Social worker suspended after failing vulnerable children in Sunderland

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A SOCIAL worker has been suspended by a national body after failing to protect vulnerable children.

Norma Rose Lee has been suspended from the Health and Care Professions Council Register for failing to properly assess and follow safeguarding procedures for two children – known as Child A and Child B – while working for Sunderland City Council.

In the first case, Ms Lee failed to follow child protection procedures after receiving a telephone referral from Child A’s school.

A panel of the HCPC Conduct and Competence Committee heard how instead of taking action herself, she told the school to submit a written referral.

She also failed to inform her team manager that a child protection referral might be needed and failed to inform any other team members about the referral before leaving the office for the day.

The panel further heard how Ms Lee failed to carry out an assessment on Child B after a referral from a consultant psychiatrist. The child had been designated a Child in Need in accordance with the Children Act 1989.

She did not inform the Principal Social Worker of her recommendation to take no further action as required.

Panel chairwoman Jennifer Rogers said: “The registrant’s breaches were made more serious by the fact that both children were also exposed to the risk of harm.

“Both Child A and Child B were vulnerable children who were put at risk because of the registrant’s failure to complete proper assessments and follow procedure in relation to child protection issues and a Child in Need.

“The Panel concluded that the registrant’s misconduct, specifically her failure to follow accepted practice, had undermined confidence in the profession.”

The Panel decided the most appropriate action was to suspend Norma Rose Lee from the Register for a period of twelve months with an interim suspension order in place to cover the appeal period.

Norma Rose Lee was not present or represented at the hearing.