Sunday, 31 July 2016

SACC calls for a moratorium on PPC programme

Published on 13 Jul 2016
"Karen Bradley MP, a Home Office minister, left the Joint Committee on Human Rights in the dark about Government efforts to crack down on extremism, after she failed to provide clarity on various issues, including the Government’s definition of extremism. Bradley appeared before the Committee on 29 June."  
Press Release from Scotland Against Criminalising Communities 17 July 2016

"SACC is calling for a moratorium on the Scottish roll-out of controversial counter-terrorism training for teachers following a damning report on the programme by the charity Rights Watch UK..."

"The report draws on case studies of the operation of the Prevent strategy in England and Wales, where the current implementation of Prevent has a longer history than in Scotland. It also looks at the human rights framework applicable to Prevent."

"The Prevent strategy has not yet been fully implemented in Scottish schools. It was launched by Education Scotland at a conference held in Glasgow in February. Some Scottish teachers - especially those in promoted positions - have already received training in the strategy. The rest of Scotland's teachers are expected to be trained at the end of the summer break."

"The training tells teachers how to spot students who may be vulnerable to radicalisation and could go on to become terrorists or supporters of terrorism. Teachers are trained to report students who they are concerned about to police under the `Prevent Professional Concerns` (PPC) programme - the Scottish equivalent of `Channel`."

"Reports to the police under PPC do not normally involve any suspicion of criminal conduct or intent. For students to be reported, it is enough for them to fall within the government's profile of vulnerability to radicalisation by changing their day to day behaviour and/or showing an interest in political issues linked in the government's view to terrorism."

"SACC and other human rights groups believe that the Prevent strategy is discriminatory, undermines the relationship between educators and students, and is more likely to foster terrorism than to prevent it."

"The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) - the main Scottish teaching union - is opposed to Prevent..."

"As a counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent is reserved to Westminster. But its implementation in Scotland involves functions devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Statutory guidance on the Prevent duty under the UK's Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 was issued jointly by the UK and Scottish Governments."

"It is within the power of Education Scotland and the Scottish Government to instigate a moratorium on Prevent training in Scottish schools in the light of the Rights Watch UK findings."  

Youth restrained and hooded


"The Australian government has launched an investigation into a youth detention centre where teenagers were filmed being assaulted, tear gassed and forcibly stripped --- by laughing prison guards. Footage obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Four Corners programme showed a 14-year-old boy being hooded and strapped to a chair for almost two hours as part of treatment that could amount to torture according to the UN."

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Children punished for non-payment of school meals

"A headteacher who made her name at a Tory party conference by claiming Britain's education was 'broken' is forcing children to eat by themselves and restricting food as a punishment for their parents failing to pay for school lunches."

"Katharine Birbalsingh, a favourite of former education secretary Michael Gove, is imposing 'lunch isolation' on pupils whose parents are behind on payments."

"Children who are put in lunch isolation are given a sandwich and piece of fruit instead of their usual hot meal with dessert, and made to sit on their own for the whole lunch hour."

"Critics called the measure at Michaela community school, a secondary free school in Wembley, north London, 'stigmatising'."

"But Miss Birbalsingh said it was an attempt to encourage parents to 'change their ways' and support their children."

Read more:

New chair announced for Scottish child abuse inquiry

"Lady Smith’s appointment was announced ... by Deputy First Minister John Swinney."

"Mr Swinney said:

'"Lady Smith will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the leadership of the Inquiry, from her significant service both as a QC and as a judge, her extensive involvement in the work of tribunals and as President of the Scottish Tribunals and her role in leading the Scottish Partnership on Domestic Abuse`."

"Mr Swinny went on to highlight Lady Smith's 'leadership, independence and sensitivity' as key skills in progressing the inquiry."

"Lady Smith, who has been a Judge since 2001 and was appointed to the Inner House in November 2012 said:"

"Sadly, many children placed in residential care in this country have, over a period stretching back years, not been afforded the protection they deserved. Their voices now require to be heard and questions of when, where, how and why it happened require to be fully addressed. It is, accordingly, very important that the work of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry continue and it is for these reasons that I welcome the invitation that has been extended to me by the Deputy First Minister and have today given my commitment to being its Chair."

Paedophilia: The Real Terminator

In light of the recent revelations of a MET police officer about cover-ups of child abuse in London and elsewhere, it is worth having another look at the work of Bill Maloney of Pie & Mash Films.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Fixing the Named Person legislation ?

Google is awash at the moment with articles about the Named Person scheme following the judgment by the Supreme Court.

There`s quite a lot to come out of this.

Here`s the Motherwell Times:
"Reacting to the Supreme Court ruling - which stated the legislation is currently `incompatible` with European human-rights laws - organisations and political parties supportive of named person said ministers must take steps to fix the policy and regain public trust."

Now I`m only a layperson and like many others I can see that the Named Person legislation can only be `fixed` into oblivion. Gone are the SHANARRI wellbeing indicators and the powers to monitor and share children`s and families` `wellbeing` data. Gone is the training and guidance. So what`s left?

Well, you can approach the Named Person and ask them for advice, if you want, but that cannot be made compulsory. And they`ve no right to share your personal data without your permission. But then we have always been able to approach health visitors and teachers for advice. So really, it`s back to square one. This means that what you end up with is a `toothless` Named Person.

Yet there are still politicians, regulators and charities prepared to spout nonsense at us.
[Labour's education spokesman Iain Gray said:] "It now falls to SNP Deputy First Minister John Swinney to clarify how he will regain the trust and confidence of the Scottish public in the scheme."
What scheme?
[Scottish Greens education spokesman Ross Greer said:] "As I told the Scottish Parliament last month, the Scottish Government must do more to build public confidence and better explain what named person means in practice."

Well I`ve just explained it. It doesn`t mean a lot in practice.

What does this say about our judges, our politicians and our charities that they could not see that the Scottish Government was walking itself into a cul-de-sac? Incompetence or corruption?  Either way, it`s not looking good.

David Scott goes into this in a lot more detail on UK Column News:

From the judgment: 
"It remains to be seen whether the Scottish Government will bring new legislation before the Parliament. But the existing scheme cannot go ahead. It is doubtful that any new legislation can deliver a named person scheme along the lines originally envisaged by the Scottish Government, given the `central` role of the information sharing provisions to the scheme that have been struck down."

Support line can advise parents worried about extremism

ChildLine counsellors have now become experts in extremism ! If they succeed with this as well as they have with child abuse in the care system, nobody`s safe.


"The NSPCC said its existing support line could now advise parents worried about extremists grooming a child."

"It said counsellors had been trained to spot warning signs such as children isolating themselves or `talking as if from a scripted speech`.

"Recent terror attacks `highlighted the growing problem of individuals being influenced by extremism`, it added."

"The charity said it had already started getting calls to its free 24-hour helpline from people worried about the problem..."

"Signs which may `hint at a child being radicalised` include children:"
"Isolating themselves from family and friends
Talking as if from a scripted speech
Showing increased levels of anger
Becoming disrespectful and asking inappropriate questions."


Another case for the overzealous Norwegian child protection service

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Getting it Right for the Blog

I am celebrating the fact that the Supreme Court has branded the Named Person legislation as unlawful. I am doing that by removing the sidebar blurb, copy below, that I put in place as I set up my blog.

Thanks to NO2NP and all their supporters for the wonderfully measured, but strong campaign, against this anti-family, anti-child, totalitarian scheme.

A new blurb will be put in place after 42 days and suggestions are most welcome.

Supreme Court blocks Named Person

"Judges at the Supreme Court have today blocked the Scottish Government’s controversial ‘Named Person’ scheme, branding it `unlawful`."

Key extracts from the judgement:

"The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get at the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world. Within limits, families must be left to bring up their children in their own way." [Paragraph 73]

"…there must be a risk that, in an individual case, parents will be given the impression that they must accept the advice or services which they are offered, especially in pursuance of a child’s plan for targeted intervention under Part 5; and further, that their failure to co-operate with such a plan will be taken to be evidence of a risk of harm. An assertion of such compulsion, whether express or implied, and an assessment of non-cooperation as evidence of such a risk could well amount to an interference with the right to respect for family life which would require justification under article 8(2). Given the very wide scope of the concept of ‘wellbeing’ and the SHANARRI factors, this might be difficult. Care should therefore be taken to emphasise the voluntary nature of the advice, information, support and help which are offered under section 19(5)(a)(i) and (ii) and the Guidance should make this clear." [Paragraph 95]

"In summary, we conclude that the information-sharing provisions of Part 4 of the Act … (b) are incompatible with the rights of children, young persons and parents under article 8 of the ECHR because they are not ‘in accordance with the law’ as that article requires, (c) may in practice result in a disproportionate interference with the article 8 rights of many children, young persons and their parents, through the sharing of private information…" [Paragraph 106]

Police whistleblower talks to Brian Gerrish

This is a really important interview and I think it is useful to have it in written form, so that the text can be scanned easily for reference.
Brian Gerrish interviews John, a police whistleblower, at the UK Column studio. He says: "Just start somewhere at the beginning..."

"Well I joined the police in the beginning of the 1990s. My early career was just as a uniformed officer and I sort of ... progressed into the CID department and all was going well without incident and then I moved on to a specialist operation which was tracking down transient paedophiles because the Sex Offenders Registry Act had been brought in 1997, and they were finding that a lot of sex offenders were going off the radar, were going missing."

"It was a good little role," says John, "But things started to go awry." Sex offenders were required to sign the sex offenders register. Some of them were going missing; but they were going to live on canal boats. John was told that they`d got two but there were probably a couple more. "You`re on it for the next few months. See if you can double the figure and find two more. "Well what happened," says John, "was within a few months there was about ninety, and with that, it sort of exposed there was a loophole in the law that allowed people to live on canal boats, avoid registry and just act with impunity."

"So these people could have anonymous lives effectively and they`re there living in an area but because they`re on a boat they don`t have to identify themselves. They`re not on the council register ... "

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Supreme Court judgment tomorrow

Australian Broadcasting Corporation shows images of abuse at detention centre

"Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has launched an inquiry following a video broadcast on national TV which showed children being tear gassed and strapped to chairs at a detention centre that has been likened to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay."

"The footage, aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), showed CCTV video of children being detained at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin, in the far north of the country."

"The grim images show officers grabbing the neck of a boy named Dylan Voller and throwing him to the ground. He is then subsequently stripped naked. Another video shows Voller being tear gassed by correctional officers, who just seconds before can be heard saying they wanted to `pulverize` him."

"Voller suffered some of this abuse when he was just 13. He was on the receiving end of violence for over four years."

" `Like all Australians, I've been deeply shocked - shocked and appalled by the images of [the] mistreatment of children,` Turnbull said, as quoted by Reuters."

Asylum claim pending for runaway parents

"Natasha and Erik’s twins were taken away by Norway’s child protection service as soon as they were born. Now the family are fugitives in Poland, in a case that’s appalled psychologist Einar Salvesen."

By Einar Salvesen

"In early June, Natasha and Erik took their nine-month-old twins and went into hiding. They had been told that Norway’s Child Protection Service known as Barnevernet were planning to take their girls away for a second time..."

"At this time Natasha and Erik escaped to Poland with their children. I have been informed by the Polish embassy that there is huge support for them by the Polish people. We have received videos, photos as well as reports from various sources concerning the children who are developing normally and are well cared for by their parents."

"Experts, both Polish and Norwegian, will continue to monitor the children’s safety and document their development and wellbeing for all the authorities involved - both Polish and Norwegian."

"With their asylum claim pending, the fate of Natasha, Erik and the twins is yet to be determined."

"There is no doubt this case highlights the very worst that can happen with Barnevernet and the limited recourse parents have within the Norwegian court system. But this case has also received widespread media coverage raising greater awareness within Norwegian society."

"It has shown how the system is broken and the many flaws that stem from the psychopathic culture that lies within it. My question is, how can we overhaul this system and create a dialogue so we can act in the best interests of both the child and the family?"

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Eleven people under investigation over handling of allegaions against Janner

"Eleven people, believed to include police officers, are under investigation over their handling of allegations against Lord Janner."

"The peer, who died in December, was accused of sex offences against boys, over a 20-year period from the 1960s."

"The IPCC said it had served `criminal and gross misconduct notices on 11 individuals` as part of its inquiry into Leicestershire Police."

"Lord Janner's family have always denied the allegations."

"The IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) will examine how the force dealt with allegations of sexual abuse by the late peer and other people which were made in 1991, 2001 and 2006."

"It said it had decided not to name any of those under investigation to ensure the ongoing criminal investigation is not compromised."

"In January this year, criminal proceedings against Lord Janner, who was a Leicester MP, came to an end following his death."

"Leicestershire Police had referred itself to the IPCC over its handling of the allegations in September 2014..."

"The Goddard Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is conducting its own investigation into allegations of abuse involving Lord Janner, and the `institutional responses to those allegations`."

"A preliminary hearing is due to take place on Tuesday."

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Brain based parenting

Jan Macvarish

"The idea that the first three years of a child’s life represent a ‘window of opportunity’ for life-changing intervention is now very influential among policymakers. This is largely due to the combined advocacy of neuroscience entrepreneurs, UK charities such as the NSPCC and Save the Children, the growth of parenting programmes introduced by local health commissioners, and politicians keen to find novel solutions to long-standing social problems."

"What I call ‘neuroparenting’ the idea that parents are architects of their children’s brains now dominates the outlook of parent trainers. Talking about ‘the brain’ allows those involved in monitoring and instructing parents to position themselves less as bossy experts or, worse still, moralists, and more as neutral conveyors of scientific ‘facts’. They can therefore tell parents how to love and care for their babies using the pseudo-scientific language of evidence bases, synapses and oxytocin."

"As others such as John Bruer have shown, there is little evidence that neuroparenting does actually produce neurological benefits. But then that was never its point. Rather, neuroparenting is a metaphor that appears to allow politicians and practitioners to connect with parents and their aspirations for their children to do well..."

"Politicians’ focus on neuroparenting reflects the smallness of their politics. Talking about babies’ brains and the need to improve parental ‘input’ in order to create a dynamic Britain suggests that our social problems are emotional rather than economic. Instead of trying to reshape our economic future, policymakers prefer to concentrate on reshaping family dynamics."

Here is more neurobabble from Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, child development psychologist, University of Dundee:

"This video clip is part of the 'Pre-Birth to Three' multimedia resource created to accompany the 'Pre-Birth to Three: Positive Outcomes for Scotland's Children and Families' guidance."

The language of social care

"I write a lot about the language of the social care world. I love it when I read stuff like transparency because the reality seems to be the opposite. I therefore tend to work on the principle that the opposite of what is being presented is probably closer to the reality."
"If Steven chooses either steak or fish for his tea, he is being empowered."
"But the thing that really gets my goat is when a person's entire life, everything they do, is jargonised."

(Mark Neary)

Governor, Southern Health NHS Trust, under investigation

Peter Bell, Jade Taylor and Richard West

17 May 2016 Daily Echo

"Rebel governors who have a say on how Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust is run have broken ranks from the leadership by resurrecting a crunch meeting to demand improvements at the organisation... "

"And in a remarkable twist they raised the money needed to hire the hall through online crowdfunding..."

"Just one governor, Peter Bell, had arrived at the splinter meeting by the start time of 11.45am, with three more following. Mr Bell is proposing a vote of no confidence in the leadership."

"As previously reported, the trust announced it was postponing the extraordinary council of governors meeting after organisers say the decisions made would not be legal."

"The trust’s new chair Tim Smart had also come under fire as he was due to exclude the press and the public for part of that meeting."

"Southern Health has been condemned after failing to protect patients and investigate the deaths of hundreds of people in its care."

Then this: Mydaftlife July 2016

"Got home to find out one of the rebel governors, Peter Bell, is under formal investigation by Sloven. Yep. Sloven are formally investigating the actions of a (rare) governor."

"Sloven who:
initially said LB died of natural causes and all due process was followed.
tried to stop the publication of the first Verita investigation which found LB’s death was preventable.
spent nearly £300,000 on legal expenses at LB’s inquest to try to avoid accountability.
spent nearly £50,000 to try to sink the Mazars review into their death reporting.
have been found to be failing by numerous coroners over the past five years
etc, etc, etc…"

"Blimey. A formal investigation…"

" `Seriously derogatory remarks’…. Not sure where, in the guvs’ code of practice, it states ‘thou shalt not say owt negative against the hallowed trust’..."

"LB died. He died. Without any accountability. But the investigation into the actions of a governor is racing on. Interviews, evidence collecting and all. By an organisation who failed to investigate 100s of unexpected deaths in their care. I almost think I’ll wake up in a mo. Surely this can’t be happening in full view of NHS Improvement, NHS England, the CQC and Jeremy Hunt?..."

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Massive state power just takes a few hours training

(Daily Mail July 22)

"...Critics hit out at the vast state powers which, if the court challenge fails could be conferred on individuals next month after just two-and-three-quarter hours of training - the duration reported in the Borders."

"The brief training comes despite the need to ensure health visitors - the Named Persons for pre-school children - have been trained to assess the development, speech and needs of children and parents."

"The Scottish Government insists that health visitors, and teachers for schoolchildren, are already highly trained."

"The importance of proper guidance was highlighted last month when senior youth work practitioner Dr Simon Knight warned of fears that overzealous state guardians could bring their `prejudices` to the job and act on behaviour they simply don`t like, such as a parent drinking a glass of wine in front of their child."

"Simon Calvert, of campaign group No to Named Persons, said: `It takes a minimum of five year to train a social worker specialising in child protection."

"`Yet on the basis of just a few hours` instruction, the Named Person is sold as a life-saving child protection scheme."

"`The expectation ministers have built up around the Named Person policy is putting huge pressure on teachers and health visitors who, whilst they may be brilliant in their chosen profession, are not trained, experienced child protection experts in the way that social workers are.`"

The report writer is reluctant to talk

The investigation continues into the Docherty case with another telephone call to a member of the NHS team:


"I`ll give a quick intro," says David Scott. "This is Phyllis Smart. [She] works for NHS Grampian and is a a consultant nurse and specialist in the field of child protection. She was brought in apparently at the insistence of Police Scotland to write a report on the Dochertys. And this report, the Dochertys have never seen, so they don`t know exactly what`s in it. But it seems to be very damning. It has led to a lot of trouble they`ve had in Ireland. However, there`s some interesting things here."

"Phyllis Smart never met the Dochertys. Phyllis Smart never met the Dochertys` children; and Phyllis Smart apparently has accused Brian Docherty`s father of being a paedophile and of being allowed access to the Docherty children. This is particularly surprising as at the time this accusation was made Brian Docherty`s father was more than four years in his cold wet grave and could be abusing nobody. So we seem to have incompetence. We seem to have no pretence of proper investigation or enquiry. And then writing a report that blights the family`s life; we`ve got very callous action by the state against individuals. And we have to remember it could be any of us. So this is how the person who is responsible for this reacted to a few very simple, very polite questions."

"Hello, Phyllis Smart speaking."

"Good morning Phyllis. My name`s David Scott. I`m a journalist that`s been looking at the Brian and Janet Docherty case. I wonder if you could help me with a few questions."

"... Say that again."

"... I`ve been looking at the Brian and Janice Docherty case."

"Right OK."

"Could you confirm that you were the author of a report about Brian and Janice Docherty and their children?"

"Eh....No, I don`t think I can.  No..."

"Are you saying you weren`t the author of a report about them?"

"... I don`t generally speak to the press and the media. You need to go through our ... communications people for the NHS ...."

"What the Dochertys are telling me is that you authored a report about them and their children but you never actually met them. Could you comment on that?

".... you need to go through our ... " [inaudible]

"Could you tell me was it Police Scotland who asked for this report?"

"... I`m sorry. I`m going to have to put the phone down, right?"


"So we have there the lady who is responsible for so much pain and suffering on the part of two of her fellow Scots; completely unwilling to provide any information, to back her decision, to justify the decision, to engage with the public in any way, shape or form."

"We don`t answer questions in the new Scotland. We simply defer questions to somebody else. And we`ll come back in twenty days and we won`t tell you the answer then either."

Brian Gerrish joins the conversation: "Well David, that sums it up completely. What a remarkable lady. She sounded like Dr Findlay`s wife to me. For those of a mature age. But running very scared. Runs back into the system to hide."

"But this letter you sent through to me recently - now people are not going to be able to read it while we`re reporting on it....But you can always freeze the screen...."

He goes on to summarise the letter to Mr Docherty: "We`ve stolen your children but we`re not responsible. This is the most incredible letter to do with child protection matters I think I`ve ever seen, and the implications are truly astounding because ... the Scottish Government is saying we can simply come along and take your children and if you want to complain, we understand that - go to the complaints system - but we don`t care and we`re above the law.  Have I got that right?"

"That`s pretty much it. They don`t engage in intervening in individual cases, is the excuse; or one of the excuses. The other one is data protection... So we can`t talk to you and we can`t interfere. And everyone`s independent. Although the Scottish Government is completely joined up and there are no functional departments as entities anymore. We still have virtual departments when it comes to wanting to avoid the blame. One of Nicola Sturgeon`s current nicknames is Elsie, because whenever things go wrong, it`s someone else`s fault."

"So she`s saying well you have to go to Police Scotland; you have to go through the normal complaints procedures which are, of course, hugely skewed against the individual and in favour of the establishment. And we`re talking extreme situations; we`re talking about people whose lives are at risk; people whose children have been seized in a foreign country. And the government which claims repeatedly, ad nauseam, to represent the Scottish people as a single .... entity says: `I`m very sorry; you`re an individual; we can`t help. Go away`."

Former headmaster and teacher of Fife school convicted of abuse

"The headmaster and teacher of a former Fife school have been convicted of physical and sexual abuse against six pupils more than 30 years ago."

"John Farrell, 73, of Motherwell, was found guilty of four charges and Paul Kelly, 64, of Plymouth, was convicted of seven charges."

"They abused boys aged between 11 and 15 at St Ninian's in Falkland, a school for children from troubled backgrounds."

"It was run by the Christian Brothers organisation and closed in 1983..."

"The victims were abused between 1979 and 1983, when they were aged between 11 and 15."

"The abuse was uncovered due to the tenacity of one victim, who sparked an investigation after he made a formal complaint to the Archdiocese in 2013."

"That inquiry uncovered many more complainers..."

"Three other men linked to St Ninian's - ex-social worker Michael Murphy, 75; Edward Egan, 76; and William Don, 62 - had also faced abuse allegations, but these were thrown out during the trial."

The plight of Australian aboriginal families

A report said alcohol consumption was fueling widespread violence; so the taskforce entered aboriginal communities to restore law and order and primarily to protect children.

"The Government has tried many programmes in the past to address some of these issues," said a member of the taskforce. "I think the difference now is for the first time mainstream Australia has really understood that we have people living in third world conditions of poverty in Australia."

The commentator said: "Given the history of white and aboriginal relationships, when you turn up in your combat fatigues, can you understand why remote communities like this might feel a little bit intimidated?"

"I`m not a scary guy and most people when I talk to them, well we get past that ..."

"The government has retaken command of dozens of settlements. Alcohol and pornography have been banned. The taskforce has even taken control of how aboriginal people spend their benefit money."

John Pilger sees it differently:

"Assimilation remains Australian government policy in all but name. Euphemisms such as `reconciliation` and `Stronger Futures` cover similar social engineering and an enduring, insidious racism in the political elite, the bureaucracy and wider Australian society. When in 2008 prime minister Kevin Rudd apologised for the stolen generation, he added: `I want to be blunt about this. There will be no compensation.` The Sydney Morning Herald congratulated Rudd on a `shrewd manoeuvre` that `cleared away a piece of political wreckage in a way that responds to some of its own supporters' emotional needs, yet changes nothing."

"Today, the theft of Aboriginal children including babies taken from the birth table is now more widespread than at any time during the last century. As of June last year, almost 14,000 Aboriginal children had been `removed`. This is five times the number when Bringing Them Home was written. More than a third of all removed children are Aboriginal from 3% of the population. At the present rate, this mass removal of Aboriginal children will result in a stolen generation of more than 3,300 children in the Northern Territory alone..."

"Most Aboriginal families live on the edge. Their life expectancy in towns a short flight from Sydney is as low as 37. Dickensian diseases are rife; Australia is the only developed country not to have eradicated trachoma, which blinds Aboriginal children..."

"Josie Crawshaw, the former director of a respected families' support organisation in Darwin, told me: `In remote areas, officials will go in with a plane in the early hours and fly the child thousands of kilometres from their community. There'll be no explanation, no support, and the child may be gone forever`..."

"The New South Wales parliament is soon to debate legislation that introduces forced adoption and `guardianship`. Children under two years old will be liable without the mother's consent if `removed` for more than six months. For many Aboriginal mothers like Pat, it can take six months merely to make contact with their children. `It's setting up Aboriginal families to fail,` said Shoebridge..."

Friday, 22 July 2016

Legality of`Named Person will be ruled next week

"Judges will rule whether the Scottish Government's controversial named person policy is legal next week, as the Supreme Court publishes the outcome of a final appeal against the law."

"The case brought by the Christian Institute and three other charities was heard by five senior judges over two days in March after the groups claimed it amounted to an unjustified interference with family rights."

"However their argument that the Scottish Government had exceeded its powers was rejected at the court of session which dismissed the claims of campaigners in January 2015 and described them as "hyperbole" when their appeal failed in September last year."

"The law providing each child in Scotland with a named person to safeguard their wellbeing comes into effect on August 31st. The Scottish Government had begun to make provisions for delaying the scheme if a ruling had not been received before the Supreme Court takes its summer break next month... The Scottish Government said last night that ministers would not speculate ahead of the outcome and would comment once the Supreme Court's decision is known..."

"Simon Calvert, spokesman for the No to Named Persons campaign, said:"
"This will clearly be a vitally important day. Five judges including two from Scotland conducted a forensic examination of the complex issues and we await their determination with anticipation."

Teenager was left hungry and dehydrated

"The family of a teenager who was denied food at a Stirlingshire care centre fear he will not recover from the experience."

"Lewis Mahony, a 19-year-old man with autism, severe learning disability and epilepsy, was repeatedly left in his room without food and water at Camphill Blair Drummond."

"Although he suffered anxiety in crowded rooms, staff insisted he was not allowed food or drink until he dressed and entered the communal dining room."

"This meant he was often left hungry and dehydrated, and received his medication on an empty stomach, which medical guidance states should always be given with food."

"Now the Care Inspectorate has upheld the family's complaint about his care."

"It was only after his mother Christine Mahony visited with a friend that she decided to remove him from the centre."

"She said: `I found him in his room in dirty pyjamas, hungry and thirsty, and when I tried to encourage him to get dressed, he went white with fear and resisted desperately`."

"The staff had given him nothing to eat or drink that day. Although it was after 1pm, the house leader continued to refuse to give Lewis anything to eat in his bedroom, saying he was 'just being a stroppy teenager'."

"Officials from the Care Inspectorate visited on April 27 and found many areas of concern, particularly that on the days when he refused to go into the dining area he was deprived of food and water, became hungry and thirsty and was at risk of dehydration..."

"In a statement, Camphill Blair Drummond say the welfare of people they support is of the highest priority and they take all complaints very seriously..."

"We regret that the outcome for the family did not match our usual high level of parental satisfaction."

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Another look at Evidence2Success

According to the Annie E Casey Foundation in the US, the Evidence2Success survey is for civic leaders "who are ready to commit to investing a portion of their public funds for child wellbeing in a new way - to prevent problems before they happen."

Speaking at the `Transforming children`s services conference` in Perth, Louise Morpeth from the Dartington Research Unit, informed the audience that "Perth and Kinross was actually a pilot site for a piece of work that was sponsored by the Annie E Casey Foundation and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation."

"There`s 24,000 children in Perth and Kinross; over 8,000 of them took part in the wellbeing survey and we had over 800 parents participate on the wellbeing of children zero to eight."

The results and analysis provided Dartington Research Unit with certain information: "We know that the majority of children who have needs are not in contact with specialist services and we know that there are children who are in receipt of services who do not have high levels of need... Typically one in five children have [needs]."

These `needs`were unspecified but they do seem to amount to a great many children. "One of the wonderful things about the data is that we can disaggregate it down to the level of schools," says Louise Morpeth. Unfortunately, that did not go down well for the people in Comrie whose primary schoolchildren were given a very negative report from Evidence2Success despite a very positive report from HMIE in 2012. It does make you wonder about the validity of the survey.

Dee Thomas, a very angry mother of a ten year old boy, who was subjected to the survey, now campaigns for NO2NP. "My 10 year old son was asked: Do people in your family often shout in each other`s faces? Do you carry a knife? Have you used cannabis over the last 30 days? If he had been 14 he would have been asked if he had had anal sex. But what made me really angry was my boy was asked if he thought he was no good at all...and if he thought his life just wasn`t worth it. My son was asked a suicide question with the blessing of the Information Commissioner. Creepy and Weird? I call it stealing his innocence without my permission."
Elsewhere she writes:
Evidence2success [was] devised in America after the Columbine High School Shootings, to predict future shootings.* It has been developed by various university bodies in the US who are hell bent on violence prevention via data collection. This they say can be achieved by predicting future adolescent and adult behaviour by collecting data throughout each child's life, and apparently even from before birth...
After a prolonged campaign, some parents in Perthshire have now managed to convince the Scottish Government that there are serious flaws running through the entire Evidence2Success proposition.
Unfortunately, the Scottish Government has not been persuaded that monitoring the whole population might not be the best use of resources or the most effective way to improve children`s wellbeing. On the contrary, the Social Research Unit is well supported.
"When budgets are contracting...," says Louise Morpeth, "I hate to state the obvious but services are very very reluctant to be decommissioned and when there`s no new money, the only place money comes from to do new things is by stopping something you do."

That`s a tough call: Stop doing some of the things you are doing now, even when budgets are contracting, in order to invest in preventing problems before they happen. Reap the benefits at some point in the future, maybe.

Or as Dee Thomas has said: "If you spend all this money monitoring everybody you`re going to have less money to spend caring for the most vulnerable."

See Blueprints for Europe: Promoting Evidence-based Programmes in Children`s Services

* I wonder if Evidence2Success investigates the effects of antidepressants and other medications on adolescents, particularly with regard to school shootings. If it doesn`t, it`s a poor survey. 

Law Society question benefit of stop and search

"The Law Society of Scotland has questioned the benefit of giving police new powers to stop and search children and young people today, Monday 18 July."

"In its responses to Scottish Government consultations on stop and search, including a consultation on police powers to search children and young people for alcohol and a consultation on a draft code of practice, the Law Society said it believes current police powers are sufficient and new powers could result in negative effects."

"Ian Cruickshank, convener of the Law Society’s Criminal Law Committee, said: `Giving the police new powers to stop and search young people for alcohol could alienate them and may have long term negative effects, both for Police Scotland and young people in general`."

"There is a risk that a new power to search a child or young person for alcohol would generate a disproportionate negative perception of children, as evidence shows only a small number of searches actually result in the finding of alcohol."

"The consultation document states that the results of non-statutory, or consensual, searches for alcohol during the period 1 June to 31 December 2015 show that only 9.7% of searches of people under 18 resulted in alcohol being found."

"The Law Society also considered whether there should be a specific legal power to search people aged 18 and over..."

"Taking all matters into account; `our view is that there would be little benefit in introducing new statutory powers for the police to search children, adults and young people for alcohol`."

"The Law Society’s full responses to both Stop and Search consultations can be found on the website:"

English government should copy Scottish fostering legislation

by Andy Elvin

"This month the new President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, Dave Hill, spoke out against Independent Fostering Agencies (IFAs) offering £3,000 `Golden Hellos` to foster carers to switch agencies."

"He said: `We think it is very sharp practice because we’re recruiting, training, assessing and approving those foster carers. We just think that is morally absolutely wrong`."

"He encouraged ministers to consider Scotland, where laws state fostering agencies which are profit making cannot approve, review or terminate the approval of foster carers."

"I have every sympathy with Dave Hill and would urge the English government to look at copying the Scottish legislation, and have urged Department for Education to do just this."

"Ed Timpson said recently, in the midst of the concerned responses to the ‘exemption’ clause contained in the Children and Social Work Bill, that the government "will not privatise Child Protection". And it won’t, as the private sector wants no part of a service where they operate to a fixed cost but can’t control how much demand will be placed on that service."

"However the care system was part privatised some years ago. It is legal and above board, and it is big, big business. The Sunday Times reported last weekend how two of Britain’s biggest foster care companies, Acorn and the National Fostering Agency, were to merge in an ambitious £400m plan." 

VAXXED: from cover-up to catastrophe

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Self-reported health is declining

Well, this has nothing to do with the `early years`:

"Across the UK self-reported health has been progressively declining year on year since 2010 with the fastest falls to the worse recorded levels having been confirmed by official data released in March 2016, but not yet reported until now."

"In March 2016 ONS released new well-being data and within their statistical release stated that: "The proportion of people aged 16 and over in the UK who were somewhat, mostly or completely satisfied with their health was lower in the financial year ending 2014 (57.8%) than in the previous year (59.3%). The way in which people view their health is crucial to well-being." The drop in self-reported health that ONS reported in March 2016 was so rapid that it fell outside the confidence limits established the year before for possible error in the rates being estimates. The most recent figure is not included in the graphs shown in this blog because it is an aggregate statistic, but the new statistic shows that national self-reported health became worse yet again."

"No one reported this rise in people saying their health had worsened, at any point from 2012 through to 2016. Perhaps the authorities thought they should not do so most recently because of the referendum campaign underway? Similarly, there was no press release issued by ONS for the news of the huge rise of deaths when the latest mortality data was released on June 23rd. Every previous release of these annual statistics had been accompanied by a press release. A year after the greatest rise in ill health was reported, came the greatest rise in mortality."

"By March 2016 it was becoming abundantly clear that deaths in the UK were rising and self-reported health quality had been falling year after year for some time, but as we did not have denominator populations so we could not be sure that these changes were real changes in rates. Now we are sure. This is because of the mid-year population statistics released by ONS on June 23rd which also included new population estimates. As that was the date of the EU referendum [few] people looked at the figures."

The social determinants of health

"This study of inequities in health between and within countries across the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region was commissioned to support the development of the new European policy framework for health and well-being, Health 2020..."

Behind the study, there were a number of task groups which provided evidence on tackling the major social determinants of health and related areas.

Naomi Eisenstadt, who is Nicola Sturgeon`s independent adviser on poverty and inequality, co-chaired the `Early years, education and family` group. Sir Harry Burns, who was Chief Medical Officer for Scotland at the time, chaired the task group for `Governance and delivery mechanisms`.

Quoting from the report:
"Children’s early development, life chances and, ultimately, health inequities are strongly influenced by: the social and economic background of their parents and grandparents; location, culture and tradition; education and employment; income and wealth; lifestyle and behaviour; and genetic disposition." 
"Further, conditions such as obesity and hypertension, and behaviour that puts health at risk, such as smoking, recur in successive generations. Achieving a sustainable reduction in health inequities requires action to prevent the relative and absolute disadvantage of parents from blighting the lives of their children, their grandchildren and subsequent generations. The strongest instruments to break such vicious circles of disadvantage lie at the start of life."
So it is now the business of governments to prevent families from blighting the lives of their children by getting heavily involved in the early years. It could not be any more insulting or small minded.

Scotland is obviously the pilot for this scheme which is going to be pushed across Europe and, indeed, the rest of the world.

Stuart Waiton, senior lecturer in sociology and criminology at Abertay University, has written and spoken about the lack of `big ideas` in government.

Here he is criticising the Named Person scheme.

Monday, 18 July 2016

On the GIRFEC pathway to nowhere

"We’re not asking for much really. We just want a house that has all the bedrooms on the same level so we can get a decent night’s sleep and Zac can feel more secure..."

As for East Lothian Council:
"They recommend cross-boundary models of service delivery to make best use of expertise and resources in an integrated way to ensure that all children and young people are safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included."
[Framework for meeting additional support for learning needs (Updated 2013)]

It`s called `Inclusion`. It`s called `Getting it Right for Every Child`. It`s called `Joined up services` and it`s empty rhetoric.


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Social bridging finance to transform children`s services

Brian Gerrish and David Scott refer to the `Transforming children`s services conference` in Perth 18 March 2016. There, John Swinney urged the audience to be intolerant of those who resist breaking down organisational boundaries.

"David, you`ve got some really fascinating information here ... Take us into this a bit because in following through the Docherty case you`re now looking at this extraordinary transformation. I`m using that term deliberately: transformation of children`s services where you can see the state starting to move in. There`s an undertone of: `It isn`t going to be parents who bring up their children; it`s going to be the state`... This is very very dark and sinister stuff. Most of it is given a glossy coverage. If I just run through a couple of these images then I`ll pass it back to you. So you`ve got the Herald in Scotland saying here: John Swinney `stunned` by levels of bureaucracy facing Scottish teachers. Now we`ve got John Swinney there transforming children`s services... "

"We`ve got this lady, Louise Morpeth, she was also involved. And I`m fascinated by this one because she`s come from the Dartington Social Research Centre which is down the road from Plymouth in Devon. And a lot of people are very interested in the strange group of people there who have suddenly become experts in the care of children. What are you seeing going on in this conference ?"

"Yes this is a very interesting conference in a dull sort of way. The speakers were by no means interesting in their own right. But they put information up on Youtube and the content is fascinating. The background to this is GIRFEC (Getting it Right for Every Child), named person, state surveillance of family life. But there are other agendas which are driving this forward; one of which is they`ve realised that the welfare state model that they`ve been working on since the second world war is bust...and they`re casting around for something to replace it..."

"They`re bringing in these private sector bodies who are feeding off the state at Dartington; they`re bringing in the tax exempt foundations and the charitable sector to create this new model ... The lady from Dartington was boasting she had records of 46,000 children in Scotland - forty six thousand - that`s how much data they have gathered." [I`ll just add that she also said that there was no other place in the world with such rich data.] 

"It didn`t always go well though because this other slide shows the people gathering information going door to door `Council workers chased off housing estate for asking questions about children`. People found it to be a very creepy operation. They thought they might be some sort of paedophile organisation and they literally ran them out of town..."

"So they`re gathering all this information and they`re using it to create change. But that leaves the question: where do the ideas come from?"

"But the other thing you`ve got to follow the money. Now this next slide shows where some of the money is coming from. This is Kenneth Ferguson. Now he`s a director of the Robertson Trust. Now they are a tax exempt foundation, a philanthropic organisation set up by three sisters... So he`s involved in funding various projects ...they`re putting out about £15 to £16 million pounds a year ...which might seem like a lot of money but remember Perth and Kinross Council is a small council; it runs about £250 million a year ...  So they are looking to transform how our children are raised, how our children are educated and with it transform society because it`s all about re-engineering society to make it less costly, less likely to use the National Health Service, claim benefits and basically make the whole thing affordable. They want you to do as you`re told, and they want you to be a good obedient taxpayer and make the state work all the better."

"How does a small organisation like this generate enough money to create this sort of change?.. The chairman of Robertson Foundation said `I`m looking to set up this fund and we want the Royal Bank to fund it; and we`re going to lend money to organisations which are going to create change in children`s services.` - How much money were you looking for ? - `Well, we`ll start off with £5 million and we`ll maybe work up to £100 million`. `Oh no`, says the chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland, `Far too small. For changing these sort of services you need £500 million to a billion pounds. That`s the level you need to be thinking at`..."

"So they`ve gone away and worked out this scheme*. This scheme involves the philanthropic centre putting in some money on a soft loan basis. It involves the Royal Bank of Scotland and other major banks putting in vast sums on a commercial loan basis, but commercial loans to government.  So it`s a low interest rate and that fund will be used to fund change: from having a system that reacts to need, to one that is proactive and reacts before the need is [people] will not need the services**. That`s the agenda. And the money is coming from the banking system. It`s going to be put on the local government balance sheet. It will not show up as part of the central government and national debt. It will be used to create this change and it will be ultimately carried by local taxpayers."

"David, as you were talking through that, what is in my head is we need a full session on this. What are we doing?  We`re bringing bankers in - international bankers - who we already know are running corrupt, criminal fraudulent banks involved in money laundering, drug dealing - we are bringing those people right in alongside the so-called care of our children. It is obvious what is going on here - being done by stealth - by the very governments that we think are there to protect our children. I`ve just got a brief mental image - if you go walking in the wilds on the west coast of America you are warned that you should keep very young children in the middle of the walking party because the mountain lions have a habit of picking off stragglers at the rear of a group. .. And it seems to me, what we`ve got here is a very dark and vicious global commercial sector which is now simply saying `well let`s not bother with the politics of nation states; let`s get straight in there and farm the children because it will make our job much easier`."

David Scott recalls: "When we first came across the technical underpinning of this in the lectures by Sir Harry Burns, former chief medical officer in Scotland, we wondered why the slides had the logo of the World Bank on them. Well we know now. We`re talking about international banking; we`re talking about tax exempt foundations and we`re talking about changing the way our children are treated by the state and none of it involves national parliaments; none of it involves public discussion; none of it involves transparency; none of it involves asking the parents."  (15 July 2016)

* social bridging finance: a loan used to transform to proactive services while reactive services are still in place and presumably being phased out.

**i.e  Early intervention: it`s supposed to reduce the need for services in the future.

See also