HC: Will we learn the lessons this time? - The Healthcare Commission has commented on the health-related findings of the joint review at LB Haringey, which it carried out with Ofsted and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary. The review assessed the Borough’s current arrangements for safeguarding children & young people following the tragic death of a 17-month-old baby boy, known as Baby P.
In response to the joint area review, Health Secretary Alan Johnson has asked the Healthcare Commission to report on the role of the four NHS trusts involved in events leading up to the death of Baby P. He has also asked the Commission to conduct a review to ensure that NHS trusts across England are meeting their obligations to safeguard children.
This review at the four trusts will particularly focus on:
* communication between healthcare professionals & between agencies
* awareness of healthcare procedures for child protection
* recruitment & training
* levels of staffing
Ofsted: A woeful standard of investigation - Ofsted is calling for urgent action to reform the serious case review system which was set up to ensure that lessons are learnt when a child dies or is seriously injured, as a result of abuse or neglect. Since its inception in April 2007, the children’s inspectorate Ofsted has evaluated 92 serious case reviews, finding that 38 (41%) were inadequate.
It has now published an in-depth report into the lessons to be learnt from the first 50 of these reviews, conducted between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2008. Of the 50 serious case reviews considered in the report, 40% were inadequate and none was outstanding.
Learning Lessons: Taking Action highlights that serious case reviews must be more child focused, must be prepared with greater urgency so that lessons can be learned more quickly and that the reviewers must demonstrate greater independence.
The report is highly critical of progress being made to protect society’s most vulnerable children. Serious case reviews are carried out by Local Safeguarding Children Boards following the death or serious injury of a child where abuse or neglect is known or suspected.
HL: Most of the problems are interlinked - Clinks, DrugScope, Homeless Link and Mind have announced the launch of a powerful new partnership, Making Every Adult Matter, which will work to improve policy & service provision for adults with complex problems and multiple needs. The four charities, representing the criminal justice, substance misuse, homelessness and mental health sectors, recognise that their clients often cross over - and can fall between - their services.
The fact that those with complex & multiple problems do not always get the support they need has been recognised by government, but much remains to be done. The extent of the problem is demonstrated time & again by research that shows, for example, that:
* 25% of prisoners leave prison without a settled address
* around 70% of people seeking drug or alcohol treatment experience mental health issues
* 13% of care leavers are homeless at age 19
The coalition has also launched the report - In from the Margins: Making Every Adult Matter - setting out the coalition's priorities and marking the beginning of a crosscutting approach to reconfiguring services and policy. The work of the coalition is supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
UKBA: Less ‘economy with truth’ needed for Green Lane - From 1 December 1 2008, UK residents travelling from outside of the EU will be able to bring back an increased amount of duty free shopping. The changes to current restrictions see the allowance for goods such as electrical products & souvenirs double from £145 to £300 (To be increased to £340 on 1 January 2009 to take account of € - £ exchange rate). Additional changes have been made to rules covering wine, fragrance, tobacco and alcohol products.
DWP: Surely the current problem is about keeping those in work, in work? - The Government should extend conditionality so that virtually no one can claim benefits without taking active steps to address barriers to work, according to an independent review undertaken by Professor Paul Gregg from Bristol University, who was commissioned to look at how more people can be helped off benefits and into work.
The report, 'Realising Potential', looks at the requirements currently placed on the unemployed and calls for a new attitude to parents with young children and those on incapacity benefit who could work in the future. The review recommends that nearly everyone on benefits should be required to take steps towards finding employment; with claimants treated as individuals - empowered to design their own route back to work.
Professor Gregg recommends making sanctions quicker, clearer and more effective with a simple & understandable system of fixed penalties for most occasions with a targeted, escalating series of sanctions for repeat offenders who refuse to play by the rules.