Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Baby P Child Safety Chief Booted out; DIRECTOR REMAINS ON FULL PAY

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Baby P Child Safety Chief Booted out; DIRECTOR REMAINS ON FULL PAY

Article excerpt

HARINGEY director of children's services Sharon Shoesmith today begins a suspension after a damning report into failings exposed by the Baby P tragedy.

She was removed from her post by the Government over "devastating" findings about her department, but remains on full pay.

Inspectors were sent into Haringey in north London after the trial of those responsible for 17-month-old Baby P's brutal death.

They identified a string of "serious concerns" about the area's child protection services, which they described as "inadequate".

In a 16-page report, which was handed to ministers yesterday, they condemned everything from poor record-keeping to a failure to identify children at immediate risk of harm.

Haringey Council leader George Meehan and cabinet member for children and young people Liz Santry resigned.

Children's Secretary Ed Balls used his powers to remove Ms Shoesmith and replace her with John Coughlan, currently Hampshire County Council's director of children's services.

He said the inspectors' report delivered a "damning verdict" on Haringey's current management of the safeguarding of children.

Mr Balls added: "Overall the inspectors' findings are, I have to say, devastating.

"Their report sets out detailed recommendations, all of which must now be accepted in full. Having studied their report I've decided to take immediate action.

"My first priority is to put in place a new leadership and management team in Haringey children's services to ensure that vulnerable children in the borough are properly protected."

Ofsted inspectors will now start carrying out unannounced annual inspections of children's safeguarding services in every part of the country, Mr Balls announced.

Haringey Council chief executive Dr Ita O'Donovan said Ms Shoe-smith had been suspended on full pay but would not receive a compensation package or return to her post.

"We have to follow the employment law of this country," Dr O'Donovan said.

Also suspended were Cecilia Hitchen, deputy director of children's services, and Clive Preece, head of children in need and safeguarding services. …

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