Government drugs policy does not work, says report

Government drugs policy does not work, says report
Drug addiction should be treated as a health and social problem, not a crime issue, a two-year study into substance misuse found yesterday.
The RSA commission on illegal drugs said policy should be judged on the basis of reduced harm to individuals rather than drugs seized or offenders prosecuted.
Source:- The Guardian, Friday 9 March 2007, page 11

Pledge to parents on special schools
Parents must be consulted before councils close special schools under guidance issued by the government yesterday. It also said that councils must be able to demonstrate that better alternative provision is in place.
Source:- The Times, Friday 9 March 2007, page 11

Colourful way to teach children with dyslexia how to read
A primary school in Plymouth is planning to become the first to take advantage of the government’s new trust schools status to go into partnership with a dyslexia charity.
Dyslexia Action is planning to team up with Widewell school and develop a centre for training teachers across the south west to combat dyslexia.
Source:- The Independent, Friday 9 March 2007, page 22

Straw’s gender law is an ass, say Tories
Jack Straw, the Leader of the Commons, was described as a “fool” and “a silly ass” by Conservatives yesterday over plans for “gender neutral” language in new laws.
The policy, announced on international women’s day, will end the traditional use of male pronouns in legislation.
Future bills will use gender-neutral drafting “so far as is practicable”, he said.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Friday 9 March 2007, page 3

Judge: Prisons will be full of ‘geriatric lifers’
England’s most senior judge expressed “reservations” last night about recent guidelines that mean murderers will spend almost twice as long in prison.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Friday 9 March 2007, page 5

Scottish news
Children and drugs: 1000 per year
Around 1000 children are caught with drugs in Scotland every year.
The figure, the most robust yet on addiction among the very young, came out as a high-profile report suggested some illegal substances could be harmless.
The data revealed, for the first time, the number of young people referred to the children’s hearings system for possessing drugs. The Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration said there were 983 such offenders in 2005-2006, 982 in 2004-2005, and 1015 in 2003-2004.
Source:- The Herald, Friday 9 March 2007

Catholic suing over Protestant foster family
A Catholic teenager is suing a Scottish local authority which sent her to live with Protestant foster parents.
In a landmark case, the girl, now 18 and identified only as AR, is demanding a total of £70,000 from Highland Council.
The woman also complains about being sent to schools which did not meet her needs or provide lessons suitable for her learning disabilities, spelling and hand-writing problems.
Source:-The Herald, Friday 9 March 2007

Catholic fostering story also covered in The Times

Foster father molested girls
A foster father found guilty of sexually abusing young girls in his care already had a conviction for lewd and libidinous behaviour when he was approved to look after children.
Aberdeen Council has confirmed it was aware of the conviction when he and his wife were approved as foster parents in 1993 but did not consider he posed a risk.
William Alexander was found guilty of molesting three of his foster children in the 1990s. During his trial this week Aberdeen sheriff court heard Alexander abused two 14-year-old girls and one seven-year-old girl between 1995 and 1997.
Source:- The Herald, Friday 9 March 2007

Welsh news

Welsh cleaners win payout
Welsh local authorities are facing the threat of settlement bills of hundreds of millions of pounds to provide equal bonuses for care, cleaning and catering staff.
Neath Port Talbot Council is facing a bill of £350m in settlements to 2,300 staff.
The employees are being awarded compensation payments by the council for not receiving the same productivity bonuses as other employees in the past. All local authorities in the UK are having to deal with the issue.
Source:- Western Mail, Friday, 9 March 2007

Councillors ‘to be public service champions’
Councillors are set to become public service “champions” under local government reforms in Wales announced yesterday. The assembly government also wants local councils to work in partnership with the rest of the public sector as a way to drive up standards in services.
Source: icWales, Friday 9 March 2007

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