Baby P social services chief sacked

The head of children's services at Haringey Council was sacked today in the wake of the Baby P abuse case.

Sharon Shoesmith was dismissed "with immediate effect" and will not receive any compensation.

A short statement released by the north London council said: "Sharon Shoesmith has been dismissed from Haringey Council with immediate effect.

"The decision was taken today by a panel of councillors.

"Ms Shoesmith will not be returning to work in Haringey. She will not receive any compensation package. She will not receive any payment in lieu of notice."

The Children's Secretary Ed Balls removed Sharon Shoesmith from her post on 1 December after a damning report into her department's shortcomings.

But the 55-year-old remained on full pay while the council considered her case.

The senior council manager provoked widespread anger for the way she responded to revelations that Baby P was killed while on the child protection register.

At a press conference at the end of the trial, she said: "The very sad fact is that we can't stop people who are determined to kill children. I am satisfied that the action that should have been taken was taken."

Inspectors were sent into Haringey in north London after the trial of those responsible for the 17-month-old baby's brutal death.

They identified a string of "serious concerns" about the area's child protection services, which they described as "inadequate".

In a 16-page report, they condemned everything from poor record-keeping to a failure to identify children at immediate risk of harm.

Haringey is the same council that was severely criticised for failing to prevent the murder of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie in 2000.

The three people convicted over Baby P's death will be sentenced at the Old Bailey next spring for causing or allowing the death of a child.

Earlier today the council admitted spending £19,000 on media training for high-profile employees involved in the case.

Ms Shoesmith and Liz Santry, Haringey's Cabinet member for children and young people, who resigned earlier this month, are thought to be among those who received special training.

David Winskill, the Liberal Democrat councillor who requested the figure, said he believed the media training had been designed to protect Haringey from criticism but had failed.

"As a Haringey rate payer, from what I saw on the TV and having an idea of how much it cost, it's a classic example of spending big and getting very little," he said.

Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, added: "It is absolutely outrageous that this money has been wasted on spin doctors.

"Every single penny of this cash would have been better spent on improving our children's service."

Mr Winskill, a member of the council's overview and scrutiny committee, requested the figure from council leader George Meehan, who resigned shortly after the question was tabled.

The subsequent reply from the leader's office read: "The cost of paid for media advice to the council from three sources included media training for key spokespeople. The total estimated final cost will be £19,000."

The names of the firms used were given to councillors but were not made public.

Baby P, who cannot be named for legal reasons, died in a blood-spattered cot in August last year.

He had suffered more than 50 injuries at the hands of his abusive mother, 27, her boyfriend, 32, and their lodger, Jason Owen, 36, despite 60 contacts with the authorities over eight months.

The council was criticised for refusing to apologise for its failure to protect the little boy.

As he offered his resignation, Mr Meehan admitted: "We failed."

Ms Santry, who also stepped down at the start of this month, said she had considered resigning earlier but believed it was her "duty" to stay and explain the circumstances and actions taken.

A Haringey Council spokesman said: "It is reasonable for any employer to ensure that staff in the full glare of the media spotlight are given some training to help them deal with this sort of unusual situation."

Ms Featherstone welcomed Ms Shoesmith's departure.

She said: "I very much welcome her departure without a single penny. Hopefully it marks a break with the culture of secrecy, failure and deceit that failed Baby P.

"Under her watch, inspectors and the people of Haringey were lied to and those who sought to challenge her were silenced.

"Once the truth was finally uncovered the horrific catalogue of failings clearly amount to wilful neglect of duty on her part."

Councillor Robert Gorrie, leader of Haringey Liberal Democrat opposition, said: "This is the right decision. No one should be rewarded for failure in public service.

"This is another step in the difficult journey of rebuilding confidence in our borough's children's services.

"Those in top jobs in public service should be put on notice - there is no hiding place for incompetence and deceit for those charged with looking after the vulnerable children in our society."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: "We said last Monday that it was in the power of the Secretary of State to remove Sharon Shoesmith from her post as director of children's services but her employment was a matter for Haringey.

"The Secretary of State is satisfied that Haringey appear to have moved swiftly to resolve this in the right way."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Floyd Mayweather will relinquish his five world titles after beating Manny Pacquiao
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living