Baby P boss addresses conference

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Sharon Shoesmith is to address the North of England Education Conference in Blackpool

The former children’s services boss who lost her job following the Baby P tragedy is due to give her first major public speech since her dismissal.

Sharon Shoesmith is to address the North of England Education Conference (NEEC) in Blackpool on the subject of “uncertainty in social care”.

Ms Shoesmith was dismissed without compensation from her senior position at Haringey Council in north London in December 2008 after a damning report into her department’s failings following the Baby P case.

She lost the first round of a legal battle to overturn her dismissal, but was later granted leave to appeal against a High Court ruling that upheld her sacking.

The NEEC said Ms Shoesmith’s speech will be her first major public speech since losing her job.

But her attendance has caused controversy in Blackpool, with some residents angry that she has been allowed to appear. One resident told the Blackpool Gazette it was “too soon” after Baby P’s death and that “the open wounds are still too raw”.

Discussing the tragedy and the continuing legal fights of herself and others, in an interview with Children and Young People Now last month, Ms Shoesmith said: “Everyone in Haringey was devastated at Peter Connelly’s death.

“People who fight on with their case feel very wronged. That’s how I feel. When people say to me that I was personally responsible (for the murder of Peter Connelly), I can’t actually live with that.”

Peter Connelly, who became known as Baby P, was 17-months-old when he died in August 2007 at the hands of his mother Tracey Connelly, her lover Steven Barker and their lodger, Barker’s brother Jason Owen. The boy had suffered 50 injuries despite receiving 60 visits from social workers, doctors and police over the final eight months of his life.

Ms Shoesmith, who had been earning £130,000 a year, said her career had been ruined by a media witch-hunt, political pressure and a “flagrant breach of the rules of natural justice”.

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