Baby P social workers given leave to appeal against sackings

Haringey Council is "disappointed" that two social workers have been granted leave to appeal against an employment tribunal ruling that upheld their sacking following the death of Baby P, Peter Connelly.

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Haringey Council is “disappointed” that two social workers have been granted leave to appeal against an employment tribunal ruling that upheld their sacking following the death of Baby P, Peter Connelly.

Maria Ward, the practitioner allocated to Peter’s case, and Gillie Christou, Ward’s manager at the time, have claimed they were unfairly fired. The council has remained resolute that it was right to sack the practitioners.

A Haringey spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by the ruling. Ms Ward and Ms Christou were dismissed from Haringey Council for gross misconduct because they failed to ensure Baby Peter was visited regularly and lost contact with him at a critical time.

“The original employment tribunal judgement vindicated our decision to end their employment with the council and we will contest their appeal most vigorously.”

Haringey’s former director of children’s services, Sharon Shoesmith, supported Ward and Chistou at the Employment Appeal Tribunal yesterday. Last month, the Court of Appeal ruled that Haringey and Ed Balls, then education secretary, had unfairly sacked Shoesmith.

Education secretary Michael Gove has applied for permission to appeal against the Shoesmith ruling to the Supreme Court. A source close to Shoesmith has told Community Care that the Supreme Court will make its decision by the end of July.

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