Baby P social workers to appeal against sackings

Two social workers who were dismissed by Haringey council following the death of Peter Connelly will appeal against their sacking today.

Two social workers who were sacked by Haringey council following the death of Peter Connelly will today appeal against an employment tribunal ruling that they were fairly dismissed.

Maria Ward, the social worker allocated to Peter’s case, and Gillie Christou, Ward’s manager at the time, have claimed they were unfairly fired due to the level of public outrage after the child’s death in August 2007.

Haringey council, which dismissed the pair in 2009, has remained resolute that it was right to sack the practitioners.

Ward and Christou are due to appear at an employment tribunal in London this morning where their appeal will be heard.

In June 2011, they were granted leave to appeal after their cases for unfair dismissal were thrown out by an employment tribunal in October 2010.

Lawyers acting for Ward and Christou are expected to make reference to the landmark Court of Appeal ruling that last May ruled former Haringey director of children’s services Sharon Shoesmith was unfairly dismissed following the Baby Peter case.

Peter Connelly was found dead in 2007 with more than 50 injuries. 

His mother, Tracey Connelly, his step-father, Steven Barker, and Barker’s brother, Jason Owen, are serving jail sentences for causing or allowing the baby’s death.

A second serious case review into Peter’s death, published in May 2009, concluded that child protection agencies should have saved the child.

Two senior children’s services managers sacked over Baby Peter’s death have also launched employment tribunal claims against Haringey Council.

A preliminary hearing in the cases of Cecilia Hitchen, former deputy director of children’s services, and Clive Preece, former head of safeguarding services, is due to be held in Watford in April, the BBC reports. A full hearing could follow before the end of the year.

More to follow soon.

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