Page last updated at 19:33 GMT, Monday, 8 December 2008

Baby P official fired without pay

Sharon Shoesmith/Baby P
Sharon Shoesmith had rejected calls for her resignation

The head of children's services at the council at the centre of the Baby P controversy has been fired without pay.

Haringey Council said Sharon Shoesmith, who had defended her department over the death of the 17-month-old baby, had been dismissed with immediate effect.

The boy, who was on the council's "at-risk" register, died in 2007 with major injuries, including a broken back.

His mother admitted causing or allowing his death. Her boyfriend and Jason Owen were convicted of the same offence.

'Serious concerns'

In a brief statement, Haringey Council said Ms Shoesmith would not be receiving any compensation or pay in lieu of notice.

"The decision was taken today by a panel of councillors," the statement said.

The very sad fact is that we can't stop people who are determined to kill children
Sharon Shoesmith
"Ms Shoesmith will not be returning to work in Haringey. She will not receive any compensation package."

Children's Secretary Ed Balls removed Ms Shoesmith from her post on 1 December after a damning initial report into her department's shortcomings in the case.

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

Following last month's convictions, Ms Shoesmith said she was satisfied that her department had acted appropriately.

"The very sad fact is that we can't stop people who are determined to kill children," she said.

"I am satisfied that the action that should have been taken was taken."

But inspectors sent into Haringey after the trial of those responsible for the death identified a string of "serious concerns" about the area's child protection services, which they described as "inadequate".

'Failure, deceit'

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

Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, welcomed Ms Shoesmith's departure.

"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."

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

A spokeswoman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: "The Secretary of State is satisfied that Haringey appear to have moved swiftly to resolve this in the right way."

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

Baby P, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had suffered more than 50 injuries by the time of his death, despite being in contact with officials, medics and police 60 times in the eight months before he died.

The council was forced to admit earlier this month that it had spent 19,000 on media training for high-profile employees involved in the Baby P 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 the special training.

The move drew sharp criticism from opposition councillors in Haringey about the priorities of Ms Shoesmith's department.

Owen, 36, and Baby P's mother and boyfriend are due to be sentenced next year.



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