A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Including headlines from Saturday and Sunday.

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

NSPCC denies Climbie deceit

Children’s charity the NSPCC denied allegations that it
had tampered with documents to mislead the public inquiry into
Victoria Climbie’s death, but admitted it could have taken
“more appropriate action” to protect her.

The inquiry is looking into gaps in the evidence from the NSPCC
about how its staff handled Victoria’s case after it was
referred to the charity’s Tottenham child and family centre
in north London in August 1999.

Counsel to the inquiry Neil Garnham criticised the centre for
unacceptable delay in meeting to discuss the referral, and
suggested this was partly to do with a party being laid on for the
charity’s clients.

The inquiry has heard that NSPCC officers did not see Victoria
before she died.

Lord Laming, chairperson of the inquiry, aims to get to the
bottom of inconsistencies in documents provided by the charity.

In June, it supplied a photocopy of case notes showing she was
“accepted for ongoing service” becoming part of the centre’s
caseload in August 1999. But earlier this month a document was
produced showing the case was to have “no further action”.

The charity said: “There is a very real danger of
misunderstanding and misinterpretation of these issues. Despite
suggestions to the contrary, we have found no evidence of deception
or falsification of NSPCC records.”

Victoria’s great aunt Marie-Therese Kouao and her
boyfriend Carl Manning were jailed for life for her murder last

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 26 January page 5

Blair defends public sector workers

Tony Blair championed the dedication and professionalism of
public sector workers on Friday, and accused the Conservatives of
waging war on them in preparation for privatisation.

The prime minister said: “Let’s make this deal: government
should not pretend that public services are all perfect and our
opponents should not pretend they’re all rubbish.”

Iain Duncan Smith accused Blair of using doctors, nurses and
teachers as a “human shield” for government failures following the
controversy of the treatment of 94-year-old Rose Addis at a north
London hospital.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 26 January page 1

Man faces jail for child porn

A man faces a long prison term after being found with more than
120,000 pornographic images of children.

The member of an international paedophile ring was arrested
after a tip-off by Russian police investigating the paedophile
network. Christopher Hunter downloaded thousands of indecent images
to his computer, and forwarded them to friends in the Netherlands,
Germany and America.

At Nottingham crown court, Hunter admitted 21 charges of making
indecent photographs between January 1996 and February 2000 and
distributing indecent photographs.

Sentencing was adjourned until March.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 26 January page 10

Sites for refugees chosen

The home office has confirmed eight sites that have been
identified as possible locations for accommodation centres to house
asylum seekers.

Among the sites being considered to house 750 people are: RAF
Throckmorton in Worcestershire, RAF Turnhouse in Edinburgh, Hooton
Park in Ellesmere Port and Sully Hospital in Cardiff.

The other four sites have not been named as local MPs need to be
warned before the public are informed.

A home office spokesperson said: “The sites have been identified
as possible locations for the centres. This is only provisional and
there may also be other sites which are identified in the

Source:- The Times Saturday 26 January page 10

Pensioners fall victim to ‘ageism’ of

Older people in hospital receive lower standards of care and
less respectful treatment than the rest of the population.

There are more than 80 cases where families have complained to
hospitals about the care their older relatives have received. In
some instances, families believe people have died as a result of
lack of attention in their cases.

The evidence comes to light as 94-year-old Rose Addis’s
treatment is at the centre of a political argument.

Pressure groups said that the department of health is now
investigating 10 age discrimination cases produced by Action for
Eileen, which campaigns on issues of ageism in the NHS.

Michael Lake, director general of Help the Aged, said: “It is
apparent that ageism is still prevalent across both clinical
practices and attitudes towards older people’s health. Ageist
attitudes are entrenched.”

Source:- The Observer Sunday 27 January page 2

Bulger killer to join army

The ministry of defence has secretly wavered the rules of
application to allow one of James Bulger’s killers to apply
to join the Army.

Using his new identity, Jon Venables has applied to join a
fighting regiment and is expected to complete his formal entrance

Ministry of defence sources said that officials had been
persuaded by the home office to ignore regulations, which prevent
convicted killers of joining the armed forces.

Venables and Robert Thompson abducted two-year-old James from a
shopping precinct in February 1993, tortured him and then battered
him to death on a railway line.

The two 10-year-olds were detained indefinitely, but were
controversially released on parole six months ago.

Source:- The Mail on Sunday
27 January page 1

Tragic last letter of Laura,
14, the girl bullies drove to suicide

How a desperate schoolgirl left a
will and funeral plans – and a devastating account of the
misery she endured at the hands of her tormentors

Source:- The Mail on Sunday
27 January page 20-21

Britain to send back Afghan

The government has suggested it will
expel thousands of Afghan asylum seekers from Britain.

Immigration minister Lord Rooker
said that Afghanistan was becoming a safer country that could take
back people who had previously been seeking refuge in the UK.

Thousands of Afghans fled to Britain
escaping civil war and the strict Islamic rule of the Taliban.
No-one has been sent back to Afghanistan since 1978 because the
country was deemed too dangerous.

Refugee groups said last night that
Britain’s attitude was more concerned with removing asylum
seekers than being a safe haven, and warned that lives could be put
at risk.

The home office is now set to return
asylum seekers to Afghanistan and Somalia. The two countries
account for a high proportion of asylum seekers who arrived in
Britain last year.

Between July and September 2,505 Afghans sought asylum and
Somalis were the second largest source country with 2,265
applicants arriving in the UK, and most were allowed to remain.

Source:- The Independent Monday 28 January
page 1

Gang halts trains to smuggle refugees to

A gang of Romanians, who tampered with train signals to smuggle
large groups of asylum seekers aboard freight trains heading for
Britain, have been arrested.

Four men, who had allegedly endangered the lives of rail
passengers by using home made devices to change signals from green
to red, have been arrested according to the French police.

The group are thought to have stopped one or two trains a week
on a 25-mile stretch of track between Hazebrouck and Calais.

The police said that the arrests followed a search by 150
officers of the countryside in the north regions of the country
through which the freight trains pass before reaching the Channel

Source:- The Times Monday 28 January page 9

Scottish newspapers

Private prison social work services soar

A pilot scheme to contract out prison social work services is
now costing 70 per cent more than first planned inspite of a
reduction in services.

The reduction in service levels in Edinburgh’s Saughton
Prison has reached such levels that risk assessment of short-term
sex offenders has had to be scrapped.

The Scottish prison service has now performed a u-turn, and has
entered negotiations with Edinburgh council over reinstating the
local authority service.

Edinburgh’s former prison social work team, previously
praised in inspection reports, has since been disbanded and will
need to be reformed from scratch.

Source:- Sunday Herald 27 January page 2

Military base considered as asylum-seeker

Charities working with asylum seekers have condemned one site
placed on the short list of options being considered as a base for

The spartan facilities at the former military base, RAF
Turnhouse near Edinburgh, is earmarked to cater for 750 asylum
seekers if approved. The centre would be a holding base for the
families until their applications for asylum are processed.

RAF Turnhouse is one of the favourites of eight sites being
considered from which four will be selected. In the meantime,
Edinburgh council has decided not to enter into a contract with the
government to house refugees.

Source:- Sunday Herald 27 January

Care of older people set for chaos

The private care sector in Scotland is likely to place a total
ban on new admissions in the next few weeks according to inside

The increased mood of militancy emerges as the Scottish
executive, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and
Scottish Care, the group representing most of Scotland’s
private care home owners, have failed to reach an agreement on
future charging levels for residential care.

Scottish Care is due to meet today to determine a strategy in
the ongoing dispute with local authorities.

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 28 January page 1

Welsh newspapers
Home Office proposes using old hospital as asylum

Plans to use a disused hospital as an asylum centre have shocked a
local community.
The plans to house asylum seekers in Sully Hospital on the Vale of
Glamorgan coast were only announced at the end of last week, and
community leaders are accusing the government of keeping the plans
secret for as long as possible
Anthony Ernest, the Sully councillor on Vale of Glamorgan council,
said that the plans were seriously flawed. He said that the site
was remote from shops, doctors and social security and benefit
offices and that he would be doing all that he could to fight the
Source:- Western Mail Monday 28 January page 7
Focus on race abuse of children
A conference that will highlight the problem of racial abuse among
children and young people is being held in south Wales today.
The conference, ‘Not a Black and White Issue: Promoting Positive
Attitudes to Race and Culture with Children and Young People,’ will
examine the issue of racist attitudes in south Wales, where Black
and Asian children represent a small minority.
The event has been organised by the Valleys Anti Racist Initiative
and will take place at the Rhondda Heritage Hotel in South
Source:- Western Mail Monday, 28 January page 7
Councillor refuses to quit
The deputy mayor of Cardiff, Lynda Thorne, has come under intense
pressure to resign over the handling of a crisis at a residential
home for older people in the city.
There have been long standing concerns over the running of the
Hazelcroft Residential Home in Fairwater, Cardiff, culminating in a
damming report published last week, which accused staff at the home
of slapping and insulting patients and neglecting them.
Thorne has refused to resign and accused Conservative councillors
of treating what had happened at the home as a political
Source:- South Wales Echo Friday 25 January page 5






More from Community Care

Comments are closed.