Baby P social workers claim unfair dismissal

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Two social workers sacked over the Baby P tragedy took their former employer to an employment tribunal today.

Gillie Christou and Maria Ward claim they were unfairly dismissed by Haringey Council in north London following public outcry about the little boy's death.

The local authority insists it followed proper procedures when it dismissed the pair for "gross misconduct" in April last year.

The opening day of their hearing at Watford Employment Tribunal in Hertfordshire was given over to legal arguments before being adjourned until 12pm tomorrow.

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, 40, was Peter's nominated social worker at Haringey Council from February 2007 until his death, and Ms Christou, 52, was her team manager.

In May a General Social Care Council (GSCC) disciplinary committee suspended Ms Ward for two months and Ms Christou for four months for their misconduct in the case.

The pair admitted failing to ensure Peter was visited regularly enough, not keeping adequate records and even losing contact with him for a time.

But the GSCC panel ruled that they could remain on the social care register, allowing them to resume working with vulnerable children after the end of their suspension.

Peter's mother, Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker, and his brother, Jason Owen, were jailed in May last year for causing or allowing the little boy's death.