A former service manager at Langlees Aberlour Childcare Trust is facing a disciplinary probe over allegations she falsely claimed to be a doctor.
Susan Stewart (46) ran the Trust’s child and family assessment centre and was also called on by a Scottish Government committee to act as an expert witness.
She referred to herself as Doctor Susan Stewart, claiming she had gained a PhD in Psychology from the University of Stirling in the mid 90s.
She was registered with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) as a social worker.
Now she is to appear before an SSSC conduct sub-committee hearing in Dundee this week accused of holding herself out as a doctor for 17 years between 1995 and 2012.
The charge against her states she submitted a CV for a University of Stirling teaching assistant post, a job she started in 2012, which claimed she had a PhD from the institution awarded in 1995.
She did the same at Aberlour for the job of service manager at their Child and Family Assessment Centre, a job she took up in 2010.
Stewart is also said to have used the false credential on a website advertising a child and family consultancy run by her.
The SSSC charge also says she prepared 59 child and family assessment reports between 2003 and 2011 holding herself out to be a doctor in the knowledge they would potentially be relied on by sheriff courts and children’s hearings.
She is also alleged to have falsely used the title “doctor” when promoting the launch of Aberlour’s Child and Family Assessment Centre, while running a session at the National Early Years Conference in 2010 and while giving evidence at the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee in November 2010.
A four-day hearing at the SSSC’s Dundee HQ was scheduled to begin today.
If the charge is proven she could be struck off the social workers register.
Stewart was head of Aberlour’s Langlees family centre and worked with children whose parents had alcohol or drug problems.
She also provided independent assessments to councils, courts and childcare professionals seeking to decide on the best course of action for children, particularly in some of the most challenging child care protection cases.
And she sat as an expert on the Scottish Parliament’s finance committee when they considered the impact of budgets on child welfare.
She was referred to as Dr Stewart and the position allowed her to mingle with other charity executives and MSPs sitting on the cross-party committee.
Stewart represented the charity at conferences across the country and held workshops for delegates at events organised by Aberlour.