News round-up: Balls: ‘I did right thing over Baby P’

Balls: ‘I did right thing over Baby P’

The children’s secretary Ed Balls launched a strong defence of his handling of the Baby P tragedy last night after Haringey’s former head of children’s services accused him of “breathtaking recklessness” that had left social workers demoralised and put children’s safety at risk.

Balls dismissed the claims by Sharon Shoesmith, who was fired following a highly critical report into the tragedy, and insisted that he would act in exactly the same way again to ensure children’s safety.

Read more on this story in The Observer

Millions for charities hit by recession

Ministers will today announce a £40m bailout for charities dealing with the effects of the recession, but the lifeline is a fraction of the sum the government was urged to provide at crisis talks last year.

The money follows job cuts at household names including Shelter and the NSPCC, and amid warnings that one in three charities is expected to lay off more staff in the coming months.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Southern Cross investors urged to reject bonuses

A row over corporate governance has erupted at Southern Cross Healthcare, Britain’s largest nursing homes operator. Shareholder activist group Pirc is recommending that investors vote against the remuneration report because the company rewarded finance director Richard Midmer with a £385,000 bonus for negotiating a debt restructuring package with the company’s lenders.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Welfare-to-work body denies it wants new bids

The trade body that represents private welfare-to-work providers was in retreat on Sunday over a suggestion that the government may have to start again with bids for a troubled £1bn ($1.5bn) programme to get the long-term unemployed back to work.

James Purnell, the work and pensions secretary, has accepted publicly that the terms will have to change for a deal that was intended to pay providers for actually getting the jobless back into sustained work, rather than for simply processing them to improve their chances of finding a job.

Read more on this story in The Financial Times

Government’s top drug advisor ‘should resign’

The chief drugs adviser to the Government is facing calls to resign after claiming that taking Ecstasy is no more risky than riding a horse.
Professor David Nutt made the astonishing comparison in an article in a medical journal.
Read more on this story in The Daily Mail

Revolutionary drug that can stop Alzheimer’s trialled by scientists

A revolutionary drug that could stop Alzheimer’s disease in its tracks and restore lost memory is being tested by scientists.
The drug – a protein naturally produced by the body – can reverse memory loss in brains ravaged by the disease and stop cells from dying.
Read more on this story in The Daily Mail

Record number call ChildLine

More than 13,000 sex abuse victims called ChildLine last year — its highest number yet.  Almost 6,000 said they had been raped.

Last night ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen called for more funds to expand the service, which in all receives 2.3 million calls a year.

Read more on this story in The Sun

Caring for antisocial tenants in Tonbridge

Seated round a table in a council building in Tonbridge, Kent, are Michael’s care workers. Michael is a 40-year-old alcoholic with mild learning disabilities who is on probation because he hit a man. Around the table are a care manager, support worker, housing support officer, antisocial behaviour officer, probation officer, community support officer, learning disability nurse, a member of the substance misuse team and a note-taker.

Read more on this story in The Times


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