A SOCIAL worker has been reprimanded after classing a father as a single parent because his wife worked full-time while he looked after his children.

The family made a complaint after the social worker, Sharon May, recorded findings that said father-of-three, Colin Nickless was likely to be “resentful” at having to look after his children while his wife was out working.

The complaint was made to the watchdog Social Worker England (SWE) in February last year, with an investigation launched as a result.

The probe resulted in the social worker from the children with disabilities team at Southend Council being given a one-year warning order in May this year.

In its report, the watchdog said: “The complaint related to the social worker making case notes referring to the male complainant as effectively a single parent because the female complainant worked full-time. They considered this to be discrimination against working mothers.”

In a record of a conversation with another professional working with the family, the social worker said the father was “struggling to manage” and “likely to be resentful” that he had to manage children, Ellie, Freddy and Izzy while his wife worked The social worker also came under fire for saying the couple’s youngest child lacked motherly love - a conclusion based solely on the fact the child started crying when the social worker was leaving and the father confirmed the child struggled to say goodbye.

Investigators concluded it was not in the public interest for the matter to be referred to a final hearing where the social worker’s fitness to practise would be questioned.

Mr Nickless said: “The behaviours laid out in this report, are commonplace in the children with disabilities team. On this particular social worker, we felt, as soon as she started working with the family that it was her mission to undermine us as parents and stop our daughter getting the necessary support she so vitally needed.”

Laurie Burton, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “Southend Council has fully complied with the investigation and note the decision made by Social Work England. We hold all our staff to the highest standards, and we will be reminding all of our social workers of how they are expected to carry out their roles.”