Belfast Telegraph

Sacked Baby P boss Sharon Shoesmith won £679k payout for her unfair dismissal

By Claire Williamson

A former child protection boss who was sacked following the Baby P scandal has been awarded more than £600,000 following her unfair dismissal claim.

Sharon Shoesmith, the former head of Haringey children’s services, who is originally from Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, was sacked from her £133,000-a-year job in the north London borough in December 2008 following a damning report in to the tragedy.

Ms Shoesmith, who had presided over Haringey social workers during the Baby P tragedy, was sacked by the then Children's Secretary Ed Balls.

The former boss claimed she had been unfairly dismissed and Haringey Council has revealed it spent almost £200,000 fighting Ms Shoesmith’s case.

The Court of Appeal ruled in her favour in 2011 and she was awarded the payout, the terms of which Haringey Council kept confidential. Now the London council's accounts reveal she was awarded £679,452.

Ms Shoesmith said: “This is not a figure I recognise. I have made a confidential agreement with Haringey that prevents me giving the actual figures.”

However, the council's draft accounts for 2013-2014 show Ms Shoesmith was awarded £377,266 for salary, fees and allowance, £217,266 in compensation for loss of office, and £84,819 for employer pension contributions.

In August 2007 Peter Connelly, known as Baby P, died at 17 months old after he was subjected to months of abuse.

Peter had more than 50 injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken back, when he was found dead in a property in Penshurst Road, Tottenham, despite being

on the at-risk register and receiving 60 visits from social workers, police and health professionals over a period of eight months.

The mother of Baby Peter, Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen were jailed in May 2009 for causing or allowing the child's death. The death sparked widespread outrage.

Ms Shoesmith’s compensation package is more than the minimum suggested by senior judge Lord Neuberger in the 2011 ruling.

At the time he indicated that Ms Shoesmith was entitled to a minimum three months' salary plus pension contributions, which would have amounted to £33,000.

The local authority confirmed in a statement that it had reached a settlement with Ms Shoesmith.

It said: “The terms of the settlement are confidential. We are unable to comment further on this matter.”

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