Mike Wardle, chief executive of the General Social Care Council (GSCC), has been suspended over claims that social workers are being employed who pose a risk to the public.
Paul Philip, deputy chief executive at the General Medical Council, is to join the GSCC as acting chief executive as an interim measure.
Health secretary Andy Burnham told MPs that 203 complaints against social workers included 21 where ‘the allegations, though unproven, suggested that there could have been an ongoing risk of harm to members of the public’.
And despite the GSCC confirming that all employers were aware of the complaint and ‘managing the risk’, a follow-up inquiry found that a ‘small number’ of further cases were being investigated.
Mr Burnham said: ‘The fact that a backlog of conduct referrals, some of which had not been adequately risk assessed, has built up is a matter of extreme concern.’
Meanwhile, he said, a review has been ordered ‘to establish what further action is needed to ensure that ministers, Parliament and the public can have confidence that the GSCC is effectively carrying out its statutory duties to promote high standards of conduct and practice in order to protect the public’.