A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Climbie chairman furious at delay

Director of social services at Haringey council Anne Bristow
could face prosecution from the inquiry into the abuse of Victoria Climbie.

Inquiry chairman Lord Laming suspended the inquiry into the eight
year old’s death on Friday saying he was “absolutely furious” with the north
London authority for the late submission of 71 documents originally requested
in May.

The late arrival of the documents could constitute a
criminal offence in breach of a summons issued on November 30 to Bristow to
provide all relevant evidence by December 2 last year, according to sources at
the inquiry.

More than 600 documents were produced by the council and no
further action was taken.

But the appearance of the latest documents that were
allegedly found in a filing cabinet, could open the prospect of prosecution and
the maximum penalty would be six months’ imprisonment and a £1,000 fine.

The inquiry continues.

Source:- The Times  Saturday 2 February page 14

MMR uptake at new low as measles hits schools

The uptake of the vaccination against measles, mumps and
rubella has fallen below the critical level of 85 per cent, according to the department
of health.

The announcement falls as two nursery schools in South
London has been hit with an outbreak of measles. Three children have measles
and 22 suspected are being tested. The uptake of the controversial MMR jab has
fallen as low as 65 per cent in the area.

National use has fallen below 85 per cent, the threshold below
which epidemics become a serious risk.

The 25 confirmed and suspected cases are thought not to have
received the vaccination, according to the department of health, for fear of
associated health problems.

Source:- The Times  Saturday 2 February page 1

PC ‘looked for multiple wounds on Damilola’

The first police officer to reach Damilola Taylor thought
the boy must have been suffering from multiple stab wounds as he gave the 10-year-old
mouth to mouth resuscitation.

PC James Greenhill told the Old Bailey that he searched the
body for multiple punctures to explain the “quite horrific, very large patches
of blood on the ground,” but only found the single wound on the back of his leg.

Four youths have been charged jointly with the murder of
Damilola in November last year. They have been jointly accused of manslaughter
and assault with intent to rob.

The teenagers, one aged 14, two brothers aged 16 and a youth
aged 17 plead not guilty.

The case continues.

Source:- The Guardian  Saturday 2 February page 5

Closure of Sangatte centre refused

A second attempt by Eutrotunnel to close the refugee centre
near the Channel Tunnel failed on Friday.

The Channel Tunnel operator said the Red Cross centre at
Sangatte served as a launchpad for thousands of would-be illegal immigrants
aiming to reach Britain.

A court in Lille ruled the camp situated a mile from the
mouth of the Tunnel, did not pose sufficient a problem to warrant annulling a
requisition order that allowed it to open in 1999.

The Anglo-French company showed the court footage of crowds
of immigrants storming the compound with little opposition from French police.

Afterwards, Eurotunnel said it was very disappointed with
the court’s decision.

Source:- The Guardian  Saturday 2 February page 10

Britain, asylum capital of Europe

Britain is still the favourite destination for asylum
seekers wanting a new life in Europe, according to a survey.

Despite a government overhaul of the asylum system, a United
Nations survey shows refugees select and reach Britain more than any other
European country.

One in five refugee of the over 40,000 Afghans seeking
asylum last year chose Britain.

The figures do not include illegal immigrants, which could
be as many as 400,000 a year.

Source:- Daily
Saturday 2 February page 6

‘Soft touch’ plan to end jail crisis

A shake up of the penal system could result in thousands of
criminals being released from Britain’s old and overcrowded jails.

David Blunkett has admitted Britain locks up too many people
and that for the majority, prison does not work.

The home secretary is planning a series of European ‘light
touch’ options including weekend prison to allow offenders to keep their jobs,
semi-secure urban hostels for non violent offenders and an extension of tagging.

Blunkett will outline plans for a third way between jail and
community sentences to the prison service’s annual conference tomorrow.

Source:- The Observer  Sunday 3 February page 1

Clampdown on illegal sex trade

The leaders of Britain’s illicit trade in sex slaves will
face tougher prison sentences to be announced by the home secretary this week.

Those responsible for smuggling hundreds of women from the
Far East, Africa and eastern Europe every year and forcing them to work as
prostitutes will face up to 14 years in jail.

The move is part of the immigration and asylum white paper.

Source:- The Sunday
Sunday 3 February page 28

‘Proof’ that gay parents are bad for children

Children brought up by gay couples will face serious
problems later in life, according to a parenting study.

Children raised by gay couples are more likely to experiment
with homosexual behaviour and be confused about their sexuality, according to
the biggest investigation into same sex parenting to be published in Europe.

Sociologist Patricia Morgan concludes the best way to bring
up a child is in a traditional marriage.

The launch of the book Children as Trophies? Coincides with
the government’s plan to change adoption law to allow unmarried couple’s to
adopt, if it is in the child’s interests.

The current restrictions on adoption law mean of the 60,000
children in care, only 3,000 a year are adopted.

Source:- The Mail on
  Sunday 3 February page 36

Blunkett unveils hostels plan to cut jail numbers

The home secretary is expected to announce reforms to the
penal system today including releasing thousands of in mates on weekdays and
housing others in hostels.

As the prison population is expected to reach a record high
of 71,500 by September next year, home secretary will announce a “third option
to custody and community punishment” at the annual prison service conference.

Blunkett insisted he would be tough on sex and violent
offenders but the future for non-violent offenders would include tagging,
hostels and weekend sentences.

Source:- Independent  Monday 4 February page 9

Alternative strategy yields good results

Canada’s jail population is currently lower than Britain’s,
in a country which operates a weekend jailing system successfully.

Weekend imprisonment is used for first time offenders and
minor property offences with the emphasis on rehabilitation and catching
someone before they become a persistent offender.

The prison population is around 100 per 100,000 compared
with 130 in England and Wales.

A professor in criminology at University of Central England
in Birmingham David Wilson said: “Of course, they have had people who have not
turned up and reported in the way they should but the Canadians point out that
they have less reoffending, it is less costly and it is truly being used as an
alternative to custody.”

Source:- Independent Monday
4 February page 9

Give addicts free heroin , says chief constable

Heroin should be prescribed free to Britain’s 300,000 addicts,
according to a chief constable.

Head of north Wales police Richard Brunstrom wants heroin
possession to be decriminalised and people caught with small quantities of the
drug to be treated.

Brunstrom said heroin should be prescribed to prevent
addicts turning to crime to get the drug.

Source:- Independent  Monday 4 February page 8

Eight out of ten are opposed to MMR triple jab

Eight out of ten people believe parents should be given an
alternative to the MMR triple vaccination, according to a NOP poll.

Of those surveyed, 38 per cent showed dissatisfaction at the
way the government has encouraged parents to vaccinate their children against
measles, mumps and rubella.

The poll is announced as the Public Health Laboratory said
the take up of MMR has fallen below 85 per cent.

Source:- Daily
  Monday 4 February page 4

Scottish newspapers

Fraud probe into missing £100,000

The fraud squad in Glasgow has launched an investigation
into a community centre after auditors reported their suspicions over the
possible ‘mis-spending’ of £100,000 of Scottish executive funding. 

At the same time, it has been admitted that a childcare
group in the city is being investigated over “financial irregularities”.  The fraud investigations in Glasgow follow
the revelation that Labour-run Fife council made a £40,000 grant to a charity
for older people, which had ceased to exist when the payments were made.  The charity was linked to former first
minister, Henry McLeish, as one of the undeclared tenants of his Glenrothes
constituency office.

Source:- Sunday Herald
3 February page 2

Hospice to challenge water rates

The Sisters of Charity community in Clydebank, the largest
hospice in Scotland, is to challenge the Scottish executive on water rate

The hospice won a historic victory over the Treasury in
having returned some £202,000 VAT charges on improvements made in their unit
including the sauna, showers and therapeutic pool.  Now water rates increases will mean that the cost of using that
pool will escalate from £3,000 to £14,000 a year.

The nuns who run the hospice are challenging the ruling on
the basis that it will force them to remove the facility and thus prevent them
from meeting one of their sacred vows – to serve the poor, the sick, and the
needy to the full.

Source:- The Herald
Monday 4 February page 6

Council uses B&B for care of older people

Argyll and Bute council has admitted to using B&B
accommodation to provide respite care for older people.

Scottish Care, the umbrella organisation representing
private care home owners, slated the policy as inappropriate particularly at a
time when the private sector is threatened with increasing financial
insecurity. James McLellan, chief executive of Argyll & Bute Council, said
that many private residential and nursing homes were reluctant to tie down beds
for respite care which did not provide permanent occupancy. 

McLellan said that the use of underused B&B
accommodation also boosted the local economy. Ronald McColl, spokesperson for
social work for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, expressed his
concern and said that B&B “would not necessarily have the facilities needed
for elderly people”. McColl said he was unaware of any other Scottish council
applying the same policy.

Source:- The Scotsman
Monday 4 February page 5

Welsh newspapers

Allegations over home dismissed
Cardiff council has dismissed claims that it failed to prevent a series of
problems at a residential home for older people in the city.
Following a debate in the National Assembly for Wales where Conservative AM
Jonathan Morgan, raised concerns over the standards of care at the Hazelcroft
Residential Home in Fairwater, Cardiff, the council says that it has rigorously
investigated all of the allegations that have been made.
Staff at the home have been criticised for neglecting residents and there have
been concerns over lost medication with some 5,000 tablets going missing.
Over the last two years there has also been a long running campaign of claim
and counter claim between staff members, with hundreds of allegations being
made. The home is currently closed for refurbishment.
Source:- South Wales Echo Friday 1 February page 14
Residents veto women’s refuge
Residents of the Stow Hill area of Newport in South Wales say they will fight
plans for a women’s refuge.
The residents say that the plans for a six-bedroom hostel would cause increased
noise, public disorder and traffic problems. There are also concerns that the
proposed refuge would have an effect on property values in the area.
Charter Housing, which is applying for planning permission for the refuge say it
does not want to comment until they hear the outcome of the planning process.
Source:- South Wales Argus Friday 1st February page 15
Spare specs in frame for kids
New proposals from the National Assembly for Wales could mean extra glasses for
children in the Principality.
Welsh Assembly members have voted for changes to the current legislation which
will mean that certain categories of young people up to the age of 19 will in
future be eligible for an extra set of free spectacles.
The proposed changes are being considered because of the large number of
breakages to children’s glasses, which can leave young people, who are reliant
on their spectacles, in a vulnerable position when doing simple tasks or
carrying out school work.
Source:- South Wales Argus Friday 1st February page 20


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