Monday 8 September 2003

By Amy Taylor, Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.
Changes to save children at risk

Education secretary Charles Clarke has admitted that too much
pressure on social workers had led to ‘disastrous mistakes’ for
He said the professionals had been expected to take on too much
responsibility, been damned for intervening too soon and damned for
standing back.
Speaking to ‘The Observer’ he also admitted that the
education attainment of looked after children was a ‘public
scandal’. More than half of this group have no qualifications when
they reach 16.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 7 September page 12
OAP convicts get special prison wing
Britain’s first prison wing solely for older inmates is to open
next year at Norwich prison.
The wing is in response to the increasing numbers of older
prisoners serving longer sentences due to the government’s tougher
sentencing policies.
The decision comes as penal reform groups express concern that
older prisoners are not having their needs met.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 7 September page 13
Blair delayed child laws to rescue Hodge
A leaked cabinet paper proves that the government delayed the green
paper on children at risk so as to protect children’s minister
Margaret Hodge from embarrassment.
A letter from Charles Clarke, the education secretary, shows that
the plans were ready to be published over two months ago, but
political circumstances caused it to be delayed.
In the week when the paper was due to come out Margaret Hodge, the
newly appointed minister for children, was at the centre of
controversy over allegations of child abuse at council-run
children’s homes while she was head of Islington council during the
The government previously said the paper was delayed due to the
prime minister not having enough space in his diary to fit the
launch into his schedule.
Source:- The Sunday Times 7 September page 2
Single-mother culture grows in a benefit
Levels of single mothers are greater in countries where the state
provides many benefits, according to a new report.
The research, which carried out by North Western university in
Illinois, also found that there are more single mothers when women
earn similar wages to men, and even more when men are generally
poor and unemployed, as they are less attractive to women.
Source:- The Sunday Times 7 September page 6
New abuse law may make teen kisses a crime
New legislation aiming to crackdown on paedophiles could
cause teenagers who kiss and embrace to be acting illegally.
The new Sexual Offences Bill proposed by David Blunkett does not
distinguish between teenagers’ actions, and adult paedophiles in
its outlawing of “sexual touching” of under-16s.
Source:-  The Sunday Times 7 September page 6
Was CPS clerk who gave the Soham cop an alibi really his
secret lover?

The Crown Prosecution Service is set to launch an investigation
into evidence that Brian Stevens, the Soham policeman cleared of
child pornography charges, was given his alibi by a former
Louise Austin, an administration clerk for the Crown Prosecution
Service, claimed that Stevens was with her on the night he is
alleged to have downloaded child pornography onto his laptop,
shortly before he was due to stand trial.
Child porn charges against Stevens were dropped shortly afterwards.
Other allegations that he indecently assaulted two teenage girls
were also dropped.
Source:- The Mail on Sunday 7 September page 9
Thousands of children being sent to prison
Figures released next week will show that there has been a
90 per cent increase in the use of child custody over the past
The Nacro report goes on to state that there has also been an
eight-fold increase in the numbers of children under the age of 15
jailed in the same time period.
Source:- The Independent on Sunday 7 September page 8
Young asylum seekers set to win release
Last week an asylum seeker mother and her 13-month-old
daughter were released from Dungavel detention centre in
Lanarkshire on the grounds that their detention breached
international child protection laws.
Mercy Ikolo and her daughter had been held at the centre for almost
three weeks.
Ikolo had fled political persecution in Cameroon and was travelling
from her home in Ireland, where she is hoping to get residency, to
visit friends in Scotland when she and her daughter were seized by
immigration officials.
Source:- The Independent on Sunday 7 September page 8
Gays face high risk of mental health

Two out of three gay, lesbian and bisexual people are likely to
have mental health problems compared to one-third of heterosexual
people, according to a new study by mental health charity
The findings, to be published this week, also state that almost a
third of gay men and more than 40 per cent of lesbians, who talk
freely about their sexuality, also reported prejudice from mental
health workers.
Source:- The Independent on Sunday 7 September page 6
Refugees converge on Calais as ferries struggle to stem

Hundreds of refugees are grouping in Calais and preparing to enter
Britain, it emerged last weekend.
Around 800 potential asylum seekers are in the French port waiting
to try and get onto a train or boat over to this country.
Ferry companies said that up to 60 illegal immigrants a week were
being caught attempting to hide in their ships.
Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 7 September page 10
‘Laddette’ culture blamed for rise in young girls being
locked up

Child detainees in secure units are being held for longer and for
more serious offences
Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 7 September page 13
Government to bypass census results
The government has decided to bypass the 2001 census
results by using different figures for population planning over the
next year.
The move would seem to admit that the figures, disputed by local
authorities, are not accurate.
The Office for National Statistics is set to announce changes to
the 2001 population estimates next week.
Source:- The Financial Times Monday 8 September page 1
Our marriage has ended, say Sarah Payne’s

The parents of Sarah Payne, who was murdered by a paedophile, have
separated blaming the strain of dealing with the tragedy.
Sara and Michael Payne, who had been together for 18 years, said
the trauma of the three years since eight-year-old Sarah was killed
by Roy Whiting have been “a terrible struggle”.
The couple are expecting their fifth child in November, but they
are now living apart albeit close to each other in Hersham,
Source:- Daily Mail Monday 8 September page 17
Pensioners ‘are ready to risk jail’ over their
council tax bills

The police have warned ministers they face a large protest from
older people refusing to pay council tax bills that have risen by
an average of 16 per cent in the south, and even 40 per cent in
some areas.
Devon and Cornwall Police Authority has written to local government
minister Nick Raynsford warning him there could be poll tax-style
protests of non payment.
The authority has warned that some older people are willing to go
to jail rather than pay the new bills.
Source:- Daily Mail Monday 8 September page 35
Social work and schools ‘to unite for child
Tony Blair will announce the biggest reform of
children’s services for 30 years today in a consultation
paper that he wants to serve as a permanent memorial to Victoria
Climbie who died after months of abuse.
Teachers and social workers are to be made into a single
organisation under local authority command, and told to make the
well-being of children their priority.
They will have a duty to liaise with police and health staff to
ensure that every child gets help to deal with problems from
learning difficulties to parental neglect.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 8 September page 7
Parents hit by school costs
One in five children may have started the new term without an item
of uniform because their parents could not afford it, according to
a small-scale survey by the Child Poverty Action Group.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 8 September page 10
Ministers back anonymity rule for rape

Police officers are to face disciplinary action if they leak the
names of men accused of rape and other sex crimes to the media
before they are charged, under an agreement being worked out by the
police and ministers.
Home Office ministers hope tightening the guidelines will head off
a bid this week by MPs to push through a statutory ban on naming
the defendants in rape and other serious sexual cases before they
are charged.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 8 September page 6
Sexual health clinic ‘misdiagnosed

A hospital assured patients that they were healthy when in fact
they were carrying sexually transmitted diseases, according to a
Between 10 and 15 patients were assured that they were clear merely
on the basis of partial results, an independent investigation into
the events at the Caldecott Centre at King’s College hospital
south London has found.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 8 September page 7
Unions go to war over Blair reforms
The prime minister’s plans to accelerate the reform of public
services in the run up to the next election were under threat from
a new wave of trade union militancy.
In a spirit of anti-Blair solidarity, union bosses gathering in
Brighton for the TUC annual conference united behind a series of
hostile motions condemning plans for elite foundation hospitals and
the use of private money to provide public services.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 8 September page 1
ID cards may be Blair’s ‘plastic poll

Any bid to introduce a system of national identity cards could land
the government in trouble, according to a survey for the
‘Daily Telegraph’.
The YouGov poll headline figure showing a large majority in favour
of such a system conceals depths of potentially lethal
Most Britons would welcome the system to reduce ‘health
tourism’, benefit fraud and make it easier for the government
to identity bogus asylum seekers, but at the same time majorities
believe the scheme could be open to abuse and personal details
could be leaked to unauthorised people outside government.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 8 September page 4
Teachers criticise citizenship plan
Citizenship is being taught inadequately in schools a year after it
became a compulsory part of the secondary school curriculum,
according to a report.
Schools are complaining about a lack of support from government in
teaching the subject just days after David Blunkett said he wanted
new Britons to sit citizenship tests and learn English.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 8 September page 4
‘Re-think’ on hospitals
Foundation hospitals could be renamed to make it easier
for the public to understand what they are, according to health
secretary John Reid yesterday.
In an interview with BBC1’s ‘Breakfast with
Frost’ he said re-branding might be necessary because
“hardly anyone” knew what the phrase meant.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 8 September page 4
Tory probation plan for asylum seekers
Successful asylum seekers could face five years “on
probation” under radical plans to be announced by the Tory
policy group today.
Asylum seekers would have to sign a “contract of
obligation”, and if they broke the law or any other condition
of the contract during their probationary period they could have
their asylum status revoked.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 8 September page 6
Prisons failing to help two thirds of addict

Thousands of drug addicted offenders are released from prison
without being treated for their addiction, according to government
Ministers have admitted that prisons can afford to rehabilitate
fewer than one third of all inmates, who are problem drug users
despite the link between drug taking and crime.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 8 September page 8
Scottish newspapers
Jodi’s boyfriend ‘the only

The boyfriend of murdered schoolgirl Jodi Jones missed school for a
third consecutive day yesterday as reports emerged that he was the
only suspect in the murder hunt.
It is believed that the procurator fiscal is examining an interim
report from Lothian and Borders Police naming Luke Mitchell as the
only suspect in Jodi’s murder.
The 14-year-old was stabbed to death on 30 June near her family
home in Easterhouses, Midlothian.
Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 6 September
Police chief: youth crime isn’t a

A senior police officer has claimed that he does not believe youth
crime is a problem in Scotland.
David Strang, the chief constable of Dumfries and Galloway, told a
panel of officials set up to analyse Scotland’s child hearing
system he feels children are being victimised unfairly across the
Representing the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland,
he told a conference in Stirling that from his personal experience
he had always found children to be pleasant and valued members of
the community, while a “tiny minority” have caused
Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 6 September
New hostel opens for city’s homeless
Deputy communities minister Mary Mulligan officially unveiled
Edinburgh’s latest hostel for homeless people at Castlecliffe
last week.
City chiefs have hailed the completion of the project as the
culmination of a pledge made two years ago to end the need for
people to sleep rough in the city.
The new hostel, which is to be managed by the council, has 23
en-suite rooms and eight self contained flats for couples as well
as single homeless people.
Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 6 September
MP is urging OAPs to claim pension credit
A new campaign to encourage Edinburgh senior citizens to apply for
the new pension credit being introduced next month is being
launched by Liberal Democrat MP John Barrett.
Almost 30,000 pensioners in Edinburgh will be eligible for the new
credit, the government estimates, but acknowledges that nearly
8,000 will not claim it and miss out.
Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 6 September
Protesters call for Dungavel to be shut down
Dungavel asylum detention centre should be closed immediately,
according to political and religious leaders last night at a mass
Around 2,000 protesters gathered at the centre near Strathaven,
Lanarkshire, opposing government policies on detaining
Although asylum policy is Westminster’s responsibility,
campaigners called on the Scottish executive to make a statement on
detention policy.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 7 September
Murdered Jodi ‘had rows with

Claims that Jodi Jones rowed with her boyfriend Luke Mitchell and
had threatened to leave him – contradicting his assertion
that they never argued – are being investigated by
The 15-year-old denied stabbing his girlfriend to death, and
insisted the couple had “never had an argument”, in a
television interview on the day of Jodi’s funeral.
However, two police sources told the ‘Scotland on
Sunday’ that they are following up information that the pair
had a number of arguments, and that the 14-year-old had threatened
to split up with Mitchell shortly before the killing.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 7 September
Executive duped over Dungavel
Scottish ministers, who now refuse to speak out over the policy of
detaining children at Dungavel immigration centre, were so worried
by the problem in 2001 that they wrung promises from Westminster
that they would only be held there as a last resort and for no more
than a few days.
The 2001 pledge to executive ministers was immediately broken as
some children have been held at Dungavel for more than a year, and
others have been held even though they have not been issued with a
deportation order.
In 2001, the then social justice minister Jackie Baillie met Home
Office minister Lord Rooker and told him of the executive’s
The revelations fly in the face of first minister Jack
McConnell’s stance of not commenting on Dungavel.
Source:- Sunday Herald 7 September
Text pests
Two out of three young people have been pestered with text messages
by someone from the opposite sex, according to a survey by
children’s charity NCH yesterday.
Source:- Daily Record  Monday 8 September
Sex assault on girl as gang laughed
A teenager who was sexually assaulted while a gang watched and
laughed has backed the ‘Daily Record’s campaign.
Three years ago Donna (not her real name) was attacked as she made
her way home by two members of a gang while the other members
kicked a ball and laughed.
The attack only ended when the youths were disturbed and ran
She said: “It is about time the government realised what is
going on in our cities and stopped it.”
Source:- Daily Record  Monday 8 September
Justice failed again
A teenager who sexually assaulted a seven-year-old girl has been
allowed to walk free.
The ruling on Ashley Boyd will increase pressure on the executive
to look at sentencing policy and the girl’s parents are
demanding a “complete overhaul” of the justice
Sheriff James Smith refused to lock Boyd up because of his age, and
gave the 16-year-old 240-hours community service after he admitted
lewd, libidinous and indecent practices towards the girl.
Source:- Daily Record Monday 8 September
McConnell urged to end silence over Dungavel
Pressure on first minister Jack McConnell to break his silence over
the detention of children at Dungavel is set to intensify this
The Scottish National Party has called for a debate in the Scottish
Parliament on the future of the Lanarkshire detention centre which
houses families of asylum seekers.
Leader of the SNP said Thursday’s debate would allow
McConnell to air his views as leader of the Scottish Labour Party
rather than as first minister. He also attacked Westminster’s
policies on immigration as “racist”.
Source:- The Scotsman Monday 8 September
Scots concern over 24-hour drink laws
A majority of Scots believe longer drinking hours will lead to more
misuse of alcohol, according to a survey for The Herald by NFO
System Three.
In the survey, 49 per cent said the misuse would become worse if
drink were available around the clock – more than four times
the number who believed this would lessen the problem.
Source:- The Herald Monday 8 September

Welsh newspapers

New Tesco has special offer for single

Every lone parent in Merthyr Tydfil is guaranteed a job interview
at a new superstore that is to open in the town.
Merthyr has the highest proportion of single parents in the
country, and the new superstore is expected to employ around 200
Lone parent advisers from the town’s JobCentre will be on
hand to give single parents who want to apply for the posts, the
necessary preparation in interview techniques.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 8 September page 1
Going private, 20 years on
A half-page feature looking at the relationship between the private
sector and the NHS.
Twenty years ago the then Conservative government forced the NHS to
take bids from private contractors, and the report traces the
development of private involvement in state provision from that
time until the present day.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 8 September page 10


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