Saturday, 7 February 2009

Sharon Shoesmith

La Shoesmith, head of Children's Services at Haringey when Baby P died, has given in an interview to the Guardian.

This is the Guardian's summary of the Ofsted report into Shoesmith's department:

It identified insufficient strategic leadership and management oversight; failure to ensure full compliance with post-ClimbiƩ recommendations; a lack of communication between social care, health and police authorities; a conflict of interest in the serious case review; failing to identify children at immediate risk of harm; inconsistent quality of frontline work; inconsistent and often poor record-keeping; too much reliance on quantitative v qualitative data.

The interview itself is an exercise in self-justification and deflecting the blame for the tragic death of baby P. She attacks Ed Balls, who effectively sacked her, for 'breathtaking recklessness' (both as regards the situation in Haringey, and the effect of her treatment on social work in Britain at large, as I understand her); she attacks Ofsted for producing an unfair report (She is struck by how there is almost nothing positive in it, even though she knows that in interviews some positive things were said); she talks of political opportunism. The only person who escapes is of course herself.

My point isn't whether she has valid grounds to complain as regards any of these issues, though as far as I can see she hasn't. Rather, it is simply that the fact that she didn't have the decency and sensitivity to not indulge in a nakedly self-serving points scoring exercise in the press will confirm what most people thought about her (both nasty and incompetent); exactly the opposite of the intended effect, of course. As Alanis Morissette would say, isn't it ironic. 

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