Former Social Worker ‘Admonishment Does Not Affect My Role As Governor’

A former social worker who was reprimanded for “inappropriate touching” has been appointed chairman of governors at a school.

Eric Charlesworth took up the position at Gartree High School, in Oadby, two weeks ago despite breaching the code of practice for social workers.

The General Social Care Council’s conduct committee ruled in April that Mr Charlesworth had engaged in misconduct and gave him an admonishment, or caution, which remains on his record for five years.

A council spokesperson said: “The committee found that the registrant had engaged in inappropriate touching and physical contact, (albeit in a non-sexual manner) in relation to service users.”

Mr Charlesworth was found to have failed to use the power of his position responsibly, but the committee said there was no evidence of direct harm to service users.

Mr Charlesworth insisted the ruling had no bearing on him being a governor at Gartree.

He said: “My role as a governor has got absolutely nothing to do with the admonishment.

“I would have been the first one to step down if I thought it was doing anything to jeopardise the good name of the school.

“It was not the case and never has been the case.”

The former social worker, who has been a governor at the school for about 25 years, said he had never sought to hide the admonishment.

He said: “I can assure you that the appropriate bodies are fully aware of it.

“I have not become chairman of governors without thinking it through in some depth.”

The committee’s ruling came to light when documents were passed to the Mercury by a concerned parent after Mr Charlesworth took up the position as chairman.

Mr Charlesworth said: “If I was able to talk to the parent and the parent was able to take the facts of the case, I am sure they would come to a different view.

“It is easy, by innuendo, to take the term inappropriate touching and make it into something that it isn’t or wasn’t.

“If it was as serious as it could have been, and sadly other people have gone down this line, my registration would have been removed forthwith. That was not the case.”

According to a report in Community Care magazine, the misconduct was stroking a 17-year-old’s hair and measuring his chest.

Mr Charlesworth said: “It was done with the consent of the person.

“It was putting my hand around the top of his head to describe where the pain in his head was and feeling the back of his neck.

“That is exactly what it was.”

Gartree High School head teacher Rosemary Goldberg would not discuss the appointment but released a written statement.

It said: “The election of the chair of governors is a matter for the governing body of this school.”

Leicestershire County Council said the authority was not involved in the matter.