Arthurworrey wins GSCC appeal but must prove mental health

The social worker at the centre of the Victoria Climbie case has won her appeal against the General Social Care Council’s decision not to register her.

However, in its decision, published today, the Care Standards Tribunal recommended that Arthurworrey should only be registered once she has undergone a psychiatric assessment by an occupational psychologist to prove her mental health is stable.

During the hearing it emerged that Arthurworrey had been signed off sick from her job as a housing adviser and the committee noted concerns over her ability to manage stress. 

Retraining and intensive supervision

The tribunal also recommended that Arthurworrey should undergo a period of retraining, is the subject of intensive supervision, should serve a probationary period and should be regularly assessed for at least three years. It said the GSCC should make these conditions of her registration.

The GSCC refused Arthurworrey’s application to register in December 2006 on conduct and competence grounds. But the tribunal panel decided that after hearing evidence during a four-day hearing earlier this year it did not regard failings identified as so serious as to preclude her from being registered.

Arthurworrey has been repeatedly criticised for her handling of Victoria’s case while she was the eight-year-old’s allocated social worker from August 1999 until her death in February 2000.

Extenuating circumstances

But the tribunal took into account a number of “significant extenuating circumstances”. These included her relative lack of experience, lack of supervision, and the fact she was working in an unsupportive, chaotic and demoralised office environment, with a pervasive “close the file” culture.

The tribunal said it had seen good practice in Arthurworrey’s handling of other cases and that one of her cases was taken to full care proceedings.

The GSCC said it was “disappointed” by the CST decision to uphold Arthurworrey’s appeal against its decision not to register her and would be studying the judgement.

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