South Gloucestershire social worker struck off for fraud

May 21 2019
South Gloucestershire social worker struck off for fraud

A SOCIAL worker has been struck off for fiddling South Gloucestershire Council out of almost £3,500 by falsely claiming hours she did not work.

Jane Rosalind Gordon manually recorded her clocking-in-and-out times deliberately incorrectly over a two-year period, a tribunal heard.

When her boss became suspicious, he told her to use the authority’s automated swipe-card system to register her working hours.

But Mrs Gordon reverted to manually recording her start and finish times, prompting an internal investigation. It found that, between January 2015 and February 2017, she falsely claimed 385 hours of work, totalling £3,468 in earnings she was not entitled to.

A health and care professions tribunal in London on May 10, ruled that her dishonesty amounted to misconduct and her fitness to practice was impaired, and ordered her to be struck off the register.

At a previous hearing the panel found the allegations proven and suspended Mrs Gordon for six months to allow her to “reflect on her past misconduct and take steps to remediate her misconduct”.

But last week’s tribunal, which she did not attend, heard that she had refused to engage with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) since then and “wanted no further dealings with the HCPC and that she would return any correspondence sent to her” by the professional body.

Mrs Gordon was employed by South Gloucestershire Council for 16 years until March 2017, first as a care manager/social worker and then as a social work senior practitioner.

She had insisted the clocking-in timings were a “data error” and “unintentional”, but the panel rejected her arguments.

The tribunal’s report said: “In September 2015 the registrant’s manager, noticed that the registrant was arriving late for work and leaving early but that her time recording of her hours of work did not reflect this.

He advised her to use the automated scanning system to record her hours of work and to stop manually recording her start and finish times.

In January 2017, he again observed that the registrant was arriving after the start time for her contractual working hours and leaving before they ended.

On checking the registrant’s time recording, it appeared that the registrant had resumed manually recording her start and finish times.”

Mrs Gordon, who had a previously unblemished record, had told the hearing in November that she felt “overwhelmed by pressures in her personal life and consequently was unable to consider the information provided to her by PE or to take it in”.

But in their ruling the tribunal members said: “Given the serious nature of the misconduct, which involved dishonesty over a prolonged period concerning a significant sum of money, the panel considered the matter too serious to take no action or for a caution order.

The review panel has been presented with no evidence of reflection or remediation by the registrant, who has positively disengaged from her regulator.

In all the circumstances, the panel determined that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction was a striking-off order.”

By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service