Miss Samantha L Lockyer
The following allegation was found proved by a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee at the substantive hearing on 17 September 2015:
Between 06 June 2011 and 15 July 2014, during the course of your employment as a Social Worker by Northumberland County Council:
1) In relation to the A Children, you:
a) Did not complete a Section 47 investigation for approximately 7 months;
b) Did not visit the children for approximately 6 months;
c) Did not record any evidence of work undertaken on the case for approximately 4 months; and
d) Did not complete checks with the appropriate agencies.
2) In relation to the B Children, you:
a) Did not complete a Section 47 investigation for approximately three months;
b) Only visited the children on one occasion in December 2013;
c) Did not record:
i. evidence of work completed to ensure visits were carried out;
ii. evidence of work with the family to assess risks and/or ensure safe plans for the children.
3) In relation to the C Children, you:
a) Did not record:
i. evidence of work completed to ensure visits were carried out to the children;
ii. the required agency checks, as part of the appropriate completion of the section 47 enquiry.
b) Delayed the completion of an initial assessment for approximately three months;
c) Did not visit the children after 2 September 2013, despite initial concerns and a Child Protection Enquiry.
d) Did not complete a Section 47 investigation for approximately three months.
4) In relation to the D Children, you;
a) (Not proved)
b) Only recorded two visits to the children in line with their child protection plan, until December 2013.
5) In relation to Child E, you:
a) Did not visit Child E in line with statutory requirements;
b) Did not complete a full parenting assessment within the required timescales.
6) In relation to Children F, you:
a) (Not proved)
b) Did not complete the looked after child (LAC) documents;
c) (Not proved)
d) Did not complete the appropriate documents to ensure that the children had been placed in a legal placement;
e) (Not proved)
7) (Not proved)
8) In relation to Children H, you did not complete the work which was agreed at the strategy meeting on 29 January 2014.
9) The matters described in paragraphs 1 - 8 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.
10) By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.
1. The HCPC was represented by Mr Aarish Pandya. The Registrant was neither present nor represented at the hearing.
Service / Proceeding in Absence
2. The Panel was satisfied that notice of today’s hearing had been properly served on the Registrant in terms of rules 3 and 6 of the Conduct and Competence (Procedure) Rules 2003 and thereafter considered Mr Pandya’s application to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. The Panel is aware that its discretion to proceed in absence is one which should be exercised with the utmost care and caution. In reaching its decision, the Panel has had regard to the HCPTS’s Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant. The Panel has also taken account of the fact that this is a mandatory review and this order must be reviewed prior to its expiry on 15 October 2017. The Panel has had sight of a file note of a telephone conversation dated 12 September 2017 in which the Registrant confirms that she will not be in attendance. There has been no request for an adjournment. The Panel is of the view that the Registrant has voluntarily absented herself and would be unlikely to attend at a future date, if the matter were adjourned. In these circumstances the Panel has agreed to proceed in her absence as it is satisfied that it is both in the public interest and the Registrant’s interest to do so.
3. On 17 September 2015 a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee found that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of misconduct and imposed a twelve month Suspension Order. The Panel’s findings related to delays in completing investigations and assessments, failing to visit children in line with statutory requirements and failures in recording. That order was first reviewed on 14 September 2016, which the Registrant attended, and was extended for a period of one year. The Panel today is conducting a review of that Suspension Order in terms of Article 30(1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001.
At the review hearing today:
4. The Panel heard from Mr Pandya who outlined the background to the case and the circumstances which led to the imposition of the Suspension Order. Mr Pandya advised the Panel that in the course of the telephone conversation on 12 September 2017 the Registrant had stated that she wished to be removed from the Register. Mr Pandya advised that the HCPC would need time to explore this option. Mr Pandya also advised the Panel that the previous panel had found a lack of insight and had made suggestions as to evidence which may assist this Panel. He confirmed that there had been no contact from the Registrant since the last review hearing, other than the telephone conversation on 12 September 2017. Mr Pandya advised that, if the Panel was of view that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired, it had to consider the most appropriate sanction in the circumstances, as this was the second review hearing and there was a lack of insight and engagement. Mr Pandya reminded the Panel that the option of a Striking Off Order was available to it and if the Panel was not minded to make such an Order, the HCPC would ask for a further short suspension to explore the option of a Voluntary Removal Agreement.
5. The task of the Panel today is not to go behind the decision of the original panel and the reviewing panel but to determine whether or not the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired and if there is current impairment, what, if any, order should be made when the current order expires.
6. The Panel has considered the submissions of Mr Pandya together with the advice of the Legal Assessor. The original panel and the reviewing panel found that the Registrant lacked insight and both panels made suggestions as to evidence which may assist a future panel. Although the registrant provided some evidence to the first review hearing, she has not complied with these suggestions since then and there is still an absence of evidence of insight. The Panel has therefore concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired given the lack of insight and the resulting risk of repetition, and that an order remains necessary.
7. The Panel next considered the sanctions available to it in ascending order of severity. The Panel is aware that the primary function of any sanction is to address public safety from the perspective of the risk the Registrant may pose to those using or needing her services in the future and determine what degree of public protection is required. The Panel must also give appropriate weight to the wider public interest which includes the deterrent effect on other registrants, the reputation of the profession and public confidence in the regulatory process.
8. The Panel considered that to impose a caution would not be sufficient to address the wider public interest considerations or to protect the public, in the absence of evidence of insight, given the risk of repetition identified by the previous panel. The Panel also considered that a conditions of practice order would not be appropriate as it would not be confident that the Registrant would be willing or able to comply with conditions, given her lack of engagement and her desire to be removed from the Register.
9. The Panel next considered extending the current suspension order. The Panel is aware that the Registrant has had two opportunities to produce evidence to demonstrate that she has remedied her failings and has been given clear guidance from panels on both occasions. Despite this, the Registrant has not addressed the issue of insight. In these circumstances the Panel is of the view that the Registrant is either unable or unwilling to address her failings. In these circumstances, the Panel has concluded that a further Suspension Order would not be an appropriate sanction.
10. The Panel has concluded that a Striking Off Order would be the appropriate and proportionate sanction in all the circumstances, where there is a continued lack of insight and an inability or unwillingness to resolve matters.
That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Samantha L Lockyer from the Register on the expiry of the current Suspension Order in terms of Article 30(1)(b) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001.
The order imposed today will apply from 15 October 2017.
No notes available