A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By David Callaghan, Reg McKay and Alex

Blunkett’s fast track asylum cheats hits

The government’s plans to fast track the expulsion of
failed asylum seekers ran into trouble from French lawyers and
refugee groups last night.

The move to make failed applicants leave Britain and appeal from
abroad will need the agreement of other European states, but the
home office has yet to approach them.

The French Ambassador in London said the plan contravened an EU
convention, and an official in Paris said that France had little to
gain from the scheme.

Refugee groups said the proposals were a bid to deter attention
from the figures showing 19,250 asylum applications were lodged in
the first three months of the year, an 8 per cent rise on the
previous quarter.

The number of failed applicants removed from the country was
2,445 in the first three months – a third of the
government’s target.

The backlog of cases awaiting an initial decision has fallen to
35,000, but there are 48,000 appeals pending.

Source:- The Times Friday 31 May page 1

Asylum seekers vanish and hope for the best

Rejected asylum seekers are running the risk of a clandestine
life on the run to remain in Britain.

Source:- The Times Friday 31 May page 10

Home office is told to speed life prisoners’

Hundreds of prisoners serving life sentences could face an early
release after the court of appeal ruled that delays in the parole
system could be a breach of their human rights.

The judgements, headed by lord chief justice, Lord Woolf, said
more money would have to be invested into the parole system to
ensure lifers had their cases reviewed speedily. If this did not
happen a prisoner would be entitled to a mandatory order from the
courts, he said.

The home office now faces a hefty bill to speed up the parole
board procedures.

The parole board did not begin considering the release of
prisoners serving life sentences until after they had served the
minimum number of years fixed for them to serve, until

But at the court of appeal Lord Woolf ruled the delays violated
Article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which gives
all life prisoners the right to have the length of time they must
spend in jail “speedily” reviewed.

Source:- The Times Friday 31 May page 14

Internet girl goes missing

A 13-year-old girl is feared by police to have gone missing with
a man she met over the internet.

Louise Andrews, from Cutteslowe, Oxon, has previously run away
with a stranger she met on the internet.

She has not been heard from since she left her parents’
home last Sunday.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 31 May page 2

Father held as his son is battered to death

A man with a history of mental illness was arrested last night
after his son was found bludgeoned to death at the family home.

Paranoid schizophrenic John Walker is alleged to have killed his
15-year-old son Scott with a hammer.

Worried family and friends told social services about
Walker’s deteriorating mental health, it emerged last night.
But social workers decided it was safe to allow Scott to continue
living with his father.

Walker is believed to have admitted himself to Hillingdon
hospital, west London, earlier this month, but discharged himself a
few days ago.

Scott had been living alone with his father for three months
after his mother Sandra left.

Hillingdon social services said it was saddened by the tragedy
but refused to say whether it had been alerted to the
family’s problems.

“As the matter is now the subject of a police investigation it
would be inappropriate for us to comment,” a spokesperson said.

Source:- Daily Mail Friday 31 May page 9

Scottish newspapers

Children move to top of Scottish agenda

The protection of children is to be one of the highest
priorities of the executive in the coming year according to first
minister, Jack McConnell.

On the last day of a three-day sitting of the parliament in
Aberdeen, McConnell confirmed that tough new legislation will be
introduced to stop unsuitable adults from working with children. If
they continue to do so it will be made a criminal offence. All in
all, McConnell announced 11 new bills for the Scottish executive in
the coming year.

Source:- The Herald Friday 31 May page 1

Hospital waiting lists drop

The Scottish executive has announced that hospital waiting
lists, and the time people waited for treatment, have dropped over
the past three months.

The latest figures show that, at the end of March, no-one waited
more than 12 months for in-patient and day case treatment. Health
minister Malcolm Chisholm claimed that the recent trends were in
line with the patients’ charter but more had to be done to
meet the executive’s own targets.

Source:- The Herald Friday 31 May page 6

Welsh newspapers

Ex-school worker admits charges of child

A former employee at Headlands School in Cardiff has admitted
three charges of child cruelty going back almost 40 years.

Earlier this year, George Francis Best had denied 17 allegations
of indecent assault on males at the school, and three accusations
of more serious sexual assaults. The prosecution followed the
setting up of Operation Goldfinch which investigated allegations of
abuse at children’s homes in south Wales.

Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 30 May page 13

Inquiry home security bill

A security bill of £14,000 has been run up at the
controversial Hazelcroft home for older people in Cardiff.

The home, which is the subject of an SSI inquiry, closed last
year and was handed back to the county council. The security cost
of protecting the building from vandals, and thieves was reported
to the council. Hazelcroft closed for refurbishment after two years
of allegations and inquiries. Hundreds of complaints were made by
staff against each other resulting in a number of disciplinary

Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 30 May 30 page

Children suffer as strain shows on teachers

The education of thousands of children is being interrupted by a
high rate of absenteeism among teachers.

A survey shows that as many as 240,000 working days were lost
last year as a result of teachers being sick. That is the
equivalent of six days off work for every teacher in Wales from a
working year of 195 days. Hundreds of supply teachers are being
hired daily at a cost of around £150 a day

Source:- Western Mail Friday 31 May page 1

Abuser totally ruined my life

One of the victims of an abuser who preyed on children says he
totally ruined her life. The woman, who was abused 30 years ago,
has spoken out after the jailing of Eric Smith at Cardiff crown
court, and criticised the crown prosecution service for failing to
provide enough support.

Source:- South Wales Argus Thursday 30 May page 10











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