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Social worker with two jobs cleared of misconduct

A social worker who admitted taking on two full-time jobs simultaneously, but denied she had been dishonest in not telling both employers, has been cleared of misconduct by a General Social Care Council conduct committee.

Alice Tagoe accepted positions at Surrey and Lambeth councils in August 2006 and four months later went on long-term paid sick from both local authorities. In June 2007, she had a phased return to both jobs.

Some evidence was heard in private because it was of a sensitive nature, but Ms Tagoe also told the committee, in public hearing, that she had never intended to keep her employment arrangements secret.

Giving evidence at a hearing in London this week, Ms Tagoe said she believed there was a “clear distinction” between her role as a commissioning officer at Lambeth and the one at Surrey where she did out-of-hours work in an emergency duty team (EDT).

She said that when she had begun working at Surrey council in a part-time role in May 2006 managers knew she already had a full-time position at Bromley council. She later left Bromley and went on to take a job at Lambeth, but she did not disclose it when she was offered a full-time 36 hours in the Surrey EDT because she believed her manager knew she had previously had a full-time role and her move to Lambeth was not relevant.

But Surrey council had said Ms Tagoe told them her job at Bromley had been 18 hours a week. Ms Tagoe said that everyone who worked in the EDT at Surrey had other jobs so she did not consider that she was doing anything wrong. She added that she had chosen not tell anyone she was also working at Lambeth because she considered it private.

Ms Tagoe said: “I have admitted everything here but I was not dishonest or anything. What I thought was private is obviously in the career I have chosen not and I have come to know that bitterly. I have learned the lessons.”

Ms Tagoe admitted that she had signed a document when she joined Lambeth council requiring her to inform them of any other employment, adding she should have read it more carefully.

In its decision, the conduct committee found seven of eight allegations proved after Ms Tagoe admitted them but an eighth allegation that she had been dishonest was not found proved by the committee. It had not been persuaded that Ms Tagoe’s actions had been “blatantly dishonest” or that they called into question her suitability to remain on the social care register.