Friday, 6 October 2017

Robust guidance required for Named Persons

"Guidance for professionals involved in the Scottish Government's named person scheme must be straight-forward and accessible, a Holyrood committee has been told."

"MSPs on the Education Committee heard confusion surrounding a code of practice for the scheme could result in teachers and health visitors becoming defensive about sharing information about children."

"One of the main changes put forward in the new Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill is that a duty to share information which could support, promote or safeguard the well-being of a child would become a duty to consider whether to share that information. However there are concerns an accompanying draft code of practice, aimed at helping named persons make decisions on data sharing, lacks clarity. Jackie Niccolls, of the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership, told MSPs that staff need `robust guidance` on what information they can share, and reassurance that they are not going to be personally liable if they share or do not share information."

Read more at:

Child abuse panel members were bullied

Published on 11 Aug 2017

"`How can there be an independent inquiry if there's no place to complain?` asks Sharon Evans, CEO of Dot com Children's Foundation, who is one of the two members from the child abuse panel warning that inquiries aren't independent from the government."

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Special series in Sunday Guardian

More from Suranya Aiyar in collaboration with various other campaigners against child protection abuse:

"The most suspect and frustrating of all in child protection cases I hold to be the absence of any requirement of proof, of stated and reasoned cause, or of concrete answers. Allegations are made without any form of documentation, just expressions like `we think` and `our assessment"` The County Committees accept vague, undefined claims and arguments, and do not demand anything in the way of quality control and concrete justification for the CWS’s conclusions. I have lost count of how many times I have read, and heard, that the answer of the CWS to questions is that there has been a `professional assessment based on child expertise`, an undefinable phrase which even the Ministry of Children and Equality says does not give a concrete explanation of anything at all. Or the proposed measures are said to `have been assessed to be in the best interest of the child`. It is never revealed what these `assessments` consist of, what the background for the `assessments` is, and which concrete points constitute the basis of the assessments."

Friday, 29 September 2017

Contact centres

When parents lose their children after social work involvement they are often required to maintain their family relationships in `contact centres` but there is little help to make these contacts successful. On the contrary, they are often used to frustrate the wishes of the family.

Freedom of information requests reveal `secret` Named Person meetings

[Leslie Scott]

"A year ago this week, in an effort to address the concerns raised by the UK Supreme Court over the Named Person scheme, education secretary John Swinney announced a three month period of "intense engagement" with practitioners, public agencies, third sector organisations and members of the public, including parents and children and young people, but not those opposed to the scheme.."

"Crucially, the commissioner `accepts that there was a deliberate decision to create meeting summaries instead of formal minutes for the meetings relating to the information sharing provisions of the Named Person policy`. The views of one person who participated in the "intense engagement" regarding the meeting summary are included in the commissioner’s decision... "

"This situation is most unsettling. It is clear that a major government engagement programme was conducted without detailed records being kept of the responses. It is furthermore apparent that the "meeting summaries" omitted some negative comments and thereby altered the content of the only record towards the government position."

"Of even greater concern is the scope of the meetings that are going unrecorded. It seems that vast amounts of government business is being done in secret."

"Specifically, interactions with major charities, agencies and organisations - whom the public believe to be independent of government - are going unrecorded. What does this mean for transparency in government? What does it mean for the freedom of information? What does this mean for citizen oversight?"



Indian mother says NO

Friday, 22 September 2017

Women are not getting safety warnings about Epilim

"Almost 70% of women surveyed about a powerful epilepsy drug have not received new safety warnings about the dangers of taking it during pregnancy, the BBC has been told exclusively. "

"Sodium valproate, known as Epilim, carries a 10% risk of physical abnormalities in unborn babies. "

"About 20,000 children have been harmed by valproate medicines in the UK since the 1970s."

"The medicines regulator said the drug had been kept under constant review."

"Babies exposed to the drug in the womb have a 40% risk of developing autism, low IQ and learning disabilities."

"The survey of 2,000 women and girls with epilepsy under 50 was commissioned by three charities - Epilepsy Society, Epilepsy Action and Young Epilepsy."

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Resistance to drilling under homes

[12 September 2017]

"There is a road in Lancashire, England that you cannot cross without risk of arrest; where everyday people from everyday lives are found amidst scenes of police violence and protest actions as we climb seemingly insurmountable hurdles whilst swathed in restrictive red tape… and why? Because the UK government wants our area ruined for gas extraction."

"And we’re saying no."

"Last October, the government overturned the local government’s refusal to allow Cuadrilla’s test drilling at the Preston New Road site, in the Fylde, Lancashire; they are now constructing up to four wells."

"In response, there has been daily resistance, energetic protests and blockades, with local residents joined by supporters from far and wide. The site is the largest fracking development in the UK, and the first where permission has been given for horizontal drilling under homes."

"The shale gas industry plans to use the unconventional gas extraction method of fracking at this site between Preston and Blackpool and this is just the start. Licenses have been given throughout England Scotland, Ireland (both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) and Wales have wisely put moratoriums or bans in place and fracking work is also underway at a site in Yorkshire near Kirby Misperton, lorries beginning delivering equipment this week. There are also many other areas where fracking is being pursued; opposition too continues to grow, with the campaigner Joe Corre the high court today attempting to stop a sweeping injunction by the firm Ineos against anti-fracking protests..."

"It takes very little to understand why we do this; a quick internet search for ‘fracking + health’, ‘fracking + miscarriage’, ‘fracking + farming’, ‘fracking + drinking water’, ‘fracking + earthquakes’ will set you off on a path of discovery that you’ll wish you’d never started, but you’ll be unable turn back from. Once you know the risks, you can’t un-know them and for anyone with responsibility for children, it is impossible to turn away."

Read more 

Bombs made in Britain

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Reputation management on `World Democracy Day`

Brian Gerrish from UK Column says: "If we look to see how power is being misplaced ... we can pick up on this Guardian article. ... So here`s the headline: London could get £50m armed police base to tackle terrorism. So this terrorist threat is key to so much that is happening here in the UK and overseas at the moment."

"What do they say? A new £50m base for armed police officers in London is one of a series of measures being proposed to protect the public from terrorist attacks. So the soft sell. It`s all to look after us."

"And this is going to be in the Limehouse area: `The base, planned for Limehouse in the east of the capital, would house at least 200 officers and contain a firing range, weapons storage and other facilities, it is understood`. And the text goes on to say this is vital to ensure that the police can be fully trained and there to protect us."

"This was the bit that interested me. It says, `Details of the plans, which have been submitted by the Metropolitan police to the Mayor`s office for police and crime.` (Mopac) So this is not something to do with armed police that is debated in parliament.  It is simply pushed into the Mayor of London`s office for somebody to say, `Yeah, I think this is a great idea. Let`s get more armed police in London`."

"So where do we go? Well we go to this lady the Deputy Mayor of London, and [Sophie Linden] - we`ll come on to in a bit more detail in a moment - and if you go and have a look at the Mayor`s website you`ll see that she is the lady with all the experience to look at the police policy. She`s going to evaluate this latest one."

"And she essentially gets her powers delegated. The Mayor himself gets the power initially. He`s delegated to her as Deputy Mayor and what it means is effectively she has the same powers as a Police and Crime Commissioner in other areas of the country."

"So this woman is going to make the decision. What do we know about her? Well she`s spent quite a lot of time working in government. She was adviser to Blunkett. And when we looked at the details on the Mayor`s website it says that she`s also worked in the voluntary sector as a campaigns and policy manager, campaigning to end child poverty - they`re always involved with children and looking after the welfare of children - but it says she`s also been in the private sector as a Director of Public Affairs.

"I`ll just highlight that because I thought how interesting that it doesn`t give any more details. So we went to have a quick look and what do we come up with? Well, we note here that this was the bit that she was acting with public affairs. And it was Director of Bell Pottinger Public Affairs... She calls herself a Director from 2006 - 2008 but she`s only part-time. But this is the Public Affairs section of Bell Pottinger which is itself a public affairs and reputation management agency."

Mike Robinson: "So this is the Reputation Management Department for the Reputation Management Agency."

"Yeah. So I think you`d put some pretty key people in there because if you`re in amongst some dirty stuff ... as a company you want to be sure that the people who manage your reputation are fully in the picture."

Police outside Mr Litvinenko`s home

"So this is where it gets interesting. Because although it`s only two years why are we interested in Bell Pottinger? Well if we go back to reports in 2006, this is the Guardian pointing out that Bell Pottinger was involved in matters going on around Litvinenko - so this was the Russian who was poisoned. It was blamed on the KGB. Of course Putin`s name was supposedly connected with this and Bell Pottinger was in amongst some very very dirty stuff where people were being murdered. I`m not suggesting that was the result of Bell Pottinger but certainly they were handling reporting around this issue."

"We can go on. We`ve got another report here. This is about Thatcher and it`s saying that `Thatcher`s PR guru has been involved in manipulating propaganda in Iraq`. And this is where the story gets particularly interesting because Bell Pottinger had a cool 500 million dollars from the US in order to create fictitious propaganda supposedly for Al-Qaeda  and the objective was to leave this stuff around supposedly spoiling Al-Qaeda`s reputation but of course nobody knew whether this was real or false propaganda."

"And it went on. And this is into the present day. So we`ve got Bell Pottinger being accused of inciting racial hatred in South Africa. And that`s now taken a very serious turn: `PR company Bell Pottinger will go into administration tomorrow with 270 employees set to lose their jobs`."

Mike Robinson explains a bit more about the company saying that what is clear from mainstream media in the past is that this organisation is more than just about PR and reputation management. "It`s about making news stories and actually producing the news... What appears to be the case is that it`s a real 1984 type organisation where we create monsters for people to be scared of..."

Brian Gerrish adds: "So if we put the pieces together, we`ve got the situation where the Met police are saying `Well we`ve got this amazing terrorist threat` - some of it based on Al-Qaeda of course; some of it based on Isis. This is the lady who`s now going to say whether we`re going to get more armed police as a result. She was working for a company that was helping to create false terrorist propaganda."

Sophie Linden
"Now we`re not saying of course that she was directly involved. We want to ask a question: Does the Deputy, or Did the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, was she actually aware of the activities of her company Bell Pottinger in creating this false terrorist propaganda? We could ask another question. Is that false terrorist propaganda now being used as the excuse to say we`ve got to have more armed police on the streets?"

"Well we haven`t got answers on this but I do find it interesting that she did not want to declare on the Mayor of London`s website that the company she worked for was Bell Pottinger. I wonder why she`d be so sensitive Mike?"

An update on Melanie Shaw

"Melanie Shaw has had a particularly rough time in HMP Peterborough. She was subsequently released but shortly afterwards, where there was a trial with no public attendance or press attendance, she was put back into prison.  She went into HM prison Foston Hall and we said a little while ago - a few weeks ago - that she`s been put through to Eastwood Park, Falfield Wotton under Edge, Gloucester GL12 8DB."

"Now the lady responsible for the imprisonment of Melanie Shaw is Theresa May, the British Prime Minister.  She was in her role as Home Secretary when Melanie was first imprisoned but of course Theresa May as Prime Minister has done absolutely nothing to protect this very vulnerable lady. On the contrary it appears that Theresa May is desperate to protect her conservatie party colleagues who are now very nervous at the deepening investigations into child abuse by British politicans, including Ted Heath."

"So what can we say about Melanie? Well, when she was in Foston Hall she wrote several letters in which she was saying that the prison was out of control. There were constant lock downs. She had spent virtually a year in solitary confinement. In this letter she was talking about alarms going off, officers losing control, women smoking joints quite openly in front of the prison guards and her description was of a very dangerous environment where things were out of control."

"Well, she`s been moved. under very strange circumstances. She was moved across to the Falfield  prison and the interesting thing about this is that the governor - a lady called Susan Dymond-White, a little while ago called for the government to give longer jail sentences to help offenders who have been abused. I hope you understand this."

Mike Robinson says: "I have to say I don`t."

"Well the logic is that those soft judges have been giving child abuse victims short sentences and she says the problem with that is: `While they`re in prison we can`t help them. We can`t help them with their psychological needs and help them if they`re on drugs...So what we need are longer sentences so that we can help these very vulnerable child abuse or sexual abuse victims`.  And she says - here is the quote: `It is impossible for inmates to be rehabilitated in a few short weeks`. "

"Now if you`re wondering if this is reality: Yes, this is absolute reality. The BBC reported her words and it`s reported in other places."

"So what sort of treament has Melanie been receiving under this wonderful regime by Ms Dymond-White?  Well she`s been kept in solitary confinement again. She`s been denied access to the Samaritans [ Melanie says it is standard procedure to allow prisoners to phone the Samaritans, but not for her.] She`s been denied basic toiletries. She`s escorted by three warders - they can be male and female - at all times including for showers and the toilet and ... the doors are kept open. Melanie is being subjected to abuse of course because very often these warders are male."

"She`s been denied books; she`s been denied any form of therapeutic work such as art. She`s not getting her telephone calls. Letters are being intercepted. They`ve also refused her the opportunity to earn money to pay for small essentials and luxuries and she`s been branded as a dangerous violent mentally ill inmate. And she is told that each day is Wednesday and if you ask the time it is always `ten to two`. "

"So if we have a look at what is actually going on, Melanie is being held in what is supposedly a more open facility that has mental health facilities to assist prisoners but actually the treatment there is now more sinister and brutal than when she was in a high security prison. And we have a prison governor who thinks that you help child and sex abuse victims by giving them a longer sentence."

"So every day of the week is Wednesday. Every minute of the day is ten to two?" says Mike Robinson.

"If they ask: `What day is it?` They`re always told: `It`s Wednesday`, and if you ask: `What is the time?` They`re always told: `It`s ten to two`."

"This is how you imagine Soviet style..."

"Psychological torture. .. And this is all under the direct responsibility of Theresa May, the conservative party prime minister of Great Britain. This is the very same Theresa May that, standing on a world stage telling North Korea how to behave or is telling the Russian or Chinese how to behave and remember that it is her party, the conservative party, that Tim Fortescue, party whip under the Ted Heath regime, was saying that politicians were coming to the whips and needing help. They perhaps had been involved in little boys...."

"So there`s no misunderstading here. It`s quite clear that the conservative party has been involved in the abuse of children - is involved with the abuse of children - and they`re prepared to lock abuse survivors up in prison to protect their reputation...Wonderful stuff. Welcome to democracy 2017, UK style."

Suzy Dymond-White
Susan Dymond-White