Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Baby P social workers lose claim

Maria Ward has lost her claim for unfair dismissal

Two social workers sacked over the Baby P tragedy have lost their claim for unfair dismissal, it has emerged.

Gillie Christou and Maria Ward claimed they were unjustly fired by Haringey Council in north London in response to the public outcry about the little boy's horrific death.

But an employment tribunal panel ruled that the local authority acted reasonably in dismissing them because of serious failings in their care of the toddler.

Baby P, now named as Peter Connelly, was just 17 months old when he died in a blood-spattered cot in Tottenham, north London, on August 3 2007.

He had suffered more than 50 injuries despite being on the at-risk register and receiving 60 visits from social workers, police and health professionals over eight months.

Ms Ward was Peter's nominated social worker at Haringey Council from February 2007 until his death, and Mrs Christou was her team manager. The pair were sacked after an investigation which revealed there was a period in mid-2007 when they did not know where the child was.

Peter's mother claimed she had taken the little boy to visit her sick uncle in Cricklewood, north-west London, despite being told to return home.

Ms Ward was also found to have failed to meet a requirement to see him at least once a fortnight.

The employment tribunal panel concluded: "There is no doubt in our minds that, whilst there may have been media pressure and political pressure and those involved had in mind the tragic death of Peter Connelly, the facts and beliefs which led them to dismiss the claimants' appeals against their dismissals were, in Ms Ward's case, the failure to maintain the required visiting frequency and, in both cases, the poor professional judgment (as the appeal panels expressed it) demonstrated by both claimants in relation to the Cricklewood absence.

"It is not in our view the case that those involved in the appeal panels bowed to the pressure to which we have referred."

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz