From the vaults

Thirty years ago

What is it they say about political reputations? They are all destroyed in the end. A campaigning prison reforming MP wrote in Community Care about the plight of homeless drunks locked up in prison for no other reason than being alcoholics. In a prescient piece, he called for multi-agency partnerships between local authorities and the voluntary sector to improve services for alcoholics.

Thirty years later, MPs and professionals are still calling for partnership working to help substance misusers to stay out of prison. The author of the article, and someone who should be taking the credit for the current vogue for multi-agency working, however, moved on in his political life.

After a period as a tanned, chat show host and an Euro MEP, Robert Kilroy Silk is now in the political party Veritas and polled 5.8% of the vote in the Erewash constituency, Derbyshire, in the 2005 election. His more recent articles about travellers and standing up for the English are unlikely to feature in this magazine.

Twenty years ago

Debates about a three-year social work degree are nothing new. In November 1987, the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW) put forward proposals for a three-year social work degree in its Care for Tomorrow report.

Tony Hall, the then director of CCETSW, said that the organisation hoped that the government would introduce the new degree in 1991.

Hall added that the £40m cost of the three-year social work degree package was: “A small price to pay for resolving problems that for the past 20 years have appeared intractable.”

Make that 40 years, Tony

Ten years ago

The first of several acts over the past decade started to affect asylum seekers. Community Care reported on the case of a Sudanese man who fled to this country after being persecuted and tortured. The Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 cut benefits and introduced food vouchers for asylum seekers. Michael Korzinski, a psychologist with the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, said: “The people who suffer most from this are the most vulnerable.”

Last month, the Independent Asylum Commission heard how thousands of asylum seekers have been denied benefits and the right to work. The commission highlighted the case of one man who has been persecuted in his home country and lived in a railway station begging for food. He was from Darfur, Sudan.

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