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Social worker given 12-month warning for misconduct and sharing confidential information

11 September 2019
Social Care Wales

A social worker from Powys has been issued with a 12-month warning after a hearing found her fitness to practise was impaired because of misconduct.

During the two-day hearing at our Cardiff office last week, Michele Hillman admitted failing to adequately assess a social work student while working as a social worker for Powys County Council.

Ms Hillman admitted allowing the student to include misleading and inaccurate information in his portfolio of evidence, which he subsequently submitted to his university.

The portfolio included comments attributed to Ms Hillman, which were written by the student, and gave the impression that Ms Hillman had observed the student’s work on multiple occasions when she had not been present.

The hearing was also told that Ms Hillman shared confidential information about a colleague’s disciplinary proceedings with the student, which she denied.

Having heard the evidence, the committee decided that Ms Hillman’s fitness to practise was currently impaired because of misconduct.

Explaining its decision, the committee told her: “Your behaviour was isolated to two aspects of your conduct in an otherwise successful career, but it had serious implications. You acted dishonestly and showed a lack of integrity.”

The committee decided to issue Ms Hillman with an admonishment for 12 months, a warning that will act as a flag to future employers, telling her: “In our view, you have shown considerable insight.

“You have participated fully in the proceedings and you made early admission in relation to many, although not all, of the allegations you faced.”

The committee continued: “We were persuaded that an admonishment was adequate because of the level of insight you have already achieved and your commitment to completing your remediation.

“We were pleased to hear you are undergoing significant further training, which will assist you to ensure that you do not make the same mistakes in the future.”