The judge in the Sharon Shoesmith case is to take up his concern’s about Ofsted’s failure to be candid about material in the case with the Treasury Solicitor.
Mr Justice Foskett said he remained unhappy that the inspectorate had failed to explain its failings and “proposed to take the matter up personally” with the Treasury Solicitor, who represented Ofsted at the hearing.
It has previously been revealed that Ofsted changed its report into the Baby P case no fewer than 17 times.
However, the judge insisted that there was “no sustainable basis” for the claim that Ofsted’s report-writing process had been subjected to political interference.
“Had there been any such interference, it would have put a very different complexion on the case,” he said.
On the question of Ofsted’s fairness to Shoesmith, the judge said he accepted the inspectorate’s case that the purpose of its inspection in Haringey was to examine child safeguarding and was not looking into the director of children’s services’ conduct.
Although he concluded that Ofsted met its obligation of “fairness” in the process adopted, he added: “There are strong grounds for thinking that the claimant and others whose roles might be questioned did not have a full, fair and measured opportunity to put over their position about their own personal responsibility for what was found. But that did not invalidate what Ofsted did.”
In response, Ofsted chief inspector Christine Gilbert said the judgement “vindicated” its inspection process.