The Supreme Court has refused secretary of state Michael Gove and Haringey Council permission to appeal against the ruling that Sharon Shoesmith was unfairly sacked as director of children’s services at Haringey following the Baby P court case.
There are reports that the government will appeal against the decision, even though it related to former Labour education secretary Ed Balls, because there were constitutional principles at stake about how ministers make urgent decisions and the role of the courts in challenging such decisions.
It is likely there will now be a further court hearing to decide how much compensation Shoesmith should be entitled to. Some lawyers believe this could be as much as £1m.
Shoesmith’s lawyers said they were pleased with the decision, adding: “We are considering with our client the implications of the decision of the Supreme Court. Neither we nor our client will be making a further statement at this time.”
Haringey Council said: “We are bitterly disappointed that our application to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal against the ruling that Sharon Shoesmith was unlawfully dismissed from her post has been refused.”
“We believe we have acted properly throughout the process and stand by everything we have done. We now need to work through consequent steps with the DfE to resolve the matter. We cannot say any more until that process is completed.
“In the meantime, our focus remains on ensuring that the sustained and significant improvements to children’s safeguarding services, as recently evidenced by inspectors, remain on course.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said the government was “very disappointed” and still believes it was right in principle for Sharon Shoesmith to be removed from her post.
“We believe that the Supreme Court should have heard this case as we believe there are questions of constitutional importance involved, beyond the specific question about whether Ed Balls should have had a meeting with Shoesmith before she was removed from her post as DCS.
“We will consider seriously the implications of today’s decision and we will now reflect on what steps need to be taken. Protecting children is the Government’s priority.”
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