A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Jonathan Pearce, Reg Mckay and Alex Dobson.

councils want more money for wages

in central and inner London are now 54 per cent higher than in Tyneside, the
West Midlands and north west England, according to research commissioned by
county councils in the south east which are bidding for higher government
grants to compensate for rising wages bills.

South East England Development Agency research shows how councils in the
prosperous south east are being forced to divert funds to pay for higher wages.
Councils in the region claim that social care services are underfunded by up to
13.5 per cent.

The Guardian Thursday 21 March page 5

could be paid for childcare

could be paid by the state for looking after their grandchildren under a
radical new plan being considered by the government to encourage single parents
back into work.

and pensions secretary Alistair Darling is looking at a Nottinghamshire Council
scheme where grandparents, aunts and uncles are paid up to £25 per child per
week for providing family childcare.

Darling is well aware that the Treasury would not back funding for all
grandparents – many of whom are happy to offer their services for nothing – he
wants the government to help single parents who say they are unable to
undertake work-related training or start a job because they cannot find or
afford registered childcare.

to research by Age Concern England, one in four UK grandparents look after
their grandchildren while the parents work. Age Concern has backed the
initiative, but national childcare charity the Daycare Trust said the
government should concentrate on investing in professional childcare services.

grandmothers is at best a short-term sticking plaster to mask the failings in
current services. No other European country sees investing in informal
childcare as the way to achieve quality services,” said a spokesperson for the

The Guardian Thursday 21 March page


follow-up to The Guardian’s survey
last year of 200 public sector workers’ views on the state of public services.

The Guardian Thursday 21 March in a
separate supplement

remanded for murder
of Somali teenager

11-year-old boy burst into tears and clung to his mother yesterday after being
remanded into local authority care having been charged with murdering a
15-year-old Somali boy.

11-year-old, who cannot be named, appeared at Brent Youth Court, north-west
London charged with murdering Kayser Osman on the Church End Estate, Willesden,
north west London, nine days ago.

of the youngest defendants in Britain to be charged with murder, he appeared in
the dock flanked by a security guard and a social worker. Magistrates refused a
bail application and remanded him in local authority care under a 24-hour
curfew. He is due to return to the same court on 27 March.

The Times Thursday 21 March page 3

Home secretary holds summit on street crime,
while elderly victims are left prisoners in their home

secretary David Blunkett and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens
held a meeting at Downing Street yesterday to discuss street crime.

The Times covers the case of an
11-year-old girl who has been arrested 30 times and who is meant to be in local
authority care. Meanwhile, pensioners in sheltered homes in a deprived area of
inner-city Birmingham are afraid to leave their homes because of the rising
level of street crime.

The Times Thursday 21 March page 7

aged 102 wins care home reprieve

woman aged 102 who appealed to the prime minister to save her from being
evicted from her care home appeared to have won a reprieve yesterday.

teacher Rose Cottle, and 90 other residents, faced eviction because property
developer Bryant Homes planned to buy Borehamwood Care Village, Hertfordshire,
and demolish it to build private homes.

the developer has offered to withdraw from the deal claiming it “did not
realise the sensitivities” of the issue until a petition was delivered to
Downing Street on Monday.

Assured Care Centres, which owns the village, said it had received no official
notice of Bryant Homes’ decision. But ACC will also be meeting with
representatives of Forest Healthcare to discuss the possibility of it taking
over the home.

The Times Thursday 21 March page 9

abuse to be televised at offender’s wish

paedophile who committed suicide will have his final wish granted by the BBC
when it shows video footage of him abusing boys.

Hansen, who had 26 previous convictions for abusing youngsters, agreed to an
interview for a BBC documentary, having just been arrested by the Metropolitan
Police which had seized 5,000 images of computer pornography. He committed
suicide three hours after the interview by taking an overdose of

a suicide note, he asked for the interview to be screened along with home video
footage of his abuse. The documentary will be screened in May in a BBC2 series,
The Hunt for Britain’s Paedophiles.

producer Bob Long said the series was shocking, but he believed that the abuse
scenes were justified in raising awareness.

The Times Thursday 21 March page 11

and Welsh papers

grandparents to look after children

should be paid to look after children according to Age Concern Scotland. 

scheme devised by the charity suggests that lone parents moving off benefits
and into the workplace should be given an allowance to cover childcare being
carried out by a relative, typically a grandparent. 

Barrow, head of policy and public affairs at Age Concern Scotland, described
the proposals as “a win-win situation”.

The Herald Thursday 21 March page 4

transfer may be breaking EU law

controversial proposal to transfer Glasgow Council’s housing stock to the
Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) may be in breach of European competition law
according to campaigners. 

Deans, a council house tenant from Pollokshaws, and Mike Daily, a solicitor and
housing law expert at Govan Law Centre, have lodged a petition at the European
parliament in Brussels asserting that the Scottish executive unfairly favoured
the sole bidder, GHA, for the city’s 80,000 houses. 

the parliament agrees it could lead to action by the European Commission that
could jeopardise the whole project.

The Herald Thursday 21 March page 8

to take legal action against the BBC

Council is to take legal action after a BBC documentary attacked its record on
child protection.

the programme the presenters revealed that they had obtained a copy of the
council’s child protection register and the council is now seeking an
injunction to prevent sensitive information from the register being used in the

is the latest move in a long running row over the programme which was shown
last October and which featured senior social worker, Charles Faber. He
highlighted his fears over shortcomings in children’s services in the city.

was suspended only hours after the programme was shown and subsequently
dismissed although the council said that his dismissal related to budget issues
and had nothing to do with his appearance on the programme. There is no suggestion
that Faber was involved in leaking the register to the programme makers.

spokesperson for the BBC said it would defend the action and that it
anticipated a trial sometime during June this year. In the meantime Faber’s
union, Unison, are to take strike action on his behalf next Wednesday.

Western Mail Thursday 21 March page 9

plan major rescue of Children’s Society projects

but one of the projects put in jeopardy by the Children’s Society withdrawal
from Wales have been saved from closure.

staff group that was formed following the charity’s controversial decision to
pull-out of Wales and a Welsh assembly task force have worked alongside each
other to save the majority of the work formerly undertaken by the Children’s

only project now likely to be lost will be the Valley’s Community Development
Unit in Pontypridd in South Wales which will close with the loss of two jobs.

Western Mail Thursday 21 March page 8


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