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Council spend £196,000 in their case against Sharon Shoesmith on top of £600K payout
A legal battle against the former director of children's services at Haringey Borough Council has cost the taxpayer an extra £200,000 - on top of a £600K payout.
The council spent £196,000 on its case against Sharon Shoesmith, who was dismissed from her £130,000-a year job in 2008 following the death of 17-month-old Peter Connelly.
In 2011 she won an appeal claiming unfair dismissal and on Monday it was reported that the authority had agreed a £600,000 compensation deal with her.
The legal costs were revealed following a question to the council from opposition Liberal Democrat councillor Richard Wilson.
He criticised the authority for not following the proper procedure when it fired the former director of children’s services.
He said: “While we agree Ms Shoesmith should have gone it is not right that the taxpayer has been left with a massive bill because Haringey Council decided not to follow the proper procedures.
“It is appalling that because of the action of the then Labour government and the Labour-run council, local residents will be left with a hefty bill for legal fees, which has cost local taxpayers nearly £200,000.”
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.
He 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.
The Liberal Democrats group has called for Ed Balls and the council to apologise as their actions have left residents with “a massive bill”.
Cllr Wilson added: “Taxpayers will be dismayed to see their hard earned money being used to pay the settlement to Sharon Shoesmith and the legal fees.
“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.”
A spokesman for the council said: “The legal fees relate to a very complex and long-running process that involved a number of different strands of litigation.
“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. We are unable to comment further on this matter.”
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