Two social workers have been sanctioned by the General Social Care Council (GSCC) for mistakes they made in a child protection case that saw a baby left with permanent brain damage.
The hearings concerned their roles, while working at East Riding Council, in the events that led up to Bridlington man Adam Hewitt attacking the child, Baby G, on 26 January 2009. The injuries he inflicted resulted in permanent brain damage.
A serious case review of the incident found serious flaws in the handling of the case that overlooked the fact that Hewitt had been connected to a 2007 attack on another baby that left that child with a fractured skull. (The case review refers to Baby G as Child F.)
The GSCC found that Tweedale, a children’s service team manager at the council at the time, committed misconduct by failing to adequately assess the risk Hewitt posed to Baby G and allowing the case to be closed on 3 November 2008.
The conduct committee said her actions were serious errors but noted her remorse, her cooperation with the hearing and previously unblemished record.
It also noted that she was working in a high-pressure environment. In light of this and an earlier interim suspension from the social care register, the committee ruled that she should be admonished for a three-year period.
Smith, a performance manager at the council at the time of the attack, was also found to have committed misconduct. The committee concluded that he had failed to make an adequate assessment of the risk Hewitt posed and let the case be closed in November 2008.
It also found that he did not take appropriate safeguarding action after Baby G was admitted to hospital, including not carrying out an adequate risk assessment and not instigating care proceedings despite a management direction to do so.
The committee noted Smith’s “uncharacteristic lapse in standards”, his remorse, cooperation with the hearing and the health issues he faced. It also noted that he was in a high-pressure role where he managed four teams with a combined caseload in excess of 400.
In light of this and his interim suspension orders, the committee suspended Smith from the social care register for two months.
Hewitt was jailed for five years last month.