A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Manager in Climbie case apologises to

Victoria Climbie’s parents rejected an apology from the
social worker who persistently withheld evidence from the inquiry
into the eight-year-old child’s death.

Carole Baptiste begged forgiveness in a statement to the
inquiry, chaired by Lord Laming, and said she could understand the
family’s pain.

Francis and Berthe Climbie said the apology came too late.

“It may very well be that this witness has suffered emotionally
or psychologically from the events following Victoria’s
death. But her distress cannot compare with the pain suffered by
us,” they said.

Baptiste was responsible for the child protection team in
Haringey, north London, that was responsible for the case.

She is the first person to face criminal prosecution for failing
to give evidence to a public inquiry. Her trial was adjourned last
month after she promised to give evidence yesterday.

She now faces up to six months in jail and a £1,000 fine if

Yesterday she said: “I regret that Victoria’s voice was
not heard, and nobody will fully understand the pain that she
suffered. I can only hope that the contribution I have subsequently
made will help to prevent another child’s death.”

Baptiste was responsible for the inexperienced social worker
Lisa Arthurworrey. In earlier evidence Arthurworrey said born again
Christian Baptiste was frequently absent, often at the gym, and
spent most of her time in supervisions talking about her
experiences as a black woman and her relationship with God instead
of discussing children’s cases.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 6 January page 6

Schools ordered to expel yobs and bullies

Ministers are to launch a crackdown on violence in schools next
week, in an admission that the “softly softly” approach may not
have worked.

Pupils carrying weapons will automatically be expelled under the
new measures. There will be no appeal and they will not be allowed
back into schools. Headteachers will decide what constitutes
persistent bullying, but a government spokesperson said: “We
don’t want bullies being let into school through the back

Source:- The Times Wednesday 16 January page 1

Downing set to demand £2m in

Three court of appeal judges have ruled that Stephen
Downing’s conviction for bludgeoning Wendy Sewell to death in
1973 was unsafe.

Lawyers for Downing are expected to press for more than £2
million in compensation now he has won the 27-year battle to quash
his murder conviction.

Don Hale, editor of the Matlock Mercury, who has campaigned for
Downing’s release from prison for the past seven years,
called for Derbyshire police to reopen the case and said that
officers should face disciplinary action.

Police said privately they had no plans to reopen the

Downing was sentenced aged 17 at Nottingham crown court in 1974
and lost a subsequent appeal.

He found Wendy Sewell in a cemetery, where he worked, still
conscious and called the cemetery attendant.

Downing, who has a low IQ and a reading age of 11, was charged
the next day.

He said yesterday: “I have no qualms about the police.
It’s all in the past. Let’s forget about it.”

Source:- The Times Wednesday 16 January page 7

Violence forces a delay in deportations to

About 90 failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers are being allowed to
stay in Britain until after their country’s presidential
election in March.

Home secretary David Blunkett said yesterday that because
President Mugabe was creating terror, it was sensible to have a
pause in deportation to ensure that Britain did nothing it might
regret later.

“There is no presumption at this point that those whose asylum
claims have been refused are at risk when they go back, but
I’m not prepared to risk them being persecuted or imprisoned.
We will pause and see if the situation stabilises,” he said.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 16 January page 13

Government set to take over failing council

The government is set to take over failing services in the
troubled borough of Walsall in a bid to rescue it from financial
chaos, and stamp out a long history of bullying between councillors
and officers.

Leaders of three political parties in the west Midlands have
been summoned to Whitehall for a meeting with local government
minister Nick Raynsford, where they will be made to read the riot

Ministers have authorised the creation of a supervisory body to
oversee the council for the first time while attempts are made to
bring it back into line.

As Walsall faces one of the most damning reports from the Audit
Commission, the government decided to intervene as soon as they
were warned the borough was in financial and political

Outlining a council plagued by cash crises, poor services and
“unacceptable” conduct by some councillors, the commission’s
controller Sir Andrew Foster indicated that Walsall’s
bullying problems appeared worse than the ailing London borough of
Hackney, where ministers have already intervened.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 16 January page 10

‘Buddy scheme’ in view for

The home secretary is considering the introduction of a “buddy
system” for new immigrants and refugees as part of a government
shake up of immigration.

David Blunkett said yesterday he liked the idea and was
exploring ways of introducing a scheme into Britain under which
thousands of British citizens would adopt an immigrant to help them
integrate into the country.

Blunkett also announced he would increase the maximum prison
sentence for human traffickers who exploited immigrants from 10 to
14 years.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 16 January page 11

Guardian Society

In an ideal world

A large slice of New Labour’s reputation is staked on the
pledge to tackle social exclusion. But only by lumping together all
its projects does a coherent picture of change emerge.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 16 January page

Not a woman’s world

Discrimination payout for man over sheltered housing job

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 16 January page

One bad score

Cocaine is seen as the rich-person’s drug of choice, and
crack its equivalent for those desperate and in poverty. Diane
Taylor on different approaches to treating users

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 16 January page

Culture shock

Recruitment into public services from the private sector is
growing – but it can be an alien experience for some

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 16 January page

Water wonder

A chance discovery suggests that swimming has beneficial effects
for Alzheimer’s sufferers

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 16 January page

Advice goes begging

Care home residents eligible for funding are missing out

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 16 January page

Scottish newspapers

Executive loses care cash money battle

Malcolm Chisholm, minister for health and community care,
publicly conceded yesterday that the Scottish executive had lost
the battle with Westminster over the disputed continuing payment of
attendance allowance to those people in receipt of free personal

The total now lost to the executive’s financial planning
is £23 million per annum and Chisholm admitted that the delay
of three months in implementing free personal care approximates
that amount. The delay will also allow the executive to find the
total annual cost of £125 million to provide free personal
care from other budget heads rather than implementing the disputes
procedure with Westminster.

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 16 January page 1

Everything you want to know about care of older

A question and answer feature on services for the care of older
people, and some details about the executive’s current
position on implementing free personal care.

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 16 January page 4

Lack of beds keep people in Carstairs

The medical director of the State Hospital Carstairs, Dr Jenni
Connaughton, confirmed yesterday that there are currently 33
patients detained in the hospital due to lack of resources in their
own communities.

Connaughton made the statement on the same day that the parents
of patient Darren Crichton petitioned the Scottish parliament on
their son’s continued detention in Carstairs over the past
two years because of the lack of local resources in their home area
of Tayside.

Source:- The Scotsman Wednesday 16 January page 8

Welsh newspapers

Audit attack on ‘failing’ NHS
The NHS in Wales is failing to use resources to maximum effect,
according to the National Assembly’s audit committee.
A report published today warns that the service is not equipped to
cope with emergencies, and that a controversial restructuring plan
will lead to an exodus of staff.
The report highlights other fundamental problems such as the
likelihood that fraud within the system will go undetected, and the
need for contingency plans to deal with unforeseen events.
Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 16 January page 1
Charity pulls out but spends £210,000 on spin

The Children’s Society is to employ spin doctors at a cost of more
than £210,000, although it is pulling out of Wales for
financial reasons.
There was outrage last night in Wales after the publication of a
full-page advertisement offering a range of jobs in marketing and
communications. The advertisement has been described as ‘tasteless’
coming as it does at a time when
123 jobs and many children’s projects in Wales are under
Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 16 January page 1
£5,000 ‘carrot’ to attract new GPs
A ‘Golden Hello’ will be paid to all new GPs coming to work in
The cash incentive is being offered in a bid to solve the
recruitment crisis which is particularly serious in the south Wales
The announcement was made by Welsh health minister Jane Hutt with
around 70 new GPs expected to take up the offer.
Source:- South Wales Echo Tuesday 15 January page 4
Targets for NHS will not be met
Government targets to cut waiting times for hospital treatment will
not be met in south Wales.
Hospitals across the region have failed to cut the time taken to
get a hospital appointment and follow-up treatment. A spokesperson
for Cardiff Community Health Council described the failure to meet
the targets as disappointing.
Source:- South Wales Echo Tuesday 15 January










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