Cumbrian social worker keeps job as drunk kiss claim not proved

A Whitehaven social worker “admonished” for professional misconduct at a hearing will keep her job. Members of a General Social Care Council panel gave their judgement yesterday after hearing evidence against Emma Grimshaw.

She had been accused of inappropriate conduct towards a recovering heroin addict and alcoholic, referred to only as Miss A.

The allegations date back to March 2009.

The complaints against Miss Grimshaw included that she got drunk with Miss A, kissed her, gave her false hopes about rehabilitation and intimidated her.

The panel found that the allegations were “not proved” but said that there were still clear breaches amounting to misconduct.

Miss Grimshaw broke the rules when she discussed professional matters with Miss A and mentioned friends the women had in common, creating a “conflict of interest”.

Jane Lindsay, defending, said that Miss Grimshaw had made the mistake in trying to create a rapport with Miss A who then “manipulated the situation”.

Miss Grimshaw also admitted that she did not tell her employer when Miss A visited her home, a further breach of her code of conduct.

Ms Lindsay said: “This has been a desperately difficult period for Miss Grimshaw, with ongoing harassment from Miss A.

“Sometimes life has been fearful and impossible and she finds it hard to go out in her home town.

“She has had to move house. The cost to her has been extremely high and has been of great detriment to her health, self-esteem and confidence and she has had to seek help from her GP.

“The length of time it has taken has been unacceptable.

“I think what we have got here is a good social worker that made a mistake.

“Many social workers may inadvertently make a tenuous link to a service user, knowing it’s not correct.”

Admonishment was the least serious sanction that the panel could impose.

Other options open to them were to take no action; to suspend her; and to remove her from the social workers’ register.

The admonishment will appear on her record for three months before being expunged.