Manchester social worker struck off register following theft conviction

A social worker who stole over £50,000 in cash from a charity she worked for has been removed from the profession by an independent committee of the General Social Care Council (GSCC).

Mrs Lynne Greenwood, 57, worked as a Service Director in the Manchester office of Creative Support Limited, a charity which provides social care services for people with learning disabilities and other mental health issues. She was convicted at Manchester Crown Court in November 2008 of two counts of theft after being found guilty of stealing £52,742.35 in cash from the charity over a period of 18-20 months. Greenwood was given an 11 months suspended prison term over two years on condition that the money was returned to Creative Support Limited, which she has since done.

Greenwood, who was not present at the GSCC’s hearing, admitted in a letter to the committee that her convictions amounted to misconduct. In mitigation, she said that no service user was directly harmed by her actions and her actions did not reflect negatively on social workers as she was not employed as a social worker at the time.  She added that she was compulsive spender but was receiving help to address these issues.

In finding Greenwood guilty of professional misconduct, the committee said her actions constituted a serious breach of the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers. They noted that Greenwood occupied a senior position within the charity and had deprived service users of valuable funds.

In removing her from the register, they cited sections of the code relating to maintaining the trust of service users and upholding confidence in social care services. They said allowing Greenwood to remain on the register after admitting such grave offences of dishonesty would be “wholly inappropriate and disproportionate”. By saying in her letter to the committee that money was not taken directly from service users, Greenwood “failed to demonstrate insight into the seriousness and impact of her actions.”

GSCC Chair, Rosie Varley, said “The vast majority of registered social workers are upright and honest professionals who abide by the law and the GSCC code of practice.  People who use services need to have confidence in social workers. The GSCC must take action against registrants who fail to meet the high standards expected of them in the interest of public protection.”