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Children's Commissioner

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 19th October 2009.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families 3:30 pm, 19th October 2009

I do not understand that final comment at all, as the guidance is very clear and it is my duty to take account of the Committee's views, which I have done with great care and consideration. I have to say to my hon. Friend that the idea that he or other members of the Select Committee did not know of the director of children's services in Gateshead, who had represented directors of children's services over the previous 12 months, including during the baby Peter case in Haringey-and did not know of her capabilities, her strength and her independence-is baffling to me. I read the paragraphs in the report that referred to the Committee's concerns, and I considered them very carefully indeed. I found no relevant considerations that would lead me to reverse the independent Nolan process, and the choice that I made is widely supported across the country. On that basis, while I took the process very seriously indeed, I did not agree with the Select Committee. I am the one accountable for the post. I made the right decision in the public interest and I stand by it absolutely.

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