London Social Worker Cautioned

The independent conduct committee of the GSCC yesterday (6 July 2006) decided the case of a social worker from London who was alleged to have breached the code of practice by providing false information and failing to disclose full details of criminal convictions in her application for registration. Misconduct was found against the registrant, Bernice Mary Francois, and she was admonished for a period of two years.

The Committee found that in her application for registration Ms Francois failed to disclose four convictions for theft and one conviction for criminal damage. It was found that this was done deliberately and with intention to deceive. The Committee regarded this as a serious matter which would normally lead to removal or suspension from the Social Care Register. However in this case there were mitigating factors which made admonishment the appropriate sanction.

Registrants have a right of appeal to the independent Care Standards Tribunal.

GSCC Chair Rodney Brooke said: “Social workers have a duty to act appropriately at all times, respecting the rights of service users and upholding public trust and confidence in social care services, as set out in our Codes of Practice for Social Care Workers and Employers. All Registered Social Workers sign up to the code of practice when they register with the GSCC.

“Social workers work with vulnerable individuals, and it is essential that social workers should be trustworthy and of good character.  People who have committed offences when young and since been rehabilitated can make a valuable contribution to social care. Those who have offended must be open and honest about their past, so that the level of risk they now pose to the public can be assessed.

“The GSCC exists to promote high standards among social care workers and can take action against those who do not meet the standards laid down in the codes of practice. At the same time, we applaud the many thousands of social care workers who meet those standards and do so much to help vulnerable people.”

Admonishment by the GSCC amounts to a caution and is a matter of public record. The decision follows a one day hearing by the independent conduct committee in London.