Haringey social services; Whitehall cuts; Oneplace

Haringey social services still ‘poor’, says Ofsted a year after Baby P

Haringey Council has failed its latest Ofsted inspection a year after the Baby P tragedy, despite the arrival of new management and an overhaul of the entire children’s services department.

Lack of co-operation between social workers and other professionals, such as the police and GPs, still means children are at risk in the borough, according to Ofsted, which judged its performance as “poor”.

Read more on this story in The Times

Chancellor warns Whitehall of ‘real cuts’

Alistair Darling will admit today that Britain faces an era of deep spending cuts as he pledges to halve the £180 billion budget deficit while protecting hospital, school and police services.

In a surprise move he will disclose a Treasury “assessment” that has been conducted in recent weeks to determine the sums needed to safeguard the front line in health, schools and the Home Office.

Read more on this story in The Times

Councils named and shamed by online audit of public services from bins to jails

A ground-breaking website that exposes the quality of public services – from children’s welfare to council recycling, and crime fighting to teaching – goes live today amid a row over its cost and accuracy.

Oneplace, an ambitious collaboration involving six independent inspectorates, is intended to provide a consumer guide to the performance of local authorities, police forces, schools, NHS primary care trusts, prisons and probation services.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Prison ministers accused over action on heroin

Ministers were accused today of undermining efforts to tackle prisoners’ heroin addiction.

Mike Trace, a former drugs adviser to Tony Blair, said provision of the heroin substitute methadone had rocketed in an official bid to “control” drug treatment.

Read more on this story in The Independent

Darling is forced to delay pension boost

Alistair Darling is to delay a flagship scheme to allow 11 million workers to have personal pensions as he announces spending cuts to protect budgets for schools, hospitals and the police.

In today’s pre-Budget report, the Chancellor will postpone the plan for “personal pension accounts” aimed at ensuring low-paid workers not in a company scheme have an income in retirement on top of the basic state pension.

Read more on this story in The Independent

Pre-Budget report: Labour puts off vital cuts until after the election

The Chancellor will attempt to reassure investors that he has a plan to pay down Britain’s record £175 billion deficit, but he will use the Pre Budget Report to say he intends to stick to spending plans for next year.

Only in 2011, after next year’s election, will non-frontline departments be hit with deep cuts.

Read more on this story in the Daily Telegraph

Mother in lake plunge with body of disabled daughter after she ‘killed her by accident’

A florist is thought to have accidentally drowned her disabled daughter in a bath before throwing the girl and herself into a lake.

The bodies of Jude Richmond and her nine-year-old daughter Millie, who suffered from cerebral palsy, were found in the water next to their home, an inquest heard yesterday.

Read more on this story in the Daily Mail

Midwife hangs herself after hospital fails to tell her she was not to blame for baby’s death

A midwife was found hanged after a hospital failed to tell her she was not to blame for a baby’s death, an inquest heard yesterday.

Theresa Naish, 28, feared she would be struck off because she had failed to tell doctors that the premature baby had had a balloon placed in his throat during his mother’s pregnancy to help his lungs develop.

Read more on this story in the Daily Mail

My day with the mental health professionals

Ten of us are hanging about on an inner-city street corner, waiting for Natasha Sloman to get off the phone. The bed she had lined up the day before has been taken by an emergency admission, and the matter in hand cannot be got on with unless she can secure another one. Natasha is used to this kind of setback.

She is an “Amhp”, an approved mental health professional, and it is her job to lead the interventions that decide whether people should be sectioned for their own safety, or for the safety of others, under the Mental Health Act.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

How is Hackney doing? Oneplace has the answers

Entering E8 into the Oneplace website and then choosing Hackney calls up a wealth of information, some of it perhaps not very welcome. A click on “How is Hackney doing?” tells me, among other things, that the typical dweller in this part of London, in a band D property, pays £105.73 less in council tax than the national average.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Tale of two towns: one slated and the other praised by Oneplace

There will be shrugs of resignation in Doncaster today when long-suffering residents learn of the latest badge of shame pinned to those responsible for running their public services.

The South Yorkshire town has earned two red flags — for the inadequacy of its housing and its children’s services — and the bottom rating for its town hall in the Audit Commission’s new guide to local authorities’ performance.

Read more on this story in The Times

Doctor who raised concerns about Baby P hospital was ‘taken seriously’

A senior doctor who claimed that Baby P could have been saved if concerns about a hospital had been listened to was “taken seriously”, according to a report published today.

The youngster was seen at St Ann’s hospital in Tottenham, north London, just two days before he died.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Mandelson: bonus tax not designed to teach bankers a lesson

Lord Mandelson told bankers today that the one-off tax that will be imposed on their bonuses in today’s pre-budget report was not designed to “teach them a lesson”.

The business secretary told BBC News that the tax on bankers’ bonuses would be “balanced and judicious” and he denied suggestions that it would result in highly paid City workers leaving Britain to work abroad.

See more on this story in The Guardian

Labour opens new front in battle with the City

Gordon Brown is planning to escalate Labour’s growing war with the City by threatening two more levies on banks in addition to the tax on bonuses due to be announced tomorrow by the chancellor.

Alistair Darling will use tomorrow’s pre-budget report to impose a one-off tax on this year’s bonus round, but No 10 will further step up the squeeze on the Square Mile on Thursday with a 60-page report making the case for a so-called transactions tax on all City trading, and an insurance scheme to stop taxpayers being forced to foot the bill for any future banking crises.

Read more on this story in The Guardian



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