A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom.

Climbies condemn CRE chairman

Chairman of the commission for racial equality, Gurbux Singh,
has been accused by the parents of Victoria Climbie for managerial
errors during his time as chief executive of Haringey council.

Berthe and Francis Climbie drew attention to Singh’s role
as chief executive of the council in north London from 1989 until
May last year – three months after Victoria died from

He was the local authority’s most senior official at the
time when social workers closed the file on the eight-year-old who
died with 128 separate injuries.

Marie Therese Kouao and her lover Carl Manning were jailed for
life in January for her murder.

The Climbies spoke out after Singh told the public inquiry on
Tuesday that he did not feel responsible for the tragedy. Former
director of social services Mary Richardson took a similar line in
evidence yesterday.

Outside the inquiry, the Climbies said: “This raises great doubt
about the ability of Mr Singh and Ms Richardson to be effective in
their management positions.”

“Each of the senior managers has, either at the time or since,
moved on to quite important and better paid positions,” they

Singh left Haringey to join the CRE and Richardson became
director of social services at Hackney council in east London.

The inquiry continues.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 20 December page 9

Prisons told to shape up or face

Leicester and Reading jails were told to shape up within six
months or face privatisation by the government yesterday.

Prisons minister Beverley Hughes named Leicester local prison
and Reading young offenders’ institution as the two jails
“most in need of improvement” in England and Wales.

Reading was selected because of its “track record in delaying
the implementation of change”, poor disciplinary record of inmates
and concerns over staff attitudes.

Martin Narey, director general of the prison service, named
Leicester because of its high level of attempted suicides and
assaults; a failure of prison staff to engage with inmates, and
overcrowding as the prison has 50 per cent more prisoners than
intended when it was built

The Prisons Governors’ Association yesterday criticised
the theory that privatisation would improve standards, and penal
reformers were doubtful that any private sector contractor would
take over either prison without significant subsidy from the tax

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 20 December page 6



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