Ofsted has denied reports that the resignation of its director of children’s services Michael Hart is linked to the positive assessment given to Haringey Council just three months after the death of Baby P.
The inspectorate confirmed today that Hart had stepped down “to pursue different career interests”.
A spokesperson said: “The Haringey annual performance assessment in 2007 was not overseen by Michael Hart. His departure has nothing whatsoever to do with the Baby P case.”
Haringey’s children services were given a “good” rating in December 2007 in the paper-based APA, though Ofsted later said inspectors were provided with misleading information.
However, a joint area review in November 2008 ordered by children’s secretary Ed Balls after the Baby P case hit the headlines found significant failings at the department. This prompted Balls to use statutory powers to remove children’s services director Sharon Shoesmith from her post.
In December 2008 Hart was summoned before a parliamentary committee along with Ofsted head Christine Gilbert to be quizzed by MPs over the effectiveness of the organisation’s inspection regime in the wake of the Baby P case.
Ofsted’s deputy director for education, Roger Shippam, has been appointed to replace Hart until September 2009. The organisation is currently undergoing a restructuring designed to take account of the new responsibilities it assumed in April 2007
, which is expected to be completed by then.
Ofsted assumed responsibility for inspecting children’s social care in April 2007
Hart joined Ofsted in July 2007, taking responsibility for the inspection of children’s social care, after a career spanning teaching and local government education and children’s services departments.
The spokesperson added: “He made a significant contribution to the development of the new Ofsted.”
Baby P case in Haringey