Monday 13 October 2003

By Clare Jerrom, Lauren Revans, Sally Gillen, David
Callaghan and Alex Dobson.

Doorstep loans study may lead to OFT

Next month’s findings of a National Consumer Council study
examining doorstep lending to consumers on low incomes in parts of
the north and north west could form the basis of a
“supercomplaint” to the Office of Fair Trading about
the controversial practice.
Research by the coalition campaign group Debt on our Doorstep
suggests that annual percentage rates offered by some lenders to
thousands of poor families across the country can be as high as 177
per cent.
Source:- Financial Times Monday 13 October page 3
Law Society warns over legal aid
The financial services industry should pay a levy to the civil
legal aid fund to help pay for debt-related legal advice, the Law
Society is expected to warn later this week.
The society, which will call for a review of the criminal, legal
and civil legal aid services, believes public defenders could soon
have to provide legal aid unless the government acts to head off a
looming crisis in the system.
Source:- Financial Times Monday 13 October page 4
Kennedy brings in new blood in bold

Sutton MP Paul Burstow will take over from Dr Evan Harris as the
Liberal Democrat’s spokesperson on health as part of a
reshuffle of the party’s frontbench team.
Mark Oaten, the party’s chairperson, will replace Simon
Hughes, the party’s candidate for mayor of London, as home
affairs spokesperson.
Source:- Financial Times Monday 13 October page 4
Social work has come bottom of a list of 170 courses ranked
according to the A-levels achieved by the undergraduates taking

The findings, based on 2.3 million students, reveal that secondary
education also attracts less able students, with the degree course
coming in at 162nd.
Source:- Daily Mail Monday 13 October page 15
Letwin says sorry over attack on state

Shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin has apologised to his local
comprehensive school for saying that he would rather beg than send
his children there.
He said he was sorry for causing any offence to Lilian Baylis
school in Kennington, south London, with his comments at a fringe
meeting at the Conservative Party conference last week.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph Monday 13 October page 2
‘Abducted’ boy found under bed
The search for a nine-year-old boy feared abducted over the weekend
has ended after he was discovered asleep in a den he had built
under his bed.
Christopher Offord’s mother had raised the alarm Saturday
evening when her son apparently failed to return to his Suffolk
home from a friend’s house nearby.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph Monday 13 October page 2
Curfew plan faces court challenge
Child curfews aimed at tackling antisocial behaviour and low-level
crime will breach four articles of human rights legislation,
according to human rights lawyers Matrix Chambers.
The curfews for under-16s are part of an antisocial behaviour
action plan to be launched by the government this week, based on
measures in the Antisocial Behaviour Bill expected to reach the
statute book in January.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 13 October page 7
Firms to fit hearing aids for NHS
Two high street suppliers will be able to provide a free assessment
and fitting service for digital hearing aids under government plans
to accelerate a £125 million programme to increase uptake.
Previously, the free service was only available on NHS
Source:- The Guardian Monday 13 October page 7
Legal aid system in crisis, says solicitors
GP-style contracts for legal aid solicitors could help to
stem the exodus into better-paid private work, the Law Society
suggests in a new report.
The society, which represents 85,000 solicitors in England and
Wales, is calling on the government to act urgently to avert a
growing crisis in the legal aid system.
Children in care should go to Eton too, says Letwin
Shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin is considering a plan to send
looked-after children to private boarding schools such as
Letwin has launched a working group on the future of local
authority care, which will explore the possibility of handing
control of care homes to independent boarding schools and
Source:- The Independent Monday 13 October page 1
OAPS get council tax rises pegged to

Older people living in Kent will have council tax raises linked to
the rate of inflation, following a decision by ministers to allow
the council to introduce a discount plan.
The landmark discount scheme, which was approved by local
government minister Nick Raynsford, will mean other residents will
pay 10 or 15 pence a week more.
The plan has been introduced under the Local Government Act, which
came in last month, and Kent is believed to be the first council to
use the new powers it gives to introduce exemptions and discounts
for certain groups.
Source:- Financial Times Saturday 11 October page 2
Mother jailed as her son plays truant for 94

A mother who was unable to stop her 15-year-old son truanting has
been jailed for a month.
The boy missed 94 days of school and his mother had already been
convicted of failing to ensure her child attended school. She
received a two-year conditional discharge in July 2002.
Northamptonshire council said the woman had failed to attend
meetings to get her son back to school, and had used the Education
Act 1996 to prosecute her.
Source:-  Daily Telegraph Saturday 11 October page 14
Climbie audit finds child protection patchy
More than three years after the death of Victoria Climbie, 45 per
cent of social services departments are still failing to serve most
children well.
A report on the audits of child protection procedures carried out
by health, police and social services has found that performance
was improving but was still dangerously patchy.
The report noted that there was still a high number of unallocated
cases and that there was “concern” about the variation
on services provided by NHS organisations.
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 11 October page 13
Child sex laws too lenient says judge
A top judge yesterday called on the government to change
the law to allow tougher sentences on paedophiles.
Lord Justice Kay said that the public and judiciary had been
concerned for years about the sentencing in some cases of sexual
offences against children.
Source:-The Times Saturday 11 October page 13
Care home refund ‘to cost

The bill for compensating families for the cost of long term care
for sick and older people could reach £600 million, a new
survey from the Liberal Democrats reveals.
A health service ombudsman report in February found that health
authorities are liable for the continuing care costs of many
families who have had to use savings to meet the bills.
The survey of 23 of the 28 strategic health authorities shows that
the costs amount to £557 million, and administration of claims
could cost as much as £30 million.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 12 October page 6
Lie detector tests for rapists and

Paedophiles and rapists could be subject to lie detector tests as
part of their rehabilitation into the community. The probation
service is to run a series of pilot schemes to monitor offenders
released on licence.
It will be a voluntary scheme to begin with, but could become
Source:- The Observer Sunday 12 October page 11
Beggars hit by crackdown on anti-social

Beggars who harass people at cash machines are to be targeted in a
new crackdown on antisocial behaviour to be announced by the prime
minister this week.
He will unveil 30 intervention programmes in cities and towns which
will clear beggars off the streets offering them hostel
A government survey is expected to show that in one 24-hour period
in September more than 50,000 incidents of begging, drunkenness,
kerb crawling , rowdy behaviour and vehicle related nuisance, were
Source:- The Observer Sunday 12 October page 3
Blair v Brown over pensions
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are to clash over Treasury plans to
apply a tax on pensions. The row is likely to delay progress on the
government’s pensions bill.
The Treasury has proposed a tax of more than 60 per cent on
people’s pension funds, which would raise £1.4
Source:- The Sunday Times 12 October page 2
Scottish newspapers
Child abuse pledge can’t be delivered

Senior social workers have admitted that Edinburgh council can not
honour its pledge to urgently review the cases of 342 children
known to be at risk of physical abuse by their parents.
The authority had promised the review of all acute child protection
cases on file following the damning independent report into the
death of Caleb Ness, who was killed by his father while he was on
the social work at risk register.
Last night a source within the authority told ‘The
Scotsman’ it was impossible for the council to
“urgently” look at all the cases.
“The reality is that we don’t have the staff resources
to systematically scrutinise all our cases as intensively as we
need to,” the source said.
Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 11 October
Counselling for children over family

Children in the Lothians whose parents have separated or divorced
are to be offered counselling under a new service.
The initiative by Couple Counselling Lothian is aimed at giving
young people a chance to talk confidentially if they are having
difficulties relating to their parents’ separation.
Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 11 October
Revealed: scandal of the neglected children in residential

Children in care are being failed by the system set up to protect
them, according to a damning new report that shows a
“shocking” catalogue of health problems facing this
Looked after children have health problems which are not being
picked up and treated, according to the study. They are not being
told about safe sex and some are abusing drugs and alcohol.
Just 14 per cent of the children in residential care in Edinburgh,
Midlothian and East Lothian had undergone a full set of routine
check ups and immunisations. Just over 80 per cent had physical
problems, from minor ailments to major concerns, the study by
paediatrician Dr Anne Grant found.
Source:- Sunday Herald 12 October
New funding to tackle depression
A £4.5 million programme to improve the treatment of
depression in Scotland has allocated funding for its first round of
The Scottish executive funded programme called ‘The Doing
Well by People With Depression’, is being undertaken by the
Centre for Change and Innovation, which is an NHS organisation that
aims to improve patient care.
Argyll and Bute Health Board was selected this week to lead the
first round of projects in a three-year scheme.
Source:- Sunday Herald  Sunday 12 October
Forget ‘neds’ …most teenagers benefit

Most of Scotland’s young people think respect is an important
quality, value citizenship and want to put something back into
their communities, according to a poll carried out for Youthlink
The results suggest the media and politicians are wrong to demonise
young people for the actions of a small number, the
organisation’s chief executive Simon Jaquet said.
Source:- Sunday Herald 12 October
Chiefs ordered to explain how to avoid another Caleb Ness

The Scottish executive has summoned social work chiefs at the
centre of the death of Caleb Ness to explain plans to avoid another
Ministers will demand evidence of reform of Edinburgh
council’s social work system following the death of the
11-week old baby at the hands of his father.
Experts have suggested that the government could take over the
running of the city’s social work department if they are
dissatisfied with the progress made.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 12 October
Outrage over child tagging plan
Controversial plans to electronically tag children as young as 10
have been criticised amid fears they could become a ‘badge of
honour’ for young people.
Critics including children’s groups, police chiefs and
churches believe that allowing young offenders to be tagged could
lead to some being left in abusive homes where they could be in
danger, instead of being sent to secure accommodation.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 12 October
Unions in yob blast
Unions have urged the Scottish executive to crackdown on thugs who
abuse and attack public service workers.
Police face the highest risk of injury with more than a quarter
reporting assaults or threats. Social workers and probation
officers are next at risk, followed by government staff and
Source:- Daily Record Monday 13 October
New Alzheimer’s Aid
A new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease could soon be
available for Scottish people in spite of being refused approval
earlier this year by the Scottish Medicines Consortium, which
advises NHS Boards on new drugs.
The consortium are to reconsider claims that Ebixa can be of
“significant benefit” in delaying severe
Source:- Daily Record Monday 13 October
Social work staff crisis ‘putting child safety at

A leading MSP, Scott Barrie, called for a national audit of social
work departments last night after further damning evidence of the
crisis facing child protection emerged just days after the report
into the death of Caleb Ness was published.
More than 400 social care posts are unfilled within
Scotland’s 32 local authorities. Glasgow council has around
120 posts vacant with a 30 per cent shortfall in staff.
Public sector union, Unison, claims that a significant number of
the vacancies are within child protection and the scale of the
problem is such that hundreds of children on the at risk register
are not getting adequate protection from frontline officers.
Source:- The Scotsman Monday 13 October
Mental unit rethink call
The consultation process around plans for a medium secure unit for
offenders with mental health problems in the west of Scotland has
been criticised by an executive minister.
Hugh Henry, the deputy justice minister, said the process had been
“seriously flawed”, and called for a fresh
Bruce McFee, an SNP list MSP for the west of Scotland, also called
on Malcolm Chisholm, the health minister, to intervene. He plans to
lodge a parliamentary motion asking the minister to review the
process, claiming the local council has “strong
grounds” for refusing a planning application.
Source:- The Scotsman Monday 13 October
Asylum-seeking nurses work without pay in Scots

Six asylum seekers are working as unpaid nurses in Glasgow
hospitals as part of a bid to overcome chronic nursing shortages in
the NHS.
Another 24 with overseas nursing qualifications are queuing up to
be part of a new system, an “adaptation” programme,
which will enable them to be employed by NHS trusts in
Source:- The Herald Monday 13 October
Welsh newspapers
Deaf ‘losing out on education’
Deaf Welsh children are at risk of losing out on a basic education,
according to the British Deaf Association in Wales.
The association says that many of them are wasting time learning to
speak, instead of being taught sign language, and as a result
suffer high levels of mental health problems.
Richard Jones, community advocacy officer for the BDA, said that
all too often deaf children are expected “to do all the
work” to live in a hearing world, and are not given adequate
access to the deaf world and deaf role models.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 13 October page 5
Mental health services ‘failure’
Vulnerable children and young people in Wales are being failed by
mental health services.
Research by the children’s charity Barnardo’s has found
widespread failings in mental health services for young people and
there are growing concerns that the national service framework to
improve services in Wales has become bogged down in
The charity’s Youth Crisis Group based in Cardiff, carried
out the research and found that mental health issues were being
dealt with as an isolated medical matter rather than in a holistic
Source:- Western Mail Monday 13 October page 5

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