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Haringey Council chief to retire

PUBLISHED: 15:59 04 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:26 07 September 2010

THE chief executive of Haringey Council Dr Ita O'Donovan has announced that she will retire in February – saying that she delayed her departure because of the Baby P case. Dr O'Donovan, who has been in the post since March 2006, released a statement yeste

THE chief executive of Haringey Council Dr Ita O'Donovan has announced that she will retire in February - saying that she delayed her departure because of the Baby P case.

Dr O'Donovan, who has been in the post since March 2006, released a statement yesterday (Thursday September 3). In it she revealed that could have retired in May, but decided to stay on as the overall boss of the town hall to try and "provide stability" after the Baby P case.

She said: "I reached retirement age in May 2009... [but] following the death of Baby Peter and the emergence of serious failings in our children's service, it was agreed with the leader that I should stay with the council longer than May to provide stability and help put things right."

Baby Peter - whose full name was Peter Connelly - died in a council house in Tottenham in August 2007 after suffering months of abuse at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and his brother.

The case sparked a national outcry when it emerged during the criminal trial into Peter's death in November last year that the toddler was on the "at risk" register and had been seen 60 times by Haringey social workers, health professionals and police.

Dr O'Donovan was heavily criticised along with the then leader of the council George Meehan and the director of children's services Sharon Shoesmith for not giving an immediate, full and frank apology for the council's mistakes.

Dr O'Donovan said the council had taken decisive action over the last eight months and inspectors had recognised that progress has been made but much more needed to be done.

She added: "Between now and February, our focus will be on delivering the range of improvements to frontline social work already identified as necessary.


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