Monday 4 November 2002

Paedophile checks held up to avert wards

Police checks on care home staff and agency nurses are being
postponed by up to 21 months in order for the Criminal Records
Bureau to clear a backlog of work.

There had been fears of a nursing crisis in hospitals if the
requirement for full checks had been enforced. Some schools were
forced to begin term late following the summer break because of the
bureau’s failure to process teachers’ applications,
which led to a backlog of 100,000.

The latest emergency action by ministers was taken in a bid to
prevent the organisation from being overwhelmed by
“paedophile checks” on people working with the

A home office spokesperson said the move had to be taken to
ensure “the long term viability of the CRB”.

Source:- The Times  Saturday 2 November page 8

Adoption retreat by Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith has issued a private message to the Tory
modernisers saying they should feel free to defy a party policy on
gay couples adopting children.

MPs were told they could ignore a three-line whip on Monday to
block same-sex couples adopting children.

The message was read out at Wednesday night’s meeting of
the backbench 1922 committee.

Source:- The Guardian  Saturday 2 November page 8

Peers and MPs put legislation in jeopardy

Four major pieces of legislation are likely to be opposed by
peers this week, as shifting cross-party coalitions seek to soften
the home office plans to crack down on refugees and to attack the
prime minister’s plans to allow unmarred couples to adopt

In the Commons, as many as 30 Labour MPs could rebel on asylum

The asylum bill, adoption bill, animal health bill and
enterprise bill all have to be debated in both the Lords and the
Commons in what is expected to turn into a game of ping pong.

MPs and peers are complaining that all the bills except the
enterprise legislation have been extensively redrafted in the past
few months and they have not had enough time to assess the
implications of the changes.

Source:- The Guardian  Saturday 2 November page 8

It’s easy: a few forms, a tired nod and you beat
the asylum barrier

Insight on how to exploit the asylum system and figures that
bolster UK’s reputation as soft touch

Source:- The Sunday Times  Sunday 3 November page

Parents hit by childcare vetting delays

Delays in the vetting of new childminders and nurseries, carried
out by the schools watchdog Ofsted will result in working parents
being denied childcare.

Carers have been forced to wait for over a year for clearance in
some cases thanks to a backlog that is now putting the
government’s planned expansion of childcare places in
jeopardy, pressure groups claimed yesterday.

Delays in routine checks could lead to parents being tempted to
leave their children with minders who have not been checked, Tory
MPs have warned.

Only just over half of the 28,000 new applicants to the watchdog
have been visited by the end of September, let alone cleared to
start work, Ofsted figures showed last week.

Source:- The Observer  Sunday 3 November page 10

Councils flout law on gay adoption

Laws that prevent same-sex couples from adopting children are
being flouted by councils, according to an undercover Sunday
Telegraph investigation.

The Adoption Act 1976 prohibits unmarried couples from jointly
adopting a child. Yet, despite this, some local authorities were
found to be actively seeking gay people to adopt children by
placing advertisements in gay newspapers or on advertising

The councils were found to be exploiting a legal loophole that
allows single people to adopt. Officials encourage one of the
couple to put their name forward as the lawful parent and the
adopter’s partner is then encouraged to apply for residency

The undercover reporters, who posed as homosexual prospective
parents, were told by 14 different social services departments that
they would be considered suitable applicants.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph  Sunday 3 November page

Ministers rethink Bill to lock up mentally

Ministers are being forced to climb down over proposals to lock
up mentally disordered people who have committed no offence.

The government is now rethinking the most controversial aspects
of the Mental Health Bill.

The government’s mental health tsar, Louis Appleby has
indicated to colleagues that he will resign if concessions are not

The government has drawn up plans to refer the Bill to a special
standing committee, set up to deal with complicated proposals
before it is debated by MPs.

Source:- The Independent on Sunday  Sunday 3 November
page 1

Why the Mental Health Bill is pure madness

In a major book to be published next week Jeremy Laurance,
health editor of The Independent on Sunday, argues that in the 10
years since the random killing of Jonathan Zito by paranoid
schizophrenic Christopher Clunis, a desire to protect the public
has taken priority over care of patients. Unless ministers strike
the right balance between care and control, he warns, there will be
more tragedies.

Source:- The Independent on Sunday  Sunday 3 November
page 12-13

Prison rioters ‘ordered men to slash

Men housed in the vulnerable person’s unit at Lincoln
prison were ordered to slash their wrists by prisoners involved in
the riot last month.

Inmates were warned by the group of rioters after they smashed a
window dividing the unit from the rest of the prison that unless
they harmed themselves the unit would be set alight.

Two of the inmates in the unit, which holds sex offenders and
other prisoners at risk, did cut their wrists and needed hospital

Police investigating the riot are looking into the allegations.
A home office inquiry will also examine the claims.

The riot began last month when a group of prisoners overpowered
a guard, beat him and stole his keys.

An estimated £2m worth of damage was caused and 200 places
lost, increasing pressure on the already overcrowded prison

Source:- The Guardian  Monday 4 November page 8

Tories defiant over homosexual adoption

Up to 40 Conservative MPs, including members of the shadow
cabinet are to vote against their leader Iain Duncan Smith, who is
planning to vote against plans to allow unmarried couples to adopt

Duncan Smith insisted that party policy was clear yesterday and
he would put the needs of children ahead of fashionable

He has told MPs privately that they will not be punished if they
fail to obey the three-line whip that has been imposed on the

At least three senior front benchers, Tim Yeo, Damian Green and
John Bercow, are expected to absent themselves rather than vote
against the leader tonight.

Up to a third of the parliamentary party could abstain,
according to estimates.

The Commons will vote on whether to extend adoption rights to
unmarried couples, including same sex couples, as the government
hopes to get its Adoption and Children Bill through before the end
of the parliamentary session on Thursday.

Source:- Daily Telegraph  Monday 4 November page 8

Delays in paedophile inquiries

The majority of the 5,000 suspected British paedophiles alleged
to have paid for Internet child pornography have yet to be
investigated despite the police having had their details for four

Up to 100 police officers are alleged to be among the suspects
undercovered during an investigation in America, although only 30
have been identified including two from the Soham murders team.

Operation Ore found between 4,000 and 5,000 people in the UK
paid for pictures of child abuse on US websites. In July, American
investigators sent details to the 51 police forces in Britain. Yet
despite detailed intelligence, nearly all of the suspected
paedophiles remain at large.

Source:- Independent  Monday 4 November page 1

Scottish stories

Number of court cases in limbo rockets

Hundreds of prosecutions for serious crimes are going unheard in
the High Court because of a growing crisis within the justice

The Crown Office has admitted there is a significant problem and
instigated a wide-ranging review of court procedures, soon to be
presented to the Scottish Executive.

Source:- Sunday Herald November 3 page 5

Children stuck in adoption limbo

Hundreds of vulnerable Scottish children are trapped in care in
a “planning limbo” when they could be settled with
stable families.

In the year to the end of March 2001 there were 12 per cent more
adoptions in England than in the previous year. In Scotland no
targets have been set and the number of adoptions has fallen.

Source:-  Sunday Herald November 3 page 3

Public to police child sex offenders

Paedophiles will be integrated into the community under radical
plans to introduce a buddy system for sex offenders. The system
would plug an existing loophole which means offenders are
unmonitored after release.

Members of the public will be asked to befriend convicted child
sex offenders in a bid to stop them re-offending.

Source:- The Scotsman November 4 page 1

Welsh stories

Health under the knife as NHS faces £60m

Essential health services in Wales could be cut back as the NHS
faces a deficit of almost £60m by the end of the financial

Just six months into the financial year, all five Welsh health
authorities are predicting overspends of as much as £12.8m,
and some of the Principalities largest trusts are warning of
deficits of £7m.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 4 November page 1

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