Social worker struck off after lying about deaths of relatives to get time off work

 

A social worker has been struck off after lying to bosses about the deaths of her father, mother, uncle, aunt, brother and ex-husband to get time off work.

Rachael Miles took 66 days off work with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, where she was part of a 16-plus team working with vulnerable people.

After a two-day hearing concluding on March 28, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) found she fraudulently claimed compassionate leave and carers' leave.

The panel heard evidence that Ms Miles made up stories about the deaths of loved ones, including claims her ex-husband had hung himself and she needed to identify his body.

In her first claim in February 2010, less than two weeks after starting work for the council, she told bosses her father had been in a car crash, later reporting he had died.

The following month Ms Miles claimed her mother had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, and later that year that she had died during surgery.

In 2011, she told bosses her brother died, followed by her ex-husband.

In November that year, Ms Miles asked for more time off after telling bosses her uncle and then her aunt died seven days apart.

The council launched an investigation and decided to redeploy her to another post in the authority but she resigned instead.

Ms Miles did not attend the HCPC hearing in London and was not represented.

In a written statement read by the panel she said: "As I have no recollection of the events mentioned I have to rely on the witnesses' integrity and honesty in reporting these incidents to the HCPC hearing."

The panel found she provided "false, inaccurate and misleading information" and as a result "fraudulently claimed paid compassionate leave", all of which constituted misconduct impairing her fitness to practise.

In mitigation, Ms Miles was described as a capable social worker, who had been suffering ill health at the time.

She also offered to repay the council any money owed from periods of paid leave.

Alexander Yule, the panel chairman, said Ms Miles "has shown very little insight or remorse into the effect her actions had on her employer, the social work team of which she was a member and also, potentially, to the service users - many of whom were vulnerable individuals".

The HCPC struck her off its register and placed an interim suspension order on Ms Miles, who can choose to appeal against the decision.

A spokesman for Solihull council said it did not comment on individual staff matters.

He added that all its employees were subject to a code of conduct.

"If an allegation is made about the conduct of an employee, it is taken seriously and we thoroughly investigate the circumstances around the allegation," he said.

PA

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