A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Prescott council ‘going bust’

A rescue team should be sent to Hull council to prevent it going
bust from its own incompetence, a watchdog said yesterday.

Investigators from the Audit Commission found the local
authority was beset by bullying and quarrelsome politicians who
were ‘not seen to be above suspicion’.

The report focused on a £263 million shares windfall, which
was wasted in a spending spree.

Money was poured into council houses, but thousands are being
demolished because nobody wants them.

The report will be handed to the deputy prime minister’s
office for action.

Source:- Daily Mail Tuesday 30 July page 6

Damilola centre ‘fails to lower

A youth centre opened in memory of Damilola Taylor was
criticised yesterday as residents claimed some community amenities
would be forced to close.

Damilola’s father, Richard, said the new centre would
enable other children from Peckham, south London, to “be the best
they can”. But residents said the centre would not help the
under-11 age group, and would result in the closure of other
amenities that would place other children at risk.

Damilola was 10-years-old when he was murdered on his way home
from school in November 2000.

Source:- The Independent Tuesday 30 July page

Asylum appeals plans attacked

Two opposition parties in the Lords yesterday criticised David
Blunkett’s plans to streamline the asylum seekers appeal

The Tories and the Liberal Democrats complained that asylum
seekers may not receive a fair hearing under the plans set out in
the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill.

The bill aims to develop a “one-stop” appeal system where asylum
seekers present all their grounds for appeal at the same time, and
immigration officers will be given the powers to decide whether or
not an appeal is justified.

For the Conservative party, Lady Anelay of St Johns said the
bill would allow “a junior case worker” to be both judge and jury.
Lord Goodhart for the Liberal Democrats said the government’s
plans were “dangerous” and “contrary to natural justice”.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 30 July page 6

Ecstasy related deaths double

The number of ecstasy related deaths has doubled in the past
year, according to a study.

There were at least 40 deaths linked to the drug in the last
year – twice the total reported in 2000 and four times as
many as in 1998.

Researchers from the centre for addiction studies based at St
George’s Hospital, south London, said there were younger
users and a dramatic reduction in the price of ecstasy.

“The rise comes at the same time as ecstasy becomes cheaper and
is used more recreationally in the dance culture by people who
wouldn’t normally take it,” a hospital spokesperson said.

The figures were released just two weeks after the death of Jade
Slack, aged 10, from Lancaster, who died after accidentally taking
the drug.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 30 July page 5

HIV mother gets milk tokens

A high court judge ordered the home office to supply a HIV
positive asylum seeker with milk tokens for her baby, to prevent
transmission of the virus through breast feeding.

But the judge refused to order the health department to supply
free milk and vitamins to all asylum seekers.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 30 July page 7

Challenge over child prison ‘abuse’ delayed

A high court challenge to the home secretary over the way
teenagers are treated in prison has been delayed to enable social
services departments to be represented.

The Howard League for Penal Reform claims prison and young
offenders institutions are wrongly exempted from laws protecting
children under 18, and had expected to begin its case

But Mr Justice Crane adjourned the hearing after expressing
concern that social services, whose procedures and resources would
be profoundly affected if the league won the case, were
unrepresented in court.

No date was set for the hearing, but it is unlikely to take
place before October. The Howard League says child inmates who want
to commit suicide or self harm are not protected, and that bullying
and assault are common.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 30 July page 2

Scottish newspapers

MSPs and councillors attack council on free personal

East Dunbartonshire council has been severely criticised by MSPs
and councillors over its failure to implement free personal care at
the same time as all other Scottish local authorities.

The council has issued a letter to older people saying it was
“not considering free personal care and nursing care at the
moment”, and omitted to say when the package would be introduced.
John Morrison, deputy leader of East Dunbartonshire, said that
while the council had boosted funding on services to older people
it had calculated that the funding provided by the Scottish
executive did not cover the costs of free personal care.

A spokesperson for the executive said that East Dunbartonshire
had received £2.5 million which should be adequate, and that
no other authority had indicated there were difficulties in
introducing free personal care.

Source:- The Herald Tuesday 30 July page 6

First ‘redcoats’ patrol the

The first of Scottish executive-funded neighbourhood patrols
were introduced to areas of Renfrewshire last night.

Dubbed the ‘redcoats’ because of their brightly
coloured uniforms, the wardens have been introduced to the
Ferguslie, West Johnstone, Foxbar and Shortroods areas as the first
national pilot of the scheme.

While not having the power of arrest, the wardens’ role in
the £1.3 million scheme is to tackle crime by communicating
with the police and endeavouring to defuse difficulties before they
escalate. Other schemes are expected to follow.

Source:- The Herald Tuesday 30 July page 7

Welsh newspapers

Head ‘had policy not to resuscitate’

A head teacher gave instructions not to resuscitate a terminally
ill child at a special school because she felt it was ‘immoral’, an
employment tribunal heard yesterday.

Whistleblower Bunny Pinnington worked at a school for children
with severe learning and physical disabilities and says that the
head teacher, Elizabeth Jones, adopted a ‘do not resuscitate
policy’ for some pupils without consulting parents.

Pinnington who worked as a school nurse at Ysgol Crug Glas in
Swansea, finally blew the whistle in 1999 as she says she was
becoming increasing concerned for children’s safety at the

She claims that she was unfairly dismissed from the school after
making disclosures in the public interest. The tribunal

Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 30 July page 1 and 7

Council tells developers: Hands off town

A local authority is bidding to buy an unwanted hospital to stop
it being sold on the open market.

Speculation has been mounting that the former St David’s
psychiatric hospital at Carmarthen could be used to house asylum
seekers, although the home office has denied this.

But Carmarthenshire council yesterday agreed to buy the 53-acre
site that is owned by the Welsh assembly and valued at around
£1.6 million for the benefit of the local community.

Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 30 July page 1

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