Baby P council boss appeals over sacking

PUBLISHED: 14:47 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:47 07 September 2010

Sharon Shoesmith

Sharon Shoesmith

SHARON Shoesmith – the former head of Haringey's children s services – is appealing against the council s decision to sack her over the Baby P tragedy. The shamed 55-year-old, who was in charge of 1,370 staff and earned £110,000 a year, was sacked last mo

SHARON Shoesmith - the former head of Haringey's children's services - is appealing against the council's decision to sack her over the Baby P tragedy.

The shamed 55-year-old, who was in charge of 1,370 staff and earned £110,000 a year, was sacked last month after national outcry at the way Baby P was allowed to cruelly die.

On Tuesday, Haringey Council bosses confirmed that Ms Shoesmith was appealing against the decision to sack her without a pay-off. If successful, she could win a six-figure payout.

The news has sparked anger from those critical of Ms Shoesmith's time in office.

Cllr Robert Gorrie, leader of Haringey's Lib Dem opposition, said: "We have said from the outset that those responsible for this tragedy should be held to account and that there should be no rewards for failure.

"Sharon Shoesmith was responsible for the council service that failed Baby P.

"I hope the original council decision to terminate employment without payment of notice is upheld and I believe that residents will be rightly outraged if the council does agree to a large pay off."

Baby P, a 17-old-month boy, died in August 2007 after nine months of horrific abuse at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger in a Haringey Council house.

He had been on Haringey social service's "at risk" register and was seen up to 60 times by social workers and health professionals in the months and days leading up to his death.

Despite this, Ms Shoesmith refused to apologise for her department's failings after the blunders came to light.

After independent inspectors were sent in, and Schools Minister Ed Balls concluded the findings were "devastating", Ms Shoesmith was sacked.

Council leader Cllr George Meehan and children and young people's boss Cllr Liz Santry also resigned over the case because of the public backlash.

Last month, Ofsted's chief inspector Christine Gilbert said her inspectors had given Haringey Council's children services a "good" rating just weeks after Baby P's death because the council had provided incorrect data on its children services.

Baby P's mother pleaded guilty to allowing or causing the death of a child.

Her boyfriend and their lodger Jason Owen were found guilty of the same charge on November 11 after an 11-week trial at the Old Bailey.

Neither Baby P's mother nor her boyfriend can be identified for legal reasons.

They will be sentenced with Owen, 36, of Wittersham Road, in Bromley, Kent, on April 16.

A Haringey Council spokesman said this week: "Ms Shoesmith has appealed against the decision to dismiss her on December 8.

"She has a statutory right to appeal against that decision. We cannot comment on the details of that appeal until after a decision is taken by the appeal panel."

Cllr Lorna Reith, who took on the role of cabinet member for children and young people when Liz Santry resigned, said: "It would be inappropriate for me to comment.

"Sharon Shoesmith does have a legal right to appeal and that's what the law says. There is a proper process.

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