Social worker removed from the Register for failing to maintain professional boundaries

30 November 2017
Social Care Wales

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

Patricia Reid was accused of failing to maintain professional boundaries with some of the vulnerable people she worked with and failing to follow management instructions.

At the time, Ms Reid was employed as a senior social worker by a charity that worked with vulnerable children and families, and the incidents in question took place between May 2015 and June 2017.

Ms Reid was present and gave evidence at the three-day hearing at the Beaufort Park Hotel in Mold last week. Four witnesses from the charity also gave evidence.

The hearing heard that Ms Reid failed to maintain professional boundaries with more than one vulnerable individual she worked with and exchanged inappropriate Facebook messages with one of the individuals.

The committee heard evidence that the individual in question found the Facebook messages uncomfortable and subsequently told the charity she no longer wanted its support.

The hearing also heard that Ms Reid continued to contact one of the families she worked with after their case was closed, which was against policy, paying the family a home visit and exchanging Facebook messages with them.

Ms Reid was also frequently late to work and meetings, failed to follow instructions about lone working and failed to keep her calendar up-to-date so her colleagues knew where she was and how to contact her.

Additionally, Ms Reid was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in June 2017 and failed to tell us about her conviction, which she was bound to do.

Having heard all the evidence, the committee concluded that Ms Reid’s fitness to practise was impaired because of her misconduct and criminal conviction, saying her conduct fell short of the standards expected by the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care.

Explaining its decision, the committee said: “We do not have confidence that Ms Reid is capable of change. She has demonstrated a pattern of behaviour and has failed to provide us with any evidence that she has taken appropriate and adequate steps to address her conduct.

“She has shown limited insight about the impact of her behaviour on individuals who use services. We consider that Ms Reid has acted so as to pose a risk to individuals who use services and is liable to do so in the future.”

The committee decided to impose a Removal Order, saying: “We find that only a Removal Order will be adequate in this case because of the seriousness of the allegations.”