Baby P boss in £1m sex bias claim as we reveal explosive report Ed Balls refused to make public
Vital legal meeting delayed for six weeks
Interim care order agreed but not issued
Baby P returned to his home though dogs were still there
Social workers did not believe mother had live-in lover
And now disgraced council boss could win £1m in claim for 'sex discrimination'
An attempt to cover up the full horror of the death of Baby P was exposed last night after a secret report on the blunders that caused the tragedy was leaked to The Mail on Sunday.
The report shows how the true scale of incompetence by the authorities - and the appalling injuries suffered by the little boy - were censored by the disgraced social services chief blamed for the tragedy, with the full backing of the Government.
Schools Secretary Ed Balls has refused pleas to publish full details of the Serious Case Review of Baby P's death in August 2007. But The Mail on Sunday has learned that it shows:
A vital legal meeting that failed to decide to take the child out of his home days before he died had been delayed for six weeks because of 'workload pressures' - and was a shambles when it took place.
It was agreed there were legal grounds for issuing an 'interim care order' to withdraw the child six months before he died - but nothing was done.
Instructions not to let the child return home until dogs had been removed from the house were ignored.
Police were accused of letting their investigation into child abuse claims 'drift'.
Social workers did not believe the mother had a live-in lover - even though she announced she was pregnant in a parenting class that they told her to attend.
A doctor who failed to notice Baby P had a broken back believed the boy had been sent for treatment because of his 'behaviour' - not child abuse.
When the police officer in charge of the case changed, the new officer was not told of Baby P's background.
Health, welfare and legal experts missed vital meetings to discuss the child's welfare.
The Serious Case Review was supervised by sacked Haringey social services chief Sharon Shoesmith - who, it can be revealed, is accusing the council of sex discrimination over her dismissal and could win as much as £1million if successful.
The review was completed last November after Baby P's mother, boyfriend and a male lodger were convicted of causing or allowing the baby's death.
However, it has never been made public. Instead, an 'executive summary' - in effect a censored version - was published.
The decision not to publish the full report was supported by Mr Balls, who said it could deter people from co-operating with investigations into similar cases. However, critics say it is a cover-up.
The Serious Case Review shows how the summary played down the catalogue of blunders by the authorities - and watered down the scale of brutality inflicted on the child as a result of their failures.
One key aspect of the full report concerns a legal review held on July 25, 2007, a week before Baby P died. It was called to decide whether to apply for a care order to remove the child from the mother's home and whether to launch a police investigation.
The summary suggests it was conducted properly. Yet the Serious Case Review shows the legal advisers who had been dealing with the case were not present and a 'locum' lawyer who knew none of the background details dealt with it.
She merely 'noted the medical report and details of the police investigation - no proper minutes were taken', says the report. It says the scandalous six-week delay in organising the meeting was caused by 'workload pressures'.
Furthermore, those present appeared unaware that as early as December 29, 2006 - weeks after abuse of Baby P was first suspected - police had agreed that the threshold for issuing an interim care order had already been met. 'Meeting decided threshold had been met but it was not worth pursuing,' it states.
The summary suggests the authorities could not be blamed because the toddler's mother had 'co-operated with child protection plans'. This is contradicted by the uncensored version.
It reveals that after the child was briefly withdrawn from the house, social services were advised that he should not be allowed back with his mother until dogs had been removed from her home. The advice was ignored.
At last year's trial, it emerged that there were a number of dogs in the house and that the mother's lover treated Baby P like a dog.
The full report states: 'Jan 21. Police objected to presence of dogs in the child's home. A meeting was convened to discuss the child's return home but no paediatrician was present.
'Jan 26. Child went back to live with his mother.'
In addition, the mother 'disappeared' for a week in July, weeks before Baby P died, without telling the authorities.
The failure to realise that the mother's boyfriend lived with Baby P is also laid bare. The full report says Baby P's father told the authorities 'he was convinced the child's mother had a boyfriend. The mother denied the allegation the next day. The father's claim was not properly checked'.
The mother announced she was pregnant when she was sent to parenting lessons by the council. Yet social services were still unaware she had a lover.
The report says police allowed the investigation into Baby P to 'drift' and when one officer was replaced by another, case notes were not passed on.
'No photographs were taken of child's injuries when police visited. Investigation drifted for two months. Specialist doctor emailed police re calling an independent review but received no reply.'
It was decided in March that there should be an urgent 'paediatric assessment' but it did not happen until two days before Baby P died.
When it did occur, the doctor failed to spot that Baby P had a broken back and believed the child had been brought in for treatment because of his 'behaviour' - not suspected child abuse.
The summary says there was 'extensive involvement' of professionals in the months up to Baby P's death. But the full report says they were missing from vital meetings and did not speak to each other.
'June 4. Meeting held to discuss child. Police and child protection people there but no doctors or medical experts.
'June 8. Case review meeting. Agreed case was urgent but no health professionals present. Legal review did not happen until six weeks later.'
Most harrowing of all, the full report contains more details of Baby P's injuries including 'haematoma [internal bleeding], scabs, blood marks, an infected finger, hives [a skin rash] and blueish bruises'.
Last night Fergus Smith, the independent child welfare expert who wrote the Serious Case Review, called for all such reports to be published in full.
He did not comment on the Baby P report, but said: 'These reports should be in the public domain, suitably anonymised to protect those involved and frontline staff.'
A source close to the inquiry said: 'Getting information from Haringey was like getting blood from a stone. The inquiry team contemplated walking out.'
A Haringey Council spokesman said: 'Publication of Serious Case Reviews is governed by statutory guidance. Any change is a matter for the Government.'
Details of the full report were revealed as it emerged that Mrs Shoesmith, the head of children's services who was sacked over Baby P's death, is claiming that she was the victim of sexual discrimination by Haringey.
In combining a claim for unlawful dismissal with an allegation that she was treated differently because of her gender, Mrs Shoesmith, 55, stands to maximise her potential level of compensation over the loss of her £133,000-a-year job as Haringey's Director of Children and Young People (DCYP).
There is a £63,000 cap on unfair dismissal payouts but there are no limits on compensation for discrimination claims.
Should Mrs Shoesmith be successful, she would be eligible for a year's loss of earnings leading up to the tribunal date, loss of future earnings and further compensation for her alleged 'injury to feelings and for personal injury'.
She has put no figure on her claim but the total payout could potentially surpass £1million, according to experts in employment law.
John Quigley, of William Sturges Solicitors, said: 'If she won hands down it could be a huge payout on the basis that she is only 55 and she would otherwise have had ten more years of employment and salary.'
Mrs Shoesmith was dismissed without notice last year after the review of the case ordered by Mr Balls.
The review blamed Mrs Shoesmith, who had 1,000 staff and oversaw an annual budget of £100million, for 'insufficient' management oversight. She subsequently lost an internal council disciplinary hearing in January over her sacking.
In her claim, lodged at Watford Employment Tribunal and seen by this newspaper, Mrs Shoesmith says she has 'suffered and continues to suffer from clinically recognised psychiatric illness and has had suicidal thoughts following the severe stress and trauma caused by the termination of her employment'. It alleges that there was no lawful reason for her dismissal.
She claims the disciplinary procedures she went through were unfair and that her fate was predetermined by the intervention of Mr Balls in a televised Press conference in which she was described as 'not fit for purpose'.
Mrs Shoesmith further claims she was 'unlawfully discriminated against on the ground of her gender' in that she was replaced by men as both Chairperson of the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) and as DCYP.
The submission adds: 'The claimant will say that she was treated less favourably by the Council than a man would have been treated in similar circumstances in that she was summarily dismissed from her job without compensation whereas a man would not have been so dismissed.'
She claims that she was made the 'scapegoat' for Baby P's death.
Mrs Shoesmith is also claiming breach of contract in the High Court, where she could win a year's salary for the council's failure to pay her in lieu of notice.
Mrs Shoesmith declined to comment. A spokesman for Haringey Council said: 'We will contest all her claims vigorously.'
Source: Daily Mail
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