News round up: Unpaid overtime in public sector means huge savings

Unpaid overtime in public sector means huge staff savings

Almost half of public sector workers in the UK work regular unpaid overtime, clocking up the equivalent effort of hundreds of thousands of extra staff, researchers have found. People employed by public bodies and charities are much more likely to exceed their paid hours than those doing the same kinds of jobs in commercial organisations, according to the study by the Centre for Market and Public Organisation, at the University of Bristol.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Called into battle

To hundreds of families that have faced care home closures or cuts in care provision, solicitor Yvonne Hossack is a saintly figure. To government ministers, local authorities and other care providers, and, it now appears, powerful interests in her own profession, she is a vexatious litigant.

That is probably putting it mildly. Asked how she thinks she is viewed by the establishment, she replies without hesitation: “Hated.” This doesn’t seem to worry her, and nor has she any intention of ceasing to bring court cases against closures and cuts, as long as she remains able to carry on – even though she faces disciplinary measures and a raft of actions for payment of costs that threaten what remains of her legal practice.

Read more on this story in Society Guardian

Darling faces tough tax choice

Eighteen million families will be worse off by an average of £3 a week in the run-up to the next general election unless Alistair Darling finds more than £3bn a year to extend one-off help to households this spring, Britain’s leading tax experts said today.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said the chancellor faced a choice between adding to the goverment’s mounting budgetary problems or alienating more than four-fifths of the 21.3 million families better off as a result of higher tax allowances and more generous winter fuel payments.
Read more on this story in The Guardian

Sin bins for pupils to be scrapped

Ministers moved yesterday to scrap so-called sin bins for disruptive pupils and replace them with specialist centres run by private companies, charities and academies, in an admission that the policy has failed. Pupils will be removed from schools in larger numbers and at an earlier age in an attempt to prevent them being excluded later on, under the plans set out in a white paper yesterday.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Bad parents are villains of the age, says David Cameron

David Cameron yesterday singled out bad parents as one of the “great villains” of modern times.

He promised to put the family at the centre of Tory policy-making in the run-up to the general election. The Conservative leader argued that the Government urgently needed to solve the growing problem of family break-ups.

Read more on this story in The Daily Mail

Care home boss jailed after ‘wilful neglect’ killed Alzheimer’s patient

A former care home boss was behind bars last night after her ‘wilful neglect’ led to the death of an Alzheimer’s patient. The family of Peter Giles, 56, found him lying in soiled clothing, sweating and unconscious. At other times he was left severely dehydrated.

Relatives said that during a period of just ten days at the Abbeycroft Care Home in Blackpool, the former soldier lost two stone. Weeks later he died of pneumonia and septicaemia. Yesterday Kathleen Vitturini, 62, was jailed for six months after she pleaded guilty to wilful neglect of the patient.
Read more on this story in The Daily Mail

Gay student who faced execution in Iran granted asylum in Britain

A gay man who faces the death penalty in Iran has won asylum in the UK after protests prompted the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, to reconsider his case.

Family and supporters of Mehdi Kazemi, now 20, welcomed the decision yesterday not to send him back to Iran where his boyfriend was arrested by the state police and executed for sodomy.
Read more on this story in The Independent

Women win right to children without fathers

Single women and lesbian couples won landmark parental rights last night as MPs voted to remove the requirement that fertility clinics consider a child’s need for a father.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill will replace the rule with a “need for supportive parenting” after opponents were defeated in two votes by unexpectedly wide margins.

The Government had been prepared for defeat but won the free votes by majorities of 75 and 68. The decisions mean that the legislation will grant the most significant extension to homosexual family rights since gay adoption was sanctioned.

Read more on this story in The Times

Girl, 13, hanged herself after taunts about her hair by other pupils, inquest is told

A teenage girl with red hair hanged herself after being subjected to repeated taunts including being called “Ginger”, “Freckle face” and “Pig nose”, an inquest was told yesterday.

Kelsey Jade Winter, 13, coloured her hair blonde and wore heavy foundation to mask her freckles because of severe bullying by fellow pupils at Teesdale Comprehensive School, Co Durham. She died on August 12 after hanging herself from the handle of her bedroom window.
Read more on this story in The Times

Equal pay deal for agency workers

More than one million agency workers will receive the same pay as permanent staff after they have been employed for 12 weeks under a deal brokered by the Government.

The agreement – hailed by the unions as a breakthrough on workers’ rights but attacked by several business groups – was effectively forced on ministers after they failed to find allies in the EU to block a directive that would have cut the qualifying period for equal treatment on pay and conditions to six weeks.

Read more on this story in The Times

Fewer failed asylum-seekers sent home

Asylum applications rose in the first three months of the year and the number of failed applicants removed from the country fell, government figures published yesterday show.

Britain received the largest number of asylum applications in Europe during the same period.
Read more on this story in The Times

Extra cash not tackling youth crime, says study

The government’s justice reforms have had little impact on youth crime and ministers have “overstated” their success, it was claimed on Tuesday.

A report by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) at King’s College London said most targets had been missed despite a “substantial” increase in spending.
Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Home Office considers downgrading ecstasy

The legal status of Ecstasy – currently a Class A drug – could be reviewed, the Home Office said. The admission follows the appointment of Professor David Nutt, as the chairman of the Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), the advisory body on drug classification.

He has publicly suggested the legal penalties for possessing Ecstasy and LSD have not stopped people using them.
Read more no this story in The Daily Telegraph

Michael Parkinson fights for dignity in care homes

Elderly people are being treated like inmates in prison by uncaring nurses, Sir Michael Parkinson has claimed, as he promotes a drive to ensure patients live with dignity and respect in hospitals and care homes.
The broadcaster said he had been forced to complain about the treatment his mother, Freda, received before she died last year aged 95. He was yesterday named as the government’s dignity ambassador.

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph



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