Norfolk children’s services team leader faces dismissal after probe
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A team manager in Norfolk County Council's children's services department, who was suspended while a probe was conducted into the soundness of evidence he relied on to take a child into care, has been recommended for dismissal.
Peter Barron, a team manager in children's services, had been suspended since December, but, following an independent investigation and disciplinary hearing, it is understood he has been recommended for dismissal. He has two weeks to appeal.
While Norfolk County Council refuses to discuss the circumstances – it is understood to relate to a recommendation he made to remove a child from a foster carer, in which he made statements which appeared to not be backed up by evidence.
Documents showed Mr Barron had ordered that a four-year-old boy should be removed from his foster carer in 2010 – after nursery workers spotted bruising.
The foster carer had said the bruising had been caused when she tried to put the child into a car seat and hospital paediatricians agreed the bruising was consistent with that explanation.
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But, when a decision was made to take the child away, the investigating officer used Mr Barron's evidence that the paediatricians were 'not happy' with the child returning to the carer and were 'concerned with the degree of force that could have been used'.
The EDP has seen the medical report and a letter from the consultant paediatrician which contradicts that.
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The medical report states that the paediatric consultant agreed the bruises on the inner leg were possibly due to the injury from the car seat and that he could not tell whether there was any rough handling.
In the letter, sent in 2011, one of the paediatricians states he could not remember any conversation about whether the child should be returned to the carer.
He added: 'I did not see any clear evidence... of excessive force applied to this young child.'
Mr Barron had also presented evidence of 'other information' which added to concerns and led to the decision to remove the child from the foster carer.
That other information was 'previous recent allegations' that the foster carer may have been seen 'roughly handling' the child in the community, although documents showed there was uncertainty around this.
A Norfolk County Council spokesman confirmed the disciplinary hearing had taken place.
She said: 'The member of staff concerned now has the right to appeal the outcome of that hearing, in line with ACAS guidelines.
'It would be unfair to prejudice or prejudge the outcome of any appeal by commenting further.
'Our policies allow any member of staff the right of appeal, whatever the outcome of the hearing.'
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