Baby P: The Untold Story ‘A shocking catalogue of cover ups’

A collection of reactions and thoughts expressed by social workers and other viewers during the BBC documentary 'Baby P: The Untold Story'

Baby P
Peter Connelly (Baby P) died in Haringey in August 2007

‘Baby P:  The Untold Story’ aired on BBC One last night where it tackled the political and media fallout that followed the death of Peter Connelly in 2007.

Claims included the police briefing journalists against social workers, as well as an Ofsted ‘cover up’ regarding an inspection of Haringey council.

The documentary was followed by a lot of reaction and debate on Twitter, here is a collection of views from social workers and others who watched the movie.

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16 Responses to Baby P: The Untold Story ‘A shocking catalogue of cover ups’

  1. Philip Measures October 28, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    This was truly dreadful – an example of those in power with no consciences and no idea what constitutes human decency, integrity and moral fibre.

    The media were equally to blame for whipping up what became an out-of-control ‘witch hunt’ but it didn’t do poor baby Peter any favours.

    Trying to buy someone off and ‘gag’ them is beneath contempt – surely there must be Disciplinary action brought against those responsible within the NHS.

    Why doesn’t the Ofsted ‘whistle-blower’ go public – or is career more important?

    David Cameron in Parliament got his facts wrong – was that delibereate though in referring to the mother as being a teenager. Ed Balls also intervened wrongly – a ‘rush to judgement’ is seldom right – he ought to be made personally pay the full compensation that Sharon Shoesmith received because he was responsible for her being sacked.

    BUT, of course, none of this really was anybody’s responsibility was it? What a sick state children’s social care has descended into – a Serious Case Review with salient facts withheld from it; media and political venom added to the mix; careers ruined unfairly in certain instances and organisations fighting viciously to avoid any responsibility.

    Time to start again, if it is possible, to re-discover what real care and compassion is and how best to really help and support the most vulnerable.

  2. Brian s. Waldron October 28, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    As shocking as the revelations were on the programme last night, some how I was not surprised. The public, media and government wanted scapegoats to satisfy their desire for someone to blame and they got what they wanted. The truth was ignored and covered up because it did not fit in with people’s agenda. Those of us who work in the social care profession are easy targets when things go wrong. Let us not forget the doctor who was put in an impossible position and the sad price she and her family have paid. The world is currently a hostile place for social care.

    If things are to change and improve, we have to start with our attitudes and become far more understanding, caring and compassionate. Agencies and professionals must also make a bigger effort to achieve real collaborative working.

  3. Sharon Shoesmith October 28, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    I felt that the documentary was simply amazing. I knew most of it and whilst I was interviewed for it, it was not until I saw the end product that its sheer force became evident. Those of you who watched the film and then my interview with Evan Davis on Newsnight will be under no illusion about just how huge the task is to change the narrative of blame. Despite all that the film uncovered Evan appeared to have grasped none of the complexity.

    I believe that the only people who can change the narrative is the social work profession itself. It will take concerted long-term effort on many co-ordinated fronts but it must be done. We must speak up and get shouted down time and time again but we must find the courage to get back up over and over again. I’m not sure how that dialogue can begin but I hope to address myself to it at the forthcoming Community Care conference. Thank you for the many messages of support.

  4. Sharon Shoesmith October 28, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    I see some references to the compensation payment which is alleged to have been paid to me. I can tell all that there is no £680k and never was. I accepted a much smaller sum, paid 50% tax and all my debts from 5 years without any income. This figure of “almost £700k” was put out on national television and is untrue. It simply continues the many false aspects of this story and of course has allowed the tabloids to harangue me yet again. Sadly it has a twofold impact as it makes it even harder for me to get employment. That’s just for the record.

    • Maria Jose Becerra Martinez October 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

      Sharon, money shouldn’t even be questioned. You were driven to despair and no possibility of earning an income. There was a great injustice committed on you and all society was at fault in your witch hunt. No amount of money will bring back all these years of pain and suffering. I hope a weight has lifted from your shoulders now. I hope everything gets better for you from now on. Best wishes.

    • Edna October 29, 2014 at 12:02 am #

      Sharon, I too have experienced witct hunts and serious detriment unfairly . However this was not at the hands of the media etc but at the hands of bad kangerpo court social work. The director and senior staff acted in heavy handed back covering fashion.action.

      The impact on my well being /health and life has been very serious. But there is no redress as social services are untouchable.

      Unfortunately the media /politicians are as immoral in how they skew things to their own end. But unlike social work they do not hide prejudice under a veil of puorted social values whilst hiding others unfairly.

      No one should have to deal with bad behaviour resulting in serious harm and poor standards of any organisation, institution or purported profession.
      That is why the public distrust will only increase, as more and more have direct and indirect close experience of the ‘protection industry’.

  5. Dr David Hill October 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    After watching one of the best informative programmes that the BBC have produced (a long time since the BBC transmitted something that gave the overriding facts and the other side of the media story), it became clear that the destroying of highly sensitive files has to become a criminal offence with a mandatory prison sentence of 5 years for the perpetrators and heads of these authorities involved. Indeed what was seen also that has to stop, is the buying off of the silence of people with ‘public funds’. In the Baby P case £120,000 by lawyers acting for the Authority concerned. Taxpayer’s money also if used to silence people therefore should also be a criminal offence with the same penalties, as the people who are using public funds to cover their tracks are criminals also. This also happened at Rotherham Council where at least 1400 young people and children were violated (estimated by some to be far in excess of these numbers), but where these people who destroy files just get off scot free. In any civilised society this cannot be allowed to continue or are our politicians duplicitous in all this corruption it has to be asked? Indeed, ‘actions’ have to taken and quickly to bring the true feeling of justice back into Britain and where presently it is totally missing where protection of our most vulnerable people are concerned.

    We call countries like China for their so-called criminal activity but where only today it has been announced that they have set up a system where the Chinese people can ring and tell of the wrong doings by their authorities et al…to stamp out corruption(indeed, Baby P and Rotherham Council’s actions are also corruption on a grand scale and no different to China). It’s about time therefore that the British people had this mechanism to bring to justice the criminal activities that abound in our government authorities and agencies.

    • Edna October 28, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

      A secret documentary filmed a child protection social services depart!ent of a well known local authority a few years back where files ‘were conveniently hodden’ when an inspection was taking place.. Avoiding scrutiny.

      Do not point the finger at OFSTEAD. Social services and their directors are not accointable
      L

  6. IAS2014 October 28, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    From someone who has also experienced failure of multiple agencies, including government, I always kept an open mind about what was being said on the TV, written in the news papers and what and how politicians were being held to account on this issue.

    For many people who have not experienced being caught up in a political cover-up, and who suffer the financial and mental detriment of this – including the news media who sometimes does not want to know about a particular case as it may involve their own partnerships – this is a deeply troubling situation to be a part of.

    I suppose, in my depth, I always thought that such a programme would be made – either by Channel 4 or the BBC. Though, we must also be aware that there are so many Untold Stories out there – ordinary people who have suffered so much detriment at the hands of poor political decision-making and a news media who doesn’t always do what is expected of them.

    I have such a story to tell.

    Finally, whilst I am glad that the truth – the whole picture – has been allowed to surface amid the high sales of newspapers at the time that many may see as the only motivation for the editors – not a determination to print a balance of the truth, I feel that the BBC should do more to captivate its audience – whether it be tax payers or not, whether it be those who are failed and seeking to have their voices heard amid more failure by the system that is meant to be understanding in an aim to insert progress back into lives.

    We must hope that the bigger picture is sought by the BBC on this, and on other Untold Stories.

    That being said, I don’t feel confident that it will. With so much ‘conflicts of interests’ that have infected the existence of many Powerful people and organisations they run, one can only feel that both this RARE programme and the likes of Panorama… have no intention, passion or determination to run deep and to seek out other stories that remain UNTOLD.

    All the Best.

  7. Philip Measures October 28, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    How does one obtain a full copy of the Serious Case Review (with obviously relevant redactions) – is there still Government commitment to openness and transparency so that lessons can be learned’?

    Ms. Shoesmith clearly went through it with a fine toothcomb and highlighted many inaccuracies – those inaccuracies both in terms of legal errors as well as straight factual errors need to be made public.

    I will be contacting my own MP to express my extremely serious concerns and to seek his support for a full Public Inquiry – there is far too much that has been hidden; misrepresented and lied about.

    IF Child Protection is ever again to command any public confidence this perhaps represents to very best opportunity to open it up and for the relevant professions to show that they can put children and families above their own interests.

    If anyone does have a copy of the SCR please send it me.

    Philip.measures@gmail.com

  8. Brian s. Waldron October 28, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

    Sharon

    Considering how you were treated, I am absolutely amazed yet filled with admiration that you still have a desire to remain in the profession. I am hoping that someone from the government, perhaps the Prime Minister himself, will have the courage and magnanimity to declare that the way you and your colleagues were treated was wrong and without justification.

    I also hope that the media will pursue stories of good work and positive outcomes in social work/social care settings. We need to take the initiative and bring these stories to their attention.

    Best wishes

    Brian

  9. Ruth Smith, editor of Community Care
    Ruth Smith, editor of Community Care October 28, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    Hi Sharon,
    I thought that it was such a powerful, important documentary. As Barry Sheerman says at the end, “I think something very bad happened and we still haven’t reflected on it and learnt the lessons”.
    I thought you, Maria and Gillie came across really well and it was exceptionally brave of you all to go on the record in this way given the hostile media reaction you’ve all experienced. My sincere hope is that the documentary helps change the narrative and that social work can become more confident at standing up against the blame culture, which is so pernicious and damaging for the profession.
    I look forward to discussing the issues more at Community Care Live Children and Families on 20 November.
    Ruth, editor of Community Care

  10. CP social worker north west October 28, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

    May I commend the BBC for commissioning this short film. I really hope that the general public will begin to understand the complexities involved in this case and the terrible injustices suffered.

    Sharon, you are an inspiration to many on the front line! I personally thank you for being one of the few who is prepared to put their head above the parapet and by continuing to challenge not only your own injustice but to also wish to improve the future for social workers across the country.

  11. Sharon Shoesmith October 28, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

    I would say that the first thing that should be done for Peter Connelly’s family is a proper inquest into his death. We do not know how or when he died let alone who struck the blows. Yet the pathologist told us the fatal injuries came in the last 24 hours – Thursday August 2 2007. During the afternoon of that day his mum was in our offices being told by police that they had no evidence against her and would drop all charges. He was dead the next morning.

    The police worked hard to prevent an inquest taking place – I have their submissions. Peter’s dad wanted an inquest and he was turned down. An inquest was opened and adjourned and never took place.

    Why?

  12. Bernie October 28, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    Sharon Shoesmith – your integrity shone through – as a social worker, I would happily work for you.
    May the strength you evidenced assist you to move forward and I sincerely hope that media folk attempt to understand the reality of this issue- local radio today debating the horror of 28 cases…what about the reality of 35-40 that some social workers have – largely as a result of media panic that coverage of Baby Peter’s tragedy brought about.
    The system across all partnerships is rotten to the core and the lack of political accountability on all sides for this is criminal ..
    Good luck Sharon

  13. Vera October 31, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    Everyone seems to forget that social workers are human beings , forget also that now everything is political. There are the untouchables and a system that doesn’t go far from the Victorian ages , that makes me think about the professional and the so called values of justice….. I was gobsmack by the prime minister comments and the fact that he dint even knew the facts right. As for the media shame on them… It was not justice that moved them but the money that they would take out of it. Amazed by Shoesmith that waited all this time to clear her name and yes I do believe that even 6 figures compensation will never give her a sense of justice but only an apology from the police, Ofstead but most of all Great Ormond Hospital