back to article Social workers sacked over Gary Glitter email

Fifteen social workers from South Lanarkshire Council have been given their marching orders for circulating an email featuring a picture of convicted paedophile Gary Glitter "carrying a bag with a child's head superimposed on it", Sky reports. The council was alerted to the email by a "disgusted" worker. Most of those sacked …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    I got that one..

    ..and I thought it was funny! Ah well, I must be sick or just not as over sensitive as some people?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank fuck I run my own company

    and don't have to put up with someone else's idea of what is offensive.

  3. Austin Chamberlain
    Unhappy

    Not to sound too Daily Fail, but ...

    ... some social workers send a silly, somewhat tasteless picture by council email, and are sacked ...

    ... while other social workers who let a child under their care DIE are merely told off.

    Maybe we need the management transferred to Haringey - they'd line up the Baby P caseworkers against the wall.

  4. dervheid
    Unhappy

    Sound like a piss-poor excuse...

    to 'eliminate' a few (perhaps already *unwanted*) staff.

    Whilst Mr. Gadd's behaviour is reprehensible, this is clearly (yet another case of) a joke being blown out of all proportion.

    This godforsaken country has completely lost it's sense of humour and proportionality.

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    Distateful - but not a sacking offense

    Many get/send stuff like this, I hear worse on the radio. So why is it a sacking offense ?

    It sounds like a spineless council that is afraid to stand up for common sense - sacking people for not being politically correct.

    The picture will not put children at risk today - or increase the risk to children tomorrow.

    What this does is to put divisions between people, make them afraid to comment on things in case they become sacked. This will cause all sorts of problems.

  6. Danny

    Need a sense of humour much?

    FFS, that's all I can say as well as completely agree with Austin

  7. John Curry

    Aye...

    ...child abuse is very funny, and something that should be made light of.

    Idiots.

  8. simon prentagast
    Black Helicopters

    spEaking mY bRanes...

    TYPICAL!.. IMO THE HUMAN RIGHTS BRIGADE ARE MEDDLING IN OUR LIVES... TRUE PATRIOTS MUST RUN THEM OUT OF THE COUTNRY... THIS IS COMMUNISM FOLKS!.

    [Lionheart111] ENGLAND FOR THE ENGLISH

  9. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Mixed reaction...

    a) The Civil Servants in their usual manner overreacted - the picture is tastless but is nothing, comparing with jumping naked from the office cabinets, as practiced by the Newcastle Rural Payments Authority ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/10/rpa_highjinx_report/ )

    b) The tax payers can rejoyce in the temporary reprieve from wasting money on "employing" 15 idle and useless bureaucrats.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NuLabour?

    Let me guess, the council with the lack of humour that treats its employees so flippantly is a NuLabour council?

    Isn't it nice to know, that your bosses think so little of you, that a humorous email will cost you your job and deprive your kids of their fathers wage because someone over-sensitive took offence at the humour in it?

    So be careful what you do and what you say, lest some tw*t take offence, or worse still, someone who doesn't like you PRETEND to take offence to get you sacked.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could have been worse...

    ...May have been buying for a party

    PC brigade gone mad. Currently working for County Council School Services so probably not the best thing to circulate here just in case but know a lot of them would find it funny...

    AC, well, yeah...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Total overreaction but....

    ...frankly if people are stupid enough to use their employers' email systems to send this sort of stuff around then what do they expect?

    Get yourself a private email account, and don't be such an idiot.

  13. Jason

    Gang Bang

    F**k me I would been sacked 10 times over if I worked there.

    Some people in life just deserve a good beating. Getting 10 of your workmates sacked in this time of recession is far more offensive to me than a tongue in cheek but tasteless pic sent around in jest by people who more than anyone probably need cheering up now and then (after the crap they have to witness every day)

  14. Carl
    Unhappy

    Disgusted of Devizes

    I logged into my email earlier on today, with the intention of writing a letter of complaint to the BBC regarding something that someone at work said that his brother had heard on the news that someone in Bedfordshire had heard Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand saying on the radio.

    Imagine my disgust to be presented with this rather disturbing email! The most worrying thing is that it nearly caused me to miss the rather important email from my doctor informing me that I need to take drastic action to stop my wife sleeping with my neighbour due to the rather pitifully small size of my schlong.

    Methinks that complaints of this nature will only increase as the global economic crisis causes more companies to have to 'retire' the moaning old giffers that they've been desperate for an excuse to fire for ages, thus giving them much more time on their hands...

  15. Matthew Henry

    These are social workers...

    ... not scaffolders. They are given our money to protect vulnerable people. If they think that image is anything other than deeply sick then sacking is far too good for them.

  16. jon
    Paris Hilton

    what dervheifd said...

    unwanted staff!

    Anyone good at their job won't be sacked because of a joke. And if you're good at your job and have been sacked... Employment tribunal... if it was a sackable without warning offence, then they should sack all and not just some. Even hand and all that.

    Paris coz she like to play with sacks... O.o

  17. David Waldock

    Yes, well done

    So the council is punishing people for using communications media.

    Now, my understanding of the psychology of communications is that if you punish people for communicating, they will tend to communicate less. Wouldn't this be a bad thing?

    Thank heavens there haven't been any recent social work cases where communications have been identified as a factor causing system failure...

  18. Andrew Moore Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    A bit convenient...

    So your a company looking to downsize your workforce but you want to do it in a that does not require large redundancy payments?

    Answer: Develop an extremely intolerant moral high ground and go through your employees email. Bound to find some sackable offences there...

  19. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    I laughed.

    I'm just saying.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    This is a joke right?

    Let me understand this correctly. You can fail to do your job properly and let a child die in gruesome and sickenening circumstances and get a slap on the wrist. Then you can offend someone in the same type of office with something like this tastless joke and get the sack for it. If this stupidity was kept in proportion then I think all of Haringley's child protection workers should be made to walk to Guantanamo barefoot where they too can have their own personal bully inflicting pain on them daily.

    PS: Joke alert because surely it has to be.

  21. r

    I

    too found that funny.

  22. Martin Lyne

    Oh well

    Saves paying redundancy money, right?

    Off to go buy some ridiculous rights-destroying project with the proceeds!♠

  23. Paul

    Some info missing ?

    According to the Daily Mirror the social workers were "putting pictures of children from their own at-risk register on to a 'joke' email image of paedophile Gary Glitter."

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2008/11/23/15-social-workers-sacked-for-putting-photos-of-at-risk-children-on-sick-gary-glitter-web-picture-115875-20918947/

  24. Dennis
    IT Angle

    Risk offending somebody or

    be complacent while some child is beaten to death.

    Which is going to cost us/save us more money.

    Shame Haringey!!!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Anonymous Coward

    I couldn't agree more. One of our programmers wrote something for someone else. He included sample data which was jocular. They got up their own arses and we nearly lost the contract. I cannot go into more detail for obvious reasons.

  26. Nemo Metis
    Black Helicopters

    As always, the Daily Heil Strikes again

    As tasteless as the joke may be, it's still funny.

    Black Helicopters because the PC brigade are out in full force. Again.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @ a bunch of you

    You have to remember that these people were not IT workers or shop workers, they were Social Workers. They were on the paid employ of the state to protect the vulnerable and so should not have been circulating this sort of material. The difference, for the Daily Heil imitator, between this case and the Baby P case was that in the Baby P case everyone was doing their job, no matter how incompetently, and although there was room for improvement nobody was deliberately taking the piss.

    The Baby P thing was a tragedy but the anger should be directed at the people who abused Baby P rather than the thinly spread social workers who did not manage to do anything about it.

  28. Luther Blissett

    Image and the hyperreal

    Was it the pic, the use of council e-mail, or mention of the person concerned that was the real problem? When notoriety is fame, more propagation is simply more publicity. It would be quite out the question to permit this person a free bus-pass to a second career - could well have been the reasoning. And whatever next? I'm A Celebrity? Clearly an example to others had to be made.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Warning from Adobe

    Thought it was going to be the classic warning from the Adobe Website:

    This is a PDF <Adobe PDF icon>

    This is a paedophile <picture of Mr Gadd>

    Apologies to any of you who visited our site by mistake.

  30. Tester
    Pirate

    Outraged

    "Funny" "Silly" " Somehat Tasteless" "a joke being blown out of all proportion". What is wrong with you people????????????

    That image is a disgrace. It is vile - Christian and Anonymous Coward, Austin Chamberlain, derveid etc... etc.... are obviously the kind of tabloid reading fuckwits that attend Roy Chubby Brown 'shows' or lament the passing of Bernard Manning.

    That image is really and truly sick. If you even found it remotely entertaining then you are just plain evil.

    There are approximately 110,000 convicted paedophiles that live in Britain (experts would put the figure at more like 230,000) and only 5,000 are on the sex offender ' s register. That means 95,000 live in communities and we don't have the right to know who or where they are.

    I support the firing of anyone trafficing that shit around. Funny? I dont fucking think so.

    I suppose you think that it makes it ok that its an asian kids face in the photo - What if it was Sarah Paynes face sticking out of that carrier bag - http://www.forsarah.com/html/anguish.html

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John Curry and the rest of the moral brigade

    Yes it is something to make light of, on occasion, it's how normal healthy people deal with stress and unpleasent subjects. Two critical things, a human being has to be able to forget upleasent events (pehaps not an event in its entirety but the actual intense trauma events can cause), and make light of bad things, failure to do these two things shall lead to the person "going bad" or killing themselves, or becoming clinically depressed.

    I feel sorry for these guys/gals (and I am not a person who likes social workers btw, psychiatric nursing background and all) they're just trying to get by in life using normal healthy techniques, but the administrations shat on them. As have the other moral elitists who never have to deal with anything more stressful then the neighbours cat cr@pping on their lawn.

  32. Tom Silver badge

    @dervheid

    Nail on the head there mate.

    Its nothing to do with PC stupidity - anyone out there noticed the economy has just gone titsup - seriously titsup!

    While the chancellor of the EXchecker et all rearrange the deckchairs on brighton beach to save the Titanic some people are doing their best to save a little money here and there.

    Dont give them any excuse to fire you - like looking at this site while at woclick brrrrr

  33. blackworx
    Paris Hilton

    I got a warning

    My flatmate sent a Gary Glitter - real name Paul Gadd* - email to me at work. It was of a bloke in Gary Glitter - real name Paul Gadd - costume with toy child attached to his crotch (well I thought it was funny). The email got intercepted by our network security guy, who binned the original message and sent me a warning about inappropriate content. He obviously knew I hadn't solicited it and could have no control over what I get sent, but still the reaction was pretty swift and, dare I say it under the circumstances, kneejerk.

    Mind you, I probably would've blithely forwarded it anyway, as it was part of a larger email with other less controversial (but equally tasteless) pics, so Mr. Network Security probably averted a major shitstorm right there - well done him.

    Whilst I personally think sacking is a massive overreaction (if I were the one being sacked I'd be going straight to a lawyer) I totally agree that employers - especially in the public sector - have every right to dictate how their email systems are used. Not that social services could be brought into any greater disrepute than they already are of late, but still...

    * This part is now a legal requirement whenever mentioning Gary Glitter (real name Paul Gadd).

    Paris cos she knows all about innapropriate content (did you know there was this one time on the internet where there was a video of her doing all sorts of unladylike things?!)

  34. Markie Dussard
    Gates Horns

    eltit

    @Luther Blissett

    "Was it the pic, the use of council e-mail, or mention of the person concerned that was the real problem?"

    None of the above. In the Public Secttor, when you want to get rid of people, with minimum cost as fast as possible, you can always find a suitably outrageous pretext.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @all the 'but they're social workers'

    Does that mean they aren't allowed to have a sense of humour. It's not like it would cause them to go to one of their cases and go 'well, child abuse is happening, but it's just a laugh right' is it you numptys.

  36. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Outraged

    Steady on. Let's not throw the 'plain evil' tag around too wildly. Or the question marks.

    With regards those figures, I do hope you're distinguishing between paedophiles and sex offenders. These things are not legally synonymous.

  37. Smallbrainfield

    Humour being what it is, different things to different people...

    ...it's probably wise not to send stuff like this via e-mail at work. I think sacking is too harsh, but then I don't have the full facts.

    More likely someone is following their internet and e-mail policy to the letter. I read mine, which states clearly that sending profane or offensive content in e-mails will result in disciplinary proceedures, which probably means the sack.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Outraged

    Put it back in your pants kid, your moral outrage is what's sending our nation down the sanity and moral ceasspit. An inability to differentiate between something that's a joke and something that is disgusting is a true sign that you're already way down the sanity ladder (probably complainining about the neigbours cat).

    Now onto your peadophile comment, there is a world of difference between a peadophile and a sex offender, one is atracted to preteens and the other sexually abuses people (or inanimate objects in one case, or sex in public spaces in others). There's a pretty big difference between those two things and you should get the world into a bit of perspective.

    Just becouse you're attracted to something doesn't mean that you're gonna rape it, I've been attracted to loads of women througout my life, and when I go to Japan almost all of them, however guess how many I've raped to date? Absolutely none, peadophiles for the most part are exactly the same, and most sexually active peadophiles are active with their own or relatives children. Unless you yourself don't have any control, do you fined your self raping everything you're attracted too? Enquiring minds would like to know, you sound like you might.

    That is all for now.

  39. Andy Livingstone

    Don't be too hard on them

    This is my local Council.....or Authority as they now term themselves.

    Don't be too hard on them.....it was probably the hardest work they had done in their careers.

    Never mind, no doubt they kept their Pension entitlements despite being kicked out.

    If you have sympathy and believe they were badly treated, please ask yourself if you pay Council Tax so that staff can use Council facilities to mess about.

    Thanks to simon prentagast. Yes indeed England for the English. Maybe then the rest of us will get some peace. Must be time to show the 1966 World Cup again to restore spirits south of Hadrian's Wall......have not seen it for at least....oh, 2 hours.

  40. Danny Silver badge

    FTP (Lanarkshire definition)

    I suspect this is more due to the council losing £7.5 million to an Icelandic bank. I'd also bet the sacked staff all are the same religion. South Lanarkshire council is a hotbed of local-politics and office-politics that are mainly sectarian in nature. The councillors indicate their religion with say a red pencil, a white ruler and a blue pen in their jacket pockets or similar visual cues. I once heard their Finance Director joke "What is green and stationary ? A catholic on the housing list". The same guy insisted on storing paper copies of everything on mag tape so that there was a 'permanent copy', despite the fact that the huge roomful of printouts had mostly faded away completely.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tester,

    "That image is a disgrace. It is vile ...That image is really and truly sick. If you even found it remotely entertaining then you are just plain evil."

    Meh, you're just easily offended.

    Fortunately in real life you represent a tiny percentage of the world view. Unfortunately that's the tiny minority the NuLabour stasi like Jacqui belong/pander to.

  42. jon
    Pirate

    @tester

    ...put down and step away from the dailymail.

    Such extremist views are tosh, and you need to learn that when you read that stuff.. it is in fact opinion.

    Everything that you read is opinion unless it's RAW statistical data that can be mined down, with no fluff or categories to put things in, no interpretation by state or press, and the source is unbiased and preferably not human.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not your email.

    If its work email then its not yours. Full Stop. If the company has a sacking policy for sending email about elephants or pasta, then that is their prerogative.

    Why do people think they have some kind of right to use work resources for their own uses. Its not like you don't have email / internet on your phone or at home.

  44. david

    I have a simple measure of how funny it is...

    ... how much tea comes down my nose when I look at it.

    This one's not bad - just under a mouthful.

    I s'pose I'm still going to hell then...

  45. Steve Kay

    @Tester

    So, you're outraged are you?

    How nice - good luck with being outraged.

    When you are able to contribute to this discussion, feel free to join in.

    Furthermore, to allow the wider world to enjoy your contributions to this discussion, I recommend courses in law, mathematics, and statistics (but only after you've learned to subtract 5000 from 110000). You currently do not demonstrate sufficient understanding of these subjects.

    I shall kick you off with:

    google.com/search?q=ad+hominem

  46. This post has been deleted by its author

  47. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: LOL

    >Since all paedophiles are by nature, sex offender's

    No they're not. Paedophilia is just a sexual urge. You can't be classed as an offender until you've committed an offence, and the urge alone doesn't qualify for that. That would be, well, thought crime.

  48. The Other Steve
    Flame

    @ Tester and fellow Daily Mail inmates.

    See the problem is that there isn't really any line that you can draw in the sand and say "anything past that is neither funny nor fit to be the subject of humour". Not unless you're a total fascist, anyway. There are just things that _YOU_ don't find funny.

    For instance, I was emailed the first 9/11 joke approximately 8 hours 16 minutes after the event, and it was really fucking funny. Of course the death of several thousand people is a bit of a bummer, but that doesn't mean we ought not to be able to have a laugh. In fact, in such grim circumstances, a laugh can cheer things up no end.

    I've heard recent amputees doing peg leg and parrot gags, they thought they were riotously funny, far better than moping around, which is presumably what you'd prefer them to do ?

    Similarly, child abuse is pretty bloody nasty, but that picture of GG is actually quite amusing, it doesn't encourage paedophilia, or child abuse, or harm anyone, it's a joke. Intelligent grown ups can see tragedy _and_ humour in the same places, try Shakespeare, Dickens, etc, etc, etc.

    So lock your moral outrage the fuck back up, or take it to the DM forums where it belongs and you can chorus your outrage along with the other children in the sandpit.

    Now,w/r/t the story :

    Quite simply, any sizeable org (large enough, say, to employ at least one lawyer) , and much more so in a public org like a council, will have in place a policy that defines what is and is not acceptable use of that org's IT assets.

    There will also be a clause in employees contracts that binds them to follow this policy, and most likely stipulates that failure to do so can be construed as gross misconduct.

    Straight forward AUP breach, and despite what Dervheid would have us believe, otherwise apparently competent people do, in fact, regularly lose their jobs over just such policy breaches, particularly those who work for councils.

    Granted you have to question that apparent competence since it obviously didn't extend to reading and understanding the corporate email and web use policy ...

  49. Peter Kay

    Sex offenders vs Paedophiles

    To agree with Sarah, I rather doubt some of the commenters here have the intelligence to consider the difference between a sex offender and a paedophile. A few examples of sex offenders :

    1) Genuine convicted paedophiles as per Paul Gadd

    2) Adults who sexually abuse/assault other adults

    3) 16 year olds that have sex with 15 year olds. Technically paedophilia, but..

    4) Adults who have mutually consentual activities that are still classed as assault (see the spanner trust)

    5) A minority of people who are accidentally spotted urinating in public

    There are also multiple 'registers' and different levels of monitoring according to how high a risk each person is perceived to be. You'll note that only one of the examples above is a probable danger to children..

    Also, get some fucking perspective :

    1) The vast majority of sexual offences of all types are carried out by people known to the victim

    2) You don't check a 'murderers register' when you move into an area.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    genuine convicted peadophiles

    Don't exist becouse there is no definition for it under the law (you can be someone who has sexually abused a minor, possesing indecent images of a minor, but there is no such thing as a peadophile in the courts mind), it's a word used to define a sexual preference (a sexual interest in prepubesent children) or by the media and moral elite to stir up the rabble. I suspect you can be clinically diagnosed a peadophile though.

    As said just becouse someone likes the idea of shagging something doesn't mean that they're going to rape it. They may, but for the most part they wont. They'll sit and home and jerk off instead. Of course with ever shortening supply of jerking aids I wouldn't be suprised if rapes go up (both of minors and adults.)

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