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Social worker claims unfair dismissal from Richmond Council
A social worker has taken Richmond Council to an employment tribunal over unfair dismissal.
Marilyn Neufville was fired from the local authority in 2010, after she was removed from a case.
At the employment tribunal in Croydon on February 27, a service manager for adult and community services at Richmond Council, Janet McGeorge, told the court Miss Neufville needed a lot of prompting to ensure she completed her report to a satisfactory level.
Yet Miss Neufville denied this and said she believed all the relevant information was there, but management was nit-picking at certain bits of her writing, including spelling.
The court heard she was taken off a case dealing with domestic violence within a family, because bosses said she was making the situation “less safe”.
Miss Neufville said she had not been properly alerted to the extent of the situation before visiting the family home.
She said: “I came into a situation which was actually quite shocking to me. That I was in a situation where a mother was strangled by her son.”
Ms McGeorge said there was not appropriate preparation before the visit, and Miss Neufville’s report was not satisfactory.
She said: “Social workers can feel shocked when they go out to visit people, of course they can - they are human but, having said that, preparation before would mean you should know that reason for making that visit.”
Addressing Miss Neufville, she said: “I think the issue is your professional judgment, which you say you used, was flawed. I think it was flawed and therefore potentially made for a more unsafe situation.
“We were taking her off this case to make the situation less unsafe.”
Miss Neufville strongly denied she made the situation less safe and said: “I always kept the best interests of the family in mind. In each case I did what was necessary for the service user.”
The case will conclude on Wednesday, March 6.