Shoesmith sacking review begins

By Liz Stephens

The ex-director of children’s services at Haringey Council during the Baby P scandal will take her case to a judicial review today.

Sharon Shoesmith was dismissed by the children’s secretary Ed Balls in the wake of the case after one million people signed a petition in a national newspaper calling for her and her staff to be fired.

She argued that she was a victim of unfair and illegal dismissal by Mr Balls and Haringey Council – caused by the undue influence of the media campaign waged against her – and was never given the opportunity to defend herself.

Haringey children’s services department was condemned for a catalogue of failures in a damning report by Ofsted in December 2008.

The most notorious failure of the department was the death of Baby Peter who died in 2007 after suffering abuse and neglect from his mother Tracey Connolly, her partner Steven Barker and Barker’s brother Jason Owen.

All three were sentenced this year for causing or allowing Baby Peter’s death.

The terrible details of the case were made public, revealing that the child had been on Haringey’s child protection register at the time of his death and that Shoesmith’s department missed several opportunities to save his life.

He had received 60 visits from the authorities before his death.

Ms Shoesmith’s hearing is expected to last three days.