Court delays Climbie disciplinary hearing

Two social workers threatened with dismissal from their jobs
over their handling of the case of murdered eight-year old Victoria
Climbie secured a postponement of disciplinary hearings against
them this week.

Allocated social worker Lisa Arthurworrey and duty and
investigation team leader Angella Mairs had been due to attend
disciplinary hearings of Haringey Council at the start of September
– just days before Herbert Laming was due to start his inquiry into
the case.

But high court judge Mr Justice Jackson issued an order this
week preventing the council from proceeding until both social
workers have been “released from giving evidence to the [Laming]
inquiry” – currently expected to be at the end of October.

The council has now said it hopes to complete the hearings by
the end of year.

Mr Justice Jackson said the outcome had been dictated by the
“timetable of events in conjunction with the medical evidence”
which suggested that a disciplinary hearing at this time could
jeopardise the ability of Arthurworrey and Mairs to participate
fully in the Laming inquiry. Both have been suffering from stress
and related ill health.

However, Mr Justice Jackson rejected a request for disciplinary
proceedings to be postponed until Lord Laming has published his
final report – expected in spring 2002 – and denied suggestions
that the Laming inquiry would be prejudiced by the findings of the
disciplinary hearing or any subsequent action taken.

He turned down applications from both sides for permission to
appeal against his decision.

Victoria Climbie, also known as Anna, was brought from the Ivory
Coast to England by her great aunt Marie-Therese Kouao in March
1999 and died 11 months later at the hands of Kouao and her
boyfriend Carl Manning. They were convicted of her murder in
January 2001 and received life sentences.

Arthurworrey was suspended by Haringey Council last October. She
is accused of failing to discharge her duties as social worker in a
proper and competent manner, failing to assess Climbie’s needs and
take action to promote her well-being, and safeguard her

Mairs was suspended in March 2001 following an internal
investigation. She faces allegations of wilfully removing documents
from the Climbie case file, and making false and misleading
statements to the council’s part 8 inquiry into Climbie’s

Mairs is also accused of failing to meet the standards required
of a team manager, including monitoring, developing and evaluating
the team’s services, and failing to read the case file as
departmental policy required.

The allegations against both, if substantiated would amount to
gross misconduct and would entitle the council to dismiss them
without notice.

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