Shoesmith received supportive emails, High Court hears


Sharon Shoesmith received supportive emails from senior children’s professionals after the notorious press conference on Baby Peter’s death, it emerged in court yesterday.

A judicial review of Haringey Council’s decision to sack the ex-director of children’s services is taking place at the High Court this week

Shoesmith later called the press conference “a disaster” after sections of the press attacked her for her apparent defensiveness and failure to say sorry.

But legal documents submitted to the court reveal Shoesmith initially received strong support from colleagues.

“Well done, Sharon, on how you have been handling the media attention over this case. Seriously tricky stuff, but you have been getting the tone just right,” said an email from Sir Paul Ennals, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau, on 11 November 2008.

“So far I think the government handled this as well as we could and the government is reasonably well positioned,” said an email on the same day from Jeanette Pugh, director of the safeguarding group at the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

On 13 November Councillor Claire Kober, then chief whip for Haringey Labour Group, wrote a private email to Shoesmith.

“The last few days have been dreadful for everyone. I wanted to say I have the utmost respect for you as a public servant, and while there are service improvements that we must deliver, I have every confidence that you are the individual to get us where we need to be,” said the email.

Shoesmith’s legal team allege that pressure from Children’s Secretary Ed Balls forced Haringey to change its mind.

The hearing continues.

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