A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Asylum pleas reach record

The backlog of asylum applications has reached an all time high
of 47,000, according to home office figures.

While asylum application stabilised at 5,300 in June, there is a
growing number of appeals against asylum refusals.

The huge number of appeals is a result of the success of staff
at the immigration and nationality department in processing initial
applications at a rate of up to 10,000 a month.

The Lord Chancellor’s Department has increased the number
of courtrooms dealing with appeals from 35 to 105.

Source:- The Times Thursday 26 July page 2

Prison inspector condemns youth institution

Conditions in youth jails are failing to improve as a result of
prison officers’ influence, the chief inspector of prisons
will say today.

Sir David Ramsbotham condemns the leadership of the Prison
Officers Association at Feltham Young Offenders Institution in west
London. The chief inspector, who retires tomorrow, accuses them of
mounting persistent objections of improvements for young

New prisons minister Beverley Hughes demanded that the service
provide her with any other evidence suggesting that local POA
committee members were preventing change.

In his latest report on the youth jail, Ramsbotham praises
improvements in the under-18s part of the institution, but states
in Feltham B it was dirty, prisoners are not safe and many
prisoners spend their days in their cells.

Ramsbotham said: “There is a culture and wrong attitude in
Feltham B which has been there for far too long. This culture has
been used by the POA for their own reasons.”

“I think they should be ashamed of what they have been
responsible for in terms of holding back progress, challenging
change, damaging the prospects of treating the young offenders and
being responsible, so they say, for an alternative form of
government,” he added.

Source:- The Times Thursday 26 July page 6

Sex victim catches man after 30 years

A paedophile has been jailed after a victim from 30 years ago
saw him walking hand in hand with a girl at a fairground.

Leslie Stone was jailed for 10 years, after admitting assaulting
the girl and two assaults on the woman who saw them together. He
will be placed on the sex offenders’ register.

Detective Constable Chris Witt praised the woman’s courage
for coming forward: “The consequences of her not seeing Stone at
the fairground could have been dire, not only for the young girl he
was abusing but for others.”

Source:- The Times Thursday 26 July page 11

Patient care hit by waiting list policy

Some of the most seriously ill patients of the NHS suffered as a
result of the government’s drive to cut NHS waiting lists
which distorted the clinical judgement of doctors.

A report by the national audit office found more than half of
consultants in England admitted deferring surgery in high priority
cases to treat less urgent patients.

Last night the department of health insisted it advised
hospitals to treat all patients according to clinical priority.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 26 July page 11

35 migrants in lorry

A lorry driver had his jail sentence increased from five to
seven years yesterday for smuggling 35 illegal immigrants into the

Initially Judge Warwick McKinnon was told at Maidstone crown
court that the maximum sentence was seven years.

Michael Woop was taken to the cells but less than an hour later
he was called back into court after the judge discovered the
maximum sentence was 10 years.

Woop was arrested at the British entry point on the French side
of the Channel Tunnel by customs officers who found 35 migrants
cowering in the sand silo he was hauling.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 26 July page 5

Decriminalisation of cannabis to be examined by

MPs are to examine the decriminalisation of cannabis as part of
an unprecedented investigation into British drugs law.

The home affairs select committee will consider the
effectiveness of government policies in combating drug

Home secretary David Blunkett marked the shift in government
attitude towards drugs having signalled he was prepared to listen
to arguments on the topic.

The investigation is scheduled to begin in October.

Source:- The Independent Thursday 26 July page

Scottish newspapers

Public outrage as child sex abuse trial

Politicians, child care workers and the defendants themselves
spoke out for change in the court proceedings as a child sex abuse
trial was abandoned on the fourteenth day. The trial, at Edinburgh
High Court, was abandoned after one of the alleged victims, an
eight-year-old boy, was found to be medically unfit to

On trial were six men accused of sexually abusing the boy and
his eleven-year-old sister between 1992 and 1998. The boy had
constantly cried when giving evidence and became more distressed
when the prosecution started cross-examining him. One of the
defendants said that he had been denied the chance to clear his
name, a point exacerbated by all six defendants being named in
press reports.

Child care organisations and politicians demanded a review of
how evidence is taken from young children in such distressing

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 26 July page 1

Children should be removed from drug addict

Almost 20,000 Scottish children should be formally removed from
their drug addict parents according to a new report by the Centre
for Drug Misuse at Glasgow University. The report says that the
current social work practice of leaving children at home with drug
addict parents is wrong given the “considerable risks that the
children’s own lives will be ruined and in some cases

The report acknowledges that it would be impractical for social
work departments to receive all the children into care and suggests
a system of “safe havens” be established.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 26 July page 6





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