Round up of the week
Week beginning 28 February 2005
Monday 28th February
The Scottish deputy justice minister Hugh Henry announced that
councils would have £30.83 million for tackling antisocial
behaviour in 2006-7 and this would rise to £33.16 million in
2007-8. At the same time it emerged that no local authorities have
used powers which came into force in October to issue antisocial
behaviour orders to children as young as 12-years-old.
The Department for Education and Skills biannual national
truancy sweep also began in a bid to ensure as many young people as
possible attend school.
Tuesday 1 March
Home Secretary Charles Clarke launched guidance to “name
and shame” individuals issued with antisocial behaviour
orders claiming that “publicising should be the norm not the
exception”. The guidance was criticised by directors of
social services and charities who claimed there was “no
evidence” to show that “naming and shaming” acted
as a deterrent to criminal behaviour”.
Wednesday 2 March
The government announced the appointment of Professor Al
Aynsley-Green as the first ever children’s commissioner for
England. Aynsley-Green’s previous post was the National
Clinical Director for Children within the Department for
Community Care launched the ‘Election 2005: Putting
Social Care in the Picture’ campaign which aims to raise the
issue of social care during the coming general election. The
campaign will include a series of reports and parliamentary
briefings which will probe how party policies on key election
issues often miss the vital role of social care and social work.
For further details, go to www.communitycare.co.uk/election.
Thursday 3 March
Health minister Stephen Ladyman announced funding of £60
million for councils to help older people live independently
The government’s Equality Bill which includes plans for a
new body with powers to tackle discrimination and prejudice was
also published. The Commission for Equality and Human Rights will
be set up from October 2007 and would bring together the work of
the Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights
Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission.
Friday 4 March
The man accused of instigating the ‘Gladiator-style’
games at Feltham Young Offender Institution denied the allegations.
The branch chair of the Prison Officers Association at Feltham
Young Offender Institution Nigel Herring told the public inquiry
into Zahid Mubarek’s death that he had never placed
unsuitable prisoners into the same cell deliberately in the hope
that violence would occur.
For more information, see below.
This week at the Mubarek inquiry
The chair of the Feltham branch of the Prison Officers’
Association at the time of Zahid Mubarek’s murder Andrew
Darken claimed that he was victimised by the Prison Service for
“lawful” union activities.
He claimed that in July 2001 the Prison Service tried to move
him from his position at Feltham Young Offender Institution to a
position at Head Office. They told him that the attitude of the
Prison Officers’ Association was preventing change at Feltham
YOI and that as chair of the branch, he was partly responsible for
Darken said that the misconduct alleged against him solely
consisted of carrying out his trade union duties and he challenged
the action in the High Court. He added that the service had
subsequently backed down from moving him away from a job working
with prisoners and transferred him to HMP Latchmere House.
This week the inquiry also heard that Mubarek was killed by his
racist cellmate Robert Stewart after they were placed together in a
game created for the “perverted pleasure” of prison
Duncan Keys, assistant general secretary of the Prison
Officers’ Association, told the inquiry Mubarek was killed as
the consequence of a game called “Gladiator” or
“Coliseum,” which involved pitting
“unsuitable” inmates against each other as prison
officers bet on the results. Keys named Nigel Herring, chair of the
Feltham POA, as the “instigator” of the practice.
However, Herring denied the allegations and said that he had
never placed unsuitable prisoners into the same cell deliberately
in the hope that violence would occur.