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Johnoco

Sharon Shoesmith

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The Serious Case Review of the Peter Connelly tragedy revealed some massive flaws in the systems and processes used by local authority Social Services nationwide. It went on to make recommendations with the intention of remedying those problems, which does in fact suggest that those systems and processes were broken. Shoesmith might have been a pretty rotten administrator in the role she occupied, but it was the professionals working way, way under her - battling ridiculous workloads, devious and abusive parents, lack of training, reams of unhelpful red tape, copious amounts of paperwork, poor quality supervision and the mental stress of an extremely tough occupation, who failed to identify that this poor child was seriously in danger. Shoesmith was nothing more than a convenient scapegoat. That's not to say that I agree she should have been handed such an enormous sum of compensation, though.

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So if she isn't responsible for anything and if things go wrong, not to blame, what is the point of employing her?

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So if she isn't responsible for anything and if things go wrong, not to blame, what is the point of employing her?

I'm not saying that she wasn't to blame for anything, I'm saying that she was basically made the scapegoat for the whole tragedy by the media when there were many others at fault - for various reasons and as the result of many overlapping factors. Of course - and as you say, there's always the adage that the person at the top has to accept accountability when an institution under their control fails. The compensation is ridiculously disproportionate, though. However, the process followed by her employers in sacking her was incorrect, and she's as entited to claim as anyone in that position. My point was - however badly put, that she was unfairly and ridculously vilifed beyond belief by the media for failings that were probably pretty much beyond her control on a frontline level and as a non hands-on head of department. However much of a poor administrator she was, she didn't directly cause overworked Social Workers to miss chances to save Peter Connelly. Neither did she inflict the horrific injuries that killed him.

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She isn't being made a scapegoat, she isn't just some random employee. She was the head.

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She isn't being made a scapegoat, she isn't just some random employee. She was the head.

As I said, she was the head of department and had to accept a large proportion of the accountability. However, other external professionals were equally as accountable - such as the GP who bafflingly missed serious physical injuries to Peter, who were comparatively ignored by the media. I bet you couldn't name her the aforementioned GP without resorting to a quick google, but Shoesmith's name is utterly synonymous with the case. To that end, she was undoubtedly scapegoated by the media.

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As I said, she was the head of department and had to accept a large proportion of the accountability. However, there were other external professionals who were equally as accountable - such as the GP who bafflingly missed serious physical injuries to Peter, who were comparatively ignored by the media. I bet you couldn't name her the aforementioned GP without resorting to a quick google, but Shoesmith's name is completely synonymous with the case. To that end, she was scapegoated by the media.

 

Let's not forget the registrar with whom the birth was registered.  Clearly something wasn't right when a baby was named Peter in this day and age.  They may as well have gone the whole hog and called him Gary.

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I wonder how much indignation there is in today's gutter press about Ms Shoesmith, on the same day of course that the press are in the high court arguing against the signing of the royal press charter on a procedural point.

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