Social worker struck off after ‘deplorable conduct’ revealed by audio recording

The social worker broke the confidentiality of a service user to the person accused of abusing her

Picture: Bits-and-splits/Fotolia
Picture: Bits-and-splits/Fotolia

A social worker has been struck off for “deplorable” and “disgraceful” conduct after a recording revealed him breaking the confidentiality of a service user to the person accused of abusing her.

A HCPC conduct and competence committee struck off the social worker after he said the woman in the case was a “pathological liar” and had “bi-polar”.

The social worker was interviewing the man accused of abusing the woman as part of a child protection investigation. The man had been accused of standing on the pregnant woman’s face and threatening to pour oil on her. She escaped by jumping out of a window. The man was later convicted of assaulting her.

The committee said the recording of this meeting, taken by the man, showed the social worker’s tone was “wholly disrespectful” and at worst “bordering on degrading”.

The social worker admitted to saying the things on the recording, as revealed in an internal investigation into his actions.

‘Deplorable’

He told the man the location and times of meetings the woman would be attending, which the panel said put her and her unborn child at risk. He also discussed confidential information she gave to the local women and children’s aid group.

The panel said he had abused a position of trust and potentially jeopardised an ongoing police investigation.

In the council’s internal investigation, the registrant said he had “no excuse” and responded “God knows why I said that” when the recording was played back to him.

Despite admitting the allegations, the social worker offered no explanation as to why he said what he did, and did not give a “real expression of remorse”.

The HCPC concluded: “There can be no explanation for his actions, which was deplorable conduct that fell seriously short of the required standards.”

“The Panel concluded that the misconduct was so serious and so disgraceful in this case that it was not capable of being remediated. The panel therefore concluded that a Striking Off Order was the only proportionate sanction and one that would protect the public, uphold public confidence in the Social Work profession and in the regulatory process,” the panel said.

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17 Responses to Social worker struck off after ‘deplorable conduct’ revealed by audio recording

  1. Suzy August 16, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

    Poor SW we all make mistakes

    • NMY August 17, 2017 at 8:57 am #

      Poor victim who was trodden on, more like. I have no sympathy for the social worker, who showed no remorse for his actions and has no place working with vulnerable clients.

    • Gary August 17, 2017 at 10:29 am #

      Suzy,
      There are mistakes – unintended and errors made whilst doing a job well with good intent. (Due to inexperience, stress, overwhelm or tiredness)

      And there are huge errors of judgement – made whilst doing the job with deliberate, malicious intent.

      This “poor” SW surely falls into the latter?

    • brenda vaz August 17, 2017 at 8:04 pm #

      ‘”Poor Social worker, we all make mistakes?” Please tell me you are not a social worker?

      This is no conduct for any human being except those who want to do harm to vulnerable people. Well done HCPC, there should be a review of all his cases to ensure protection for all his vulnerable clients.

    • Velma August 23, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

      You must be joking, I am a SW this one is a disgrace to the profession

  2. LYNNE Brosnan August 17, 2017 at 8:47 am #

    This is much more than a mistake there can be no excuses for this type of behaviour from someone in a position of trust.
    The right decision given the circumstances. He made assumptions about the victim and put her and her unborn child in danger.

  3. Linda August 17, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

    I think that there is often confusion for sw on where transparency and confidentiality start and stop. Also if meetings were cp meetings for example it may have been unclear to the sw. Greater discussion is needed I. Supervision about these areas of potential conflict

  4. James Jones August 17, 2017 at 8:29 pm #

    So youve got a s47 in relation to DV, the female partner puts her and her unborn babies life at risk by fleeing the scene out of a window and the SW is confused about telling the DV perpetrator where the victim is. I’ve heard of being risk averse, but risk blindness is a new one.

  5. John Smith August 18, 2017 at 6:40 am #

    What, no comments wailing about how beastly the regulator is to social workers who have clearly breached the relevant standards? (I fully expect this comment will not be published).

  6. Jackie August 20, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

    It’s a lesson for all practitioners to remain professional in there conduct. And although outcome the only outcome and do not excuse his approach. I wonder if he was told he was being recorded??

    • Challenging patient August 21, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

      Why would it matter if he knew he was being recorded?

    • Velma August 23, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

      Not the point

  7. Tom J August 21, 2017 at 9:40 am #

    This does seem like bizarre behaviour from the social worker. Whilst not knowing all of the details of this case- I have certainly empathised with father’s when I have seen a minority of mothers go to extraordinary lengths to prevent the father from being able to see their child.

    However- social workers have to keep their professionalism, so although personally I may feel aghast at a mother’s efforts to prevent a child from seeing their father I must ensure that my personal view and feelings are not overtaking my professional view.

    Social workers therefore need to be supported through supervision with some of these thoughts and feelings. Social workers also need to be evidence based and to be guarded at points i.e. I had a case where a mother was regularly claiming her son was ill in order to stop the father’s contact- However I was careful not to suggest this until we built up a clearer picture.

  8. Andrea August 21, 2017 at 7:06 pm #

    Tom J – your comments are adjacent to John Smiths fear that someone else was to blame.
    Similarly Suzy is expressing pity for the social worker.
    I suspect that the social workers behaviour would not be a complete surprise to some – and raises again the question of who is being qualified at a time when fewer people want to enter any of the socially responsible jobs across the board. I’m convinced that there will have been an over tolerance to his approach in general throughout the years, either that or he was afraid of the man being interviewed and spilled the beans, or perhaps he has personal issues, which are difficult for a manager to address without being accused of being personal/inappropriate.

  9. Carol F August 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

    I am truly struggling to understand the level of unprofessional and unbelievable conduct by this social worker. There must be more to it than has been reported here…….how did this person even get through social work training. Even if it was years ago (did my training 94 – 97) confidentiality and protection of vulnerable persons has always, always been paramount. All I can say is I’m so glad he has been struck off, but wonder what other damage he may have inflicted during his ‘career’.

    • Velma August 23, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

      Here here

  10. Ruksana Chowdhory September 6, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

    He may have over identified with the abuser in this case as I cannot imagine why else a social worker would behave in this manner – and he himself had no explanations to provide. I am glad he was struck of as this was no mistake; it was just malicious.