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A senior social worker and police did not want Baby P returned home where he suffered severe abuse, the BBC's Panorama has learned.
It found social worker Sylvia Henry wanted him to go into foster care after he was taken to a north London hospital in 2006 with non-accidental injuries.
But her bosses decided Baby P should be looked after by a family friend.
Haringey Council has apologised for not doing more, but a statement disputes some of the claims made by Panorama.
Baby P died in August last year. His mother and two men are due to be sentenced next month for causing or allowing his death.
In response to the case, Children's Secretary Ed Balls has told the House of Commons he will set out legislation on Tuesday to strengthen local arrangements to promote the safety and well-being of children across Britain.
The matter of Baby P's care arose after doctors at Whittington Hospital found he had non-accidental injuries in December 2006.
He was subsequently placed in the care of Angela Godfrey, a friend of his mother.
But Ms Henry, the senior social worker at the time, had wanted Baby P to be taken into care and had found him a foster placement.
She said she had been "very reluctant" to let Baby P be looked after by Ms Godfrey, but she was bound by the 1989 Children Act to explore placement options with family and friends.
In a witness statement given to the police and seen by the programme, Ms Henry said: "My impression of Angela was that she believed the local authority were over-reacting and that the explanation for Baby P's injuries were those of his mother's, that they were caused by rough play and by his head-banging."
She also revealed Ms Godfrey asked for "a large sum of money, possibly £320 per week" to look after the child, and continually pressed for his return home.
Baby P suffered no injuries while in Ms Godfrey's care.
Police began investigating Baby P's case after he was put on the child protection register.
But with no new evidence to support a prosecution, services manager Clive Preece instructed that the boy should go back home.
However, Ms Henry said she had delayed this because police had expressed a similar opinion to her own, that the child should remain "out of the care of his mother".
In a statement, Haringey Social Services denies that Mr Preece overruled social workers.
"No concerns were raised regarding placement with Angela Godfrey at the time of the placement," it said.
The programme has also learned that police and social services had a serious disagreement over the care of Baby P after he was admitted to North Middlesex Hospital in June 2007 with more non-accidental injuries.
A confidential police report said a "frank exchange of views" had taken place.
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