Wednesday 16 October 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

Most social services departments failing

A new report from the Audit Commission and the Social Services
Inspectorate has found that most social services departments have
failed to serve their clients well.

Inspectors found that less than half of the English councils
reviewed since October last year showed promise of improvement.

In 16 out of 30 social services departments the prospects were
said to be uncertain or poor. In Wales only two out of eight
departments showed promise of improvement.

Denise Platt, the chief inspector of social services, said:
“There is excellence in many services, but it is spread too

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 16 October page 13

Anger at ‘cheap gimmick’ of anti-gay adoption

A move by the Christian Institute to launch an ‘adoption card’
in the form of a donor card, which reads: “In the event of my death
I do not want my children to be adopted by homosexuals”, has been
condemned by campaigners as a cheap gimmick.

The British Association of Adoption and Fostering has published
Mori research showing that public opinion is shifting towards
support for same sex adoptions. The new poll shows that only 36 per
cent of people oppose same sex adoptions, compared to 84 per cent
in 1993.

The House of Lords is due to debate the Adoption and Children
Bill tonight (Wednesday), and there will be a move from
Conservative peer Lady O’Cathain to reverse proposals from the
government to allow same sex adoptions.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 16 October page 15

Big shake-up for housing benefit

The government is set to announce a major shake-up of housing
benefit, ending the need for councils to account for the individual
rent of an applicant.

Currently administrators have to assess the rent paid by each
applicant, using broad rent levels in each area.

Andrew Smith, the work and pensions secretary, hopes the reform
will cut out some bureaucracy from the system, which is expensive
to run. The scheme will be piloted in some areas before being
extended across the country.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 16 October page 15

Infertile couples ‘used as guinea pigs’

Couples using some forms of infertility treatment are being used
as guinea pigs, leading fertility specialists have warned.

Two treatments in particular – the use of frozen eggs and a
technique called intra-cellular sperm injection – has not been
rigorously tested in clinical trials. Joyce Harper, a fertility
specialist at University College London and Hammersmith hospital,
told a conference in London: “I do feel often, IVF patients, are
the experiment.”

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 16 October 2002 page

Woolf warns government over human rights

Lord Woolf, the lord chief justice, has warned the government
and parliament that judges will help minorities if their rights are
not protected.

He told an audience at the British Academy in central London
that Britain had ignored the rights of terror susepects held in the
wake of the September 11 attacks.

A special immigration appeals commission ruling on the behaviour
of Britain in dealing with suspect terrorists is awaited by home
secretary David Blunkett.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 16 October page 1

Call for end to social services

Social services departments would be abolished and new
organisations would replace them, providing health and social care
services to people according to their age under radical proposals
released today (Wednesday).

Age-related local social care organisations would be created
under the reforms published by the left leaning thinktank, the
Institute for Public Policy Research, which would be responsible
for meeting the needs of children, adults and older people.

The report, ‘From Welfare to Wellbeing’, also calls for the
creation of a separate child protection service staffed by
specialist professionals.

The new service would aim to achieve better co-ordination
between different professions dealing with child abuse cases.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 16 October page 14

Milly witness saw girl led across field by two

Surrey police issued a new appeal after investigating what they
described as a “highly significant” sighting of what could have
been schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s final minutes.

Detectives said a schoolgirl was seen being led across a field
by two men, and it could have been minutes before she was

The girl was believed to be wearing a school uniform, and was
seen 300 yards from the spot in Yateley Heath Wood near Fleet,
Hants, where her body was found last month.

The last confirmed sighting of Milly was at 4.08pm on 21 March
as she walked home from Walton-on-Thames railway station. The girl
in the field was seen at 5pm on the same day.

The new witness has also told police of several vehicles he saw
in the area.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Wednesday 16 October page

Sentencing policy ‘means jails will be full in new

Prisons in England and Wales will be full by the new year unless
the government intervenes, prison governors said yesterday.

Mike Newell, president of the Prison Governors’ Association,
blamed increased sentencing powers for magistrates and fast-track
convictions for the record number of inmates.

Last week the prison population rose to 72,379 from 41,500 in

Source:- The Independent Wednesday 16 October page

Guardian Society

Needs test

Each time an at-risk child dies as a result of abuse, a torrent
of recriminations – some justified, some way off beam – is aimed at
social services departments. As debate over reform of child
protection comes to a head, John Carvel and David Batty look at the
raft of proposals aimed at preventing such deaths happening in the

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 16 October page

Closed doors

Social fund denied to desperate people

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 16 October page

Signs of the times

As three top jobs become available in disability charities,
Raeka Prasad asks whether new chief executives should share the
users’ experiences

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 16 October page

Stay connected

Older people with learning disabilities often need support to
make and sustain friendships

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 16 October page

Resources follow risk

Lion’s share of Hackney budget spent on acute mentally ill

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 16 October page

Scottish newspapers

Blair school head savages ‘soft’ drug

Tony Blair’s old school may be forced to drop its tough
anti-drugs police – because of Labour’s decision to
soften the law on cannabis.

Source:- Daily Mail October 16 page 7

Costly ads row

Advertising watchdogs have criticised the Scottish executive
over a £280,000 campaign to promote elderly care plans.

The Advertising Standards Authority have branded the adverts
“misleading” and “ambiguous”. They were designed to promote free
personal care but failed to make it clear that some older people
would have to pay for part of their care.

Source:- Daily Record October 16 page 15

Children’s unit claim

More than one third of all children being held in secure units
in Scotland need not be there, a charity has claimed.

NCH Scotland is calling for “halfway houses” with foster carers
to help children who have mild behavioural problems.

Source:- Daily Express October 16 page 2

Welsh newspapers

‘Self-harm is on the increase’ as stress spirals

A feature looking at the growing problem of people who
‘self harm’, and the network of support groups that are
available to help.

Thousands of people across Wales are cutting themselves with
scissors, razors and knives in an effort to cope with the stresses
of modern life. For many it is a way of coping with feelings of
anger, hate, fear and low self-esteem and can be triggered by
traumas such as grief, abuse or divorce and can affect people of
any age.

The Amber project set up in Cardiff three months ago to help
self- harmers cope has been inundated with calls for help. The
project is designed for people over the age of 16, but has received
many calls from schools seeking help.

Anne Magill, who co-writes self-help booklets for the
Abergavenny-based Basement Project, said that Wales had as big a
problem as the rest of the UK. She added that in the voluntary
sector, all agencies come across it, and within statutory services
mental health professionals come across self-harmers all the

Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 16 October page 8

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