A SOCIAL worker who posted Facebook messages bragging about removing three children from their parents has been found guilty of misconduct at a fitness to practice hearing.

Basildon social worker Siobhan Condon appeared before a Health and Care Professionals Council disciplinary panel after posting derogatory remarks on Facebook about a family whose children were taken into care.

The panel said Miss Condon could continue working as a social worker under supervision, despite saying she had demonstrated “a serious failing”

and that she had “not fully remediated her actions in terms of her values as a social work professional and the fundamental importance of confidentiality”.

Essex County Council chose not to renew Miss Condon’s contract after the case which involved three boys, all aged under ten, who were taken into care after a private hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court last year.

Within minutes of the hearing, Miss Condon, said to be a senior social worker based at Ely House, Basildon, had commented on her Facebook page about the case, writing: “Just experienced His Honour Judge (sic) give parents a massive rollicking. It was an extraordinary moment in my career.”

A friend replies: “You should be proud of yourself. You’ve always been good in court Siobhan.”

Miss Condon then wrote: “So the day is complete. It’s so powerful to know three children’s lives have just changed for the better and now they are safe and protected from harm and have hope for the future.”

Miss Condon went on to comment: “Anyway of (sic) now to do the mammoth grim task fingers crossed xxx”, referring to removal of the children from their parents.

The children were put into foster care after the court hearing and the boys’ mother reported Miss Condon's comments to Essex County Council, after spotting them on Facebook.

Martin Purbrick, who was then working for Essex County Council as interim service manager was able to access Ms Condon’s Facebook page, although he was not a ‘friend’, which meant it was publicly accessible.

Mr Purbrick said there was “the potential for significant reputational damage, both to the local authority and to the social work profession, from an incident such as this” and the children’s parents had been “very upset and angry”.

Miss Condon told the panel she believed wrongly her privacy setting would mean only her 100 Facebook friends, the majority of whom were not in the social work profession, would be able to access her account.

Miss Condon, who now works for another authority, told the panel she acknowledged her unprofessional conduct and without seeking to excuse her conduct, blamed the pressures at work at the relevant time. She also said if hermanager, sitting next to her when two of the comments were posted, had told her to take them down she would have done so immediately.

Taking into account her previous good record as a social worker the panel decided to impose a conditions of practice order for a period of 12 months.

The panel did consider whether it was necessary to impose a suspension order, but it concluded that this would be disproportionate.



DESPITE posting sensitive confidential information about the family on a social media site, Siobhan Condon attempted to have the hearing held in private.

Miss Condon cited issues related to the disproportionate effect on her and her family of media reporting of her conduct.

However, the panel ruled it was unclear what benefit there would be in a private hearing when the case had already been publicised.

The panel said it had “carefully considered the application and, whilst appreciating the impact already made on Miss Condon’s private life by the reporting of her alleged misconduct within the media, it did not consider that she had made out a compelling case for overriding the presumption of open justice”.