Social worker who allegedly fabricated a Phd faces ban from profession

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A SOCIAL worker is accused of maintaining a lie that she held a Phd – even giving evidence as a “doctor” in parliament.

Susan Stewart is due to appear before a panel of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) in Dundee today.

She faces an astonishing set of charges – centering on claims that she lied about holding a doctoral degree from the University of Stirling.

The charges allege that in 2012 she successfully applied to a job at the university as a teaching assistant – falsely claiming to have earned a Phd in psychology from the same institution in 1995.

They also outline claims that in 2010 she gave evidence before the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee using the false title of “doctor”.

The charge sheet gives several other instances where she apparently fraudulently used the title – including whilst working at a children’s trust and providing child assessment reports to be used as evidence in trials.

The hearing was set to start in Dundee today
The hearing was set to start in Dundee today

The claims read: “The charge against you is that between unknown dates in or around 1995 until in or around 2012, you held yourself out as being a Doctor and as having been awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology when you had not.”

In the first instance, this apparently included submitting a CV to the University of Stirling in application for a teaching assistant position, claiming to hold a Phd when she did not.

Ms Stewart secured the job there in February 2012.

It is also claimed she lied about being a doctor on her CV when securing a job with Aberlour Child Care Trust in 2010.

The charges also accuse her of “preparing 59 child and family assessment reports between unknown dates in or around 2003 and in or around 2011 during the course of

your employment in various positions with Aberlour Child Care Trust, stating that you held the title of “doctor”, in the knowledge that these would be provided to and therefore potentially relied upon by external bodies including sheriff courts and children’s hearings.”

It is also claimed that Ms Stewart maintained the same lie on her own personal website – and that she used the title “doctor” whilst conducting business for the Aberlour Trust.

The final charge accuses her of “using the title “doctor” on 2 November 2010 while giving evidence before the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee.”

A panel will discuss the charges and determine whether Ms Stewart’s fitness to practice is impaired.

If they find any of the charges proven, they may decide to remove her from the register and ban her from the profession.

A University of Stirling spokeswoman refused to address claims that Ms Stewart managed to secure a job at the university whilst lying about holding a Phd from the very same institution.

She said: “Under the Data Protection Act, the university does not disclose personal information about individuals to third parties.”

The hearing will continue throughout the week.

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