As Baby P was being tortured Shoesmith reported ‘a good year’
Sharon Shoesmith boasted that the year in which Baby P died was “hugely productive” for child protection in Haringey. The council’s former director of children’s services hailed the progress her staff made in the months in which Peter Connelly was tortured and neglected.
Her remarks came in a report that praised social services for acting quickly when children were thought to be at risk. Social workers were later condemned for letting Peter die at the hands of his mother Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen in August 2007.
Ms Shoesmith is challenging her sacking in the High Court over the failure to protect the 17-month-old. In the 2007-08 report of Haringey’s Local Safeguarding Children Board, which she chaired, Ms Shoesmith claimed inquiries into child deaths and abuse cases provided “learning opportunities” to help social workers improve.
She wrote: “2007-08 was another hugely productive year for the LSCB and all its constituent parts, a year in which we made further strides to improve the safety of our children and young people.”
Despite making an oblique reference to Peter’s death, the report declared that Haringey had achieved “the top performance banding” for assessing suspected abuse cases on time. It said this represented “considerable improvement” and was “better than the average for our comparator boroughs”.
In the period covered by the report, Baby Peter was seen more than 60 times by doctors, social workers and police. He was found in his cot with more than 50 injuries including a broken back. Connelly, Barker and Owen were jailed for causing or allowing his death.
Ms Shoesmith, 56, is asking the court to quash an Ofsted report which was highly critical of her department and to review Mr Balls’s decision to sack her. Ofsted, Haringey council and Mr Balls’s department deny acting unfairly.