A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By David Callaghan and Reg McKay.

‘Frightened’ boy, 6, found dead at

A six-year-old boy who told his friends he felt frightened, was
found dead at his home yesterday.

Bedfordshire social services had investigated Jason Hill’s
case, but decided he was not at risk. A murder inquiry has been
launched into his death.

Earlier this year someone contact Bedfordshire social services
“expressing concern” about his father’s behaviour. Normal
procedures were followed and they conducted a child in need

A social services source said last night that no cause for
concern was found as far as the child was concerned: “There were
questions concerning the man’s mental health, but it was not
felt this required intervention by the child protection team.”

A spokesperson for the council confirmed an inquiry would be
carried out into social services’ actions.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Wednesday 29 August page 7

Judge’s fury at letting off torture gang too

The Crown Prosecution Service was condemned by a senior judge
for forcing him to give too lenient a sentence to three teenagers
who systematically tortured a family with learning difficulties in
their home.

Judge Michael Coombe said the case of Wayne March, Robert
Davenport and Nicholas Cooper was the worst he had encountered. He
described their actions as “revolting, degrading, disgusting and

He castigated the CPS for dropping two charges of sexual
assault, which would have enabled him to enforce a longer sentence
on Davenport than the three-and-a-half years allowed.

The Old Bailey was told how Davenport, March and Cooper joked as
they tortured and humiliated the family after entering their home
uninvited in Feltham, west London.

They chose the family as the mother, father and one of the two
daughters suffered learning difficulties and would be unable to
fight back.

Cleaning material and pepper spray was put in the
families’ eyes before the father was forced at knife point to
drink urine and eat excrement. He was made to commit degrading
sexual acts in front of his daughters both aged under 12, and was
then slashed 60 times with a knife.

The pet cat and dog were attacked in front of the children.

Cooper and March both 17 were given maximum sentences for a
defendant under 18 of 24 months.

Davenport admitted conspiracy to assault, causing actual bodily
harm, threatening to kill and incitement to steal.

Sentencing him Judge Coombe said: “I cannot give what will be
proper punishment for this detestable series of crimes.”

Source:- Daily Telegraph Wednesday 29 August page 9

Voluntary work idea for refugees

Asylum seekers are to be encouraged to participate in voluntary
community work in a bid to help their integration into areas and
reduce the hostility from local residents.

It is expected the home secretary David Blunkett will announce
the plans at next month’s party conference. Home office
sources believe many immigrants seeking refuge are single men and
would be quite happy to participate in the scheme while their
asylum applications are processed.

The home office denied reports yesterday that a decision had
been made to ban the voucher system as an alternative had not been

It is thought that civil servants are drawing up plans that
would allow some asylum seekers with skills that are in short
supply to work in a shorter period than the current six months.

The Refugee Council said: “The only credible alternative is a
cash based system. Asylum seekers should be given the right to work
from the day they enter the country so that they can support

Source: The Guardian Wednesday 29 August page 9

Street robberies rise in Lambeth

Street crime has risen in the area of south London that switched
to warning cannabis users rather than prosecuting them.

Scotland yard figures show there were 760 street robberies and
snatches in July in Lambeth – up from 613 in June and 489 the
previous July.

Police say there is no evidence the figures are related to the
cannabis scheme. Incidents were up across London for the third
month in a row, with the biggest monthly rise being in Tower

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 29 August page 8

Guardian Society

Northern exposure

London has too many housing problems; some towns have too many
empty houses. Put them together and resolve both situations. So why
isn’t the scheme working?

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 29 August page

Stop or go

Young troublemakers in north London are having to sign good
behaviour contracts or risk their families being evicted.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 29 August page

Into the fire

How the policy of enforced dispersal is adding to the mental
health problems of asylum seekers

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 29 August page

Hearts and minders

An offer to help children founders on a question of privacy

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 29 August page

Scottish newspapers

Refugees ‘need right to work’

Deputy first minister, Jim Wallace, placed pressure on Downing
Street yesterday by demanding a review of the work permit system
for asylum seekers, and claimed there was a need to change the
demeaning voucher system.

Wallace made his claims during a visit to the Sighthill area of
Glasgow, the first visit by a minister since the murder of asylum
seeker, Firsat Dag, earlier this month. Though legislation
surrounding the welfare of asylum seekers and refugees remain
reserved powers to Westminster, Wallace’s comments will place
further pressure on the home office.

Source:- The Scotsman Wednesday 29 August page 1

Victory for Hep C victims expected

Health minister, Susan Deacon, is expected to signal a major
u-turn this week by announcing that Scottish victims of Hepatitis C
are to receive compensation after all. Deacon is believed to be on
the point of instructing Scottish executive lawyers to negotiate
compensation settlements with those who contracted the virus
through routine operations, in line with a landmark ruling in
England. But the ruling is expected to apply only to those infected
after the Consumer Protection Act came into force in March 1988
– only a small proportion of the total infected.

Earlier this year in England, 114 victims were awarded some
£10 million under the Consumer Protection Act because the NHS
failed to provide uncontaminated blood products.

Source:- The Scotsman Wednesday 29 August page 1

Cosla chief set to quit

Oonagh Aitken, chief executive of the Convention of Scottish
Local Authorities since July 1999, is set to quit her post after
months of financial turmoil following the resignation of three
member councils.

Glasgow Council, Clackmannanshire Council and Falkirk Council
resigned earlier this year unhappy that Cosla had failed to speak
up strongly enough in negotiations with the Scottish executive as
well as increasing membership fees. Aitken is believed to be
considering consultancy work, and is expected to make a formal
announcement later this week.

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 29 August page 3







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