by Rachel Carter & Luke Stevenson
An experienced social work manager has been struck off after a failure to assess and allocate referrals left service users at risk of “real and serious” harm.
One case was not identified as urgent by the social worker, despite it containing “significant risk factors” which should have been clear to him.
His response to the case was “inappropriate” and he had “stored” other referrals over a number of months.
The social worker, who had worked in the profession for 15 years, was employed as team leader of a referral and assessment team in a children’s services. He was responsible for assessing child care referrals made to the council.
The HCPC committee heard the manager’s working environment was “extremely busy and in a state of transformation” and he was not receiving the “consistent professional supervision which would have been appropriate, particularly during a difficult transition”.
Despite this, the committee found “the registrant had shown a continuing failure to take appropriate and timely action to progress these referrals and other contacts”.
The social worker was initially suspended in 2015, before a review panel decided he should be permanently removed from the social work register last month.
It concluded his failures “had been serious and repeated and had occurred over a number of months”. It left a “real and serious risk of harm to vulnerable service users”.
The social worker had not engaged in the review hearing, and the panel said there had been no evidence “of any significant insight” into his actions.
He had told a council disciplinary process, undertaken in 2013 following concerns about his practice being raised, that he would have taken the same actions again, and “thought his actions were correct in the circumstances”.
He was dismissed from the council on the grounds of gross misconduct.