A social worker involved in the care of tragic tot Liam Fee has been branded “disorganised”, “chaotic” and “the most erratic person I have worked with” by her manager at a probe into her conduct.
Lesley Bate faces a succession of charges over her role as a social worker with Fife Council between December 2011 and August 2014.
Ms Bate, who has chosen not to appear before the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) conduct sub-committee investigating the allegations, was a member of the Glenrothes Child Protection Team who managed Liam Fee’s case
Liam was murdered by his mother and her civil partner at their home in Thornton, Fife, in March 2014.
One charge against Ms Bate is that she failed to follow up concerns raised by a childminder about a one-year-old boy, labelled FF in anonymised SSSC documents.
It alleges that despite the carer raising concerns on 15 January 2013 “regarding bruising to the face” of the baby – and the next month that “he had a sore neck” – Ms Bate did not act.
During the murder trial of Rachel and Nyomi Fee, childminder Heather Farmer told the court she contacted the Scottish Childminding Association in January 2013 after he arrived with scratches and bruises to his face.
In a separate incident, she raised concerns about the toddler’s neck after he was dropped off at her home on 18 February 2013.
The hearing yesterday was told that following Liam’s death, Ms Bate’s manager had “serious questions about her assessment of risk”. Ms Bate faces a total of 13 charges relating to 16 different children – including several allegations that she “failed to take necessary steps to minimise actual or potential risk of harm” for those children.
The SSSC conduct sub-committee heard that in the months following Liam’s death Ms Bate had been subject to a disciplinary investigation and had been off sick.
The hearing was told that Ms Bate has “relinquished” her registration as a social worker with the SSSC but does not admit any of the charges against her.
One of her managers, Karen Pedder, is to give evidence later this week.
She told the Liam Fee murder trial that Liam had “fallen off the radar” of social work staff in the months leading up to his death.
The hearing continues and is expected to run until Friday.