Monday 1 September 2008


Over at the Social Work Blog, Daniel Lombard has a horrifying tale to tell of incompetence, failure to check references and chaos caused by the hiring of a social worker (by three councils in Wales, Scotland and north-west England) who turned out to be….well, who knows what he really was:
He joined them as an ultra-qualified, registered social worker with bags of experience. But what clinched it for this idealistic young people's champion was an unsolicited reference purporting to be from a former employer, describing him as an "easy-going fellow" with a "passion for children".
He wasn’t a registered social worker though, he had no qualifications, and his glowing references were a pile of poo:
A Denbighshire council manager reported that in just two months of bungling, (redacted reference to name) he left Rhyl's child protection team in "chaos", causing serious problems for his one-time colleagues and putting vulnerable children at risk.

A Highland council boss said (redacted reference to name and nationality) he frequently failed to turn up to supervision sessions and she had to "go and find him on several occasions".

In a night shift job at a children's emergency accommodation unit at the Together Trust, he was dismissed for "poor interaction with young people and persistent use of his personal mobile phone".
So, what possessed these three councils to offer him a job in the first place?

Well, the clue might be in the name I’ve redacted from that excerpt. It’s Christopher Nwokoro, and he was a Nigerian national.

It’s hard not to think that what really ‘clinched it’ for Nwokoro was the fact that he ticked the ‘diversity’ box on all three of those councils, isn’t it…?


Longrider said...

Well, it wouldn't be fair to discriminate against someone on the basis of incompetence and lack of qualifications, now, would it?

Anonymous said...

Oh, quite!

After all, what are 'qualifications' but a product of the hidden desire of Western society to put barriers in the way of minorities...? ;)

Anonymous said...

Quite apart from the race angle (and I'm sure your conclusion is correct), the stunner here for me is that nobody seems to CHECK references in these cases.

When I worked for, if we were about the hire someone, a (very skilled and clever) member of the HR team would call up the people who'd given the references and talk to them, in some depth, with probing questions, about the person concerned. Any bogus reference would have been uncovered instantly, and the person would have got a "Dear John..."

If we could do that before hiring ordinary factory workers - for such they were - how much more important is it to do so for sensitive life-critical appointments like social workers, and why on earth isn't it done?

Has the recruiting manager been fired yet?

(Sorry, that last was a rhetorical question - I nearly forgot this is the public sector, where accountability does not exist)

Anonymous said...

"If we could do that before hiring ordinary factory workers - for such they were - how much more important is it to do so for sensitive life-critical appointments like social workers, and why on earth isn't it done?"

Particularly considering the widespread development of snooping databases designed for this (and being used for other things).

"Sorry, that last was a rhetorical question..."

I'd be very, very surprised if they even received a reprimand. No doubt more 'training' was ordered, and money spent on getting consultants in to devise a new process...

Robert said...

Two years ago, Texas’ Comptroller General, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, said the state’s child welfare system was broken, citing numerous unexplained deaths, examples of abuse, both physical and sexual, and more importantly, Governor Rick Perry’s attempts to stonewall her investigation of the irreparable broken system. Strayhorn opened her statement by first stating that Governor Perry’s attempts to derail her investigation were “unconscionable,” and why she had finally come forward:

"I am here today to release disturbing information found during my investigation about the deaths, poisonings, rapes and pregnancies of children in our state’s foster care system."

Strayhorn then proceeded on to reveal something you’ll never hear about on the television news, especially as it relates to the state of Texas’ recent and unconstitutional kidnapping of the FLDS’ children:

"If you compare the number of deaths of children in our state’s population to the number of deaths in our state’s foster care system, a child is four times more likely to die in our state’s foster care system."”