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27 July 2011
Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
Lord Neuberger MR; Maurice Kay LJ; Stanley Burton LJ
Where the Secretary of State for Education had issued a procedurally unfair direction under the Education Act 1996, the resultant summary dismissal of Director of Children’s Services at Haringey London Borough Council was also unlawful.
On appeal from:
R (Shoesmith) v OFSTED & Ors  EWHC 852 (Admin) (Foskett J)
(1) Sharon Shoesmith (S), former Director of Children’s Services at Haringey London Borough Council (HLBC), appealed against the refusal of her application for judicial review. Following the conviction of those who caused or allowed Baby P’s death, the Secretary of State for Education (SSE) requested a report from OFSTED under section 20 of the Children Act 2004. The report was critical of HLBC and the SSE appointed someone else to S’s role by way of a direction under section 497A(4B) of the Education Act 1996 and HLBC summarily dismissed her citing the direction as a ground for doing so. S argued (1) that OFSTED’s report had not complied with the relevant statutory requirements and was procedurally unfair; (2) that SSE had provided for no procedural safeguards and that the judge had erred in finding that the outcome would have been the same regardless of procedural fairness; and (3) that the judge had erred in not granting judicial review against her dismissal by HLBC.
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