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Name:

Emma Lennard

Registration number:
W/5006505
Date:
14/12/2020 - 16/12/2020
Time:
9.30
Qualified Social Worker
Removal order
This hearing will be taking place by Zoom. Please contact us at hearings@socialcare.wales if you would like to observe
Previously Fostering Care Cooperative and Adoption Counts
Fitness to Practise Panel

Charges

That you, while registered as Social Worker between March 2018 and February 2019:

1. Whilst employed by Foster Care Co-Operative as a Senior Supervising Social Worker:

a. Between 20 March 2018 and 4 June 2018, whilst subject to an Employee Development Plan, you failed to achieve the level of performance required in respect of the following issues:

i. Failure to properly record the work undertaken, in particular a failure to complete Monthly Placement Reports (MPRs) in a timely fashion in respect of one or more of the carers for whom you were responsible; and/or

ii. Failure to follow advice and/or communicate with Managers in an open and transparent way regarding the timing for submission of the MPRs.

2. Whilst employed by Cheshire East Council and engaged by Adoption Counts between 22 July 2018 and 17 February 2019:

a. You failed to complete and/or submit Prospective Adopters Reports (PARs) in accordance with deadlines on one or more of the following dates:

i. 5 December 2018;

ii. 27 December 2018;

iii. 8 January 2019;

iv. 31 January 2019;

v. 7 February 2019;

vi. 13 February 2019.

b. On 4 March 2019 you informed a Senior Manager that you had provided all documentation relating to adopters to Business Support, who had shredded them, when this was not true.

c. You breached and/or risked breaching data protection regulations in respect of confidential information and/or documentation in that:

i. You used your personal laptop for storing personal data and documents relating to adopters; and/or

ii. You used your personal laptop to type confidential notes; and/or

iii. You sent several emails to your personal email address.

d. On 15 March 2019, when Witness C attended your home, you denied having a paper chronology in your possession when you did have possession of this document.

e. On an unknown date, after 25 March 2019, you informed Witness B that you had never taken confidential documents from adopters when this was not true.

f. Between approximately 2 July 2018 and 14 January 2019 you did not disclose to Adoption Counts that you had been referred and/or had self-referred to Social Care Wales following your dismissal from Foster Care Co-Operative.

g. Your conduct was dishonest in respect of your conduct as set out at paragraphs 2 (b), (d) and (e), in that you knew the information to be untrue.

And your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your deficient performance in relation to your conduct at paragraph 1 and/or by reason of your deficient performance and/or serious misconduct in relation to your conduct at paragraph 2 (a) and/or by reason of your serious misconduct in relation to your conduct as set out at paragraph 2 (b) – (g).

Decision on facts

Facts

We have found all Charges proved in their entirety.

We have carefully considered the evidence, including all of the documents contained in the bundle and the oral evidence of the witnesses in attendance. We have also considered the representations made by the Social Care Wales Presenter and Ms Lennard.

We have accepted the legal advice provided.

We considered each Charge in turn as follows:

Charge 1

That Ms Lennard, while registered as a Social Worker between March 2018 and February 2019:

  • Whilst employed by Foster Care Co-Operative as a Senior Supervising Social Worker:
    • Between 20 March 2018 and 4 June 2018, whilst subject to an Employee Development Plan, failed to achieve the level of performance required in respect of the following issues:
      • Failure to properly record the work undertaken, in particular a failure to complete Monthly Placement Reports (MPRs) in a timely fashion in respect of one or more of the carers for whom she was responsible; and/or
      • Failure to follow advice and/or communicate with Managers in an open and transparent way regarding the timing for submission of the MPRs.
  • Whilst employed by Cheshire East Council and engaged by Adoption Counts between 22 July 2018 and 17 February 2019:
    • Ms Lennard failed to complete and/or submit Prospective Adopters Reports (PARs) in accordance with deadlines on one or more of the following dates:
      • 5 December 2018;
      • 27 December 2018;
      • 8 January 2019;
      • 31 January 2019;
      • 7 February 2019;
      • 13 February 2019.
    • On 15 March 2019 Ms Lennard informed a Senior Manager that she had provided all documentation relating to adopters to Business Support, who had shredded them, when this was not true.
    • Ms Lennard breached and/or risked breaching data protection regulations in respect of confidential information and/or documentation in that:
      • She used her personal laptop for storing personal data and documents relating to adopters; and/or
      • She used her personal laptop to type confidential notes; and/or
      • She sent several emails to her personal email address.
    • On 15 March 2019, when Witness C attended Ms Lennard’s home, she denied having a paper chronology in her possession when she did have possession of this document.
    • On an unknown date, after 25 March 2019, Ms Lennard informed Witness B that she had never taken confidential documents from adopters when this was not true.
    • Between approximately 2 July 2018 and 14 January 2019 Ms Lennard did not disclose to Adoption Counts that she had been referred and/or had self-referred to Social Care Wales following her dismissal from Foster Care Co-Operative.
    • Ms Lennard’s conduct was dishonest in respect of her conduct as set out at paragraphs 2 (b), (d) and (e), in that she knew the information to be untrue.

Ms Lennard was employed as a Senior Supervising Social Worker by Foster Care Co-operative (FCC) as from September 2016. We have heard oral evidence from Witness A the previous Director of Child Care and Registered Manager for FCC.

Witness A informed us that Ms Lennard was responsible during her employment for the supervision and support of foster carers based in North Wales. She was also responsible for recruiting and training foster carers and undertaking Form F Fostering Assessments. She had a case load of 4 to 5 foster carer households and worked from home.

We have been informed that on 5 June 2017 a foster carer contacted Ms Lennard’s line manager to complain that she had not had any monthly reports and had not been adequately supported since Ms Lennard had been in post. Similar concerns were flagged up by other foster carers regarding Ms Lennard. Witness A said that the Monthly Placement Reports (MPRs) are viewed as important as they help to keep the child’s LA Social Worker updated and provide a record for the child. They cover all aspects of the child’s time in placement.

In response to the concerns raised by the foster carers an informal Capability Process was set up and a Development Plan implemented. The deadlines in the Development Plan were met and the process was deemed completed in August 2017. Ms Lennard was subsequently offered a permanent post in December 2017 by FCC.

Further problems were brought to FCC’s attention in January 2018 by the foster carers. They reported issues such as Ms Lennard not turning up to meetings and MPRs not being done. A formal Capability Development Plan was put in place. Ms Lennard failed to complete all of the required tasks identified on the Plan and she was issued with a verbal warning following a review meeting in March 2018. Ms Lennard did not give any reasons for her failure to complete the Development Plan at that time. A second formal Capability review meeting was held in April 2018. As a result, a written warning was issued to Ms Lennard for her failure to complete the Plan. Once again Ms Lennard failed to give any reasons for her failure in this regard.

A third and final Capability review meeting was held on 4 June 2018 which resulted in Ms Lennard’s dismissal due to her failure to complete the recordings/paperwork.

We find the evidence of Witness A to be honest and forthcoming. We consider that Ms Lennard was clearly supported by her employer and note the frustration expressed by Witness A that she was unable to help Ms Lennard due to the fact she did not provide any reasons for the difficulty she was experiencing completing the paperwork. It is apparent that Ms Lennard did not follow advice and communicate with her managers at FCC in an open and transparent way in this regard.

We took into account the facts of this Charge are admitted by Ms Lennard. This is confirmed in Ms Lennard’s written response which was provided to us at the commencement of the hearing and during Ms Lennard’s oral evidence.

We find this Charge 1 proved in its entirety.

We have heard oral evidence from Witness B previously the Regional Adoption Manager of Adoption Counts. We find her evidence to be credible and truthful but note that she was not a direct witness to some of the matters to which she referred in her evidence.

Ms Lennard was employed by Cheshire East Council but engaged by Adoption Counts as an agency worker between 22 July 2018 and 17 February 2019. Witness B was Ms Lennard’s most senior manager but not her line manager. It is Witness B evidence that Ms Lennard would undertake the two stage assessments of prospective adopters. This required her at stage 1 to gather and verify certain documents required by statute from the adopters and stage 2 required a full assessment and the writing of the Prospective Adopters Report (PAR). She was then required to present the PAR to the Adoption Panel in order to propose that the applicants she had been working with were approved as adopters or not.

Witness B informed us that the company started to have concerns about Ms Lennard’s work on 5 December 2018 when she missed a Panel submission date. She failed to submit a PAR to her line manager for audit and had not told anyone she wasn’t going to submit it.

On 21 December 2018 she emailed a different manager to ask if he could audit the PAR and the Panel date was changed to 10 January 2019. She was given a new deadline for the PAR of 27 December 2018. We have been informed that she missed that deadline.

On 3 January 2019 Witness C, Senior Manager, emailed Ms Lennard asking for the 2 PARs to be sent in for the Panel on 25 January 2019. On 4 January 2019 she sent one of the PARs and said that the second would be completed by 8 January 2019 but by the 9th that hadn’t been received. By 14 January 2019 the second PAR had not been completed. We are told that when the second PAR was received it was of poor quality and could not be submitted to the Panel.

On 29 January 2019 Adoption Counts requested that Ms Lennard be replaced, and she was told that her last date of employment would be 8 February 2019.

Witness B evidence is that on 31 January 2019 Ms Lennard had a further two PARs that were outstanding and Ms Lennard advised that one would be completed that day, but it wasn’t sent. On 6 February 2019 she said she would complete it the next day and the second PAR within the next 7 days. Ms Lennard’s employment was extended until 15 February 2019 in order for her to complete the work. Neither PAR was received, and Ms Lennard said she would finish the PARs on her own time.

It is clear from the evidence of Witness B and supported by the documents in the bundle that Ms Lennard failed to complete and/or submit PARs in accordance with deadlines on the dates set out in the Charge.

Further the facts of this Charge are admitted by Ms Lennard.

We therefore find this Charge 2(a) proved in its entirety.

We have been presented with a conflict of evidence in relation to this Charge.

It is Witness B evidence that on 27 February 2019 one of the applicants rang the company very worried about where their documents were being held. The company need these documents to verify the identity of the application in Stage 1 of the assessment, but it was the policy of the company not to remove them or take copies of them from the applicants. We have been provided with a note of the telephone call from the applicant stating that they had provided copies of documents such as passports, driving license and bank statements to Ms Lennard.

We are told that Cheshire East Legal Department wrote to Ms Lennard on 4 March 2019 telling her to return all the documents she had gathered from her assessments, but she didn’t respond. As a result, Witness C went unannounced to Ms Lennard’s home on 15 March 2019. Witness B states that during this visit Ms Lennard told Witness C she had given all the documents to Business Support who had shredded them. Business Support said they have never had these documents and never would take them, they use confidential waste, not shredders.

Ms Lennard denies this Charge. She states that she “did indeed file and/or shred any confidential information as described by Witness B. I feel the quote was out of context, in that I am aware that business support will have been in receipt of any confidential information required to carry out statutory checks. I agree this may not have involved forwarding documents but extracting information from them and verifying I had seen the documentation. Once recorded appropriately, it is my practice to ensure any documentation is destroyed. In the building in which I worked (business support was based elsewhere) we did have a shredder which I used for highly confidential waste, and we had a ‘shred it’ box also.”

We have been provided with a copy of the attendance note of Witness C visit to Ms Lennard and note that this does not make any reference to Ms Lennard giving documents to Business Support.

We are therefore having to assess whose evidence we prefer in this regard, Ms Lennard or Witness B.

On a balance of probabilities, we find that is more likely than not that Ms Lennard informed Witness C that she had provided all documentation relating to the adopters to Business Support who had shredded them. We do not consider that Adoption Counts would have gone to Business Support to make specific enquiries as to whether they had received the documentation unless Ms Lennard had informed Witness C that was the case.

When weighing up the evidence provided by the witnesses, we also took into account the inconsistencies of the accounts provided by Ms Lennard and the fact her evidence was quite vague and confusing at times. This is contrasted with the certainty of the evidence provided by Witness B.

We do note, however, there may have been a misunderstanding regarding what was meant by Ms Lennard when she referred to documentation and the Business Support team.

Having found that Ms Lennard informed Witness C that she had provided all documentation relating to adopters to Business Support who had shredded them we decided this statement was not true in view of the information relating to adopters which was found to be in Ms Lennard’s possession. Further Business Support denied having received these documents from Ms Lennard.

On a balance of probabilities, we find this Charge 2(b) proved.

Witness B gave evidence that on 27 February 2019 one of the applicants rang Adoption Counts saying that they were worried about where their documents were being held. She said from the description given by the applicants it was clear that Ms Lennard was typing her notes on a personal laptop. This has been denied by Ms Lennard.

Witness B also said that the company discovered Ms Lennard had sent several emails to her personal email address, which combined with the documentation she had taken made it a serious breach of security.

The note of Witness C meeting with Ms Lennard on 15 March 2019 refers to Ms Lennard denying having any documents on the hard drive of her personal laptop. She said the documents were stored on a pen drive. The note also refers to Ms Lennard intending to type up her notes using a voice recognition system and she would do this by typing them directly onto Egress and then email the completed typed notes to Witness C and Witness D.

Ms Lennard accepts in her witness statement and in oral evidence that she used a secure email system to email herself the tools she required to finish the PARs after her employment came to an end. She states that she used a personal laptop which was secured and stored the information on an encrypted pen drive.

We find that on the basis of Ms Lennard’s own evidence and the fact she did not have a business laptop in her possession after her employment came to an end she did use her personal laptop to type confidential notes and store personal data and documents relating to adopters. It also appears to be admitted by Ms Lennard that she sent several emails to her personal email address albeit using Egress. Ms Lennard accepts that she did not discuss this with anyone at the time. This was not authorised. If she had told Adoption Counts what she was doing, it is Witness B evidence that it would have been stopped. Witness B was clearly concerned about Ms Lennard’s use of a Gmail email account.

In making these findings we consider that Ms Lennard risked breaching data protection regulations in respect of confidential information and/or documentation.

We find the facts of this Charge 2(c) is proven in its entirety.

We have been provided with the contemporaneous note of Witness C visit with Ms Lennard on 15 March 2019 which states that “Emma does not have any other hard copy / paper documents relating to any of the adopters she has worked with. More specifically, she does not have a paper chronology for the A/M adopters. She confirmed that she scanned this into CHARMS (Adoption Counts IT system) and shredded the original copy in the office at Cledford House.”

Ms Lennard denies, however, that when Witness C returned to her home on 20 March 2019 that she gave him this chronology. She gave oral evidence that she cannot recall there being a paper chronology in the documentation provided. This contrasts with the evidence of Witness B who confirms that a written chronology was given. She could expressly recall the fact the chronology was amongst the papers returned by Ms Lennard to Witness C.

Having found that Witness B evidence was credible and truthful we are persuaded by her evidence in this regard.

On a balance of probabilities, we find this Charge 2(d) proved

We have heard evidence from Witness B that she spoke with Ms Lennard herself on or around 25 March 2019 who informed her that she had never taken confidential documents from adopters. As a result, Witness B contacted the applicants and checked the position with them. The applicants were adamant that Ms Lennard had taken the documents. At which point Witness B rang Ms Lennard back and put to her what the applicants had said. It is alleged that Ms Lennard said, “I don’t know, I know you shouldn’t take them, if I did take them, I haven’t got them now.”

During Ms Lennard’s oral evidence, she appeared to admit that she may have taken copies of the applicants’ identification documents.

We find that we accept Witness B evidence in relation to this Charge. She has been clear and credible in her account. We also find that the statement was not true based on Ms Lennard’s own admissions in this regard.

We find this Charge 2(e) proved.

Ms Lennard was referred to Social Care Wales on 11 June 2018 having self-notified a few days earlier.

We have heard evidence from Witness B that Ms Lennard did not disclose this to Adoption Counts. Her evidence on this point was clear that the company knew nothing about any referral.

Ms Lennard has provided us with additional documentation which supports the fact she notified Social Personnel and possibly her hiring manager of the referral. Ms Lennard referred in her oral evidence to believing that she told Cheshire East Council of the referral during her interview with them who then went off to make enquiries of Adoption Counts.

Although Social Personnel, and possibly Cheshire East Council, may have been made aware by Ms Lennard of her referral to Social Care Wales we do not have any evidence to show that Ms Lennard disclosed the referral to Adoption Counts between approximately 2 July 2018 and 14 January 2019.

We find based Witness B evidence and, on a balance of probabilities, that this Charge 2(f) is proved.

Having found the facts of Charges 2(b), (d) and (e) proved we went on to consider whether Ms Lennard’s conduct in this regard was dishonest in that she knew the information to be untrue. When reaching our decision in this regard we considered the legal test for dishonesty. We considered what Ms Lennard’s knowledge or honestly held belief was in relation to the facts of the Charges and decided whether her conduct was honest or dishonest applying the standards of ordinary decent people.

We find that Ms Lennard was dishonest in relation to Charge 2(b). Ms Lennard informed a Senior Manager that she had provided all documentation relating to adopters to Business Support who had shredded them. We have found that this statement is not true. We consider that it is possible her statement in regard to which Business Support she was referring to was misinterpreted. However, in her oral evidence Ms Lennard said that she carried out any shredding of confidential information. We therefore find that ordinary decent people would consider Ms Lennard’s conduct in this regard was dishonest.

We also find that Ms Lennard was dishonest in relation to her conduct in Charge 2(d) and (e). We are satisfied on a balance of probabilities that Ms Lennard would have known that she was in possession of the chronology and therefore she was dishonest, applying the standards of ordinary decent people, when she denied having this in her possession.

Further having found that Ms Lennard had taken confidential information from the adopters her statement to Witness B was clearly dishonest. We do not accept that when referring to confidential information Ms Lennard interpreted this to mean original copies of identification documentation as suggested. We consider that Ms Lennard would understand that copies of identification documentation would constitute confidential documentation.

During Ms Lennard’s oral evidence, she informed us that she may have taken copies but not documents and did not mean to mislead or be dishonest. We find that this statement is an acknowledgement by Ms Lennard that she had misled her employer by her statement. Ms Lennard was not very clear and transparent with her responses to her employer. We consider that applying the standards of ordinary decent people she was dishonest.

We therefore find this Charge 2(g) proved.

Decision on impairment

We find that Ms Lennard’s Fitness to Practise is currently impaired.

First, we considered whether one or more grounds of impairment were present. Two grounds are potentially relevant in this case, namely Serious Misconduct and/or Deficient Performance.

It is the position of Social Care Wales that Ms Lennard’s fitness to practise is impaired by reason of her Deficient Performance in relation to her conduct set out in Charge 1 and Charge 2(a).

We understand that Deficient Performance may include negligence and/or a failure to comply with the Code of Professional Practise for Social Care.

We consider that the completing of the MPRs and PARs were fundamental aspects of Ms Lennard’s role. We do not find, based on the evidence before us, that she had a high caseload. Ms Lennard was an experienced social worker and was given a lot of support from her employers. This is particularly the case in relation to her employment with FCC.

At no time did Ms Lennard highlight to her employers that she was experiencing difficulties completing the paperwork and did not provide any explanation for her failings in this regard.

We find that Ms Lennard’s behaviour in relation to Charge 1 and 2(a) was negligent and clearly fell short of the standards set out within the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care including in particular: Sections 2.1, 2.2, 2.5, 2.6, 3.3, 5.7 and 5.8.

We have therefore decided that Ms Lennard’s conduct at Charge 1 and 2(a) constitutes Deficient Performance.

We then went on to consider whether Ms Lennard’s conduct at Charge 2(a) to (g) constitutes Serious Misconduct.

We find that Ms Lennard’s conduct forms part of a pattern of improper practice. It is concerning that despite an extensive informal and formal capability process followed by Ms Lennard’s subsequent dismissal by FCC nearly identical issues arose with Adoption Counts regarding her failure to communicate and meet deadlines.

We are also concerned about the potential impact of her actions on the foster carers, adoption applicants and the children concerned. Her failings caused additional stress and anxiety to the families impacted exacerbating what is already a very difficult and sensitive situation.

Our findings in relation to Ms Lennard’s dishonesty are serious. Ms Lennard has failed to act in an open and transparent way. We find that her behaviour has called into question her suitability to work in the social care profession.

Having carefully considered the submissions of the Social Care Wales Presenter and the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care, we find that Ms Lennard’s conduct clearly fell short of the standards set out within the Code and in particular the following elements of the Code: Sections 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 2.5, 3.6, 3.9, 6.1, 6.4 and 6.5.

In our view Ms Lennard’s actions clearly amount to Deficient Performance in relation to Charges 1 and 2(a) and Serious Misconduct in relation to Charges 2(a) to (g) and this was so serious to amount to an impairment of her Fitness to Practise.

We then went on to consider whether Ms Lennard’s Fitness to Practise is currently impaired.

We have found that Ms Lennard’s conduct forms part of a pattern of improper practice. It is not an isolated incident and we are not confident that it will not happen again.

Ms Lennard herself admits in evidence that she doesn’t feel confident she can keep up with the expectations of the role which are too high and there is a possibility of the same thing happening again. This is why she told us she does not wish to return to work in the social care profession.

We consider that Ms Lennard could pose a risk to individuals using services in the future. We have not been made aware of any remedial steps taken by Ms Lennard during the period between the time referred to in the Charges and the time of this hearing and in any event we note that dishonesty is not easily remediable.

In light of our finding that Ms Lennard was dishonest we do not consider that her integrity can be relied upon and by being dishonest she has breached a fundamental tenet of the social care profession.

We also consider that public confidence in the social care profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment was not made.

We have therefore concluded that Ms Lennard’s Fitness to Practise is currently impaired by reason of her Deficient Performance and Serious Misconduct.

Decision on disposal

We impose a Removal Order.

We have accepted the legal advice provided and have had regard to the Social Care Wales Indicative Sanctions Guidance. We also took into consideration the submissions made on behalf of Social Care Wales.

In considering which if any disposal is appropriate, we noted the following mitigating factors:

  • Ms Lennard attended part of the hearing to give evidence which enabled us and the Social Care Wales Presenter to ask her questions.
  • Ms Lennard admitted some of the facts alleged at an early stage.
  • We find that she has shown partial insight into her conduct. She accepted during evidence that she should have behaved differently in relation to the Charges she admitted.
  • She has not been the subject of previous disciplinary findings by Social Care Wales.
  • We have been provided with some evidence of previous good history. Witness A gave oral evidence that Ms Lennard was likeable and a caring person.

We also considered whether there were any aggravating factors and noted the following:

  • Ms Lennard has been dishonest.
  • We consider that Ms Lennard has attempted to conceal her wrong-doing by not being open and transparent regarding her conduct.
  • Her conduct took place in the course of carrying out her professional duties.
  • We do not find that Ms Lennard has demonstrated full insight into her conduct. We are not satisfied that Ms Lennard would take steps to prevent a recurrence.
  • We have found that Ms Lennard presents a risk to individuals who use services.
  • Ms Lennard has not fully engaged with the Social Care Wales proceedings and failed to meet the deadlines set by Social Care Wales.
  • We also consider that she has shown a serious disregard for the Social Care Wales Code of Professional Practice for Social Care.
  • Ms Lennard provided an apology and expressed regret regarding her conduct, but we are not convinced that Ms Lennard has taken full responsibility for her actions and has learnt from her mistakes.

We first considered whether to close the matter without any action or to impose a Warning. In view of the serious nature of the aggravating factors we do not consider that either would reflect the seriousness of Ms Lennard’s Misconduct and Deficient Performance. Ms Lennard has not fully co-operated with the Social Care Wales investigation, she has only partially admitted the facts and not displayed full insight or remorse into her conduct.

We then considered the imposition of a Conditional Registration Order but concluded that this was neither practical nor appropriate. Ms Lennard is not present, and we do not have a social care employer with whom to engage with the implementation of any suitable conditions. Ms Lennard has not displayed sufficient insight into her failings, and we are not satisfied that any conditions would satisfactorily remedy the deficiencies in her work. Her conduct does not relate to an isolated incident. Despite repeated attempts by her employers to address concerns regarding her practice she continually failed to take steps to address her failings. We do not consider that any conditions would provide the necessary level of public protection in this case.

A Suspension Order would protect members of the public and the public interest during the period for which it is in place. For the imposition of a Suspension Order to be appropriate, we would need to have some confidence that Ms Lennard would be fit to practise by the time that the order came to an end. We are not satisfied that her behaviour is unlikely to be repeated and find that dishonesty is not easily remedied. We do not have any evidence that demonstrates Ms Lennard will be able to resolve or remedy the cause of her impairment during the period of suspension.

We find that Ms Lennard’s behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with being a registered person thereby warranting the imposition of a Removal Order. We consider that such an order is proportionate and necessary to protect the public and the wider public interest.

Ms Lennard has shown a blatant disregard for and serious departure from the relevant professional standards set out in the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care.

We also find that she has displayed lack of insight into the seriousness of her actions and their consequences. This is supported by copies of Ms Lennard’s emails, as contained within the bundle, which we feel do not appreciate the impact of her delay on the individuals she was supporting. Having heard Ms Lennard’s oral evidence we are not convinced that she has demonstrated full insight into the additional stress and anxiety caused by her conduct. We consider that she has abused her position and the trust of those she was meant to help. Both the foster carers and the adoption applicants were at a particularly emotional and vulnerable stage of their lives and had the right to expect a professional service. We find that through her negligence Ms Lennard seriously let them down and hasn’t sufficiently shown to us that she appreciates the lasting impact her behaviour may have on those concerned. We also do not consider she considered the reputational damage her behaviour could have caused to the agencies at which she worked.

Ms Lennard’s conduct took place over a substantial period of time and demonstrates a pattern of unacceptable behaviour. We have not been provided with any evidence that there is likely to be satisfactory remediation.

We have found that Ms Lennard was dishonest. Dishonesty is particularly serious because it may undermine trust in social care services. The public must be able to place complete reliance on the integrity of registered persons.

We have decided that confidence in the social care profession would be undermined by allowing Ms Lennard to remain on the Register.

We therefore impose a Removal Order.

We have also decided that it is necessary for the protection of members of the public and is otherwise in the public interest to make an Immediate Order to suspend Ms Lennard’s registration that shall apply immediately until the Removal Order comes into effect.