Shamed Baby P council director agrees to six-figure payoutCurrent affairs
Sharon Shoesmith, the director of Haringey council children’s services which were at the centre of the Baby P scandal, has agreed to an out-of-court settlement worth in excess of £100,000.
The exact amount of the payout is unknown, due to a confidentiality clause being agreed between Shoesmith and her former employers, Haringey council.
Shoesmith was removed from her position as director of children’s services in 2008, after Peter Connelly, aka Baby P, died the previous year as a result of months of abuse despite being on the at risk register and being visited by social workers and health professionals.
However, in 2011 the Court of Appeal ruled that Shoesmith’s dismissal had been “intrinsically unfair and unlawful,” stating that she was “scapegoated”.
Peter Connelly’s mother, Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend, Steven Barker, and his brother, Jason Owen, were convicted of causing or allowing his death in November 2009 but the social services for which Shoesmith was responsible came under heavy criticism.
An independent inquiry later found that social workers, police and health care professionals were all at fault for not preventing the death, prompting the Court of Appeal to rule in Shoesmith’s favour.
The BBC reports that the payout could end up costing Haringey Council as much as £600,000, though Shoesmith will receive less than this figure, as partial remuneration for her £133,000-a-year salary whilst at the Council.
Ed Balls, the former children’s secretary who initially ordered Shoesmith’s removal, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “An independent report said there were disastrous failings in Haringey children’s services…. Sharon Shoesmith was the director of children’s services and so of course it leaves a bad taste in the mouth that the person who was leading that department and responsible ends up walking away with, it seems, a large amount of money.”