Regulator upholds suspension of social worker who carried out foster carer assessment in the pub

Claudette-Marie Jones continues to demonstrate only limited insight into the seriousness of her actions, which included borrowing money from a service user, the Health and Care Professions Council found.

A social worker who borrowed money from a service user, drank while on duty and conducted confidential meetings in the pub has been banned from returning to practise for another year.

The General Social Care Council (GSCC) first suspended Claudette-Marie Jones in 2011 after concerns emerged about her relationship with service user A, a prospective foster carer.

The GSCC heard that Jones had carried out A’s assessment in a pub, borrowed £70 from A and asked A’s referee for help with matters related to Jones’s private life.

It found that she had abused her position of power as a social worker and repeatedly blurred professional boundaries and displayed poor judgement. The decision to suspend her was reviewed and upheld in 2012.

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has now reviewed Jones’s suspension for a second time and concluded that she is still not fit to practise.

The HCPC’s panel was “impressed” by the fact Jones attended the hearing unrepresented and presented her case. It also acknowledged that she appeared to have more insight into her behaviour than she did at the time of the initial hearing. However, it said this insight was still limited.

“When she gave oral evidence before the panel, she was unable to say what was wrong in the way she had behaved between 2009 and 2010,” the panel said, adding that Jones placed “too much emphasis on outside factors which led to her misconduct and did not recognise where her own responsibilities lay”.

Jones is therefore suspended for a further year. She can request an early review at any time if she believes she has addressed the issues identified by the HCPC.

The HCPC suggested that she come up with a clear and convincing plan for her return to social work, write a reflective piece on her behaviour in relation to service user A and show examples of how she has kept her skills and knowledge up to date.

Read the full notice of decision

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