by Melanie Newman & Julie Bindel
Tuesday, 24
August 2021
Behind the news
11:21

Social workers risk everything for sharing their views

Rachel Mead has been suspended pending investigation on highly dubious grounds
by Melanie Newman & Julie Bindel
SWE examiners issued Mead with a warning without referring her to a full public hearing. Credit: Getty

In the latest of a long line of stories regarding institutional capture by the extreme transgender ideology, a social worker has been sanctioned by her regulator for Facebook posts criticising some aspects of the transgender rights movement and signing a petition.

Social Work England (SWE), the regulatory body for social workers, found Rachel Mead’s “fitness to practice was impaired by way of misconduct”. The body argued that her actions had the potential to undermine public confidence in social workers even though there was no evidence her actual work had been affected.

SWE examiners issued Mead with a warning without referring her to a full public hearing.

After a member of the public complained about her social media use, SWE decided Mead had made some 70 posts on Facebook that were “discriminatory in nature”. These included sharing “fake news that a convicted child murderer was seeking gender reassignment” and supporting “a petition to stop a charity supporting gender-diverse children and young people”.

Mead also shared a post that said: “Boys that identify as girls go to Girl Guides… Girls that identify as boys go to Boy Scouts… Men that identify as paedophiles go to either.” According to the examiners, this post conflated “being transgender with being a paedophile”. In her defence, Mead said she had not fully read or analysed the content of the posts before sharing them and apologised to the regulator.

The social worker’s manager gave evidence that she had not practiced in a discriminatory way. SWE accepted that “no evidence has been offered that would suggest that the social worker acted in a transphobic manner whilst at work”.

But arguing that Mead’s fitness to practice was impaired, SWE’s case examiners found that “not only those from the transgender community, but others, would have concerns about the social worker’s ability to act in an anti-oppressive manner which values the diverse lived experience of others.” Mead was given a one-year warning and is currently suspended pending investigation by her employer.

Susan Hawkes, a senior lecturer in social work at the University of Wolverhampton, said the decision had enormous implications for social workers’ free speech. She questioned whether the same decision would have been reached had the case gone to a full hearing: “A social worker is not a politically restricted post. The judgement appears to suggest that social workers may not express gender-critical views or sign petitions.”

The SWE decision was made after the Employment Appeal Tribunal tribunal held in the Maya Forstater case that workers must not be discriminated against on the basis of their “gender critical” beliefs.

Hawkes said SWE had apparently failed to take into account the Forstater and others judgements and had “decided the posts are offensive on the basis of a single complaint.”

As to whether this SWE decision will reassure social workers who have concerns about issues surrounding gender identity is unlikely. The fear of being accused of transphobia is strong and workers — in most professions — would prefer to simply keep their heads down. But as the case of Forstater shows, the tide is slowly turning. Hopefully, the same will apply to Mead.

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Richard Barnes
Richard Barnes
10 months ago

If you’re at all tempted to post publicly about anything that might be at all contentious then you should really join the Free Speech Union first. They will take up the cudgels on your behalf if you get sacked for saying something obvious and true.

Matt M
Matt M
10 months ago
Reply to  Richard Barnes

Even you you are not likely to post anything contentious, it would be great to join. Only £40pa and they are doing us all a service.

Hugh Oxford
Hugh Oxford
10 months ago

The views that Mead holds about the protection of women and children from disturbed and dangerous men is one that one would expect and hope for from people charged with the protection of vulnerable groups.
Of course her comments are discriminatory. That is good. Discrimination is good. We should discriminate against men who seek to invade and occupy the private and secure spaces of the female sex. Obviously.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
10 months ago

It is all Social Engineering anyway. Identity Politics are now the thing 100%. You are not an individual, but a collection of identity groups, as is everyone else – and at least one of those groups (gender, sexual, racial, religious, disability, age, education, class, region, culture, place of origin, criminal history, wealth/lack of wealth, kind of employment, attractiveness, marital status, political spectrum, political activity, environmental views, BLM + Critical Theory beliefs, children and family, and on and on) is offended by something in any opinion.

STFU is the new normal. Expressing views of any kind are very problematic, in this identity fragility politics time. Remember there are two kinds of people in the world, and throughout all history: Oppressed, and Oppressors. Everything you say comes down on one side or the other, best be careful it is not on the ‘Oppressor’ side.

Welcome to the new world of Post Modernism.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
10 months ago

”Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others” (or words to that effect).
Just out of curiosity, are there any practicing Muslim social workers ?
Maybe I’m just being thick, or thick and prejudiced, but why isn’t “What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander” or are ganders a protected species, because they’re standing on an intersection ?
Maybe it doesn’t matter what views, cultural, or religious, one might have and however prejudice they might appear in some instances, as long as they are from a “protected” minority it’s perfectly fine.
So much for “White privilege” !

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
10 months ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

““What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander””

Sailing a bit close to the wind there, it is now “What is good for one goose is good for another goose’.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
10 months ago

This is the reason I hate the left with every atom of my body.

James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months ago

How timely! It seems that UnHerd has changed the name associated with my comments from what Apple had scrambled it to–a long string of letters and numbers–back to something close to my real name. Is it possible to change it to a Nomme de post? It seems that some do this, while the bravest among us (read the article, perhaps not a good idea if cancellation is possible) use their real names. Or perhaps they haven’t yet read the article.
How did this change overnight and how can one change it back?

J Bryant
J Bryant
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

How did this change overnight and how can one change it back?
Go to the top of the Unherd page and click on the ‘My Account’ link. That takes you to a page called ‘Your details’.
Beneath your name it says ‘If you wish to update the name on your profile, please click here.’ Click on that link and it takes you to a page called email preferences where it shows your account name as ‘forename’ and ‘surname’. Make whatever changes to the name you want then save them.

Last edited 10 months ago by J Bryant
James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Many thanks, BUT it doesn’t say that. There is no field that says if you want to update your name on the profile…. When I click on update, it takes me to the financial details. I vaguely remember something like what you mentioned but it’s gone. Signing in with Apple seemed to anonomize me and just today it changed. Wow!

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Mine says if I want to change the name on my profile, click here.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
10 months ago

Did this change work? No, I changed my Forename and Surname, and the profile said that the changes took. It is changed on the profile page but not in the posts.

Last edited 10 months ago by Laura Creighton