A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

of £4.1m awarded to
gifted girl trapped in disabled body

gifted child was awarded £4.2m in damages yesterday after she was left severely
disabled at birth following a medical accident.

Webster, 7, has one of the highest IQs in Britain, but has problems with her
movement and speech, the court heard. Her counsel argued the accident has
deprived her of attending university and the near certainty of reaching the top
of her chosen profession.

was deprived of oxygen at birth at Queen Charlotte’s hospital, west London in
1994, and developed cerebral palsy. As a result, she uses a wheelchair and
needs assistance and a carer at school.

Michael Dean awarded around £400,000 for loss of potential earnings and £3.5m
to be paid into a care fund by Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust, which admitted
liability, but contested the amount of compensation claimed.

Independent  Friday 8 March page 14

clubs give a licence to go soft on drugs

The government
admitted yesterday that it would ignore the personal use of Ecstasy and other
“dance” drugs in nightclubs.

In a
new set of home office guidelines, it accepts that drug taking is a part of
youth culture that cannot be eradicated. It gives clubs advice on how to
prevent drug dealing and how to make the venues safer for clubbers using drugs,
including chill out rooms, better ventilation and lots of water.

guide also underpins the government’s plans to focus on dealers and the impact
of hard drugs, such as heroin and cocaine.

guidelines, ‘Safer Clubbing,’ has received a mixed response. Club owner Liam O’
Hare said that if the government could not stop drugs getting into prisons, it
was impossible to eradicate them from nightclubs.

Janet Betts, whose daughter Leah was killed by the drug Ecstasy, said: “Things
like free running cold water, and a rest room and a first aider should be there
anyway. The minute you put a fancy label on it like chill out room, that club
is using that to advertise the fact that they tolerate drug use, and that’s
what I object to.”

The Times  Friday 8 March page 3

chief gives evidence of how muggers beat law

of the worst cases of young muggers being released back to London’s streets to
reoffend is going to be released today in a dossier by Sir John Stevens.

commissioner of the Metropolitan Police will use the cases, which have been
compiled by senior officers, to back his attack on the criminal justice system.
He claims it has left the public at the mercy of robbers who are repeatedly
bailed despite new offences.

cases will highlight the activities of muggers, many of whom are young
offenders. Stevens has already claimed young muggers go free because there is
inadequate secure accommodation to house them.

young muggers fail to attend hearings and identity parades until courts lose
patience and abandon cases

and chief police constables are to draw up plans on reforms to the court system
to present to home secretary David Blunkett.

The Times  Friday 8 March page 5

and Welsh newspapers

McLeish’s wife takes legal advice over
council report

Fulton, wife of former first minister Henry McLeish and depute director of
social work at Fife Council, is to take legal advice over the council’s inquiry
into the funding of Third Age, a charity to support older people which got
caught up in the issue leading to McLeish’s resignation as first minister.  

report, which will be released to councillors in private today, concerns the
allegation that officials continued to pay council grants of £40,000 to Third
Age despite knowing the charity had ceased to exist.  

Age was one of the sub-tenants of Henry McLeish’s Glenrothes constituency
office which led to his resignation as first minister over the issue of
undeclared expenses. Douglas Sinclair, chief executive of Fife Council, had
carried out an initial inquiry which reported that there were no issues of
concern. However, he was ordered by the council to carry out the investigation
again. This time, his report indicates that certain members of staff had “lied”
to him and he intended to start an investigation into a number of employees.  

one of a range of officers who sanctioned the payments to Third Age, said: “I
am outraged at any suggestion that I might have acted improperly.” Going on to
say that she has “concerns about the content of the report”, Fulton concluded
that she has “been left with no option but to put the matter in the hands of my

It is
understood that the report indicates that the council grants were spent on the
services for which they were provided. Fulton has been on sick leave since
early February.

The Herald Friday 8 March page 1

Sperm donor wins full parental rights

homosexual man who acted as a sperm donor for a lesbian couple made legal
history yesterday when he won the same parental rights as a heterosexual

30-year-old man, a social work assistant, who cannot be named, won “full
parental rights and responsibilities” to an 18-month-old boy at Glasgow Sheriff
Court.  The ruling is expected to have
widespread implications for the rights of all sperm donors.

The Scotsman Friday 8 March page 1

Sacked social worker caught selling fake
designer clothes

A social worker whose dismissal may lead to strike action by council workers in
Cardiff, has a conviction for selling counterfeit goods at a car boot sale.
Charles Faber was suspended after appearing on a local TV documentary where he
talked of his fears for the safety of children in the care of Cardiff Council.
He was later dismissed although the council says that his suspension and
dismissal were related to budget control.

appeared in court in November 2000 and pleaded guilty with his partner of
selling fake designer clothes. But his union said that he is a "hugely
respected social worker" and that the revelations about Faber’s past were
"mischief making".

appeal over his dismissal is currently being heard and Unison spokesperson Ian
Titherington said that the timing of disclosures about the past conviction are
not coincidental.
Source: South Wales Echo Thursday 7
March  page 7

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