Conduct: Swansea social worker struck off for ‘poor judgement’

A social worker who displayed “extremely poor judgement” in her handling of a case in which a child subsequently died has been struck off the register.

A Care Council for Wales conduct committee found Eleni Cordingley had placed Child A at risk by failing to act on two phonecalls from the same person expressing concerns about the family.

Cordingley was a social worker at Swansea Council’s social services department at the time of the case in 2005.

Anonymous phonecalls

The anonymous calls were made to the access and information team between 27 April and 5 May of that year, but Cordingley failed to act appropriately, according to the committee. Child A died later that year.

After admitting misconduct at a hearing in Cardiff, she was told by committee chair Ann Teaney: “By exercising extremely poor judgement you failed to work in a safe and effective way. The misconduct admitted in this case is considered to be so serious that removal from the register is the only appropriate sanction.

“Protection of the public”

“This is necessary for the protection of the public and to uphold the public interest in maintaining confidence in social care services.”

Teaney also expressed concern about Swansea Council’s delay in informing the CCW about the result of a disciplinary hearing involving Cordingley, which concluded in October 2007.

Council’s improvement programme

Swansea Council said in a statement that the child’s death “was a terrible tragedy and [we are] very sorry that it happened”.

It added that a serious case review had found the child was not known to social services prior to the first phonecall. The council said it had acted on the report’s recommendations and worked with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales to strengthen its services for vulnerable children.

Wendy Fitzgerald, cabinet member for social services, said the council had already invested £350,000 in recruiting additional social workers this year.

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