Baby P boss Sharon Shoesmith secures £680,000 payout

Sharon Shoesmith Sharon Shoesmith said she "did not recognise" the amount being reported

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The former head of Haringey children's services Sharon Shoesmith has been awarded £679,452 following her unfair dismissal claim.

Ms Shoesmith was sacked after a damning report into the 2007 death of Peter Connelly, known as Baby P, who was subjected to months of abuse.

The payments, previously established to be a six-figure sum, were confirmed in the London council's accounts.

But Ms Shoesmith told the BBC: "This is not a figure I recognise."

She added: "I have made a confidential agreement with Haringey that prevents me giving the actual figures."

However, the council's draft accounts for 2013-2014 show Ms Shoesmith was awarded £377,266 for salary, fees and allowance, £217,266 in compensation for loss of office, and £84,819 for employer pension contributions.

Peter Connelly Peter Connelly died in August 2007 at the age of 17 months

Peter Connelly had more than 50 injuries, despite being on the at-risk register and receiving 60 visits from social workers, police and health professionals over eight months.

Baby Peter's mother, Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend, Steven Barker, and his brother, Jason Owen, were jailed in May 2009 for causing or allowing the child's death.

Baby Peter timeline

Baby Peter Connelly
  • 3 August 2007: One-year-old Peter Connelly (Baby P) found dead in his cot
  • 11 November 2008: Peter's mother, Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen convicted of causing his death
  • 13 November 2008: Ed Balls orders inquiry into role of the local authority, the health authority and the police
  • 8 December 2008: Ms Shoesmith is sacked with immediate effect
  • 22 May 2009: Connelly, Owen and Barker all get lengthy jail sentences
  • 15 September 2010: Ms Shoesmith asks a House of Commons committee why the police and health services had not also been made to take responsibility
  • 27 May 2011: The Court of Appeal rules in favour of Ms Shoesmith
  • Oct 2013: Ms Shoesmith agrees a six-figure payout with Haringey Council
  • June 2014: It is revealed Ms Shoesmith was awarded £679,452 in compensation.

Ms Shoesmith was sacked in December 2008 by the then children's secretary Ed Balls.

She claimed she had been unfairly dismissed and the Court of Appeal ruled in her favour in 2011, saying she had been "unfairly scapegoated".

Haringey Council previously revealed it had spent £196,000 fighting Ms Shoesmith's case for unfair dismissal.

The compensation package is more than the minimum suggested by senior judge Lord Neuberger in the 2011 ruling.

He gave the opinion Ms Shoesmith was entitled to a minimum of three months' salary plus pensions contributions, which would have amounted to about £33,000.

However, last year a government source told BBC Newsnight the cost to Haringey Council could be as high as £600,000.

In a statement, the local authority confirmed it had reached a settlement with Ms Shoesmith.

It said: "The terms of the settlement are confidential. We are unable to comment further on this matter."

Kerry Underwood, an employment lawyer, said confidential settlements like Ms Shoesmith's "should not be allowed" when they involve public money.

Such payouts should also be subject to extra scrutiny, he added.

"When local authorities are cutting back hard then it should go back to tribunal or court to be approved," Mr Underwood said.

"That would not cost a lot of money, it would be a relatively short hearing."

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