Research backs early intervention
In your article on the future of preventive services(“Can preventive services survive?” 3 June), Birmingham Council’s Cheryl Hopkins claims that the UK is “working in the dark” and that Birmingham had to go as far as the US to find evidence that early intervention work with children is effective and saves money.
As an early intervention charity, Chance UK depends on being able to prove that our services make a real difference to the children we work with and that spending money on them now saves more funds long term.
We draw your attention to several pieces of research. The New Economics Foundation and Action for Children report Backing the Future says that investing in young people would save £486bn over 20 years. The Sainsbury’s Centre for Mental Health report The Chance of a Lifetime states that up to 80% of crime in the UK is committed by people who had behavioural problems as children and teenagers.
The Goldsmiths, London University, report into the impact of Chance UK’s early intervention mentoring programme in 2009 found that mentoring had reduced behavioural difficulties for 98% of children, with 51% no longer classed as having a behavioural difficulty.
Each piece of research shows we must invest in children early to cut long-term spending and give children the chance they deserve in life.
Matt Collins, Chance UK
Why Royal Holloway ended BSc course
Community Care has continued to report negatively on the social work programme at Royal Holloway, University of London, (“Holloway social work course shut down” 10 June, www.communitycare.co.uk/114644). despite the recent publication of clarifying letters from both Graham Ixer, head of social work education at the General Social Care Council and Anna Gupta, head of the department of health and social care at Royal Holloway (letters, 6 May).
To juxtapose information on the closure of a programme with a reference to inspection reports suggests a causal connection between the two. There was one negative report followed by a positive one in January 2010.
As programme director for BSc social work since January 2009, I can confirm that students on the undergraduate programme are participating in a rigorous and professional learning experience which fully meets the requirements of the GSCC and is valued by a wide range of partner agencies and employers. These students have every right to go into the workplace confident in their skills and qualification.
The university’s decision not to continue the BSc social work programme is part of a wider review of the academic profile within the institution. It also reflects some of the challenges facing social work education, ie undergraduate programmes are resource-intensive, complex in terms of professional requirements and do not easily fit with more traditional academic degree programmes or research profiles. Closure of similar undergraduate programmes in other universities has been reported elsewhere.
Louise O’Connor, programme director, BSc Social Work
Spending priorities are all wrong
I urge the government not to make cuts in services for disabled people and others who are vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society, many of whom are already being denied through a lack of resources. I am appalled that military spending appears to be off the agenda, even nuclear weapons, which the Liberal Democrats had wanted to cut.
I have been fighting on behalf of disabled people since 1971 but I wish to make it publicly known that I am now retiring from further campaigning. I will be 70 years young next year and wish to devote whatever time I have left to supporting my wife Mary in caring for our twin 38-year-old learning disabled and epileptic sons Kenneth and David. I also need to offer continuing support to my profoundly disabled brother Terence who has lived in a care home for the past 15 years.
I thank everybody who has supported my campaigns and offer a special thank you to Alf Morris, the UK’s first minister for the disabled.
Ken Mack, disability campaigner, Wrexham