The former disgraced head of Haringey Council’s maligned Childrens’ services department has hit back in her first public interviews since she was sacked last year over the death of Baby P.
Sharon Shoesmith has criticised the government’s childrens’ secretary Ed Balls for his role in removing her from the post without bothering to look at the facts:
“It has been deeply reckless, breathtakingly reckless, and I don’t think people really understood quite what the potential impact could be.
“And now you got this, a local tragedy and a national catastrophe.“
A local tragedy, yes, but a national catastrophe?
It was a local tragedy because it happened in the same department where Victoria Climbie died eight years earlier. It seems once again that Ms Shoesmith has continued to defend the indefensible, claiming that she was unfairly treated in the media storm that followed the toddler’s death.
She didn’t take any action when social workers had repeatedly made warnings to her about staff shortages and other problems in her department. Instead she, and some senior officers, treated them as if they were troublemakers. Some were sacked and others faced a long campaign of intimidation.
Then there’s the role of local councillors in the scandal. Former leader George Meehan and Liz Santry, the member responsible for childrens’ services, were finally forced to stand down after they also failed to tackle the problems with the department.
Ms Shoesmith’s legacy has been to leave a department in complete turmoil, with social workers leaving in droves, and the new (government-appointed) management team forced to contact other local councils and asking them to ‘loan’ them their staff to help clear the massive backlog of cases. She should never be allowed to work in the field of childrens’ services again.