Promoting evidence based practice on sex and gender
Press Release 13 October 2022
Social Work England to discontinue case against social worker for “offensive” Facebook posts about Mermaids and “gender identity” policies .
A registered social worker who is appealing against a warning issued by Social Work England (SWE) in 2021 has been informed that it does not intend to defend its position at a review hearing which starts on Monday 17 October. The official warning followed a complaint by a single person that posts by the social worker on her private Facebook page were ‘offensive’ and ‘disgusting’ because they criticised the concept of gender identity. SWE’s decision followed receipt of submissions on the case. .
The social worker concerned is unable to use her name as she is subject to a warning from her employer not to comment publicly. She will now be asking her local authority employer to remove the warning from her file and acknowledge that she has been the victim of an unfair process.
The posts which were deemed “offensive” and “disgusting” comprised articles, blogs and cartoons critical of or satirical about “gender identity”. Raising concerns about charity Mermaids was found to be illegitimate and bigoted. The charity is now at the centre of a growing scandal, including a trustee with links to paedophile groups on its board and serious safeguarding breaches in its contact with children. Many of the posts were from mainstream publications. Others were from legitimate campaign groups such as Fair Play for Women. None of the posts used abusive or derogatory language nor singled out any individual for targeted harassment. There was no evidence that the social worker had ever behaved in a discriminatory way in her previously unblemished social work career. None of the posts were personally offensive towards anyone All were a reflection of the social workers protected “gender critical” beliefs.
Although SWE now wants to withdraw from the review, it has not acknowledged the case made in the submissions that the views expressed are entirely legitimate and necessary to be publicly expressed by a registered social worker.
Maggie Mellon said “EBSWA believes that the case should be heard in full. It is essential that SWE is required to either defend or to withdraw its entire case against our colleague. SWE’s conduct has sent out a chilling message to the entire profession that they may not raise concerns about any aspect of belief in ‘gender identity’ without facing accusations that their fitness to practice is impaired. SWE should make it clear that it will not sanction social workers for merely expressing criticism or concern about claims made about “gender identity” and their impact on social work practice.”
The social worker concerned has provided this short statement
"Being subject to investigation and sanction for expressing perfectly legitimate concerns has subjected me to enormous stress and financial costs over more than two years. I hope that no other social worker is subjected to anything like this again. We must be free to discuss the impact of claims about gender identity on social work practice."
EBSWA believes that SWE’s accepts that what we assert is an unlawful investigation has revealed a failure to abide by its own foundational principles, and risks bringing the social work profession into serious disrepute. We intend to raise their conduct in this and other cases with the Professional Standards authority, and also with Ministers.
Contact details – Maggie Mellon 07503175418
correspondence to email@example.com
 Full submissions will be posted on the EBSWA website on 17 October https://www.ebswa.org/post/social-work-england-case-submissions