While being ‘relentless in our search for the truth’, we must be careful to highlight any good practices

The Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (OSCB) has published the independent serious case review (SCR) it commissioned in 2012 into the ‘services provided to the victims of the 7 men, convicted in 2013, of 59 offences of child sexual exploitation’.

This report highlights failings of the OSCB and its member agencies to recognise that group child sexual exploitation was happening in Oxfordshire - prior to Operation Bullfinch in 2011 - despite the clear evidence of cases between 2005 - 2010 showing what we now know were signs of street grooming.

Researched Links:

Serious Case Review into Child Sexual Exploitation in Oxfordshire: from the experiences of Children A, B, C, D, E, and F - Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (OSCB)

Oxfordshire CC accepts findings of Bullfinch serious case review and apologises that the multi-agency child protection system failed to prevent horrific abuse of six girls

No10:  PM unveils new measures to tackle child sexual exploitation at a Downing Street summit

CLG:  New fund to help women speak up on child sexual exploitation

Inspectorates committed to joint inspection

West Mercia Police inspected on child protection

NCA leads child protection workshops in India

NCA to investigate matters arising from Rotherham Council inspection

Inspection into the governance of Rotherham council

Ending gang violence: £400k to tackle sexual exploitation

Involvement in offending makes girls more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, say inspectors

Child sexual abuse witnesses & victims let down by justice system

Ofsted calls for prevention of child sexual exploitation to be given higher priority

LGA response to Ofsted report on child sexual exploitation

Rotherham child exploitation- Jay Report exposes local government and Ofsted failure

ScotGov:  Tackling child abuse

Not surprising crime figures fall if reports of crimes are ignored!

Government search goes to the ‘ends of the earth’ in hunt of impartiality

Good’ no longer seems to be appropriate for our ‘Civic Leaders’

Mutual support & information sharing is good, but it does not obviate ‘individual’ responsibilities

More proactive monitoring required to ensure timely action

Child sexual exploitation the new “social norm” in some areas

Legislators need to ‘pick up’ on this loophole

Child sexual exploitation: Progress driven by multi-agency hub

Improving child protection by shining the light on good practice: how a number of Local Safeguarding Children Boards are showing the way

The voice of the child: learning lessons from serious case reviews

Learning lessons from serious case reviews 2009-2010


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Don’t hold your breath waiting for anyone to be held responsible and being ‘Made to Pay’?

The Independent investigation into maternity & neonatal services at University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust published has published its report.  The investigation was established by Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, in September 2013.  It was set up in response to a series of maternal & neonatal deaths at the Trust between January 2004 & June 2013.  The report describes failures at almost every level.

It found 20 instances of significant or major failings of care at Furness General Hospital, associated with 3 maternal deaths & the deaths of 16 babies.  It concludes that different clinical care would have been expected to prevent the death of 1 mother & 11 babies.  There are some actions that will be implemented immediately & the government will examine the other recommendations in detail before providing a full response.

Researched Links:

DH:  Investigation report into Morecambe Bay published

CQC responds to Kirkup report

NHS England announces national review of maternity care

One midwife to each woman during birth, says NICE in safe staffing advice

NICE confirms midwife-led care during labour is safest for women with straightforward pregnancies

ScotGov:  Morecambe Bay Investigation - Response to findings on maternity & neonatal services

Sir Bruce to lead review of professional codes of practice for health professionals

CQC:  Another rotten apple in the NHS barrel?

Will it be enough to really change the culture of NHS management? (3rd item)

Hospitals in Morecambe Bay to get extra support to improve services

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust put into special measures

University Hospital of Morecambe Bay FT - improvements in maternity services but action needed to address staffing shortfalls at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary

CQC publishes follow up report of investigation into University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS FT

CQC publishes Independent report into its registration and oversight of University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS FT

CQC issues two warning notices to University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS FT following investigation visits

Maternity services at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS FT must improve says regulator

Technology can help analyse historical health data to ‘locate’ problem areas
BCS Health, part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, is calling for Trusts that have put much effort into applying to the Technology Fund to significantly forward their informatics strategy, not to lay it to waste, but to create a sustainable & financed informatics strategy from their budgets.  The call comes in response to reports that NHS England’s second technology fund has been cut by nearly £200m, with only one-fifth of bidders to receive any money.
Researched Links:

BCS Health advises Trusts not to rely on stimulus funds to progress sustainable informatics strategy in light of budget cuts

NHS England’s technology fund

NHS Code4Health programme will improve digital literacy for clinicians

BCS publishes comprehensive introduction to agile principles

BCS issues interoperability guideline for health & care providers on how to set about sharing patient records so that the appropriate information is available to clinicians at the point of care delivery

WAG:  £6.2m IT investment in North Wales healthcare

Will your organisation be ready?

Major new report on digital technology

Mapping rare disease and cancer genes: competition winners

£9.5m investment in new technology & telehealth to improve patient care

Would all the child abuse, sexual exploitation & poor patient care still go on if they were rewarded and not ‘punished’?
The wider government needs to do more to understand the experience of whistleblowers and to act where whistleblowers suffer detriment.
Researched Links:

NAO:  The role of prescribed persons - The wider government needs to do more to understand the experience of whistleblowers and to act where whistleblowers suffer detriment

Should the attempted ‘silencing’ (especially in public sector organisations) of Whistle-blowers become a legal offence?

Will budgetary restrictions extend the deadline?
Future governments will now, for the first time, be required by law to tackle fuel poverty by making the coldest, leakiest homes in England more energy efficient.  A new legally binding target – in force since December 2014 – is at the heart of the new Fuel poverty strategy.  It requires a minimum standard of energy efficiency (Band C) for as many fuel poor homes as reasonably practicable by 2030.
Researched Links:

DECC:  A fuel poverty strategy to end cold homes for good

DECC:  Can the ‘poor’ afford the government’s green policies? (2nd item)

‘Hidden army’ could help tackle cold home deaths and illnesses, says NICE

DECC:  £70m for home energy efficiency through the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund Release 3

Carl Sargeant seeks “big six” talks

Granite City green heat revolution

Renters & landlords to enjoy warmer properties and cheaper bills

PX:  Pensioners to ‘opt-in’ to receive Winter Fuel Payment under think tank plan

Government schemes make winter warmer for 1m homes

CCC:  Addressing fuel poverty & meeting carbon budgets go hand in hand

More households can benefit from renewable heating

WAG’s Nest scheme helps another 5,000 people in fuel poverty with their energy bills

Cutting the cost of keeping warm to tackle fuel poverty

Energy efficiency standard launched

“EU-backed Arbed scheme is cutting fuel bills and creating local jobs” – Jane Hutt

Editor’s Observation:  Perhaps a Welsh Inventor had a more cost effective & more speedily implemented solution to fuel poverty 15 months ago!
A retired electrical engineer has developed a versatile low energy heated armchair seat cover which costs less than ½ pence per hour to use and could, he says, reduce household annual heating bills by several hundreds of pounds.  It is estimated that 332,000 households in Wales are fuel poor and national charity National Energy Action (NEA) proposed a trial of his B-warm units across the region.
Researched Links:

Invention puts Martin in the hot seat as business venture takes off

Home Glow Products

National Energy Action warm homes campaign

‘Care on the cheap’ risks failing both carers & clients
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board has responded to a UK Home Care Association report into pay for care workers.
Researched Links:

LGA responds to UK Home Care Association report into pay for care workers

The Homecare Deficit: Funding of Older People's Homecare

No excuse now for sub-standard care due to ignorance of standards

LAs must take care to act as legally required

Telegraph reveals more than 500,000 home care visits last less than five minutes

Hospitals are too expensive for anything but specialist ‘non-mobile’ treatment

The NHS is not the only ‘care service’ with a funding ‘Black Hole’

Care crisis will require councils to divert £1bn from other services

NAO:  Emergency admissions to hospital: managing the demand


Everyone deserves a chance
A new £10m funding programme aims to ‘boost the employment prospects of young people in Wales with a learning disability and/or learning difficulty including Autistic Spectrum Disorder’.  The Getting Ahead 2 programme aims to help young people aged 16 to 25 who have a learning disability and/or learning difficulty into undertaking a paid work placement lasting between 6-12 months to enhance their chances of progressing into sustainable employment by increasing their employability skills.   Third sector organisations are invited to apply with one grant of £10m due to be awarded to the successful applicant early next year.
Researched Links:

BIG:  £10m to boost employment prospects of young people with learning disabilities and learning difficulties

That’s 5% of the Welsh population are rare exceptions
Wales’ first ever plan to tackle rare diseases has been launched and it sets out the WAG’s expectations of the NHS in Wales to treat rare diseases for people of all ages, wherever they live & whatever their circumstances.  A rare disease is defined as a life-threatening or chronically debilitating disease, which affects five people or less per 10,000 and can range from life-limiting illnesses to manageable conditions, which do not affect daily living.  There are around 150,000 people affected by such diseases in Wales.
Researched Links:

New plan to tackle rare diseases in Wales

Being rare turns out to be quite common (2nd item)

What we really need is millions of new homes
Young first time buyers can go online now and sign up for cut-price new starter homes – with 20% off the asking price.  Building on the first homes is expected to start within months.
Researched Links:

CLG:  Young first-time buyers can register online for 100,000 cut-price homes

Unused public sector land will provide over 100,000 new homes

LGA responds to Government starter homes announcement

A ‘power-grab’ too far by EU organisations
General Court annuls the Eurosystem Oversight Policy Framework.  The ECB does not have the competence necessary to impose such a requirement on central counterparties involved in the clearing of securities.
Researched Links:

General Court annuls the Eurosystem Oversight Policy Framework

The importance of sharing knowledge & networking

At a launch event for the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) in Westminster speakers from government & business emphasised the importance of sharing knowledge & networking to keep the UK at the forefront of global innovation.  Established by Innovate UK, KTN helps people & companies reach the full potential of their innovative capabilities by connecting them with each other.  The launch event marked the creation of one unified KTN from 15 separate knowledge transfer networks.

Researched Links:

Innovate UK:  Connecting innovators - the Knowledge Transfer Network


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;

Researched Links:

WO:  Welsh devolution: new devolved powers for Wales on the economy, jobs and growth under the St David’s Day Agreement

WAG:  Bill a chance to provide the Wales We Want for our future generations

'The Wales We Want' report


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Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:

"Our pensions are not gold-plated, our salaries are not too high and we do not love red tape." This week local government officer Joanne Fry wrote about the myths that most irritate council workers. Are there any myths about your job you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments section or on Twitter via @Guardianpublic.

Most Popular
Six myths about local government that annoy council workers

Six myths about local government that annoy council workers
No gold-plated pensions, no non-jobs and very little red tape. Joanne Fry explains what it’s really like

What will happen to the civil service after the general election in May?

What will happen to the civil service after the general election in May?
With a new government months away, we assess what’s still left to do with Whitehall reform

The Greater Manchester experiment: will the rewards be worth the risk?

The Greater Manchester experiment: will the rewards be worth the risk?
A new mayor, new powers, and control of the health budget – Manchester has major challenges ahead

Global Views
10 barriers to using mobile technology to fight inequality

10 barriers to using mobile technology to fight inequality
From gender inequality to phone charging – the challenges to using mobile as a catalyst for growth

Storm-weary New York City needs to adapt faster to climate change

Storm-weary New York City needs to adapt faster to climate change
After batterings from Irene and Sandy, New Yorkers can’t afford to wait much longer for flood protection

News in Brief

• Foreign Office is failing to invest in foreign language skills
• David Cameron plans to jail professionals that turn a blind eye to child abuse
• While Theresa May announced a national taskforce to help local authorities tackle the issue
• Just 1% of an emergency care fund reached A&E departments this winter
• Hospital catering reforms are 'hopelessly weak', said food writer Prue Leith
• And this article will tell you the best countries in the world to grow old in