A social worker from Carmarthenshire has been removed from the Register of Social Care Workers after a Social Care Wales hearing found her fitness to practise is currently impaired because of serious misconduct.
Sharon Williams was working for Carmarthenshire County Council in December 2018, supporting vulnerable adults with serious mental health issues, when she breached confidentiality rules by naming a vulnerable person in her care on social media.
Ms Williams, who was present at the four-day hearing held over Zoom last week, admitted naming the vulnerable person on Facebook. She also admitted using cannabis daily and openly smoking it in Facebook posts.
Following the incidents, Ms Williams was suspended by the council and later resigned.
The hearing was told that while suspended, Ms Williams admitted visiting the relatives of a former client at their home. She also admitted threatening to share confidential information about people receiving care from the council after her resignation, forcing the council to take out an injunction to stop her.
Appearing before the panel, Ms Williams disputed the accusation that her threats to share confidential information lacked integrity, and she had no real intention of disclosing the information.
But after considering the evidence, the panel found that Ms Williams acted in a way that lacked integrity and her fitness to practise was currently impaired because of serious misconduct.
The panel explained its decisions to Ms Williams, telling her: “[Y]our actions in threatening to disclose confidential information regarding vulnerable service users could not be fairly or properly categorised as anything other than a breach of the ethical standards of the social care profession, and that, in effect, a finding of a lack of integrity was inescapable.”
The panel continued: “That the conduct in charges 1-5 should be committed by an individual whose professional obligation it is to safeguard the welfare of vulnerable individuals – some of whom have serious and enduring mental health issues – is to us shocking and troubling.
“Engaging in the conduct you have admitted and which we found proved falls very far below the standard expected of social care workers, and very obviously amounts to serious misconduct.”
The panel decided to remove Ms Williams from the Register, saying: “There is no evidence of you taking any remedial steps between the time referred to in the charges and the date of this hearing, and in some respects your position has become more entrenched.
“We have found that there remains a risk of harm to individuals using services, and a tangible risk of repetition of the matters you have admitted, and we have found proved.”
The panel continued: “We have therefore decided that, on the evidence before us, only a Removal Order will be adequate.”