Baby P: Six social workers still on full pay despite 'devastating' report

Thread: Baby P: Six social workers still on full pay despite 'devastating' report

  1. Roach-Rampino's Avatar

    Roach-Rampino said:

    Bad News Baby P: Six social workers still on full pay despite 'devastating' report

    Sharon Shoesmith, the head of children's services at Haringey council, is being paid almost £2,000 per week despite attempts by the Children's Secretary, Ed Balls, to have her sacked.
    The council has only been able to suspend her, together with her deputy, Cecilia Hitchen, and Clive Preece, a senior manager, while it carries out disciplinary procedures which are likely to drag on for weeks, and there were fears last night that all three could receive hefty pay-offs.

    Three front-line social workers involved in Baby P's case - Maria Ward, Sylvia Henry and Gillie Christou - are still working for the council after being moved to other jobs.
    In total, the taxpayer is footing a monthly bill of £24,000 for their wages, which was roundly condemned last night as "rewarding failure".

    Mrs Shoesmith - who said earlier this month that there was no reason for anyone to resign over the case - refused to step down from her £100,000-a-year job despite Mr Balls invoking rarely-used powers to have her removed from her post "with immediate effect".
    Employment lawyers said that if and when Mrs Shoesmith is finally sacked, she will still be entitled to a sizeable pension and may fight for a pay-off in return for her silence or try to negotiate an early retirement deal.

    Mr Balls said that only Haringey Council had the power to sack Mrs Shoesmith but added: "Most people will look at this report and say that this kind of failure should not be rewarded with compensation or pay-offs... I would be astonished if elected members in Haringey chose to do that."
    He intervened following the publication of an interim report into the case of Baby P which highlighted a "catalogue of failings" and made clear that the council had not learnt the lessons of the Victoria Climbie case, who was tortured to death in Haringey in 2000 despite regular visits from social workers.
    The council's elected leader, George Meehan, and its cabinet member for children, Liz Santry, resigned hours before the publication of the report.

    The inquiry, carried out jointly by Ofsted, the Healthcare Commission and HM Inspector of Constabulary, discovered "fundamental failings" in the way social workers, medical professionals and police dealt with children at risk and painted a picture of a chaotic child protection regime.
    As well as finding evidence of shambolic record-keeping, poor communication between agencies and a lack of adequate leadership, Mr Balls said he was particularly concerned to discover that those entrusted with protecting vulnerable children often didn't bother to talk to the children themselves.
    He ordered a thorough new review of the Baby P case and immediately replaced Mrs Shoesmith with John Coughlan, formerly head of social services at Hampshire council, who is widely expected to sack the three social workers directly involved in the Baby P case.

    Asked what would happen to Miss Ward, Miss Henry and Miss Christou, who have all been moved into other jobs which do not involve children, Mr Balls said: "The new director of children's services will immediately consider any staffing issues raised by the Baby P case."

    But it was the status of Mrs Shoesmith and her two fellow managers which caused the most outrage last night. Michael Gove, the Shadow Children's Secretary, said: "The public will rightly be concerned that these people are being paid with taxpayers money.
    "It seems to me that it cannot be right that people can be rewarded for failure."

    Mrs Shoesmith was in charge of social services during the eight months when Baby P was seen more than 60 times by social workers and healthcare professionals, who failed to prevent his death at the hands of his mother, stepfather and their lodger, who are all now awaiting sentencing after being convicted of causing or allowing his death.

    Their trial at the Old Bailey heard that social workers naively accepted the mother's lies about how the 17-month-old toddler received his appalling injuries and that an possible prosecution for neglect was abandoned by the Crown Prosecution Service after it received a letter from Haringey praising the mother's relationship with the child.

    David Carmichael, head of employment at the law firm Pannone LLP, said Haringey would have to follow statutory dismissal procedures, including a personal hearing, before any of the staff could be dismissed.

    "In the case of public sector workers the disciplinary procedures are likely to be more onerous and rigorous and the process is likely to take several weeks," he said. "Mrs Shoesmith's union will no doubt try to argue that she should be given a pay-off, perhaps in return for her agreeing not to talk about the case. In either event, her pension rights will be unaffected."

    In the Victoria Climbie case, Haringey took almost two years to sack two social workers blamed for failing to protect her, after they successfully argued that they should be allowed to give evidence to a public inquiry before any decision was taken. One of the social workers then won an appeal against wrongful dismissal.

    Lib Dem MP for Haringey Lynne Featherstone said: "Not a single penny of taxpayers' money should be used to pay off any senior staff or to buy their silence. They either resign or are sacked using normal procedures. There can be no third option or special perks for failure.
    "If she got a pay-out it would be utterly unacceptable. We would all be disgusted. It is a highly paid position and if you lead through failure you should not be rewarded for it."

    Tory shadow minister for children, Tim Loughton, added: "It will be adding insult to injury in the eyes of the public if those who have been found to have contributed to this tragic case receive sizeable payoffs.

    Nevres Kemal, the whistleblower who was sacked after she warned ministers that Haringey risked a repeat of the Victoria Climbie case, said: "I still remain out of work because I whistle-blew and those managers who breached child protection procedures are still in post."

    Mrs Shoesmith, 55, provoked anger earlier this month when she said: "None of the agencies involved murdered this child. This child was killed by members of his own family.
    "The very sad fact is that we can't stop people who are determined to kill children."

    Mr Balls announced a series of measures which he said would "address the deep-rooted and fundamental failings which have been identified in the tragic case of Baby P".
    They included unannounced annual inspections of children's services by Ofsted and a comprehensive review of child protection in Haringey.

    Meanwhile, a separate report published yesterday also disclosed that 28 local councils failed to take appropriate action to prevent repetition of serious abuse cases, suggesting thousands more vulnerable children could be in danger.
    The councils were all criticised by the inspectorate Ofsted for holding “inadequate” internal reviews into injuries or child deaths.
    Of the 92 serious case reviews across the country between April 2007 and August 2008 investigated by Ofsted, 38 were deemed to have been flawed.

    Sharon Shoesmith, Head of Children's Services at Haringey Council Photo: Heathcliff O'Malley

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  2. BBK's Avatar

    BBK said:

    Default Re: Baby P: Six social workers still on full pay despite 'devastating' report

    Im not sure what benefit a witch hunt on the employees of Haringey council will have. From everything I read it wasn't a failure with individuals but a systematic failure, which in my opinion starts at the very top where the laws governing these things are set, and I don't see Ed Bollocks offering to stand down as a result of his own inactivity in setting the rules. What happened here was totally tragic, but the people responsible ARE in prison and will be there for a long time. From what I read its more down to the inability of the doctors failing to spot [sarcasm]minor[/sarcasm] injuries such as a BROKEN BACK. Yes, I do believe some people in the council should be seriously investigated - such as the manager who decided the child should go back to its parents, but again, I feel somewhat like his hands may have been tied.

    The last thing we want in this country is a repeat of what happened in Teeside all those years ago with children WRONGLY being taken away from their parents by over-zealous staff who then had to fight to get their children back, causing unknown damage to those unfortunate children. Yes, cases like this do seem so cut and dried, and yes, they are horrific, and yes, something does need to be done. I'm just not sure its in anyone's best interests to sack people - 80-something headteachers in Haringey have already come out and said Sharon Shoesmith has been a tremendous benefit to Haringey childrens services - are they that wrong?

    For me, this needs addressing from the top, and it isn't being.
  3. 4me2's Avatar

    4me2 said:

    Default Re: Baby P: Six social workers still on full pay despite 'devastating' report

    Another successful witch hunt carried out by the gutter media.

    All such agencies (media) should be closed down with immediate effect.
    There are 3 types of people in the world - those who make things happen, those who watch things happen; and those who wondered what happened.

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]Conservatives. Putting the 'N' into Cuts.

  4. Over Carl's Avatar

    Over Carl said:

    Default Re: Baby P: Six social workers still on full pay despite 'devastating' report

    I dunno, I would hold judgement until the report is out.

    I said it before and I'll say it again, those directly involved who should have stopped this atrocity should be facing life sentences for manslaughter. Tbh, I think that is way too easy but all that our law allows.

    However, I wouldn't be surprised if the top boss should shoulder blame but that we don't know. The reason I suspect this may be the case is iirc, that wasn't the first idea the gutter trash came out with, it emerged a few days later.

    Also another reason it wouldn't surprise me, I've worked under a woman who happened to be director of social services of my borough. I remember one instance I had to put her in her place after a confrontation : she was complaining to me about some stuff which wasn't tidy and demanded it done instantly. I told her my post used to be filled by 3 people until the bitch I was speaking to cut it to one. I was doing my best, but I had higher priority work to do, so I told her in plain terms what my priorities were and why.

    The rest of the team later applauded me, but admitted they were too scared to do the same, even when mad cow did similar to them. Only difference was I was temp admin who didn't care about my reference.