A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Including headlines from Saturday and Sunday.

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.

Climbie inquiry told of social work chaos

Just months before Victoria Climbie died, there were more than
100 at risk children waiting to be assigned to a social worker, the
public inquiry into the eight-year-old’s death was told

In May 1999, 109 of the children Haringey social services was
responsible for, had not been allocated social workers. Victoria
died in February 2000.

The senior councillor overseeing social services was unaware of
the state of disarray. Lead member of social services Gina Adamou,
blamed the authority’s staff, insisting she had been kept in
the dark about the matter.

Victoria was abused by her great aunt Marie-Therese Kouao and
her boyfriend Carl Manning, who were jailed for life for murder
last year.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 19 January
page 7

Jailed paedophile banned from Web

A paedophile was jailed for six months and banned from all
online chatrooms on Friday, after he was caught by a policeman
posing as a 13-year-old boy.

Robert Coleshill was arrested when he suggested meeting the
‘boy’ for sex, unaware he was communicating with an undercover

Detectives visited Coleshill’s home and found images of
children aged between 12 and 13 that he had downloaded from
pornography sites.

Coleshill admitted four charges of gross indecency and six
counts of being in possession of indecent images of children.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 19 January
page 7

Doctors ‘are still writing off patients aged 60
and over’

Government guidelines on the treatment of older people are being
flouted by doctors, it was claimed yesterday.

Lisa MacMurdie presented a dossier to Downing Street, which she
said proved that “ageism” was still rampant in the NHS.

Her mother Eileen Webster died four years ago, and MacMurdie
launched her ‘Action for Eileen’ campaign after
studying her mother’s case notes following her death at 66
from oesophageal cancer. She discovered a ‘do not resuscitate’

Her mother had been denied cancer treatment for 76 days, and the
hospital neglected to tell her family that the condition was

MacMurdie has now collated about 50 cases of older people who
have allegedly suffered ageism.

A spokesperson for Age Concern said: “We believe that what is
going on in practice is not reflecting the guidelines as it should

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 19 January page 8

Byers agrees to bail out Hackney with

The debt ridden London borough of Hackney will be bailed out
with £25 million from ministers to protect services, despite a
warning from the local government spending watchdog that the
council has failed to come up with a strategy to balance its

Local government secretary Stephen Byers is set to suspend his
threat to take key responsibilities into Whitehall control, and has
agreed the hand out to enable the authority to meet a revised
budget agreed in November.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 19 January page 2

Council that has left Whitehall at wits’

Hardest hit by social services cuts: the isolated and vulnerable
elderly in Hackney

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 19 January page 12 and

The one time ‘Blair babe’ who plans a
radical shake up of Britain’s jails

Rachel Sylvester talks to Beverley Hughes

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 19 January page 4

Prison for carer who shook baby to death

A registered childminder was sentenced to three years and nine
months in prison on Friday, after she shook a baby to death in a
fit of temper.

Linda Bayfield shook Joshua Osborne so hard it caused blood
vessels in his eyes and brain to explode. She was told by the
Common Sergeant of London Judge Peter Beaumont that she had
betrayed the trust of the baby’s parents, Ken and

But, the judge said he could not ban Bayfield from childminding
as the offence happened before a recently passed law under the
Children and Young Persons Act, which allows judges to ban
convicted child abusers from caring for young people.

But Ofsted has served her a notice preventing her from working
with children.

Source:- The Times Saturday 19 January page 15

Experts attack council after it snatched foster girl
from couple

The local authority that forcibly removed a black foster child
from a white foster family has been criticised in an independent

Richmond-upon-Thames council was accused of ‘significant
omission’ in its conduct and of failing the foster

Chief executive of the council Gillian Norton dismissed the
criticisms as ‘small imperfections’, but admitted there
should not have been a 20-month delay in moving the four-year-old
Child X to a family from the same ethnic background, and quicker
action may have prevented ‘problems’.

The council claims it was exonerated, but the report by former
director of social services at Devon, Andrew Williamson and
independent consultant in childcare Shelagh Beckett, highlights
delays by social services at nearly every stage in the care

But the report backs the actions of the authority to forcibly
remove Child X from foster carers Roger and Frances Holmes, and
place her with Y family because ‘the full range of her
developmental, emotional, ethnic, cultural, linguistic and
religious needs were not being met’.

Source:- The Mail on Sunday 20 January page 43

Parents to blame for big rise in child

The number of children and teenagers unlawfully killed rose by
40 per cent last year on the previous 12 months, according to new
home office figures.

Children’s charities last night described the level of
homicides as a “national scandal.” The NSPCC accused the government
of failing to implement measures to reduce the rate of child
killings, which have risen since records were first kept in the

A combination of factors are being blamed ranging from marital
breakdowns to a shortage of health visitors.

Last year 65 children under seven-years-old were unlawfully
killed in the UK. Most were killed by their parents.

The new figures come in the wake of a series of high profile
child deaths including Victoria Climbie, who was killed by her
great aunt and her boyfriend, and the manslaughter of Joshua
Osborne who was shaken to death by his childminder Linda

Source:- Independent on Sunday 20 January page 9

500,000 ‘denied operations because of NHS

Half a million NHS patients have been denied treatment because
the government has failed to find places in care for older people,
according to new figures.

The equivalent of 6,000 years of hospital time have been lost
since May 1997 because beds are taken up by people who no longer
need them, according to data collated from government statistics by
the Liberal Democrats.

Between April and June last year, more than 6,300 patients were
discharged late, resulting in 22,000 fewer operations being carried

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for older people Paul Burstow
said: “It is the failure to invest in the care system outside the
hospital that is now feeding back into accident and emergency
departments and hospital wards.”

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 20 January page 5

Pensioners ‘worse off than in

One hundred thousand older people are living in care homes with
an income of less than £10 a week. Most are not receiving the
£16 weekly treatment they are entitled to, according to new

The revelation means that some older people are living on less
than prison inmates.

Lorna Easterbrook, who carried out the research for Help the
Aged, said: “There’s a huge sense of humiliation among these
old people. Some are getting £10 of their due allowances, but
others are getting just £3 or £4 a week after relatives
or homes make deductions. This is meant to cover everything they
need from new clothes to soap and lipstick.”

Source:- The Observer 20 January page 4

Immigration hit squads to target 500,000 illegal

Immigration and employment laws are to be reformed to flush out
up to 500,000 illegal foreign workers, David Blunkett will announce
next month.

Immigration ‘hit squads’ will concentrate on
catering, construction, clothes manufacturing, agriculture and
information technology industries as part of a plan to treble the
rate of removal of illegal immigrants to 2,500 a week.

Immigration minister Lord Rooker believes high profile
prosecutions of employers will send the message to people smugglers
that Britain will not tolerate illegal workers.

Source:- The Independent Monday 21 January
page 1

Blunkett renews demands to shut Sangatte refugee

David Blunkett will meet the French employment minister today to
renew his calls to have the refugee centre at Sangatte closed.

The location of the Red Cross camp, just two miles from the
Channel Tunnel near Calais, is exacerbating Britain’s
problems with illegal immigrants, the home secretary will tell
Elisabeth Guigou.

Guigou has in the past argued for more camps to be set up near
Sangatte for asylum seekers, to ease overcrowding.

The home office has been trying to get the camp closed for
months, and Eurotunnel has gone to court in France to try to get it
shut down.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 21 January page 9

Refugee killed by electric shock

An asylum seeker has been electrocuted as he tried to reach
Britain on top of a goods train heading for the Channel Tunnel.

The man, who has not been identified, is thought to have been
staying at the Red Cross centre in Sangatte near the Eurotunnel

He was one of the 120 immigrants who got through wire fencing
around the freight depot at Calais Frethun on Friday night, and one
of around 50 who tried to board a goods train heading for

The man was not detected until the train pulled out of the
depot, but the others were caught and returned to the centre.

A police spokesperson said that a security guard saw a flash as
the man touched an overhead cable, which shocked him.

Around seven refugees died in similar circumstances last year as
they hid in cross-Channel trains.

Source:- The Times Monday 21 January page 2

Loyalist groups turn their guns on

A crackdown on paedophiles has been launched in East Belfast by
protestant paramilitaries after warning that their area is seen as
a “dumping ground” for sex offenders.

A message reading ‘Child Abusers will be shot’ has
been placed 20 yards from the spot where a man was shot by loyalist
paramilitaries who judged him to be guilty of “crimes against the

Up to 10 alleged paedophiles have been forced out of East
Belfast in the past year, according to the Ulster Volunteer

The UVF, which is supposed to be on ceasefire, said that its
actions were unavoidable because the police had repeatedly failed
to act against known and suspected paedophiles.

Source:- The Times Monday 21 January page 4

Childcare report calls for tax breaks

Working parents have to make increasingly complicated
arrangements for their children, due to an acute shortage of
childcare workers, according to a report.

A shortfall of up to 300,000 workers is threatening the
government’s National Childcare Strategy, which aims to
create one million childcare places by 2004, according to the
report ‘Creche Barriers’.

The scale of the problem is masked by an increase in the number
of grandparents who are pressed into service as childminders. A
recent report indicated that four out of 10 grandparents wanted
less involvement in family duties.

The report calls for an entrepreneurial approach to childcare
with tax breaks and incentives for users and providers.

Source:- The Times Monday 21 January page 6

Welsh newspapers
Lost generation shown how to give up crime
Pioneering ways of combating teenage crime have cut re-offending
rates by more than half.
In the last decade there has been a huge increase in drug arrest
rates in Wales, but a new project piloted in the Principality is
helping to bring a lost generation back into the community.
The scheme, piloted in the Dyfed-Powys police area, replaces
cautions with a police reprimand or final warning and the young
people are expected to take part in community programmes designed
by youth offending teams. Each teenager is given a programme
tailored to suit their needs, and in Dyfed-Powys the reoffending
rate has dropped from 25 per cent to 10 per cent.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 21 January page 1
Student nurses spared ward shocks to cure drop-out

In a UK first, student nurses in Wales are to be trained outside
the hospital environment in a bid to cut down on the drop-out
The school of Health Science at the University of Wales, Swansea,
is establishing a clinical and technical resource centre, which
will offer a non-threatening learning environment for students to
try out their skills. It is hoped that this will reduce the shock
factor experienced by many student nurses when they first venture
onto hospital wards.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 21 January Front Page.
Miners to share £11m payout
Thousands of former Welsh miners are to receive a share of £11
million from the government’s pension surplus.
Around 8,000 former pitmen will benefit from the government’s
decision to provide additional benefits for retired miners. Members
of the mineworkers pension scheme who receive the lowest incomes
will each get between £200 and £2,000 in one-off
Source:- South Wales Echo Friday 18 January page 28
Clash over coalfields task force
The leader of the Welsh Assembly, Rhodri Morgan, has been accused
of hiding
his head in the sand after ignoring calls for a coalfields
regeneration task force.
The accusation came after the First Minister rejected a call to set
up a body that would work towards the regeneration of former mining
communities in South Wales.
Plaid Cymru assembly minister, Brian Hancock, described Rhodri
Morgan’s decision not to set up a task force as ostrich like.
The First Minister said there was no need to set up a special body
to oversee the regeneration as there were already several
programmes in place directed at regeneration in the area.
Source:- South Wales Argus Friday January 18 page 18






More from Community Care

Comments are closed.