General Social Care Council chief executive Mike Wardle has been suspended over claims that social workers are being employed who pose a risk to the public.

General Medical Council deputy chief executive Paul Philip is to join the GSCC as acting chief executive as an interim measure.

Health secretary Andy Burnham told MPs in a statement that 203 complaints against social workers included 21 where “the allegations, though unproven, suggested that there could have been an ongoing risk of harm to members of the public”.

Mr Burnham said: “The fact that a backlog of conduct referrals, some of which had not been adequately risk assessed, has built up is a matter of extreme concern.”

He said a review had been ordered “to establish what further action is needed to ensure that ministers, Parliament and the public can have confidence that the GSCC is effectively carrying out its statutory duties to promote high standards of conduct and practice in order to protect the public”.

Statement from the General Social Care Council