A social worker has been struck off after her professional watchdog found her her guilty of “premeditated and deliberate” failures that left several disabled children at risk of significant harm.
Helen O’Reilly “abused the trust” placed in her when she worked as a social worker in Aberdeen for 18 years, the Scottish Social Services Council ruled.
She put one child at unnecessary risk by failing to discuss their case with other professionals – despite the youngster turning up at school in clothes covered in dog faeces, bruises and without essential medication.
In another case, she failed to follow up concerns of sexual abuse of a child, identified only as MM.
O’Reilly also failed to keep any records of visits for some of the children on her books – and in one case, where she was the lead social worker, she recorded just one phone call in 13 years.
A fitness to practice hearing was held in Dundee earlier this month, and now the SSSC have made their determination public.
In the judgement, the watchdog said O’Reilly’s failings spanned 18 years from 1997 until 2015 and covered 20 “vulnerable” children – most of whom were disabled.
It added: “The panel was persuaded on the evidence that your behaviour had significant harmful consequences for the service users for whom you were the allocated social worker and lead professional.
“The panel considered there was potential for significant harm in all of the cases.
“The panel noted that you were the allocated social worker with lead responsibility for the care and protection of the 20 service users.
“These service users were all children who by their nature are vulnerable.”
The SSSC ruled that due to the “aggravating factors”, such as the serious nature of the allegations and the number of children impacted over an extended period of time, her behaviour was “fundamentally incompatible” with allowing her to remain on the social work register.
It added: “Your behaviour was very serious and constituted a pattern of premeditated and deliberate acts with no concern for the possible consequences.
“It involved a significant breach of trust.
“It represents a sustained pattern of unacceptable behaviour.
“Your actions demonstrate a serious disregard for your duties and responsibilities as a social service worker.”