A social worker who provided false employment references for two of her relatives has been suspended from the register for a further six months.
The social worker pleaded guilty to and was convicted of fraud in May 2012 after it emerged she had produced false references for her sister and nephew on paper carrying her employer’s letterhead. She received a suspended prison sentence.
She was also suspended from practising as a social worker for one year by a panel of the Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) conduct and competence committee in February 2013.
As this suspension is due to be lifted, another HCPC panel met this week to consider whether the woman should be allowed to return to social work.
At the hearing, she provided the panel with a written statement and a reference from the organisation where she has been working as an unpaid volunteer assisting with people with learning difficulties.
She restated her remorse for what she had done and the panel agreed that she had increased insight into her failings.
However, it said there was no independent evidence that the social worker had complied with the terms of her criminal sentence, which does not expire until July 2014.
The panel added: “While the registrant had completed some online courses these did not relate to her role as a social worker. The panel therefore had no evidence before it that the registrant had undertaken steps to maintain her professional knowledge.”
For these reasons, the panel decided that a period of further suspension from the register was appropriate.