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UPDATED: Baby P children's boss agrees settlement deal
10:34am Tuesday 29th October 2013 in News
THE former York council worker sacked over the Baby P scandal has reached a settlement over her unfair dismissal.
Sharon Shoesmith, former head of Haringey Council's children services, has reportedly agreed a deal which could reach up to £600,000 - although she may receive a lower sum - after she won a 2011 ruling that she was unfairly dismissed following a damning report about the death of 17-month-old Peter Connelly.
A Haringey Council spokeswoman said today: "Following the decision of the Court of Appeal in favour of Ms Shoesmith, and the court's direction that the parties seek to resolve the issue of compensation, the London Borough of Haringey and Ms Shoesmith have reached a settlement in this case.
"The terms of the settlement are confidential. We are unable to comment further on this matter."
Ms Shoesmith, who worked for City of York Council in the 1990s, was sacked after Peter died in 2007 following months of abuse. He had more than 50 injuries, had been on the at-risk register and had received 60 visits from social workers, police and health professionals in the final eight months of his life.
A series of reviews identified that officials had missed opportunities to save him by failing to act on warning signs, and the Ofsted report into Peter's death catalogued "catastrophic management failures" within Haringey Council.
Three people, including his mother Tracey Connelly and her lover Steven Barker, were jailed in 2009. Ms Shoesmith was dismissed from her £133,000-a-year post, without compensation, in 2008 by then Education Secretary Ed Balls, but the Court of Appeal later ruled she had been "unfairly scapegoated" and her removal had been "intrinsically unfair and unlawful". She has reportedly not worked since.
It has been reported the settlement package will be more than the minimum suggested by senior judge Lord Neuberger in the ruling, which equated to a minimum of three months' salary - about £33,000 - plus pension contributions.
The Department for Education has also declined to comment on the matter. Ms Shoesmith had been due to return to court this week to seek a declaration that she remained employed by Haringey Council.
Former Government minister and Conservative MP Tim Loughton said today that the settlement would "leave a really bad taste in taxpayers' mouths". He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We are effectively rewarding failure.
"When you are appointed a director of children's services...the buck has to stop somewhere and somebody has to take responsibility. You don't expect that person accepting responsibility, reluctantly in this case, to get a very large cheque on the back of it as well."
It is understood Haringey Council will foot most of the payout, although some of the money will come from central Government.