The woman, who was in her mid-30s and lived in the Eastbourne area of East Sussex, made a dash for the notorious suicide spot during a lunchtime stroll yesterday.
Asked why the social worker had seen fit to take the woman to Beachy Head, which even has a special Samaritans telephone by the cliff edge, Inspector Michael Pollitt, of Sussex Police, said: "The lady requested that her and the social worker visited the area for a coffee. This is something that hundreds of people do safely every day."
The pair did not walk near the cliff edge, but stayed close to the road, he added. "The lady left her social worker, who was unable to prevent the incident," he said.