The Big Question

Should misconduct hearings for social workers be held in private or public?

Shaun Webster – change self advocacy group

They should not be held in private. It’s wrong to brush things under the carpet when it affects vulnerable service users. If a professional has done something wrong, service users want to know what happens to them. I also think the system for reporting people should be made easier as there is too much red tape.

Len Smith – Gypsy activist
I believe that conduct hearings should always be in private as that would enable people to speak more freely, which is likely to allow greater detail to be forthcoming. Privacy is also likely to allow for more flexibility of action in dealing with a culprit. However, I believe that the process should be known to be happening, and results made public.

Angie Lawrence – Single mother
There are times when justice should be seen to be done to reassure service users that their concerns will be listened to and that their interests are paramount. Public hearings may also deter social workers from engaging in inappropriate behaviour. But care should be taken to ensure social workers are not made scapegoats.

Karen Shook – Disability equality adviser
Every case should be judged on its own merits. It is OK to have private hearings when people have mental health problems that would be made worse by the stress of public scrutiny. But those problems must be genuine and anyone who has done wrong should not be allowed to use stress as an excuse to keep their case out of the media.


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