Social worker suspended over string of care bungles

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A SOCIAL worker has been slapped with a six-month suspension following a catalogue of blunders which left vulnerable families without proper care for weeks at a time.

Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) bosses found Una Young committed “serious” misconduct after a hearing and ordered her to undergo a medical assessment aimed at determining her 
fitness to practice.

She was found not to have visited one family, resulting in “minimal” social work 
taking place over a four-month period.

In another instance, she failed to ensure weekly contact for more than six weeks with the family of a child who was on the protection register.

It also emerged Ms Young did not complete crucial records, reports and assessments, and failed to adhere to conditions of care for two children in allowing their father unsupervised contact within the family home.

And in the case of one child, no effort was made to ensure the youngster had been attending school.

The incidents took place between June 2011 and January 2012, with Ms Young absent from work for successive periods due to ill health.

SSSC staff heard that city council bosses eventually sacked her for “gross misconduct” following a disciplinary hearing in April 2012.

Ms Young – who has an honours degree in psychology, as well as a masters and diploma in social work from Edinburgh University – appealed her dismissal and a tribunal judged that she should be classed as disabled under the 2010 Equality Act.

However, in a report outlining their final decision, SSSC chiefs said of her failings: “The misconduct found was not at the lower end of the spectrum of misconduct.

“[The SSSC conduct sub-committee] could not be satisfied that there was no risk to the public. The misconduct was serious and could not be said to be of a minor nature.”

They added: “There was the potential for the misconduct to have caused direct or indirect harm to service users.”

Political figures have reacted with concern to the suspension order and said “lessons should be learned”.

Councillor Rob Aldridge, Liberal Democrat representative for Drum Brae-Gyle and member of the city’s children and families committee, said: “This shows the value of the SSSC in helping to maintain high standards in social work.

“Social workers deal with some of the most vulnerable families in our community and it’s important that there are high standards of service.

“I trust that any lessons from this will be learned so that people in Edinburgh can be confident that they will always get the best possible service.”

He added: “I know how much pressure social workers are under with very heavy case loads, but this shows how essential it is for conduct to be maintained at the appropriate level with vulnerable families.”

City officials confirmed Ms Young was no longer working for the council.

A spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on personnel matters.”

Ms Young declined to 
comment.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com