Shannon Matthews; Council cuts; End-of-life care

Shannon Matthews kidnap report unlikely until after election

An investigation into why social services failed to prevent one of the most notorious recent cases of child abuse is running a year late and is unlikely to be completed before the election.

The independent inquiry into the kidnapping of Shannon Matthews, 9, in 2008 by a relative in a plan hatched with her mother, Karen, has been running for 14 months with no publication date in sight.

Read more on this story in The Times

Terminally ill ‘unable to die at home through lack of nursing cover’

A lack of 24-hour nursing cover and poor planning by doctors is threatening government plans to give the terminally ill a right to die at home, campaigners say.

More than a third of family doctors are not reviewing the needs and wishes of dying patients, while round-the-clock nursing care is not available to give patients support and pain relief at weekends and at night in many areas.

Read more on this story in The Times

School admissions: Best comprehensives using ‘covert selection’

Middle-class families are monopolising places at the best state schools, despite a government drive to overhaul admissions rules, research has found. Children from relatively affluent backgrounds are far more likely to get into the most sought-after comprehensives, the study said, prompting claims some schools are employing “covert selection” methods.

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Legal challenge over Yarl’s Wood women

Lawyers are due to launch a legal challenge today on behalf of four women held at Yarl’s Wood detention centre, claiming their incarceration amounts to “cruel, inhumane and degrading” treatment that breaches their human rights.

The lawyers, who say they will submit the application at the high court in London, are applying for a judicial review of the government’s detention policy, claiming it breaches articles 3, 5 and 8 of the European convention on human rights.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Councils consider plans to shed 170,000 public sector jobs

Councils are considering plans to reduce their spending including by cutting up to 170,000 public sector jobs in anticipation of a dramatic downturn in their budgets.

Dame Margaret Eaton, chair of the Local Government Association, said that local authorities were being hit by a “perfect storm” in the recession with increased pressure on their services and a squeeze on their budgets.

Read more on this story in The Guardian


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