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Haringey: At last some resignations. But will the ideology change?

Following their belated apology the Council leader Cllr George Meehan and the Cabinet Member for Children's Services Cllr Liz Santry have resigned. Normally one would like to be able so say they took an honourable course. But the resignations have come to late from that. The resignations sound as though they were forced on those responsible - either from above with the Government fed up with seeking to defend them or from below with the backlash from residents and from some Labour councillors.

Haringey Council's website includes a webcam from the last Council meeting on November 24 where Cllrs Meehan and Santry were still clinging to office. Sharon Shoesmith has been sacked as Head of Children's Services. Cllr Santry talks about "hindsight being a wonderful" thing and dodged questions about the police warning against Baby P by saying "collective decisions were taken." Maybe the courts would have been difficult without more evidence and so on.

The resignations and sacking come after an independent report specifically called for Sharon Shoesmith to be removed. Among other findings the report condemns Haringey for "failure to implement the recommendations of the Climbie inquiry, which heavily criticised it five years ago."

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the whole affair is that the fate of Baby P is the claim that all the usual procedures were followed, all the boxes ticked, all the shibboleths observed. There is ideological problem represented by a hostility to adoption by social workers and not only in Haringey.

3.45pm update: Interviewed on News 24, Michael Gove MP has welcomed the resignations of George Meehan and Liz Santry but has said that it is "wrong" for the Government not to have published the full report into the Baby P episode. 


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