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Danielle Clayfield
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Registered role
Social Worker
Outcome
Removal by Agreement
Location
Social Care Wales
Employer
Previously Carmarthenshire County Council
Type of hearing
No hearing held - Removal by Agreement process

Decision summary

Removal by Agreement

Removal by Agreement means that through this process, a registered person can apply to be removed from the Register without being referred to a Panel.

The decision to agree to the application is made at a Case Conference. A registered person can apply for this at any stage in the fitness to practise process.

Applying for removal by agreement does not mean that a registered person has the right to be removed, but it enables Social Care Wales to agree to removal in an appropriate case.

The decision whether to agree the application is made taking into account whether the allegation involves exceptional public interest issues.

Introduction and background

1. The registered person, Ms Danielle Louise Clayfield (DOB 26.08.86) first registered with the Social Care Wales as a Qualified Social Worker on 27 June 2014.

2. Ms Clayfield was initially employed by Carmarthenshire County Council ('the Council') as a student Social Worker and then remained in her post as a Qualified Social Worker. Ms Clayfield worked in Children's Services in the Llanelli Assessment Team.

3. Her role involved following up on referrals and undertaking assessments. As part of the assessment process, she was expected to link families with appropriate services and to provide short-term intervention to address presenting issues.

4. On 21 May 2018, Ms Clayfield was suspended after the Council became aware that she was in a relationship with a service user / former service user, Individual B.

5. Following a disciplinary investigation and hearing, Ms Clayfield was dismissed by the Council with effect from 10 September 2018.

Allegations

That you, a Qualified Social Worker, employed by Carmarthenshire County Council ('the council'):

1. On unknown dates between 5 September 2017 and 10 September 2018, you failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with Individual B, a service user or former service user.

6. Between 24 May 2017 and 21 July 2017, Ms Clayfield was the allocated Social Worker for Child A, who was the daughter of Individual B. She was required to complete assessments of the care and support needs of Child A. The mother of Child A had mental health issues and had requested regular respite care for the child. In her assessment, Ms Clayfield advised Child A's mother that the Council would not be willing to provide this, but suggested that Child A should have regular contact with her father, Individual B, instead. During this assessment, Ms Clayfield had no contact with Individual B.

7. B etween 5 September 2017 and 25 October 2017, Ms Clayfield was again the allocated Social Worker for Child A. On this occasion, Child A's mother had been admitted to hospital due to mental health issues and Child A was staying with a friend of her mother. Individual B contacted Ms Clayfield to enquire why the child was not placed with him. Child A's mother gave permission for Child A to stay with Individual B. Ms Clayfield arranged to visit Individual B and Child A at his home the following day.

8. During this period of assessment, Ms Clayfield became aware that Individual B had a previous criminal history and that he had been in prison on more than one occasion for offences which included violence. Ms Clayfield also obtained a record of his criminal history from the Police National Computer (PNC) and discussed this with Individual B.

9. Ms Clayfield completed the further assessment of Child A's care and support needs. At the point of completing this in October 2017, Ms Clayfield asked Individual B If he needed support over the Christmas period in the form of 'Mr X' presents and a food hamper. Individual B stated that he was struggling with money and that this would be helpful. Ms Clayfield stated that, at that time, it was not unusual for her to put forward the names of cases that were being closed for 'Mr X' presents.

10. In her disciplinary interview, Ms Clayfield stated that she contacted Individual B and arranged to deliver the Christmas presents and food to Individual B at the end of her last working day before Christmas. At his request, she also took her dogs on the visit and went for a walk with Individual B and Child A, whilst Individual B's father removed the presents and food from her car to avoid Child A knowing about the presents and food in advance.

11. Ms Clayfield acknowledged during her disciplinary interview that Individual B contacted her over the Christmas period on her private Messenger saying that he was struggling to look after Child A. Ms Clayfield stated that she was not clear how this contact came about or whether she had given Individual B her contact details. Ms Clayfield stated that she felt sorry for Individual B as she felt that he just wanted to do what was best for his daughter and that he was a bit lost and needed someone to talk to. In interview Ms Clayfield said that she now recognised that she was vulnerable at that time. Ms Clayfield stated that it was at this point that she gave Individual B her personal mobile number.

12. Ms Clayfield stated in interview that what started out as friendship developed over the Christmas period. She acknowledged that it was no longer a professional relationship.

13. Ms Clayfield stated that, in January 2018, Individual B asked her to go for another walk with her dogs and to explain to Individual B the private law proceedings in which he was involved with Child A's mother. Ms Clayfield agreed to this request. Ms Clayfield now acknowledges that, as the case was not open to her at that time, she should have advised Individual B to make a referral to Children's Services for support/advice rather than provide it herself.

14. Child A returned to live with her mother, following which Ms Clayfield stated that the relationship between her and Individual B evolved further. Thereafter, Ms Clayfield stated that Individual B became abusive towards her and threatened his own life, her life, her family and friends' safety and her job. This culminated in an incident on 16 May 2018. When Ms Clayfield visited Individual B at his home that day, he was physically violent towards her and made threats to kill her. Despite this, Ms Clayfield did not immediately report the matter to the police.

15. On 17 May 2018, Individual B telephoned Children's Services and stated that he had been in a relationship with Ms Clayfield and alleged that she had damaged his property. Individual B also made threats to harm her. After being contacted by Children's Services the same day, Ms Clayfield contacted the police to report the incident that had happened on the previous day. Ms Clayfield admitted at that point that she had been in a relationship with Individual B.

16. In her statement to the police on 17 May 2018, Ms Clayfield referred to Individual B as her 'ex-partner' and stated that she and Individual B 'became involved in a relationship during the late stages of 2017'. In a further statement to the police dated 18 May 2018, Ms Clayfield stated that she 'entered into a relationship with [Individual B] approximately 6 months ago'.

17. Ms Clayfield admits that she breached Section 5 of the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care which required her to 'act with integrity and uphold public trust and confidence in the social care profession'. In particular, Ms Clayfield was required not to 'form inappropriate personal relationships with individuals, their families or carers'.

2. Between 5 September 2017 and 16 May 2018, you failed to disclose to the council the existence and nature of your friendship and/or personal relationship, with Individual B.

18. It was not until 17 May 2018 that Ms Clayfield admitted that she had been in a relationship with Individual B.

19. On 23 January 2018, in a closed session of a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC), the police shared information that Child A's mother was reluctant to report any abuse perpetrated by Individual B because of the contacts that Individual B was having with professionals. An email outlined the concerns of Child A's mother that Ms Clayfield was in a sexual relationship with Individual B. On 30 January 2018, in supervision, Ms Clayfield was asked if she was in a relationship with Individual B, but Ms Clayfield denied that she was.

20. Registrant admits the facts alleged in allegations 1 to 2 above and also admits the content of paragraphs 1 to 19 above.

Removed from the Register