Social worker struck off threat to teen over phone

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A SOCIAL worker has been struck off after threatening a teenager she accused of stealing her mobile phone.

Paula Sharp told the 17-year-old he would “get his face battered in for a year”, a disciplinary hearing heard.

The residential childcare officer was employed by West Lothian Council and working at the Newlands Supported Accommodation Unit in Bathgate at the time.

She discovered her mobile missing on April 20 last year after she allowed the teenager and two others to visit the unit’s office – breaching rules over the number of people allowed in at one time.

Sharp then used the unit’s phone to send the boy a text message before calling him twice and making the violent threat.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) conduct sub-committee was told that Sharp admitted shouting and screaming at the boy, but could not confirm her exact words.

Members of the panel heard how she then reported the incident to her team leader, Dawn Crow, accepting that she had breached guidelines on office security.

Almost a week later, Sharp was suspended by West Lothian Council – where she was a member of a pool of stand-in staff – while an investigation was launched.

Local authority chiefs axed her permanently from the pool on June 13, 2013.

Now she has been removed from the Register for Residential Child Care Workers after the SSSC disciplinary hearing ruled that she had committed “very serious misconduct”. They said the sanction was “appropriate” and “reflected the very serious nature of her behaviour”.

Sharp didn’t attend the hearing, which heard she had a good history and had “shown regret” for her misconduct.

She made a written statement about problems in her personal life and with her health, but failed to provide references or testimonials.

In its ruling, the SSSC panel said: “There was a public interest in the upholding of proper standards of behaviour and conduct amongst social service workers.

“Public confidence in the regulation of social service workers was important.

“The nature of her misconduct gave rise to such a public interest.

“It was appropriate to mark her misconduct with an appropriate sanction.

“This was a case where the only appropriate sanction was a removal order.”