Wednesday 29 January 2003

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

There were 12 chances to save Victoria Climbie. This was
one. Seven months later she was dead.

The public inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie yesterday
demanded a huge shake up in children’s services in

Lord Laming, who chaired the inquiry, called for a new national
agency to spearhead fundamental reform as he published a 400-page
report on the lessons to be learned from the tragedy.

There was a catalogue of “lamentable” administrative, managerial
and professional failures that allowed social workers, police and
NHS staff to miss more than 12 opportunities to save the

Lord Laming condemned their conduct as a disgrace and criticised
the “buck passing” among senior officials.

The report also points the finger at former chief executive of
Haringey council, Gurbux Singh, and the former director of social
services, Mary Richardson, as both moved on to better paid jobs
after Victoria’s death.

“This is not an example of managerial accountability that
impresses me much,” Laming said.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 29 January page 1

Terrorists posing as refugees, say Tories

A “significant” number of terrorists are coming into the UK and
posing as asylum seekers, Iain Duncan Smith said yesterday as he
launched proposals for far reaching powers of detention, and raised
the possibility of withdrawing from refugee treaty obligations.

“The security services are doing a magnificent job in
identifying those who might do us harm – but for every one
they find, there is the real possibility of another entering the
country,” he said.

Critics immediately accused the Conservative party leader of
reviving his party’s “nasty” image.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 29 January page 15

Airlines shun deportees

Attempts to increase deportations are being undermined by the
refusal of most airlines to carry asylum seekers being removed from
Britain, MPs were told yesterday.

If it was not for British Airways, the number of those deported
on scheduled flights would be “virtually nil”, the private security
firm responsible for the escorted removals told the Commons home
affairs committee yesterday.

Chief executive of Loss Prevention International, Tom Davies,
said since September 11, many airlines refused deportees point
blank due to the concerns of paying passengers.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 29 January page 15

Protest over asylum seekers ends in arson

A former naval barracks was damaged by a fire that started
minutes after the end of a public meeting called to oppose plans to
use the building to house up to 750 asylum seekers.

There was extensive damage to one floor of the derelict
10-storey block on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, called
‘Hardy House’.

The attack came after home secretary David Blunkett warned that
whipping up fears about asylum seekers could lead to a breakdown in
community relations.

Opponents to the plan believe the peninsula will become
“Britain’s Alcatraz” if the asylum seekers are detained

The island already houses 2,000 prisoners housed in two jails
and a young offenders institution.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 29 January page 3

Challenge by truant mother

A mother is claiming that her conviction for failing to ensure
her son attended school is breaching her human rights.

The high court challenge began as counsel for Alison Barnfather
argued that the law on truancy denied the presumption of innocence
guaranteed by human rights legislation.

Islington council in north London prosecuted Barnfather and
fined her £75. Her appeal was later rejected.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 29 January page 2

Ministers will miss poverty target

The government’s target to lift more than a million
children out of poverty in two years is not likely to be met, a
thinktank forecasts today.

There will be a large fall in the number of children in poor
families, but a rise in incomes will lift the threshold and mean
that the target is missed by 200,000, according to the Institute
for Fiscal Studies.

It calculates that Chancellor Gordon Brown will have to spend an
extra £1 billion to increase subsidies for low income families
with children to be sure of hitting the target.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 29 January page 10

Guardian Society

Equal measure

Research supports single equalities act

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 29 January page

Timetables of failure

Minister attacks ‘unacceptable’ housing benefit

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 29 January page 4

Matchmaking mission

Merged lottery funds could begin work within months

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 29 January page

Truth hurts

Under fire from the law and politicians, drugs charity Lifeline
maintains it must be forthright if it is to help those in need of
its services

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 29 January page

On the move

The mobile solution that will allow councils to monitor home
care staff more effectively

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 29 January page

Orders of priority

Catholic parishes advised to focus on care for elderly

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 29 January page

Scottish newspapers

Children’s tsar call after Climbie

A powerful children’s commissioner with responsibility for
shielding children from abuse could soon be appointed in Scotland
following the independent inquiry into the murder of Victoria

Scottish executive sources confirmed last night they would
seriously consider plans in England and Wales to adopt a
children’s tsar to coordinate the work of child protection
officers across the country.

Source:- The Scotsman Wednesday 29 January page 4

Council jobs plan to protect housing deal

The Scottish executive is preparing for a possible court defeat
over the legality of the controversial £4 billion Glasgow
stock transfer.

Until now, ministers have vigorously dismissed suggestions that
the plan to sell 82,000 council houses to the Glasgow Housing
Association (GHA) could founder on a legal technicality.

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 29 January page 6

Welsh newspapers

Welsh family doctor ‘forced’ women to be his

A family doctor is accused of nine charges of indecent assault
and one of attempted rape against two women patients at his surgery
near Cardiff.

The women, one in her 50s and the other in her 30s allegedly
became the sexual puppets of GP, Robert Owens, after he forced them
to submit to his advances.

The offences are alleged to have occurred between 1996 and 2002.
The trial continues at Newport crown court.

Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 29 January page 1

England’s child care plan ‘second rate’

The Children’s Commissioner for Wales has attacked plans for a
similar role in England, as second rate.

The inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie led by Lord
Laming has recommended the appointment of a children’s commissioner
in England, who would report to a ministerial committee for
children’s services.

But Welsh Children’s Commissioner Peter Clarke said that the
role would lack the necessary independence because the office
holder would have to report to a government department.

Source:-  Western Mail Wednesday 29 January page 1

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