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News round-up 25/5: 'Postcode lottery' in child care proceedings

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Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government

Children in care

Children are 10 times more likely to be taken into care in some parts of the country than in others, a study by Cafcass, the children’s family court service, has found. The Times reports that the study found that one local authority – South Tyneside Council – started care proceedings at a rate of 30 per 10,000 children, while another – Richmond LBC – did so for less than three per 10,000. Anthony Douglas, Cafcass chief executive, said the differences were “too large to be entirely explained by demography or deprivation.

Speaking on the Today Programme, Mr Douglas said the Baby P case had resulted in a “sea-change in practice” which had led to local authorities taking a closer look at their cases to determine whether stronger interventions needed to occur. He said he was happy that children were now being assessed more promptly and that the appropriate action was being taken sooner where interventions were needed.

 

Whitehall staff numbers

Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary has slapped down Steve Hilton, the prime minister’s former strategy adviser over his suggestion that the civil service should be cut by 90%, the Times reports. Giving evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee, Sir Jeremy said that Mr Hilton’s plan had no backing from the top.

 

Older people

A report by thinktank Demos has found that the elderly in Britain get “a poorer deal” than in similar European countries, the Daily Mail reports. They are more likely to suffer ageism in health care than in either Germany, Sweden or the Netherlands, the report found, and are also far lonelier.

 

Economy

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed the economy shrank by 0.3% in the first three months of 2012, rather than the 0.2% originally recorded, the Guardian reports.

 

Academies

Two academies are facing legal challenges for refusing to admit children with statements of special needs, the Guardian reports. Mossbourne academy in Hackney and the London Oratory in Fulham are facing the challenges but the cases suggest academies may not have the same legal obligations to children with special needs as maintained schools.

 

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