Perfect social care a ‘Utopian ideal’

Perfect social care a ‘Utopian ideal’
It would be an “impossible Utopian ideal” for social care to be perfect, Cherie Booth QC told the Court of Appeal yesterday.
She is opposing an attempt by several elderly people to bring private care homes within the scope of the Human Rights Act. They are claiming the owners of private homes are providing a public function and are, therefore, subject to the act, including protection against degrading treatment and protection of their dignity and family life. But Ms Booth, for the National Care Association, said it would make little difference if private care homes were classified as public bodies. It would make no difference to powers to close homes or move patients to other providers.
Source:- FT, Saturday 13 January 2007, page 4

Trafficking victims to get housing and medical aid
Victims of human trafficking in Britain are to be given guaranteed state help with housing and medical advice, as well as a minimum one month reprieve from deportation, the home secretary, John Reid, has decided.
He is understood to have written to cabinet colleagues this week seeking the green light to sign the European convention on human trafficking 2005, a move which will delight human rights campaigners.
Source:- The Guardian, Saturday 13 January 2007, page 12

Doctors call for NHS to treat gamblers
Doctors are expected to call next week for more money for the NHS to treat the rising number of people with a gambling addiction.
Sourve:- Daily Telegraph, Saturday 13 January 2007, page 8

Child rapist jailed
A babysitter who raped a girl of three was given an indeterminate prison sentence at Plymouth crown court. The three-year-old was one of the youngest people to give evidence in a British court.
Source:- The Times, Saturday 13 January 2007, page 4

Rapist who kidnapped girl gets life
A rapist who kidnapped a teenage girl was told by a judge yesterday that he would be “a very old man” before he was released from jail. Alan Weston, 49, from Stockport, chose his 15-year-old victim at random last October after driving around Wrexham, North Wales. He forced the girl into his van only six weeks after supervision for a previous rape conviction was lifted.
Source:- The Times, Saturday 13 January 2007, page 9

Blair wants ‘super-Asbos’ for violent thugs
Tony Blair is to mount a final assault on Britain’s thug culture by introducing restrictions that will curb potential yobs’ movements even before they have committed an offence. After attempting to tackle antisocial behaviour, he is proposing to introduce a “violent offender order” targeted at those whom police believe are likely to commit violence.
Source:- Sunday Times, 14 January 2007, page 1

Super-casions ‘will spark crime wave’ – secret police report
The government’s controversial plans to give the green light to Las Vegas-style super-casinos across the country are facing fresh scrutiny after a secret police report raised concerns that they would cause crime and antisocial behaviour to rise.
Source:- The Observer, Sunday 14 January 2007, page 1

Blair calls for data to be shared
Tony Blair will propose this week to change the law to allow government departments to share personal data, including people’s medical records and tax details.
Source:- Independent on Sunday, 14 January 2007, page 34

Kelly axed 2,700 special needs places
Ruth Kelly, who was heavily criticised last week for educating her dyslexic son privately, presided over the closure of more state special school places annually than any other Labour education secretary since 1997, new figures show.
Source:- Sunday Times, 14 January 2007, page 9

Muslim mums told to speak English at home
Muslim mothers who do not speak English at home are stunting their children’s literacy levels, one of the government’s most influential education advisers said last night. Sir Cyril Taylor, the chairman of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, said that the failure of parents to speak English at home was a key reason why some schools were at the bottom of newly-published-league tables.
Source:- Sunday Telegraph, 14 January 2007, page 3

Brown: My son goes to state school
Gordon Brown has sent a dramatic message to his future Cabinet over the way they educate their children by letting it be known he is sending his son to a state school.
Source:- Mail on Sunday, 14 January 2007, page 1

My dyslexic boys never went private, says Blunkett
David Blunkett, the former education secretary, has disclosed that he refused to send his children to private schools even though they were dyslexic. He stressed he was not criticising Ruth Kelly.
Source:- The Observer, Sunday 14 January 2007, page 2

Missing: 48 trafficked children taken into care
Forty-eight children illegally trafficked into Britain have disappeared while in the care of social services. More than half of the 80 children identified in a report on victims of trafficking have gone missing, according to an assessment of care provision in parts of the north-west, north-east and West Midlands.
The children were brought into the country to work as prostitutes, tend plants in cannabis factories or work as domestic servants, according Missing Out, a study published today by Ecpat, a coalition of children’s charities. Others are believed to have been brought in for forced marriages or to work illegally in factories or restaurants.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 15 January 2007, page 4

Civil servant suspended over criminal files blunder
A senior Home Office civil servant has been suspended after “volunteering information” to the internal inquiry investigating the department’s failure to log 27,500 criminal records of Britons convicted abroad on to police computers.
It came as the home secretary, John Reid, launched an overhaul of all Britain’s criminal databases, including separate Whitehall lists covering teachers and those working with vulnerable adults.
Mr Reid has written to all his Cabinet colleagues asking for their support in a complete overhaul of the way the jigsaw of criminal record databases operate and share information. The review will not only cover the Criminal Records Bureau and the police national computer, but also the separate databases held by the education and health departments.
The Home Office said over the weekend that an initial check had shown that none of the 540 serious sex or violent offenders convicted abroad whose details had not been logged had been mistakenly cleared to work with children or vulnerable adults. The remaining 27,000 will be checked over the next three months.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 15 January 2007, page 1

Blair launches new drive to let officials share data on citizens
Tony Blair will today spearhead a fresh government initiative to persuade voters they have nothing to fear from consenting to a relaxation of “over-zealous” rules which stop Whitehall departments sharing information about individual citizens.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 15 January 2007, page 7

Social housing flotations rejected
Housing associations in England have been told they will not be allowed to seek stock market listings as a way of funding future investment.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 15 January 2007, page 26

Mother’s inquest battle with Lord Chancellor
A mother who won the right to an inquest into the murder of her son faces a rare challenge by the Lord Chancellor.
Christine Hurst has already won the backing of the High Court and Court of Appeal for an inquest into the stabbing of her son, Troy, in 2000. But Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the Lord Chancellor, has applied to join today’s appeal to the House of Lords against that decision, arguing that if the ruling is upheld it will clear the way for dozens of old inquests to be reopened.
Mr Hurst, a decorator, was 39 when he was killed in May 2000 in Muswell Hill, North London. His neighbour, Albert Reid, stabbed him.
Mrs Hurst believes that her son’s death was entirely avoidable and that the police had failed to take steps to protect him, even though Reid had been the subject of 52 complaints about his threats and harassment and had a history of mental illness.
Source:- The Times, Monday 15 January 2007, page 24

Scottish news

Notorious women’s jail more like a hotel, says new director
The director of Scotland’s only prison for women, that has a notorious image as one of the toughest in the UK, has admitted that facilities in parts of the institution in fact resemble a well-equipped hotel.
Ian Gunn, newly installed governor of Cornton Vale, said women prisoners held in the newest block enjoy bright, spacious cells with en-suite showers.
Source:- The Scotsman, Sunday 14 January 2007

Minister forced to drop key section of child protection bill
A key part of flagship legislation on child protection is being ditched to salvage the main part of the law and get it passed before the May election.
While ministers press on with safety checks on hundreds of thousands of adults who work with children and vulnerable adults, they want to counter the perception that risk assessments are nonsensical and getting out of control.
They admit there is a need to reassure the public that they can still help with a school dance, sponsored walk or walking children to school. Executive ministers have bowed to pressure from critics of the Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill, and have accepted significant changes are needed.
Source:- The Herald, Monday 15 January 2007

Welsh news

Monitor freed sex offenders’ call
The NSPCC has called for stricter monitoring of freed sex offenders after two cases of paedophiles slipping though the net. The NSPCC said that the government’s Mappa (multi-agency public protection arrangements) needed to be overhauled after the cases of Alan Weston and Peter Voisey. Weston, 49, received a life sentence yesterday for snatching a 15-year-old girl off the street in Wrexham, north wales and raping her in a van.
Source:- Western Mail, Saturday 13 January 2007

Couple lose £800K fight to sue council
A couple who are foster carers have lost a £800,000 court case against South Glamorgan Council who placed a seriously disturbed child in their care. Marjorie and Roger Lambert said the council had failed to pass on vital information about the girl’s history.
Source:- South Wales Echo, Saturday 13 January 2007

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