Friday 2 April 2010


It has been revealed in today’s Times that the Ofsted report into the death of “Baby P” was altered repeatedly to concentrate blame on Sharon Shoesmith, the director of children’s services. She was later sacked in what was described as “closure” on the case.

Court documents show that investigators from the childcare regulator were instructed to delete certain emails which related to their review of Haringey Council.

These papers throw suspicion on the role that Ed Balls, Children’s Secretary, played in Ms Shoesmith’s sacking. Mr Balls sacked her in December of 2008 using the Ofsted report as his reason. It made her position, he said, “untenable”.

Documents were released yesterday after a legal application by various newspapers which show that the report was rewritten 17 times over 10 days and altered to make it look as if Shoesmith’s leadership was central to the case. During this process, reference to Shoesmith’s achievements were deleted and replaced with passages which talked of “inadequate” leadership and “management failure”.

Shoesmith has always said that she was used as a scapegoat and that the government had to have someone to blame for the tragedy. As it was such a high profile case which evoked strong feelings from the public, it was necessary for the government to look as if it was talking strong and positive action.

The existence of the documents has been a matter for court action. Ofsted at first said that they were not relevant to the case, and then when pressed for them it said that they did not exist (which I would suggest is the wrong way round to do things). Despite not existing they came to light weeks after the hearing ended and the judge was forced to recall the case. They show, according to The Times, that Ofsted was left in no doubt about what Balls wanted.

David Bell, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Children, had told Ofsted inspectors that the report should be “clear in its judgment and attribution of responsibility”. He wanted “definitive evidence on which the minister can act”. He said that Balls considered it essential that there should be comment on the Baby P case because he wanted “closure on the public debate”. In short he wanted the critical comments on a badly run Labour Council to go away.

Ofsted said that redrafting was a normal part of the process in producing reports and that the changes were made to improve clarity, take account of all relevant evidence and ensure that the final report was coherent.

It is somewhat disturbing to think that the original report, written by people who are in charge of overseeing quality of schools and education, would require to be rewritten 17 times before it could claim to be clear, complete and coherent.

An all English matter I realize, but this man could be the next chancellor which will very definitely affect Scotland.


  1. Hopefully Sharon Shoesmith will have a right go at Ed Balls and his blatant cover up. Labour are well known for chucking the blame at other people so they can slip back under the grubby table in number 10 and plot more devious slimy scams.

    Tris it might be an all (England matter) as you pointed out but Scots like you and I pay for people like Ed Balls to make decisions so your quite at liberty to bring up English only matters from where I am sitting.

  2. Well the Times would have a dig at Ed Balls wouldn't it? Specially in the run up to a General Election.

    Meanwhile its stablemate, the execrable Sun so called newspaper was frothing at its red topped mouth and stirring up the sort of lynch mob mentality that puts politicians under pressure which inevitably leads to nonsense like this.

    I blame the prurient, hypocritical press and its sucker readership.

  3. Yep Allan. I mentioned it only because I quite often dismiss matters that are English only, and this one isn't costing us any money. Presumably there is a set budget for Children and Education there as there is in Scotland. Their money and our money for these matters are quite separate.

    But it is the injustice of it, whether it happened in France or Togo or England that bothers me. The fact that this man is allegedly so dishonest that he would ruin this woman's career in order to close an embarrassing matter for a Labour administration does concern me.

    I wonder if the Convenor of Shoesmith's department who was ultimately responsible for her alleged mismanagement and poor control still has his/her feet under the table.

  4. None the less Naldo, court papers are saying that Balls interfered with due process... It seems not to be conjecture. The Times got the papers through FoI I'm guessing....

    Of course the Tory press will be down on Labour in the run up to an election, just as the Scottish press will be down on the SNP and Labour will be able to do no wrong.

    The UK's press is very poor and there is not one source that you can trust to truly represent fact without their own political bias.

  5. I quite often dismiss matters that are English only, and this one isn't costing us any money.

    aye right. what you are saying is that the miseable handout we get from london is and always has been more than scotland makes, scotlands turnover has always been more than london hands out. And in that sense we are always cheated and it does cost us money.

  6. I dunno if that's what I was saying Anon... It was a bit complicated for a wee brain like mine...

    What I was trying to say was that there are decisions taken in the London parliament that cost us money and affect us, and there are others that are taken from a purely English budget. Now we get our money from England to run education and deal with kids and social work ....and they have their budget to do the same. Their wasting it trying to make themselves look good and cover up the embarrassment of the Labour council isn't going to increase, or decrease, our Education and Social Work budget by a halfpenny...

    This, as opposed to something which has a joint reserved budget, and their overspend in England means less money for Scotland....

    Hmmm.... I think.... :¬)

  7. being governed from the bottom of that peninsula that sticks out from the base of Scotland will always cost us a fortune, I am sick to death of the notion that we are or ever have been subsidised by anyone never mind England. The ultimate decision is taken in London and it always cheats Scotland, its called the block grant, A GRANT oh how kind !!, therefore every financial decision made in Scotland is already affected by English MP,s. What if they decide to give us nothing, who could then state, wait a minute Scotland turns over £XXXXX number of Billions so we at least must have what is ours. What would the answer be!!!!!!! What is it that is ours.

  8. I'm with you Anon. We must be independent as soon as we can.