Beds, Herts & Bucks

Social worker Joanne McGovern struck off for teenager relationship

A social worker who had an "inappropriate relationship" with a teenager has been struck off the Health and Care Professions Council register.

Joanne McGovern failed to maintain professional boundaries with a 17-year-old male service user while working at Luton Borough Council, a hearing heard.

She gave the "vulnerable" boy gifts and visited him at home more often than was "appropriate".

Mrs McGovern was not present or represented at the hearing in London.

A conduct and competence panel heard that Mrs McGovern, a youth justice worker, rented a car for the boy, referred to as Service User A, even though he did not hold a full driving licence.

On one occasion, he was arrested in the hire car and on another he was involved in an accident.

Panel chairman Alexander Yule said: "The panel considers that Mrs McGovern's actions fell well below the standard expected of a registered social worker."

Mr Yule said her conduct was not "easily remediable" and not an "isolated error".

Luton Borough Council said a social worker had been suspended and then dismissed on the grounds of misconduct in December 2011.

"We welcome the decision of the Health and Care Professions Council which endorses the immediate and robust actions taken by Luton Borough Council," a spokesman said.

"This was an isolated incident in which the unacceptable conduct of an individual fell well below the professional standards expected by the authority, its clients and the registered social work profession."

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