It was interesting to read about Ed Balls’ ‘outrage’ at the pay-off to Sharon Shoesmith, Haringey Council’s former Head of Children’s Services. Had Ed Balls not authorised Ms Shoesmith’s unlawful dismissal, one suspects such a pay out would not have been made.
At the time, it seemed clear that Ms Shoesmith was being made the scapegoat for the systemic failures that led to Baby P’s tragic death. I am keen to learn more about what lessons have been learnt by Haringey Council and other local authorities since then.
The Court of Appeal’s decision was very clear in confirming that Ms Shoesmith was unfairly dismissed. Instead of looking for a scapegoat, the government’s and Haringey’s approach should have been to initiate a proper transparent investigation that would have led to the appropriate disciplinary sanctions for the relevant people.