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Social worker removed from the Register because of inappropriate relationship

09 September 2019
Social Care Wales

A social worker from Carmarthenshire has been removed from the Register of Social Care Workers after a hearing found her fitness to practise was impaired because of serious misconduct.

The hearing was told that Nicola Williams joined the substance misuse team at Carmarthenshire County Council in May 2017 and two months later was allocated the case of a vulnerable man (referred to as Person A) with long-standing substance misuse issues.

The man’s case was closed in February 2018, and within days of closing the case, Ms Williams had agreed to give the man her personal mobile phone number and shortly afterwards began an inappropriate romantic relationship with him.

The hearing was told that Ms Williams failed to tell her manager about the relationship for two months, despite having a professional duty to do so from the outset.

Following an internal investigation, Ms Williams was suspended in June 2018 and subsequently dismissed.

Having heard the evidence, the panel found that Ms Williams’s fitness to practise was currently impaired because of serious misconduct.

Explaining its decision, the panel said: “We consider it no exaggeration to say that for Ms Williams to have become romantically linked with Person A during this time could have jeopardised his recovery. In our judgement, Ms Williams did not act in Person A’s best interests by entering into a relationship with him.”

The panel continued: “Ms Williams’s demonstrated lack of insight and lack of understanding of professional boundaries creates a current risk to individuals using services. This, in our judgement, aggravates matters, as it betrays a palpable lack of insight into the potential effect of her conduct on Person A…

“We consider that in the absence of any real insight or remorse, it is unlikely that Ms Williams would make different decisions or behave differently in the future.”

The panel decided to remove Ms Williams from the Register, saying: “We do not consider that any lesser disposal would protect the public, given the lack of both insight and remediation to which we have already referred.”

Ms Williams was not present at the two-day hearing at our Cardiff office last week.