Thursday 13 May 2004

By Amy Taylor, Shirley Kumar, Clare Jerrom and Alex

Data matching cuts benefit fraud

Fraud in the public sector is being reduced as a result of the data
matching of council, health and benefit records, according to the
Audit Commission.

The commission has identified more than £83 million of fraud.
More than 120 council and NHS employees have been dismissed and
more than 500 housing benefit claimants have been cautioned or
given penalties.

Source:- Financial Times  Thursday 13 May page 4

Prison head’s pledge on re-offending

The head of the new National Offender Management Service has
pledged to quit if he does not achieve a 10 per cent reduction in
re-offending rates.

Addressing the Association of Chief Police Officers’ annual
conference in Birmingham, Narey said there had been a big leap in
the number of prison sentences handed out in the last decade with
little effect of deterring criminals from offending.

If the new merger of prison and probation services did not result
in a reduction of repeat offenders, Narey said he would stand down
from his post.

Source:- Financial Times  Thursday 13 May page 4

Judges told to watch their language in changed

Judges will be told to avoid using terms such as “asylum
seeker” and “second-generation immigrants” under
new guidelines issued yesterday by the Lord Chief Justice.

Under the rules, judges will be reminded about the problems of the
socially excluded who are not “a homogenous
‘underclass’ with a wholly alternative set of norms,
values and behaviours from those of mainstream

The guidelines, which are designed to prevent judges from making
courtroom gaffes, also covers minority ethnic issues, religion,
children, disability and sexual orientation.

Source:-The Times Thursday 13 May page 4

Hewitt in move to tackle bias

White people suffering disadvantage were included in plans
published yesterday for a new anti-discrimination

Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt warned of the danger
of violence between parts of the white community and ethnic
minority groups if both sides blamed each other for receiving more

As a result, the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights will
be tasked with embracing the white community.

Source:- The Times  Thursday 13 May page 4

Social deprivation ‘should count in school

Traditional school league tables should be replaced by
“weighted” tables which take account of the social
background of pupils, according to a report by MPs.

Under the new system, the level of local economic deprivation would
be analysed and factored into a school’s academic

The Commons Public Accounts Committee called for the overhaul to be
carried out next year.

Source:- The Times  Thursday 13 May page 14

Maxine Carr’s release papers stolen

Documents containing the address and phone number of the
safe-house Maxine Carr was due to move to following her release
from prison were stolen from a car this week.

The papers were taken from a civil servant’s car in north
London and dumped.

Carr was due to move into the house with her mother at the end of
this week, but the theft has damaged the Home Office’s plan
to set up a new life for Carr, who was imprisoned for conspiring to
pervert the course of justice over the murder of Holly Wells and
Jessica Chapman.

Source:- The Independent Thursday 13 May page 2

Mother’s fury at school health workers

A mother has attacked the role of school health workers after they
recommended her 14-year-old daughter should have an abortion
without her consent.

Maureen Smith, a health worker from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, is
outraged that nobody contacted her about her daughter’s
pregnancy. She was informed her daughter, Michelle, had undergone a
termination from a passer-by in the street.

The school said parents were issued with letters in September
making them aware that community child health workers could be
speaking to children.

The letter said parental consent for consultations was not required
except in rare circumstances.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 13 May page 2

Government drive jeopardises patient care

The government’s drive to reduce waiting lists is
jeopardising patient care, NHS doctors have warned.

Orthopaedic surgeons believe employing doctors from overseas in
special private centres could lead to inferior operations.

Highlighting an NHS inquiry into an unnamed South African doctor
employed by a private company, they say taxpayers will foot the
bill because the NHS will have to correct poor surgery.

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Thursday 13 May page 1

Independent schools urged to help disadvantaged

Education secretary Charles Clarke has called for
independent schools to do more for disadvantaged pupils.

Schools such as Eton, Winchester, and Rugby should consider
becoming full sponsors of city academies, state-funded schools
which target inner city under achievement.

Earlier, a principal government advisor told independent school
heads at a conference, that they risked losing their charitable
status if they did not do more to help state schools and

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Thursday 13 May page 2

New discrimination commission under attack

Government plans to create a single all powerful commission to
fight discrimination has come under fire from unions.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCU) has raised concerns
about the plans saying the government planned funding cuts of up to
13 per cent to existing equality bodies and there was nothing in
the White Paper that sought to harmonise equality

The new body, The Equality and Human Rights Commission will replace
the three existing commissions for racial equality, disability
rights and equal opportunities.

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Thursday 13 May page 8

Scottish newspapers

Prison release bid to head-off slop-out cases

The Scottish executive will allow some prisoners to leave jail
early and others to spend more time at home “on leave”
in a bid to prevent any further legal challenges over the practice
of slopping-out in Scotland’s prisons.

Justice minister Cathy Jamieson announced a number of measures
which she claimed would reduce the number of prisoners who are held
in blocks without any night time sanitation.

These include building temporary prison blocks, increasing the use
of electronic tagging and extending home leave from three days at a
time to seven.

The move follows last month’s landmark legal judgement which
awarded compensation to Robert Napier who had to endure the
“degrading” process of slopping-out.

Source:- The Scotsman  Thursday 13 May

Council accused of racial ‘colour
co-ordination’ policy

Council bosses in the capital have been accused of racial
discrimination as part of a “colour co-ordination”
policy by a black call centre worker.

Alloysious Massaquoi claims managers at Edinburgh Council turned a
blind eye to the racial harassment he was suffering and pushed him
towards another job because of his colour. The former customer
services representative for the housing department claims bosses
ignored his call for help after he was victimised by racist

He told an employment tribunal in Edinburgh that he was forcibly
transferred to another team in 2002 as part of a council plan to
redistribute black workers.

The case continues.

Source:- The Scotsman  Thursday 13 May

Welsh newspapers

Why didn’t the church listen?

A vicar, who raised concerns over a volunteer who went on to
sexually abuse a boy, has criticised the church’s failure to

Reverend Graham Sawyer claims church officials did nothing in spite
of repeated warnings from him about lay reader, Darren Jenkins, who
went on to sexually abuse a 16-year-old church member.

The Church in Wales has now launched an investigation into the
handling of the case.

Source:- South Wales Argus Wednesday 12 May page 1

Specialised team moves into social services

Three new and highly experienced social work managers have joined
Blaenau Gwent social services.

Dr Sue Ross has been appointed as interim director, while Kevin
Peers has taken the post of interim assistant director and Sue
Barker is interim assistant director for children’s

They were appointed following a damning inspection of
children’s services, which found that vulnerable children
were being failed.

Source:- South Wales Argus Wednesday 12 May page 4

Teenager is cleared of abducting a 15-year-old girl in

A teenager has been cleared of abducting a 15-year-old girl who was
in the care of Flintshire social services.

David Simons, of Holywell in north Wales, was alleged to have
detained the girl but the court was told that there was no evidence
that he had removed her from the care of social services.

The girl had been found at Simon’s home but she was allowed
out of the centre where she lived, during the day, and the jury
were directed to find him not guilty.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 13 May page 5



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