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Sharon Shoesmith receives £600,000 for unfair dismissal following Baby P scandal
The former director of children's services at Haringey Borough Council who was sacked in the wake of the Baby P scandal has reportedly received a £600,000 payoff.
Sharon Shoesmith was dismissed from her £130,000-a year job in 2008 following a public outcry over the death of 17-month-old Peter Connelly.
She launched and eventually won an appeal claiming unfair dismissal and last night BBC’s Newsnight reported the council has agreed a £600,000 compensation deal with her.
However sources close to Ms Shoesmith claim the figure was wrong and "a long way off".
Some of the money will come from central government, but the majority will be paid by taxpayers living in Haringey.
Ed Balls MP, who was the Minister for Children at the time, removed Ms Shoesmith from the council without compensation in December 2008.
She was fired after a report from regulator Ofsted said her department failed to protect 17-month-old 'Baby P' Peter Connelly, who died in August 2007 after months of horrific abuse at the hands of his mother Tracey Connelly, 31, her boyfriend Steve Barker, 36, and his brother Jason Owen, 40.
However, a hearing at The Court of Appeal concluded Ms Shoesmith had been ‘unfairly scapegoated’ and that her dismissal had been ‘intrinsically unfair and unlawful’.
A spokesman for the council refused to disclose exactly how much Ms Shoesmith had been paid.
He said: “Following the decision of the Court of Appeal in favour of Ms Shoesmith, and the court’s direction that the parties seek to resolve the issue of compensation, the London Borough of Haringey and Ms Shoesmith have reached a settlement in this case.
“The terms of the settlement are confidential and we are unable to comment further on this matter.”
Today, Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians criticised Mr Balls’ handling of the dismissal and called for him to apologise for landing taxpayers with a massive bill.
Cllr Richard Wilson, the leader of the borough’s Lib Dems, said: “Local residents and taxpayers will be dismayed to see their hard-earned money being used to pay the settlement to Sharon Shoesmith.
“Ed Balls and the Labour-run Haringey Council should apologise for landing taxpayers with this massive bill.
“It adds insult to injury and shows we are still paying the price for mistakes made four years ago.”
Tracey Connelly, Barker and Owen, were jailed in May 2009 for causing or allowing the child’s death.
Earlier this month it was reported that Connelly was due to be released from prison on parole.
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