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Views of the week: 29 April 2010

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LGC rounds up the best comment, analysis and opinion from the past week.

Joan Smith in the Independent on Sunday

Social workers, MPs and celebrities are all targets of an indiscriminate rage with an insatiable appetite for new victims. Take Sharon Shoesmith, former head of children’s services at Haringey LBC, who failed to get a judicial review of the decision to sack her after the death of 17 month-old Peter Connelly.

Whatever the shortcomings of Ms Shoesmith’s department, the causes of this tragedy are much more complex than the relentless media focus on Ms Shoesmith suggests.

One newspaper bellowed that Ms Shoesmith is in line for a £1.5m payment at an employment tribunal, ensuring that public hostility towards her is maintained. In this atmosphere, it might be argued that she is foolhardy to continue with her legal action but I can’t help feeling that someone has to make a stand against media bullying.

Pick of the Blogs

Why does everyone hate Sharon Shoesmith?

Ed West, Daily Telegraph

Haringey, like councils across the country, is taking more children into care but to what avail? The numbers are beyond the range of social services, with up to 90,000 children in care and another 200,000, according to Lord Laming, at “known high risk of domestic abuse or violence”.

To suggest that social services can prevent another case like Peter Connelly happening again is fanciful. Who remembers Sanam Navsarka, Brandon Muir, Courtney Crockett? All of them killed by their mothers’ boyfriends, victims of the “modern family in all shapes and sizes”.

That’s the phrase Ed Balls used when he attacked Tory plans to encourage the parents of children to marry, even though there is conclusive evidence that children raised by men who are not married to their mothers are at far higher risk of abuse

Full blog available on

Twitterati - Shoesmith ruling

CommunityCare: Sharon Shoesmith’s failure to secure a judicial review of her sacking will perpetuate the demonisation of social workers

mwilliamsthomas: 1st Shoesmith learnt about her sacking was when she heard about it during live tv press conference-that is no way to manage staff

penn48: Doesn’t a ‘one strike,you’re out’ culture (S. Shoesmith) militate against learning fm mistakes/incremental knowledge & good practice?

angelholme: The judge in the Shoesmith case seemed reluctant to reach the ruling. Was it a case of not wanting rule against Labour during the election?

neilmidgley: FCO minion who wrote Pope memo ‘trnsfred to other duties’. Unless u r S Shoesmith, what *do* u have to do to get fired in the public sector?

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