Actor Corden’s sister investigated over TV social work role

The sister of Gavin and Stacey star James Corden will no longer be referred to as a social worker in a Channel 4 documentary about teenage sex..

Ruth Corden appeared on the programme The Joy of Teen Sex on Wednesday, giving advice to teenagers about sex and relationships. Corden was billed as a social worker, but although she graduated with a social work degree in November last year her name does not appear on the General Social Care Council’s register.

Channel 4 said Corden had applied for GSCC registration on qualification but was still waiting for it to be processed.

The issue was first raised by users of Community Care’s CareSpace discussion forum who watched the programme then searched for Corden’s name on the register.

CareSpace member Hatgirl said on the forum: “I’m not clear around the GSCC stuff but I was always of the impression that social work degree or not that you had to be on the social work register to call oneself a social worker, particularly on national TV?”

But another member, Grinch, commented: “There may be an argument to be had with the producers of the programme although I would imagine they erred unwittingly and that there was no intent from them or from Ruth to set out to deceive. Ruth, along with the vast majority of students who have just got their social work degree will be thinking of themselves and probably calling themselves a qualified social worker and seeing their registration only as ‘official’ permission’ to practise.”

After the GSCC contacted Channel 4, TV producers decided to change Corden’s professional title on the programme. In a statement Channel 4 stated: “Ruth has extensive experience working with young people and has obtained her qualifications to become a social worker. She is entirely suitable to provide the kind of advice she gives teenagers in the programme. While her final registration to the GSCC is pending we will amend her title in the show.”

Under the Care Standards Act 2000, it is a criminal offence for a person to use the title social worker with the intent of deceiving another if their name is not on the register, but the GSCC is thought to be unlikely to launch a criminal case against Corden. 

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