Note, she did not succeed in persuading the Court that the Ofsted report into the department that she ran was in any way, shape or form incorrect. The report concluded that there was something going seriously wrong under her management, that there were serious failings. That conclusion stands. Peter was failed by her department, and died. Prima facie, the decision to sack her was right.
The conclusion of the Court was that the way in which she was sacked was wrong. In this regard, the Court was absolutely right. Balls stood up in a televised interview and announced that she was being removed from her post. That was the first she heard of the decision. No-one summoned her to their office to explain herself. No-one explained that the Ofsted report was distinctly damning, and asked her if she had anything to say. No-one, in short, gave her a chance to defend herself and her actions. Balls just made the decision on the spot in order to save his political hide, and we are going to have to pay for that (as per usual).
Balls is unrepentant. He obviously does not realise that the law does not allow you to act in this way. What's more, it is Labour's employment laws that prevent this. No employer can just decide that an employee is not up to the job and explain that their services are no longer needed. Instead, it is necessary to sit them down, point out that what they did was
Fail to follow this elaborate and longwinded procedure to the letter, and they will have a valid claim for unfair dismissal. You can then expect to be taken to
And I know this to be true, because I've been through it. Thankfully, we avoided the tribunal stage.
So what is disgusting about this affair is not Shoesmith's somewhat hollow victory, but the utter brass neck of Balls to flagrantly break the employment laws that his party imposed on the rest of us, and then waltz off leaving the bill on our laps. If there is a lesson to learn from this affair, it is that a decision which was clearly right (both at the time and in retrospect) should not be challengeable on procedural grounds. That one change would help employers across the country - and encourage them to try out more new employees.
But note - it is a change that Parliament needs to make, not the Courts. The Courts (once again) are taking the flack from politicians for doing exactly what those same politicians ordered them to do.