A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Blair will confront unions to ward off

Tony Blair faced criticism from Britain’s second largest
union yesterday as he declared that Britain would never be dragged
back to the “bad old days” of industrial strife.

“The trade unions have a right to be listened to but they
don’t govern the country,” the prime minister said at a No 10
press conference.

The move came as the new head of Amicus union, Derek Simpson
accused Blair of lacking democracy and shaping policies against
workers’ interests.

He hinted that the union’s £1m-plus funding of Labour
could be cut if members voted in favour of it in protest at

Source:- The Times Friday 26 July page 1

Mentally ill win in ruling by

Mentally ill patients should not be charged by local authorities
for after care services, the House of Lords ruled yesterday.

Manchester Council had appealed over three cases involving
mentally ill people placed in residential care accommodation after
being discharged from hospital.

Their decision to charge the patients was successfully
challenged in judicial review proceedings and the Court of Appeal
later backed the finding that the policy was unlawful.

Lord Slynn of Hadley and four other Law Lords said the central
question was whether the Mental Health Act 1983 authorised and
required the provision of after care services.

If so, it was common ground that there was no such right to
charge for such services because the Act contained no charging

Source:- The Times Friday 26 July page 2

Police smash mosque door to seize
asylum seekers

The government was forced to postpone the deportation of an
Afghan family following an 11th hour legal challenge
amid Muslim anger over a “military style” raid on a mosque to
arrest them.

Five immigration officers and 12 police officers smashed their
way into a mosque. Farid Ahmadi and his wife Feriba were detained
after the officers knocked down the door of the Ghausia Jamia
mosque in Stourbridge, where the couple had taken refuge for 28
days after they were told they would be removed from Britain.

The couple and their two children were due to be deported to
Germany, where they had filed to win asylum in 2000 before they
moved on to Britain. The German government had agreed to take them

Last night, lawyers for the couple sought leave to apply for a
judicial review of the deportation decision. The Home Office had to
announce that the removal would be suspended until the result of
next week’s court challenge.

Source:- The Times Friday 26 July page 3

Race board chief to face

The chairperson of the Commission for Racial Equality will
appear in court next week charged with threatening behaviour
towards a police officer at Lord’s cricket ground.

Gurbux Singh was charged at Marylebone police station after he
arrived to answer bail with his wife Siobhan, who was also arrested
in the incident as they were leaving the cricket ground earlier
this month.

Singh is to appear at Horseferry magistrates’ court next
Wednesday and if convicted could face up to six months in jail. His
wife was released.

Source:- The Times Friday 26 July page 4

Morris applauds jailing of parent who
hit teacher

The courts’ commitment to crack down on violence against
school staff was proved yesterday after a parent was given a
nine-month sentence for attacking a head teacher.

Stephen Magee struck Eamon Cahill in the jaw with his elbow
before punching him several more times at a meeting to discuss the
suspension of his son, Jack.

Cahill, who had been head master of Southlands comprehensive
school in New Romney, Kent for 13 years, was left with cuts and
bruises after a school administrator dragged the parent away.

Education secretary Estelle Morris said the sentence showed
there were “no excuses for walking into school and hitting a

Source:- The Times Friday 26 July page 5

Councils offer a minimum wage of
£5 an hour

Local authority leaders offered a new minimum wage of £5 an
hour yesterday, in a bid to avert another strike by council staff
on 14 August.

The offer was hailed as a breakthrough by union leaders, who
have demanded 6 per cent for 1.2 million council staff. Until now,
employers had refused to budge from their 3 per cent pay offer,
arguing councils could not afford more.

Yesterday, however, they said that a new minimum £5 hourly
rate up from the current £4.82 could be part of a
“comprehensive solution” to the dispute.

Source:-The Times Friday 26 July page 10

Increase in drug use by

Illegal drug use in children has nearly doubled in four years,
according to a government survey.

In 2001, 20 per cent of children aged 11 to 15 had taken drugs.
The figures also show that the use of cocaine among young people
aged 16 to 24 has increased from 1 per cent in 1994 to 5 per cent
in 2000.

The statistics also demonstrate that an increasing number of
younger children are trying drugs. In 1998, 1 per cent of children
aged 11 had taken drugs in the previous year against 6 per cent for
last year.

The figures were published by the Department of Health and the
government’s statistical service.

Source:- The Times Friday 26 July page 10

Council must pay for gypsy

A couple won the right to compensation from a council yesterday
in a landmark case, after their lives were made a misery by the
anti social and lawless behaviour of gypsies on a local traveller

Elaine and Kenneth Winch endured more than a decade of
disruption because of the legal gypsy encampment 200 yards from
their home in Potton, Bedfordshire.

Mr Justice Astill ruled that the local authority,
Mid-Bedfordshire district council, had not done enough to tackle
the “nuisance” that blighted their lives.

The family are now entitled to compensation from the council and
are seeking £30,000 in the case, which is thought to be the
first of its kind.

Source:- The Times Friday 26 July page 11

Children’s agency chief sacked

The head of the agency set up by the government to look after
children in the court system has been dismissed after an
eight-month disciplinary inquiry.

Diane Shepherd was suspended last November from her £80,000
a year job as chief executive of the Children and Family Court
Advisory and Support Service after less than a year in the

The agency refused to disclose the reasons for her dismissal,
but it was thought to relate to questions of competence and to
making financial decisions without authority.

Source:- The Times Friday 26 July page 11

Scottish and Welsh papers

First interactive wedding for disabled

What is believed to be Britain’s first interactive wedding
for people with sight and hearing impairments will be convened
tomorrow when Rosita Green and Jim McKenzie get married in
Musselburgh, East Lothian.

Green is blind and McKenzie is partially sighted. The order of
service and meal menu will be printed in Braille, sign language
will be provided for deaf people and there will be an audio
description of the wedding for those with sight impairments.

The wedding is to be conducted by the Reverend Roger Lee, a
Methodist minister from London.

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 26 July page 7

The writing is on the wall

A full-length feature examines the phenomenon of young people
drawing graffiti and different approaches.

In Edinburgh special space is allocated to the ‘art’
while in Glasgow the young people are hunted and prosecuted. But
which approach is the right one?

Source:- The Herald Friday 26 July page 18

Only one respondent believes Peterhead
Prison should close

Only one person responding to the Scottish executive’s
consultation exercise believes that Peterhead Prison should close
causing the executive and justice minister Jim Wallace considerable

In the 12-week consultation 78 other public bodies and
individuals – including sex abuse experts, high court judges,
executive ministers, the justice committee – expressed their
opposition to the closure of Peterhead and the risks to its
dedicated treatment unit for sex offenders.

The letter of support to the closure came from a local resident
in Peterhead.

Source:- Daily Record Friday 26 July page 1

Taxpayers pay out again

The two-year investigation into the controversy over a
residential home for older people in Cardiff has cost taxpayers a
substantial amount of money, Cardiff Council has admitted.

There have been claims by GMB union officials that the total
cost of the investigation into what went wrong at Hazelcroft home
in Cardiff could be as much as £1m.

Chris Bettinson, cabinet member for families and health, said
that he was unable to speculate on the final costs but that it was
clear to everybody that they would be substantial.

Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 25 July page 16

Children to voice fears over switch of
paediatric services

Children who are concerned over the planned changes to
paediatric services in south Wales are to meet with the Children’s
Commissioner for Wales, Peter Clarke, to voice their concerns.

Abigail Maquire from Swansea needs regular brain surgery to
drain fluid from her brain, sometimes at short notice. The proposed
changes, which will mean centralising services near Cardiff, could
mean that she and other children with complex conditions are put
into danger because of the distances they would have to travel to
access treatment.

Next Tuesday, Abigail and her mother together with other
concerned parents and children will meet Clarke to discuss their

Source:- Western Mail Friday 26 July page 10

Conwy social services found to be

A joint review by the Audit Commission and the Social Services
Inspectorate for Wales (SSIW) has found that Conwy social services
department in north Wales, serves some people well but that more
needs to be done to improve the service.

The report says that many people find it difficult to get help
or a response from social services officers over the telephone and
that the out-of-hours cover needs to be strengthened.

It also says that the department is not geared to helping people
live independently and concludes that the prospects of improving
the service are uncertain.

Source:- Western Mail Friday 26 July page 10





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