Council wrongly sacked social worker over Blackpool caravan trip

Blackpool Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The tribunal heard that the trip to Blackpool had gone "smoothly"

A senior social worker was unfairly sacked after allowing a troubled teenage girl to be taken for "time out" in a caravan, a tribunal ruled.

Tameside Council dismissed the woman, referred to as J Taylor, for gross misconduct for allowing Child X, 16, to make the overnight stay in Blackpool.

But an employment Judge said she had acted in the child's "best interests".

The tribunal heard Child X had become violent and it was decided she needed a "time out" from their care home.

Judge Katherine Ross ordered the council, based in Ashton-under-Lyne, to pay Ms Taylor compensation.

The hearing was told that "volatile" Child X had progressed "a million miles" after being placed alone in a care home with "one-to-one" care.

But in an emergency another teenager, 12, had to be moved in and Child X's behaviour deteriorated, with her lashing out at a member of staff, shoving and hair-pulling, the tribunal heard.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said the care home's manager, who had 30 years experience, said a short break away would benefit the girl, and spoke to Ms Taylor about it.

She offered to take Child X to a caravan she owned in Blackpool for the night during college half-term, where she could stay free of charge meaning there was no financial conflict of interest.

After querying whether they would both be safe, Ms Taylor agreed and the visit took place in October 2017.

The hearing was told it went 'smoothly' and the teenager enjoyed the visit.

But Ms Taylor was sacked in February last year for a "serious breach of safeguarding and health and safety" because she had failed to undertake a risk assessment, the tribunal heard.

However, Judge Ross said that Tameside council had acted "outside the band of reasonable responses of a reasonable employer".

A council spokesperson said: "We intend to respect the finding of the court whilst continuing to safeguard the rights of vulnerable children."

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