we are tasked with executing the duty of care to any individual. This individual ought to revisit the profession he is in; sounds like he’s better off pushing papers behind a desk at an accounting firm.