The removal of Sharon Shoesmith from her post following the Baby P case was necessary to restore public confidence in social work, a leading children’s sector boss has said.
Kim Bromley-Derry, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, told Community Care LIVE’s Question Time yesterday that children’s secretary Ed Balls had been right to remove Shoesmith.
He said the government needed to respond to public opinion, which he said was “encapsulated” by reports in The Sun newspaper.
“If the government had not done anything it would have lost the chance to restore public confidence,” Bromley-Derry told CC Live.
Shoesmith in difficult position
Julie Jones, chief executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, agreed that the government had to act, while pointing out that Shoesmith, who was subsequently sacked from her post as Haringey children’s director, had “found herself in an extremely difficult position.”
She also criticised the “very personal vilification” of individuals in the case.
Rodney Bickerstaffe, former president of the National Pensioners Convention, claimed Shoesmith had been made a “scapegoat and fall guy”. He questioned why the government had not chosen to lay the blame “right up the political ladder”.
‘Simplistic’ media reporting slammed
Cynthia Bower, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, said it was “inevitable” that Shoesmith would lose her job, but slammed the “simplistic” reporting of the Baby P case by the media.
Christine Davies, chief executive of best practice agency the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People’s Services, said the media and public attacks on Haringey after Baby P had left many children’s directors “feeling vulnerable,” adding: “That is to be regretted.”
John Knight, assistant director of policy and campaigns at disability charity Leonard Cheshire, said the social work profession had been damaged by media reporting on Baby P, adding: “I could weep for that.”
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