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Baby P chief Shoesmith defends role

Sharon Shoesmith has launched a vehement defence of her role in the Baby P scandal, saying some of the nationwide fury was "absurd".

The sacked social services chief refused to say she made any personal mistakes surrounding the toddler's death - despite accepting there were "errors of judgment" among staff.

Ms Shoesmith, who was dismissed from her £130,000-a-year post at Haringey Council after a damning report by Ofsted inspectors, told an MPs' inquiry into child safety that politicians had been "reckless".

Giving evidence, Ms Shoesmith, 57, the first expert called by the Education Committee as it examines current issues in safeguarding children, added: "The whole sector is now motivated by fear of failure and not the conditions of success."

In her opening comments at Portcullis House, Westminster, she said: "There never was a doubt about how sorry I was, and everyone else at Haringey was, about the murder of Peter Connelly. Absolutely, no doubt at all.

"To construct a narrative which told the public that Peter Connelly died because Haringey was uniquely weak, sack everyone from the director to the social worker and all would be well was, quite frankly, absurd. The honest story will be told eventually.

"So I must start by telling you that if you believe the narrative put to the public by some members of the press and some politicians, then we begin on different pages.

"For children, the impact has been far-reaching. Since 2008 the number coming into care has increased 30%... The number we have subject to a child protection plan has doubled... Yet this wider net seems to have had little impact on the number of children who die."

Before she appeared, her invitation by MPs was condemned as "an insult" to the toddler by Labour MP Gloria De Piero.

The 17-month-old endured horrendous injuries at the hands of his mother Tracey Connelly, her lover Steven Barker and their lodger, Barker's brother Jason Owen. A series of reviews identified missed opportunities when officials could have saved him.


From Belfast Telegraph