Year that paved the way for overhaul of adults’ services…


  • The government admitted that children at Dungavel immigration removal centre in Scotland had not had their welfare needs assessed, more than a year after promising they would.
  • The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said Labour policies had increased social exclusion of asylum seekers.
    Stat of the month: 50 shops leased by disability charity Scope were not accessible to disabled people in defiance of requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

  • The King’s Fund announced Sir Derek Wanless would lead an inquiry into the long-term funding of older people’s social care. His report is expected in March 2006.
  • The introduction of the Scottish Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act was delayed after fears that services would not be ready.
    Stat of the month: King’s College London researchers say there was an 82 per cent increase in overseas social workers entering the UK between 2003 and 2004.

  • Al Aynsley-Green was appointed England’s first children’s commissioner.
  • The adult social care green paper was published, promising individual budgets.
  • The government said it would scrap the Commission for Social Care Inspection, merging its children’s function with Ofsted and its adult function with the Healthcare Commission.
  • The joint scrutiny committee on the draft Mental Health Bill said it would force too many people into compulsory treatment.
    Stat of the month: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister estimated there was a shortfall of 4,500 pitches for travellers in England.

  • The 21st Century Review of Social Work in Scotland said too much bureaucracy was preventing social workers develop effective relationships with clients.
  • Social care received scant mention in election manifestos.
    Stat of the month: 20,000 council social care staff were off sick for a period of two or more months during 2004, according to a Community Care survey.

  • The barrister for the family of Zahid Mubarek, the young offender murdered by a racist at Feltham Young Offender Institution in 2000, told the inquiry into his death the prison service showed “no remorse” over the killing.
  • Beverley Hughes became children’s minister and Liam Byrne care services minister after Labour’s re-election.
  • Delayed discharges rose in Wales as care home places declined.
    Stat of the month: 300 African boys went missing from London school registers between July and September 2001, the Metropolitan Police said.

  • Lisa Arthurworrey, Victoria Climbi’s social worker, was removed from a list of people considered unsuitable to work with children.
  • The Scottish executive announced social work departments could be prosecuted for breaching a proposed duty of care towards young people, under planned children’s services reforms.
  • People with learning difficulties were being moved from NHS hospitals into private institutions, contrary to government guidance, it emerged.
    Stat of the month: There were nearly 8,000 objections to National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence draft guidance for the NHS to stop prescribing four drugs to treat Alzheimer’s.

  • A leaked copy of the youth green paper revealed that local authorities could be required by law to provide positive activities for young people.
  • Social workers worked round the clock to provide support for people affected by the London bombings at a makeshift family assistance centre.
  • Care services minister Liam Byrne announced that a joint health and social care white paper would be published.
    Stat of the month: Less than 1 per cent of charity trustees are under 24 and nearly three quarters are older than 45, according to the Charity Commission.


  • The Department of Health’s social care knowledge base has been “decimated”, leaving it reliant on the sector’s national bodies, Skills for Care chief executive Andrea Rowe said.
  • The government was to launch pilots to see how talking therapies could be used to help people with common mental health problems get back to work, Community Care learned.
  • A surge in the number of children and young people remanded in custody in the summer took the number of juveniles locked up to one of its highest levels in three years.
    Stat of the month: The number of alcohol-related deaths rose from 5,525 in 2000 to 6,544 in 2004, according to the Office of National Statistics.

  • Leaked proposals from the Learning and Skills Council revealed plans to stop funding personal care for people with learning difficulties in residential colleges.
  • The government was considering introducing paper-based and fast-track tribunals for psychiatric patients, it was revealed. Campaigners warned the plan would breach human rights and predicted the issue would hold up the Mental Health Bill.
    Stat of the month: Only 150 social workers have so far benefited from the government’s key worker affordable housing scheme.


  • Campaigners questioned the progress made since 2001’s Valuing People white paper after a survey of people with learning difficulties painted a bleak picture of their lives.
  • The Supporting People programme was being undermined by a lack of co-ordination and funding guarantees, according to a damning Audit Commission report.
  • Welsh councils and health bodies would have to appoint lead directors responsible for co-ordinating children’s services under plans unveiled by the Welsh assembly government.
    Stat of the month: Only half of parents with learning difficulties look after their children (Adults with Learning Difficulties in England, Department of Health).

  • The Association of Directors of Social Services called on councils to oppose section nine, the policy that removes benefits from failed asylum-seekers who do not take steps to leave the country.
  • Scotland’s councils were revealed to be not using flagship powers to combat antisocial behaviour, issuing only two Asbos to under-16s in the first year.
    Stat of the month: More than one-third of under-17s with Asbos had a diagnosed mental illness or learning difficulty, the British Institute for Brain Injured Children said.


  • The annual social care star ratings highlighted an improvement, though adult services continued to improve faster than those for children.
  • Council chiefs warned of future cuts to social care after the government said local authorities would receive a minimum 2 per cent funding rise, below inflation.
  • Sure Start was failing to reach the most disadvantaged parents, according to the programme official evaluation.
    Stat of the month: Only 730 private fostering arrangements in England were recorded by councils, compared with campaigners’ estimates of 10,000.

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