Shoesmith seeks judicial review of her dismissal

The Baby P care chief has begun legal action against children’s secretary Ed Balls over the part he played in dismissing her last year, it has emerged.

Sharon Shoemith, the former children’s services chief who was sacked from her £130,000-a-year post after the Baby P scandal, has launched a legal challenge against the way she was dismissed without compensation or notice from her position at Haringey Council following a damning report from Ofsted.

Shoesmith filed an application for judicial review at the high court, claiming the Joint Area Review report by Ofsted was “unlawful”.

The review took place after Children’s secretary Ed Balls sent inspectors to the local authority following the trial of those responsible for the death of the 17-month-old ‘Baby P’.

It identified serious concerns about Haringey’s inadequate child protection services.

Balls later sacked Shoesmith without notice or compensation, based on the report’s findings.

The legal action Shoesmith has started is separate from her decision to launch a tribunal case against her former employer, where she could be eligible for a payout of up to £173,000 if she proves the council wrongly sacked her.

A spokesman for Haringey Council said it would contest those claims “vigorously”.

Baby P had been on the child protection register and was seen by professionals 60 times before his death in 2007.

Shoesmith, who ran a department with 1,000 staff and oversaw its annual budget of £100m, lost an internal appeal against her dismissal in January.

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