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Haringey children’s chief sacked over handling of damning High Court case – but she defends actions as ‘putting children first’

PUBLISHED: 16:35 08 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:19 08 June 2020

Cllr Zena Brabazon (far right) as part of Cllr Joe Ejiofor's initial, now much-changed, cabinet. Picture: Haringey Council

Cllr Zena Brabazon (far right) as part of Cllr Joe Ejiofor's initial, now much-changed, cabinet. Picture: Haringey Council

D Tothill2018

Haringey’s council leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor has sacked the town hall’s children’s chief over her handling of “the fallout” from a damning High Court judgement.

In an email to councillors seen by this newspaper, the leader said his cabinet colleague Cllr Zena Brabazon’s (Lab, Harringay) position was “untenable” as she had taken three weeks to inform him about the ruling – in which Mr Justice Hayden said the town hall’s disabled children’s services team had overseen “a litany of failure” in a case where a disabled child’s mother had started a relationship with a convicted sex offender.

Cllr Brabazon said she had simply respected that, at the time she was first informed of the draft judgement in April, legal proceedings were still ongoing, and she said child welfare had to come first.

READ MORE: FAILINGS REFLECT ‘BROADER AND DEEPER MALAISE’ IN SOCIAL WORK TEAM, SAYS HIGH COURT JUDGE

READ MORE: HARINGEY COUNCIL: ZENA BRABAZON ELECTED DEPUTY LEADER MONTHS AFTER BEING SACKED BY LEADERSHIP

She told this newspaper: “I put the children first and foremost.

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“Throughout my 13 months in the job I worked with the executive director – who has my full support – to improve and it has improved immeasurably. Cllr Ejiofor has now decided to sack me because I put the rights of children first in a difficult court case that was still in proceedings. In my view, putting children’s human rights first is always the right thing to do.”

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In a statement the council leader said the council “will never compromise on child safety or case confidentiality” and added: “The issue was that the leader of the council should be fully informed about all independent assessments about the safeguarding service we provide for our young people.”

He said he and Cllr Brabazon had not been able to agree on the “gravity of the situation” and she had asked for him to “back her or sack her”.

The new children’s lead will be Cllr Kaushika Amin, while Cllr Brabazon’s replacement as deputy leader of the council has yet to be announced.

Cllr Brabazon, who was previously sacked from the cabinet by Cllr Ejiofor over New Year 2019, returned in May 2019 when she was elected the Labour group’s deputy leader. She will retain that position.

Cllr Brabazon ran against Cllr Ejiofor for the council leadership a year earlier, winning an indicative ballot of Labour members in the borough but being pipped by her rival when fellow councillors voted.


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