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23 SEP 2008

Social worker removed from register for placing children at risk

A social worker from Nottingham has been removed from the Social Care Register by an independent committee of the General Social Care Council (GSCC) for prolonged and repeated breaches of the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers, which placed vulnerable people, particularly children, at risk.

Ruth Hughes, 27, faced 15 allegations about her conduct whilst practising as a social worker at Nottinghamshire County Council, ten of which were proven at the three-day hearing held in London. These included failing to accompany two young children across a road when taking them to school and failing to respond to a concern about another child because she was taking her pet to the veterinary surgeon.

The panel found that Ms Hughes failed to adequately identify risk, did not make sound judgements and did not manage her caseload in a timely or efficient manner. The committee concluded that her behaviour demonstrated a serious departure from the relevant standards set out in the code of practice and there was a continuing risk to service users, service providers and members of the public if she remained on the register.

Removal from the register means that Ms Hughes will not be able to practise as a social worker.

Sir Rodney Brooke, Chair of the GSCC, said: Social workers are in a position of significant responsibility and have a duty to practise in a safe and professional manner. The GSCC has a duty to ensure that only social workers who uphold the highest standards of practice remain on the Social Care Register. Fortunately, cases of misconduct are rare and the majority of the 97,000 registered social workers and students provide high quality care each and every day to sometimes extremely vulnerable members of our communities."

Social workers have a right of appeal to the independent Care Standards Tribunal.

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