The law does not prevent social workers being placed alongside sex
offenders on the Protection of Children Act 1999 list, a care
standards tribunal chair emphasised last week.
John Reddish, who chaired an appeal by former Haringey social
worker Angella Mairs against her inclusion on the list, said there
was a “misconception” that it was only for paedophiles.
Speaking after the evidence had concluded at the hearing in London,
he said: “There are people who are unsuitable to work with
children, that’s what the statute says.”
Mairs, a former team manager, was sacked for professional
misconduct and placed on the Poca list because of her involvement
in the Victoria Climbi’ case, alongside Victoria’s allocated worker
Lisa Arthurworrey. She was criticised for failing to look at
Victoria’s file during a supervision meeting with Arthurworrey in
November 1999, three months before the eight year old’s
But Mairs told the tribunal that Arthurworrey had brought 16 files
to the 90-minute meeting, which was not formal supervision but a
way for her to support Arthurworrey.
She admitted to errors in her handling of the case, which she
thought about “every day, not in terms of my health and career but
because a child died”.
Mairs had been prescribed anti-depressants until last year when she
stopped taking them because she was becoming too reliant on them
and began counselling instead.
Mairs said she has been surprised at being described as a bully by
former colleagues during Lord Laming’s inquiry, insisting she
treated people “firmly” and would not be afraid to “pull up” social
workers who did not carry out tasks on time.
Asked why her name should be removed form the list, she said: “I
have been a social worker for 19 years, 16 of them in child
protection. I have been committed and worked on lots and lots of
life and limb situations.”
She added: “Social work is the only thing I have ever done. In 19
years there haven’t been any complaints about my work and to be
judged on one situation would be very wrong.”
The tribunal will make its decision within the coming weeks.
Arthurworrey’s appeal will be heard in March 2005.