Social work spies? (Yes, you over there I’m talking to you…)

I've had this post on my 'to do list' for some time, but have finally been nudged into action by coverage this week of some research on the topic in the Times : Social workers ‘spying’ on families through Facebook (sorry, paywall). That says that 'Social workers are risking breaking the law because they are using Facebook to spy on families and inform decisions on child custody, academics say.' This is not news to those of us who act for parents or social workers in these cases (in fact they say custody cases but its clear they are really talking about cases where social workers are involved for child protection reasons, so this would more often arise in care proceedings than disputes between parents). I have been worried about the lawfulness of what social workers are doing for some time, and the low levels of awareness of the potential legal issues – hence my plan to write this post. What the Times say is that the study they are…

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