His Honour Judge Barclay has today made public his judgement in care proceedings involving Bath and North East Somerset Council.
The Council has apologised to the families involved for the conduct of Lynda Barnes, who was employed as a social work Team Manager, delays in dealing with the case and any distress caused. It has also offered an apology to the court.
Lynda Barnes lied to the court under oath. She also asked one of our other social workers to do the same. This other social worker immediately reported her. The Council immediately brought this to the court’s attention.
The Council acknowledged in court that errors were made in the management of the case. Specifically, Lynda Barnes did not properly ensure that core assessments were completed for each child, nor was a close family member with whom two of the children were placed properly assessed.
The judge supported the care plans proposed by the Council, which were based on sound, independent expert evidence.
The Council admits it made a mistake in employing Lynda Barnes. With regard to her conviction in 1995, the judge found that Lynda Barnes provided the Council with a ‘highly sanitised version of events’ about her conviction and lied to the court under oath.
She no longer works for the Council. Our system of checks and balances worked. Council managers acted to remove Lynda Barnes from duty and address any possible areas of concern as soon as possible. In response to the Judge’s ruling, a further investigation will take place where disciplinary proceedings will be considered.
We have looked again at our systems and found that they are correct but need more rigorous enforcement. We have also written to the General Social Care Council so it can review Lynda Barnes’ registration as a social worker.
We have carried out an investigation into other cases where Lynda Barnes had a significant involvement to assure ourselves that no children have been unfairly removed from their families.
The Council takes its responsibilities extremely seriously and is determined to prevent mistakes like this happening again.
Councillor Chris Watt, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “It was a mistake to employ Lynda Barnes and one that we regret. I asked for a review of cases where Lynda Barnes had a significant involvement and am satisfied that no children have been unfairly removed from their families.”
Lynda Barnes resigned from the Council on 31st March 2009 and resigned her registration from the GSCC. Because we were not able to complete disciplinary proceedings before Lynda Barnes’ ill health the Council terminated her contract on 27th April 2009 and referred the matter to the GSCC.