Social worker faces conduct hearing for forming inappropriate relationship with service user

A senior social worker formed an “intense” and inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old girl, a conduct committee in Manchester has heard.

Anthony Peter Jacks met the teenager, who had been sexually abused and had a history of self-harm, when she was admitted to the Huntercombe hospital and adolescent psychiatric unit.

Six allegations have been made against Jacks, including that he “interacted inappropriately” with the girl, known as A.

The General Social Care Council is arguing that he breached four of its codes of practice.

Outlining the case for the GSCC, John Sharples said, “Mr Jacks had an intense and ultimately inappropriate relationship that went beyond professional boundaries,” – which had caused problems for other professionals working with A.

Pauline Barnett, A’s allocated social worker, told the committee that her initial impressions were that Jacks was “too informal and overfriendly,” which she thought was “slightly foolish”.

Problems arose when plans were made to transfer A to a residential care home in October 2004, and Jacks allegedly gave her his personal mobile phone number and repeatedly initiated contact with her.

Barnett said a decision had been taken to “tailor off” contact between Jacks and other staff at the hospital that A had developed dependence on because of fears that it suddenly could precipitate suicide attempts.

But staff at the home complained that the level of contact between A and Jacks was undermining the placement.

When plans were made to stop it, Jacks reaction was “over the top, emotional, and dramatic,” said Barnett.

“His attitude was I am the only person who can save this girl,” she added.

Although Jacks admitted that there was no professional basis for him to be involved in A’s life, he said there was a personal one and he talked about applying for a contact order, added Barnett.

Jacks did not attend the hearing in Manchester or send legal representatives. But in a statement he denies that he failed to cooperate with other professionals, including Barnett, or that his job within the hospital prevented him having continued contact with A.

Jacks is accused of breaching codes one, two, three and five of the GSCC codes of practice. He has received an interim suspension order from the GSCC.

The hearing continues.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.