Sharon Shoesmith 'would have resigned' if she thought Haringey had made serious mistakes over Baby P

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Sharon Shoesmith 'would have resigned' if she thought Haringey had made serious mistakes over Baby P

Watch the full interview here.

The former Head of Children’s Services at Haringey Council has said she would have resigned if she thought the authority had made “serious mistakes” in the case of Baby P.

Sharon Shoesmith was sacked following a report into the 2007 death of Peter Connelly, known as Baby P, following months of abuse.

In 2011, the court favoured an appeal that she had been unfairly sacked and “scapegoated” over the 17-month-old’s death.

Ms Shoesmith said on The Headline Interview that there was no evidence to suggest social workers at the north London council had committed gross misconduct leading to the toddler’s death.

She told Independent Editor Amol Rajan: “Had that been true, you would never have seen my face again. I would have disappeared, I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t have gone to court.

“It wasn’t true.”

Peter suffered abuse over an eight-month period at the hands of his mother, Trace Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen despite being visited by authorities more than 60 times.

He was found dead in a blood spattered cot with more than 50 injuries including a broken spine and eight broken ribs.

The three were convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child. 

Ms Shoesmith was sacked a year later during a live TV press conference by the then Children’s Secretary Ed Balls when circumstances surrounding the tragedy were revealed.

He told the media there was insufficient evidence of supervision  by senior management, an inconsistent quality of frontline practice , poor gathering and sharing of information as well as evidence of agencies working in isolation from one another without effective coordination.

He added: “I think most people would look at this report, look at the clear evidence of management failures and say this kind of failure should not be rewarded with compensation or pay offs.

“I would be astonished if elected members in Haringey chose to do that.”

Ms Shoesmith said the announcement left her “floored” and that she was unable to leave the house for three days.

She added she has never met the former cabinet minister but would still like the opportunity to speak to him face-to-face.

In 2013, it was reported Ms Shoesmith had been awarded a payout of £679,452 following claims she had been unfairly dismissed and used as a scapegoat in the case - a figure she strongly denies receiving.

Haringey Council had also previously revealed it had spent £196,000 fighting Ms Shoesmith’s case. 

The 60-year-old said she was “a victim” of a “knee-jerk reaction” that had left her unable to find her work since her dismissal.

“The whole country held me responsible for what was the brutal murder of a child.

“That took me to almost losing a grip of my own mental health. I was photographed in public and shouted at in public and that went on for years.”

The story prompted both a public and media outcry. Just 10 years previously the same local authority were blamed for failing to stop the death of Victoria Climbié.

The eight-year-old was tortured and murdered by her guardians.


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