15:39 29 October 2013
Sharon Shoesmith, the former head of Haringey children’s services who was sacked over the death of 17-month old boy, has accepted a six-figure payout for unfair dismissal.
Shoesmith won the ruling that she was unfairly sacked following a damning report about the death of Baby Peter who died in 2007 after months of abuse. While three individuals were arrested and jailed for the death of the baby, Shoesmith was singled out and fired for missing vital signs that resulted in the ongoing abuse.
She said that the actions were unfair and in breach of natural justice. She added that she was left penniless and practically unemployable after her dismissal which has been described as scapegoating.
However, former Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said that the payout, which is thought to be around £600,000, “stinks”.
"This is going to leave a really bad taste in taxpayers' mouths that a not insubstantial amount of public money is being used to pay off somebody who presided over a dysfunctional department in Haringey [where] a 17-month-old boy died in horrific circumstances.
"We are effectively rewarding failure and when you are appointed a director of children's services... the buck has to stop somewhere and somebody has to take responsibility, and you don't expect that person... to get a large cheque on the back of it as well,” Loughton said.
A spokesman for Haringey Council said: "Following the decision of the Court of Appeal in favour of 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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