Council apologises after social worker admits stealing from service users

Hertfordshire council says it has strengthened its financial procedures and systems following its discovery.

A social worker in an older people’s team has admitted to stealing £25,000 from vulnerable service users.

Lorraine Graves initially denied the charges but pleaded guilty on the day her trial was due to start at Cambridge Crown Court on 3 July, according to local news reports.

Graves is employed by Hertfordshire council as a social worker in the Welwyn Hatfield older people and physical disability team. She has been suspended while an internal disciplinary process is carried out.

Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Hertfordshire’s cabinet member for adult care and health, said: “We are extremely disappointed in the conduct of this member of staff and express our sincere apologies and sympathy to her victims and their families.

“We take issues of safeguarding very seriously and investigated this matter as soon as it became apparent that funds were missing. A casework audit was undertaken and we shared this information and assisted the police with their criminal investigation.

“We immediately undertook an internal audit of financial procedures and our systems were strengthened very shortly after this case came to light.

“We are taking action to resolve her employment position as swiftly as possible.”

Graves is due to be sentenced during the week commencing 12 August, according to the local reports.

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