A recovery support worker has been struck off for borrowing almost £50,000 from a vulnerable service user and failing to pay most of it back.
The worker then attempted to conceal their wrongdoing during an investigation by asking the service user to “stick up” for them when the matter came to light.
The worker’s actions were branded “manipulative” by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).
The watchdog stated that the worker – whose details have been redacted by the SSSC – borrowed sums of money amounting to £48,205 but failed to pay back £43,705.
They also provided financial advice to another service user when unqualified to do so, and accepted food shopping and clothes.
In addition, the worker shared personal details with a number of service users, which led to one becoming “overwhelmed”.
The incidents were said to have taken place in Renfrewshire between 2018 and 2021.
In a written ruling published this month, the SSSC found the worker’s fitness to practise impaired.
The watchdog stated: “You borrowed a substantial amount of money from a service user. You have still not paid back a substantial amount of the money borrowed.
“Your behaviour has caused financial and emotional harm to a vulnerable service user.
“Borrowing money from a service user demonstrates an abuse of this position of trust in your role as carer of this vulnerable service user.
“Further to this, you asked the service user to ‘stick up’ for you when the matter came to light.
“You attempted to conceal your wrongdoing and this is highly concerning.”
The SSSC also rapped the worker for seeking support from vulnerable service users for problems in their own life, noting there was a “pattern of overstepping boundaries”.
The watchdog added: “Your behaviour appears to be attitudinal and manipulative in nature.
“You have shown some remorse and regret into your behaviour, however this is not enough to satisfy concerns that it would not be repeated.
“You appear to represent an ongoing risk to service users.
“Members of the public would be highly concerned by your behaviour.”
In conclusion, the watchdog said a removal order was the “most appropriate sanction” to maintain the “continuing trust and confidence in the social service profession and the SSSC as the regulator of the profession”.
The removal order came into effect on January 1.