Social worker to remain suspended.
Byline: Katie Dickinson Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
ASOCIAL worker has been suspended for a further 12 months for failing to protect vulnerable children in Northumberland.
Samantha Lockyer was initially suspended from the Health and Care Professions Council Register for a string of failings which included not visiting one family for six months, despite the children being exposed to issues of alcohol abuse, domestic violence and self-harm.
Now a panel of the HCPC Conduct and Competence Committee have decided to suspend her for another year, judging that her "fitness to practise remains impaired".
Ms Lockyer was suspended on the grounds of misconduct for a string of failings between June 2011 and July 2014, while she was employed as a social worker by Northumberland County Council.
The panel heard that she did not conduct visits to vulnerable children within required timescales, failed to complete required checks with appropriate agencies and did not record evidence of work to assess risks or ensure safe plans for children.
The committee found that Ms Lockyer did not visit one family - referred to as the "A children" - for six months, despite there being issues of alcohol abuse and domestic violence, as well as the mother having a history of selfharming and not taking proper care of her children.
The children ended up being cared for by their father despite the fact that he had been convicted of assault.
In the case of the six "B children", who were believed to be at risk of violence from their mother's partner, Ms Lockyer only made one visit to their home and did not complete a report on them for three months.
She also failed to visit a family of children who were at risk because their mother's partner had convictions for viewing and supplying pornographic images of children. The panel found that she did not make the required fortnightly visits to three children who had extreme behavioural difficulties and were exposed to alcohol abuse, neglect, emotional distress and violence.
Ms Lockyer also failed to complete the required documents for two children, aged five and two, who were removed from their mother after she left the younger child in a locked room at a homeless shelter to collect the older child from school.
A final charge related to her failure to complete work addressing housing repairs and overcrowding for a family of five children, who all had needs including learning and physical difficulties and health problems. A report from the original hearing said: "The shortcomings identified individually were serious, but viewed cumulatively were very serious. They continued over a lengthy period of time."
Suspending Ms Lockyer for a further 12 months, panel chair Jennifer Rogers said: "She has yet to demonstrate that she has remedied the failings that were identified by the previous panel and, whilst she has some insight into the seriousness of what had happened, she has only just started on the journey of reflecting on her own professional conduct."
Ms Lockyer was present and represented herself at the hearing.