London

Baby P boss Sharon Shoesmith secures £680,000 payout

  • 23 July 2014
  • From the section London
Sharon Shoesmith
Sharon Shoesmith said she "did not recognise" the amount being reported

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 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.

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."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites