Care worker struck off after drink driving, fighting, and slapping child

A Fife support worker has been struck off following a number of incidents including driving under the influence of alcohol and assaulting a child.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 11:20 am
Fife Central Retail Park in Kirkcaldy.
Fife Central Retail Park in Kirkcaldy.

June Austin, who worked in the Care Home Service for Adults, was called to appear before the Fitness to Practise Panel of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

The hearing was called after Austin was convicted of a number of offences in 2016 and 2017 including: failing to report crashing her car at Central Retail Park, Kirkcaldy; driving while more than five times over the legal alcohol limit in Happer Crescent, Glenrothes; and engaging with a fight with a man and slapping a child in Glenrothes.

There was no suggestion the allegations involved any service users, however, the Presenter to the panel submitted that the allegations, if repeated, posed a risk to members of the public.

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Austin did not personally appear before the panel, she had previously acknowledged to the Presenter her behaviour could have been triggered by grief, but as she had not engaged in the process since November 2017 the panel had very limited information before it as to the circumstances leading to the convictions.

The panel had no information before it as to Austin’s current circumstances, but it is understood she is no longer working in the sector.

The panel was given the option to impose a suspension, but did not feel this was a strong enough action.

In its findings the panel stated: “The panel are presented with a number of allegations, committed over a period of time which are all serious.

“The allegations include serious disregard for the law, driving whilst under the influence of alcohol and the assault of a child.

“You did not attend the hearing to assist the panel in deliberating matters. In the absence of any explanation of behaviours, the panel could not be assured these behaviours would not be repeated.

“The panel considers that a Removal Order is the most appropriate sanction as the behaviour demonstrates a significant departure from relevant professional standards.

“A Removal Order is both necessary and justified in the public interest and to maintain the continuing trust and confidence in the social service profession and the SSSC as the regulator.”

The panel noted Austin’s employers had never had an issue with her practise or behaviour prior to these offences, and she will be entitled to re-apply for registration after a period of three years.