Page last updated at 13:17 GMT, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 14:17 UK

Panel considers fate of Baby P social workers

Baby Peter
Baby Peter died after months of abuse despite visits from authorities

Two social workers who admitted to a string of failings in caring for Baby Peter should be allowed to go back to work, a disciplinary panel has heard.

Maria Ward and Gillie Christou accept they did not ensure he was visited enough, losing contact with him for a time and not keeping adequate records.

The panel has retired to consider what sanction, if any, to impose on the two former Haringey Council social workers.

Peter died with 50 injuries, despite being on a child protection register.

Marios Lambis, counsel for the General Social Care Council (GSCC), recommended Ms Ward and Ms Christou should be given a temporary suspension.

Their reputations will probably never recover from the battering they have received in the media
Nick Toms

But because they were suspended from social work for 16 months during the investigation into Peter's case - from December 2008 until last month - they should face no extra punishment, he said.

Mr Lambis told the committee: "In the light of the time that they have already spent on suspension, we do not invite you to make any further order today."

Nick Toms, counsel for Ms Ward and Ms Christou, said both women "deeply regret" what happened to Peter and had been "devastated" by the case.

"Their reputations will probably never recover from the battering they have received in the media," he said.

Sackings

Mr Toms said he would not challenge the GSCC's decision.

Haringey Council sacked Ms Ward and Ms Christou in April last year. They have both launched employment tribunal challenges against their dismissal.

Baby Peter was 17 months old when he died with more than 50 injuries in August 2007, despite being on Haringey Council's child protection register.

His mother admitted causing or allowing Baby Peter's death. Her boyfriend, 32, and their lodger, Jason Owens, were found guilty at the Old Bailey of the same charge.

The council was heavily criticised in the wake of the verdicts and a number of people in the council were sacked or resigned. They included former head of children's services at Haringey, Sharon Shoesmith, whose sacking was ordered by Children's Secretary Ed Balls.



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