Sharon Shoesmith enters a settlement agreement

...over her unfair dismissal following the “Baby P” tragedy.

Much has been made in the press over this alleged settlement agreement but it is not completely clear on exactly what has been agreed between Shoesmith and her former employer.

Some reports have stated that a settlement of up £600,000 has been agreed but other reports dispute this amount.

Other than being high profile, this appears to be a standard settlement agreement case if in fact one has been signed! Everybody close to the parties is keeping quiet but the silence is deafening to a certain extent.

The former employer, Haringey council will allegedly be paying the compensation sum.

It was Ed Balls who removed Shoesmith from her post of director of children’s services after the well publicised report on the death of Peter Connelly

She was then officially dismissed by the council without compensation in December 2008.

Shosmith issued proceedings against the council and won her claim as has been widely reported recently. As part of the Court of Appeal ruling, the Department for Education was ordered to pay a contribution to her payout.

The prime minister's official spokesman has been quoted as saying:

"With regard to the amounts, that's a legal agreement between Ms Shoesmith and Haringey so I don't propose to comment on that.”

"With regard to confidentiality clauses, that's again one that has been agreed between the council and Ms Shoesmith. It would be for the council to justify that.”

"Whilst that contribution hasn't been agreed, the Department for Education will make public the amount that it is contributing."

Tim Loughton, a former Conservative children's minister, criticised the confidentiality agreement that prevents disclosure of the amount.

"It stinks, but I think it became rather inevitable after the court of appeal rules in Sharon Shoesmith's favour that Ed Balls had made a complete botched job of her dismissal when he actually dismissed her back in 2008," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

We can assume from all of the reports and commentary that a settlement agreement has been used. Both parties appear to be adhering to a strict confidentially clause which are common clauses in a settlement agreement signed by thousands of employees/former employees every year.

Despite the media and political reports, it appear that an unfair dismissal claim has been won by a highly paid senior executive and a settlement agreement has been used to bring the matter to an end.

A perfectly normally scenario in terms of how settlement agreements are used.

If you would like to learn more about termination/compensation payments or confidentially, please visit our reading room here.

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