A social worker has been struck off after he was found to have made up records relating to the case of a two-year-old whose family he was working with.
The practitioner, who had been employed for eight years at the same local authority, had started work as a social worker in 2015 after being encouraged to apply for training via a programme called ‘Grow Your Own’.
But little more than a year later, the local authority referred him to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) on the basis of failures to conduct visits, properly keep records or communicate with relevant parties.
The HCPC’s subsequent tribunal, which took place at the end of July, found that the social worker’s “sustained dishonesty” left no alternative but to remove him from the register.
‘It was clear something was wrong’
The hearing, which the social worker did not attend, took “careful, considered” evidence from four other practitioners along with a support worker and a counsellor.
The panel felt “able to give weight” to evidence supplied by one experienced manager, ‘JH’, that the social worker had not visited the child, Child A, on two occasions despite having recorded that he had done so.
“While JH’s evidence was based on what she had been told by Child A’s parents, JH is an experienced and senior social worker, whose judgment in believing Child A’s parents can be relied upon,” the tribunal report said.
“JH’s evidence is also supported by the fact that at a strategy meeting regarding Child A the registrant was very obviously ‘not up to speed on the case’, and it was clear something was wrong.”
Notes ‘not credible’
The tribunal also found the social worker had recorded on an electronic case notes system that he had attended child in need (CIN) meetings relating to Child A, when he had not in fact done so.
A support worker, CC, who had been named in records as having been at one CIN meeting on 3 September 2015, told the hearing she had not attended any meeting on that date. Other notes made regarding the apparent meeting, relating to Child A’s mother’s drinking, were “not credible”, the panel found.
The tribunal also accepted evidence from Child A’s parents that they had not been consulted prior to a child and family assessment, which included their supposed views, being completed.
It also found further particulars, around record-keeping and the failure to properly transfer Child A’s case to another local authority, to be proved.
‘Complete abrogation of fundamental duties’
The HCPC panel described the social worker’s conduct as a “complete abrogation of the basic and fundamental duties required of a social worker”.
It added that the practitioner had failed Child A’s family, as well as his own colleagues by falsely recording their attendance at meetings.
Child A – who faced “grave” domestic circumstances, encompassing addiction and violence – had been put under unwarranted risk of harm by the social worker’s actions, which had brought the profession into disrepute, the tribunal concluded.
In deciding to strike the social worker off, the panel noted that it had not been provided “with any evidence of remorse, insight or remediation other than the apology in the registrant’s investigatory interview, and could not be satisfied that the misconduct was highly unlikely to be repeated”.