A social worker who exposed children to “extended risk of harm” by failing to follow child protection procedures has been struck off by the General Social Care Council.
Celia-Gail Smith was found guilty of “gross negligence” while employed by Merton Council, London, in its children in need team between July 2005 and August 2006.
A GSCC conduct committee found Smith failed to record findings and decisions arising from assessments or keep supervision records or conference records in a number of child protection cases.
A Merton Council investigating officer told the conduct committee that Smith’s files were “chaotic”, containing little more than scrappy bits of paper.
The officer was “horrified” that there was no information about the risks to the children concerned, and that someone picking up the files would have no knowledge of them.
Smith did not attend the hearing. In her absence, the committee found her behaviour had reflected “poor judgement, a failure to execute basic tasks and an inability to protect vulnerable service users”.
It also found some of the children referred to Smith were later removed from their parents’ care.
“This demonstrated that both sets of children have experienced significant harm which may have been prevented if these referrals had been properly dealt with,” the committee concluded.
The committee spoke of Smith’s “clear deficiencies” in the quality of her work, particularly on record keeping and assessments, and a lack of capacity to understand the role and responsibilities of a social worker.
“This lack of ability and insight exposed vulnerable service users to extended risk of harm and led them to lose trust and confidence in the profession,” the commmitee said.