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Edward Bennett
Edward Bennett
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Social worker reprimanded for inappropriate relationships
Date:1 AUG 2008

An Essex social worker has been reprimanded by a conduct committee of the General Social Care Council after he admitted misconduct in forming inappropriate personal relationships with two vulnerable people who used services.

During the three day conduct hearing, which concluded on 24 July, the committee heard that Mr Rawle McCarthy, 41, had been a member of Southend on Sea Borough Council's child protection team between October 2004 and April 2005. During his time with the team, Mr McCarthy came into contact with two people who used services with whom he later formed personal relationships which he conceded broke the professional boundaries set out in the codes of conduct by which social workers are required to work.

In deciding the appropriate sanction for such misconduct, the committee noted that McCarthy had shown regret at his actions and insight into the failings, accepting that he would behave differently now and in the future, and that he had no previous disciplinary findings against him. However, because of the vulnerability of the service users and the abuse of trust involved, the committee decided a reprimand should be placed on Mr McCarthy's record for a period of three years.

Sir Rodney Brooke, Chair of the GSCC, said: "It's vital that the public can have confidence and trust in the social work profession and admonishing those whose conduct fails to meet the high standards expected of them is a significant way of achieving this. It's also important to reassure people who use services and the public as a whole that the majority of social workers work to a very high standard and put the interests of service users at the heart of everything they do. Fortunately, those who commit misconduct form only a tiny part of the 80,000 social workers who practice in England."

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