Ex-Social Worker Barred From Practice

A FORMER Blaenau Gwent council social worker was banned from working as a social worker in the UK after dishonestly failing to notify her employers she had been convicted of benefit fraud.

At a Care Council for Wales Conduct Committee hearing in Cardiff, Claire Louise Proud was found guilty of misconduct for falsely declaring to her employees she had no unspent convictions, failing to inform the relevant bodies when she was convicted of benefit fraud, falsely informing the council she had completed her 200 hour community punishment order and for attending sessions of her community punishment order while she was claiming sickness absence from work without informing her employers.

Committee members decided to remove her from the Social Care Register, which she joined while working for Blaenau Gwent council in November 2004.

Ms Proud was employed by the council as a social worker between May 2004 and March 2008.

The committee heard on July 6, 2006, Ms Proud appeared at Aberdare magistrates court and pleaded guilty to dishonestly failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of a change of circumstances, which would have affected her entitlement to income support between June 7, 2004, and February 18, 2005.

At court Ms Proud also admitted dishonestly failing to notify Rhondda Cynon Taff county borough council of a change in circumstances, which would have affected her entitlement to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit between June 14, 2004, and May 9, 2005.

In total she was convicted of fraudulently claiming almost £6,000 and magistrates sentenced her to a 200-hour community punishment order.

This was later revoked and in February 2007 she was sentenced to a four-month curfew order when she had completed 27 and a half hours of her community punishment order.

The committee heard Ms Proud had falsely declared on a Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure Application Form in July 2007 that she did not have any unspent criminal convictions.

She was also found guilty of failing to inform her employers and the Care Council for Wales she had been convicted of benefit fraud.

On September 24, 2007 Ms Proud falsely stated in a letter to Blaenau Gwent council she had completed the 200-hour community punishment order earlier that year when she had only undertaken 27 and a half hours.

She said she had undertaken the work on Saturdays when in fact the work had been completed on weekdays.

The committee was told Ms Proud was on sick leave from working at Blaenau Gwent council between May 26, 2006 and September 3, 2006, and failed to notify her employers she was attending sessions of her community punishment order during that period.

Ms Proud did not attend the hearing and did not send anybody to represent her.