John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Friday, October 30, 2009
  Election Results 29th October 2009
Huntingdonshire DC, Huntingdon North
LD Patricia Ellen Shrapnel 243 (32.6; +2.7)
Con 213 (28.6; -18.6)
UKIP 167 (22.4; +14.1)
Lab 123 (16.5; +1.8)
Majority 30
Turnout 19%
LD hold
Percentage change is since May 2008

Hellesdon PC, South East
Con 287 (46.2)
LD Wendy Elizabeth Pearce 198 (31.9)
UKIP 136 (21.9)
Majority 89
Turnout 15%
Con hold
 
Friday, October 23, 2009
  Freedom of Speech
I think that it is now worth having a look at the wider issues relating to freedom of speech. Freedom of Speech often gets mixed up with the debates about "no platform" and there are lots of subtleties including the issue about the trafigura injunction.

The Lord Chief Justice recently took the view that it was entirely reasonable to have court injunctions that in themselves are secret. This is perhaps the most extreme constraint upon freedom of speech. The whole panoply of state power is used to stop someone saying something and also to stop them saying that they have been prevented from speaking. This has to be the super gag. I think this is in fact unlawful under Article 6. Judgments need to be public. As a minimum orders should be public.

Article IX of the 1688 Bill of Rights ensures that the courts can have no effect on parliament. Parliament may itself decide not to comment on matters which are subjudice, but discretion rests with parliament to discuss even sub judice matters. That is a decision for parliament.

Sadly there are still lawyers who are threatening people with imprisonment for talking to me.

The Information Commissioner recently talked about increasing the penalities for breaches of the data protection act. I am not too sure about this. I am worried that we will move too far towards gagging people. Police officers who abuse the PNC already face committal.

I am a strong believer in Freedom of Speech and would not ban the BNP, nor would I use the criminal law to control what they say ... up to a point.

The point, as usual, is that at which they are trying to stir up hatred. I would not even make Holocaust Denial an offence. It is clearly very offensive, but should not be illegal.

If, however, someone is using words to initiate violence then that is a different issue. It is there where the EDL in their attempts to stir up violence in Birmingham fall. I think the police should have acted before the last exercise although it made it entirely clear that the EDL were looking for violence in their lack of co-operation with the police.

There are rules that apply for freepost and party election broadcasts. Those rules are defined in law and do not take into account what is being promoted. Hence if the BNP satisfy the rules then they are entitled to have the freepost.

We then move into the issue of Question Time and the BNP. Question Time does not have a system of rules. The decisions as to who is allowed to go on are made by the editorial staff. The editorial staff decided to promote the BNP.

I think they were wrong, but would not change the criminal law to stop them doing so - although I have supported the protests.

If we go back to the 1930s and imagine an equivalent of Question Time in Germany. Would it have been reasonable to endorse the National Socialist German Workers Party with their policy of a "final solution" to the issue of Judaism.

I don't think so.

The BNP are quite clearly a national socialist party. They quite clearly have similar approaches to the NSDAP. On their countering the smears section of their website they say:

i. Why do you disapprove of mixed marriages?

We believe in human diversity and in preserving the individuality and identity of all different ethnic groups. It is sad when a unique human genotype becomes extinct – as has happened around the world in the past and is happening today in the Amazon and in New Guinea. While a small number of mixed marriages – or mixed race children – in Britain won’t, in themselves, make any difference, if this is encouraged however as it is at present by politicians and the media then inevitably the traditional British genotype will be endangered in the long-term.

Environmentalists are always keen to preserve unique animal species in the wild, so why shouldn’t the same principle apply to people? We believe that Britain’s proud history of glorious achievements demonstrates that the British genotype is a valuable one and deserves to be preserved.

It has also been shown that mixed race children often suffer from identity problems, as has been pointed out by people such as Trevor Phillips (chairman of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights).


In essence they are saying that there is a problem with having mixed race people. This is nothing different to saying While a small number of jews/homosexuals/etc etc won't ... make any difference

A political party that stands on a principle that certain types of people should not exist stands apart from normal political discourse. Any editor who wishes to give them air time has to in doing so believe that it is reasonable to allow the "oxygen of publicity" to a party who wishes to get rid of a certain type of people.

It does not matter if they are talking about a different issue. At the core of what the BNP stands for is one of the most odious political arguments that is possible. Any journalist who wishes to promote that is not taking a neutral position, but accepting that this is a reasonable argument to make.

It is not a reasonable argument to make which is why I take the view that the BNP should not be afforded a platform from which to peddle their hate.

I, for one, am not going to accept Nazi politics in England. Journalists need to think carefully about what they do. There should not be a law constraining freedom of speech here, but there should be some responsibility shown by the media.

That which the BNP stand for is unacceptable.
 
  Election Results 21st October 2009
Birmingham City MBC, Sutton New Hall
Con 1633 (58.3; -8.8)
Lab 505 (18.0; +5.6)
UKIP 344 (12.3; +12.3)
LD Robert Hardware 319 (11.4; +2.7)
[Green (0.0; -3.5)]
[BNP (0.0; -8.3)]
Majority 1128
Turnout 15.93%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Death.

East Lindsey DC, Sibsey
Con elected unnopposed.
Con gain from East Lindsey Independent
Party defending seat: East Lindsey Independent. Cause: Death.

Forest Heath DC, Eriswell & the Rows
Con 400 (45.8; -24.4)
LD John Smith 346 (39.6; +39.6)
UKIP 128 (14.6; -15.2)
Majority 54
Turnout not known
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Resignation.

Hertfordshire CC, Borehamwood North
Con 982 (44.5; +5.5)
Lab 928 (42.1; +13.2)
LD Robert Gamble 170 (7.7; -4.6)
Ind 125 (5.7; -0.1)
[BNP (0.0; -14.1)]
Majority 54
Turnout 18.5%
Con hold
Percentage change is since June 2009.
Party defending Seat: Con. Cause: Death.

Hertsmere BC, Potters Bar Oakmere
Con 679 (76.6; +5.4)
Lab 207 (23.4; -5.4)
Majority 472
Turnout 17.08%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Death.

High Peak DC, Tintwistle
Con 339 (69.2; +14.3)
Lab 111 (22.7; -22.5)
LD Maureen Hargreaves 40 (8.2; +8.2)
Majority 228
Turnout 28.76%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Death.

Rushcliffe BC, Nevile
Con 381 (50.9; -19.3)
LD David Allen 368 (49.1; +19.3)
Majority 13
Turnout 47.26%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Death

Vale Of White Horse DC, Abingdon Dunmore
LD Julia Bricknell 796 (52.6; +0.1)
Con 602 (39.8; -1.4)
Green 71 (4.7; +4.7)
Lab 43 (2.8; -3.5)
Majority 194
Turnout not known
LD hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.
Party defending seat: LD. Cause: Resignation.

Wyre BC, Jubilee
Con 492 (38.3; +4.2)
UKIP 345 (26.9; -4.8)
Lab 331 (25.8; +0.7)
BNP 116 (9.0; +9.0)
[LD (0.0; -9.1)]
Majority 147
Turnout 37%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.
Party defending seat: Con, Cause: Death.
 
  Swine Flu Report
This report from NHS West Midlands shows that the number of people with flu-like illness is increasing across the region.

Key Messages
Across the West Midlands there has been an increase in patients presenting at primary care centres with influenza-like symptoms, this is not impacting on normal service delivery. The number of people with swine flu admitted to hospitals in West Midlands has increased this week.

Activity /Rates – GPs
This shows the number of patients attending primary care with influenza-like illness, taken from the latest Health Protection Agency QSurveillance data. This data indicates an increase for the week ending 18 October 2009, across England and the West Midlands, but no change within Birmingham East and North from the previous week.

The reported rate of GP consultations per 100,000 population within the West Midlands for the week was 39.6 (compared with 33.5 for the previous week).

West Midlands average 39.6 (per 100,000)
England and Wales rate 36.0 (per 100,000)
NHS Birmingham East and North 35.5 (per 100,000)

Number of Hospital Admissions
The total number of new admissions with swine flu admitted to hospitals in the West Midlands for the period 15 October to 21 October 2009 is 113. As of 21 October, there were 51 people in hospital, 16% of which are in critical care.

Number of Swine Flu Related Deaths
There have been four swine flu-related deaths reported in the last two weeks since our previous report. This means that the number of total deaths where there has been a positive test of swine flu in the West Midlands is thirteen.

Update on Anti-Viral Collection Points (ACPs)
Total number of Antiviral Collection Points planned for the Local Health Economy: 10
Currently open: 1 (Stechford)

The PCT currently has 1 ACP open which is in line with the current level of need. Plans are in place to open more collection points to meet any increase in demand.

Total number of assessments via the National Flu Pandemic Service (West Midlands): 158,091
Total number of antivirals collected (West Midlands): 76,052

Vaccination Programme
This week NHS Hospitals have begun vaccinating frontline healthcare workers. Around two million frontline health and social care workers will be offered the vaccine. This group is at increased risk of infection and of transmitting that infection to susceptible patients.

The vaccination programme will be rolled out over the next few weeks with GP surgeries receiving deliveries from Monday (26 October). The following at risk groups will be prioritised in the following order:

People aged over six months and under 65 years in current seasonal flu vaccine clinical at risk groups.
All pregnant women.
Household contacts of people with compromised immune systems e.g. people in regular close contact with patients on treatment for cancer.
People aged 65 and over in the current seasonal flu vaccine clinical at risk groups. This does not include otherwise healthy over 65s, since they appear to have some natural immunity to the virus.

Patients will be contacted by their GPs if they fall into one of the at risk categories.

Public Health Message
A National Pandemic Flu Service has been launched to ensure that people with flu or flu-like symptoms are able to get advice and help. The service is made up of a dedicated website and call centres which provide people with a quick way to check their symptoms and get access to antiviral drugs. For most people, swine flu is not a serious illness and they should start to feel better after a few days without needing to go to their GP or A&E.
 
Friday, October 16, 2009
  Election Results 15th October 2009
Barnsley MBC, St. Helen's
Lab 1520 (59.8; +2.2)
BNP 590 (23.2; +6.6)
Barnsley Independent Group 171 (6.7; -11.9)
UKIP 94 (3.7; +3.7)
Con 89 (3.5; -3.6)
LD Eddie Gouthwaite 78 (3.1; +3.1)
Majority 930
Turnout 31%
Lab hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.

Basingstoke and Deane BC, Chineham
Con 898 (63.0; +19.1)
LD Liam Anthony Elvish 249 (17.5; +7.7)
Ind 163 / 18 (12.7; -28.2)
Lab 98 (6.9; +1.4)
Majority 649
Turnout not known
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Resignation.

Bracknell Forest BC, Hanworth
Con 640 (42.4; -14.2)
Lab 377 (25.0; -1.9)
LD Larraine de Laune 206 (13.7; +13.7)
UKIP 139 (9.2; +9.2)
Green 77 (5.1; -11.3)
BNP 70 (4.6; +4.6)
Majority 263
Turnout 23.4%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Death.

Cannock Chase DC, Heath Hayes East and Wimblebury
LD Chris Collis 314 (30.0; +8.2)
Con 300 (28.6; -10.9)
Lab 267 (25.5; -0.1)
BNP 116 (11.1; +11.1)
UKIP 51 (4.9; +4.9)
[Others (0.0; -13.1)]
Majority 14
Turnout 21%
LD gain from Lab
Percentage change is since May 2008
Party defending seat: Lab. Cause: Resignation.

Crawley BC, Northgate
Lab 527 (43.3; +19.0)
Con 446 (36.7; +18.9)
LD Darren Wise 230 (18.9; -26.6)
(Others) Justice Party 13 (1.1; -8.4)
[Green (0.0; -3.0)]
Majority 81
Turnout 31.25%
Lab gain from LD
Percentage change is since May 2007.
Party defending seat: LD. Cause: Resignation.

Hammersmith and Fulham LBC, Town
Con 970 (63.4; +0.8)
LD Paul Kennedy 289 (18.9; +2.8)
Lab 271 (17.7; -3.6)
Majority 681
Turnout 20.3%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2006.
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Death.

Lincolnshire CC, Boston North West
Con 597 (38.7; +13.2)
BNP 581 (37.7; +17.1)
Lab 204 (13.2; +1.9)
LD Mike Sheridan-Shinn 160 (10.4; +3.2)
[Others (0.0; -35.5)]
Majority 16
Turnout 21.3%
Con hold
Percentage change is since June 2009.
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Disqualification.

North Norfolk DC, The Runtons
Con 524 (52.1; +1.9)
LD Lucinda Starling 454 (45.1; -4.7)
Green 14 (1.4; +1.4)
Lab 14 (1.4; +1.4)
Majority 70
Turnout 55.93%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Resignation.

Richmondshire DC, Hipswell
Con 144 (39.0; +1.2)
LD Ann Bagley 126 (34.1; +8.9)
Ind 99 (26.8; -10.1)
Majority 18
Turnout 12.52%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Resignation.

Richmondshire DC, Middleham
Con 253 (85.5; +10.0)
LD Gina Ramsbottom 43 (14.5; -10.0)
Majority 210
Turnout 27.9%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Resignation.

South Ribble BC, Leyland St Mary's
Con 709 (74.9; +6.3)
Lab 237 (25.1; +6.1)
[LD (0.0; -12.5)]
Majority 472
Turnout not known
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.
Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Resignation.

Taunton Deane BC, Lyngford
LD Nicci Court 523 (51.0; +6.6)
Con 274 (26.7; -1.2)
Lab 164 (16.0; -11.6)
UKIP 64 (6.2; +6.2)
Majority 249
Turnout 25.51%
LD hold
Percentage change is since May 2007
Party defending seat: LD. Cause: Resignation.

Tetbury TC,
Ind 455 (33.4)
LD Colin Horton 360 (26.4)
Con 321 / 317 (23.6)
Ind 226 (16.6)
Majorities 134 / 39
Turnout not known
Ind hold x 1. LD gain from Ind x 1.
Party defending seats: Ind. Cause: Resignation x 2.
 
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
  John Wilkes, Trafigura and Injunctions
The saga with the Trafigura injunction and the guardian is an interesting one.

There has been a tendency to have secret court orders recently.

Part 1 of Article 6 of the ECHR states:
In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.

This, I think, makes it quite clear when it says "Judgment shall be pronounced publicly ...

In the UK and particularly for Family Court cases it has been concluded that this applies specifically to the order. Hence to me it is quite clear that the injunctions (court orders) should not themselves be able to include the requirement to keep the order itself secret.

I would argue that "judgment" means "judgment" and hence the reasoning should also be public. However, I have not tried to take any of these cases through.

This particular case, however, also goes a bit further. Paul Farrelly asked a question in the house. That was OK because the parliamentary website and hansard (and all order papers) are covered by Article IX of the 1688 Bill of Rights (our basic constitutional law).

Such material is exempt from court consideration (other than the S&P committee which is a constitutional court), but reports of parliament are only absolutely privileged, they are not exempt from court consideration. Hence the problem with reporting it.

This brings in John Wilkes editorial in the 45th Edition of North Briton in 1745. That obtained parliamentary privilege (and I am trying to get more details of this which is quite difficult in the 1700s).

I think there has to be an ability for the press to report parliamentary proceedings notwithstanding court injunctions or indeed the fact that something is contempt of court.

Parliament is there to stand up for the powerless. If parliament cannot be reported injustice can grow.

Although the trafigura injuction was probably brought down by twitter I think it was unlawful anyway (under Article 6 and the 1998 Human Rights Act). Still the further step of ensuring that parliament can be reported needs to be resolved.

I would be happy to work with anyone who wishes to challenge the system in this way.
 
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  Sir Thomas Legg's letter
2009 10 image
I am pleased to have been told that "no action is required from you" in respect of my ACA claims from my election until March 2009. I ceased claiming in the next financial year (I think I made one claim), hence I can be pretty certain that my ACA is OK for 2009-10. My wife, Christine, is therefore, due thanks for her efforts on filling in these forms.

It remains to be seen how many mistakes have been identified in expenses. In the past I have made all sorts of mistakes in paperwork and then corrected them. I do think it is unfair to pillory anyone for making mistakes.

However, it has been part of this government's tendency to increase "strict liability" offences and what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander - as Patricia Scotland is now clearly aware.

My own view is that we need to move more towards a "mens rea" approach to the law where people are guilty only if they meant to do wrong.
 
  Guido is in St Kitts
The issue of the jurisdiction of courts to keep things secret in an internet age is under challenge today.

The guardian is prevented from talking about a question in parliament. That is nothing new although I think it is wrong. However, Guido is currently in St Kitts. Hence as long as his servers are not in the UK he can post what he wants about this.

I have an interesting chidlrens case involving two non-UK jurisdictions. My belief is that hence unless an injunction is obtained in the UK that the media in the UK can report it.

When you look at the benefits of transparency I think serious questions are raised about the disbenefit of secrecy. I am coming to a conclusion that we need a considerable review of the powers of the courts to keep things secret and to injunct people.

As an absolute minimum an injunction on reporting should be time limited in order to determine the truth of something so that a newspaper does not trash someone's reputation because of the pressures of deadlines. However, far too many injunctions are applied for and granted. This acts often to conceal bad behaviour.

BTW yes I have my letter from Tom Legg and intend to scan and post it later.
 
Sunday, October 11, 2009
  Lenny Harper on Jersey
I have done a link to Lenny Harper's post about Jersey and Haut de la Garenne. I haven't managed to read it yet, but the question about justice systems on smaller islands is an important one.
 
Saturday, October 10, 2009
  Gordon Brown on Taking Risk 2004
The link is to the treasury release on his speech.

So same way that we made the Bank of England independent of government we made our competition authorities independent of government and created one of the most open competition regimes in the world. And although not quite as public a symbol as the Bank of England independence - but unique in terms of labour’s history none the less - we have cut capital gains tax substantially. Even with other priorities to finance – not least the NHS - we have cut capital gains tax from 40 pence down to 10 pence for long term business assets and in budget after budget I want us to do even more to encourage the risk takers, those with ambition, to turn their ideas into reality and make the most of their talents.

The question, of course, is how much risk and more importantly with whose money. It still is, however, a good quote to identify.
 
  Retirement Ages
Within the context of the discussion about Retirement Ages I had some people come to me today concerned about being forced to retire at 65. I wonder if there is a need for a more urgent look at the rules that allow companies to force people to retire at 65 without giving any reason. This does hit willing and competent workers quite hard and I am not sure how the company benefits.
 
Friday, October 09, 2009
  Election Results 8th October 2009
Eden DC, Penrith West
LD Elissa Robinson 387 (51.7; +51.7)
Con 157 (21.0; -17.6)
BNP 102 (13.6; +13.6)
Ind 58 (7.8; -37.5)
Lab 26 (3.5; -12.7)
Green 18 (2.4; +2.4)
Majority 230
Turnout 31%
LD gain from Ind
Percentage change is since May 2007

Epping Forest DC, Grange Hill
Con 453 (52.4; -31.1)
LD Gavin Chambers 411 (47.6; +31.1)
Majority 42
Turnout 17.17%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Fenland DC, March West
Con 830 (53.9; -5.2)
Lab 460 (29.9; +29.9)
LD Ann Elliott 250 (16.2; -24.7)
Majority 370
Turnout not known
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Ryedale DC, Pickering East
Liberal 392 (42.8; +42.8)
LD Charles Downes 274 (29.9; -70.1)
Ind 213 (23.3; +23.3)
Ind 37 (4.0; +4.0)
Majority 118
Turnout 34.25%
Liberal gain from LD
Percentage change is since May 2007 when LD was elected unopposed.

City of Westminster LBC, West End
Con 526 (60.8; +10.3)
Lab 169 (19.5; +0.6)
LD Christopher Gonzalez 108 (12.5; -1.2)
Green 62 (7.2; -6.4)
[UKIP (0.0; -3.3)]
Majority 357
Turnout 46%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2006

March TC, West
Con 888 (60.0)
LD Stephen Court 591 (40.0)
Majority 297
Turnout not known
 
  Swine Flu Report
This report from NHS West Midlands shows that the number of people with flu-like illness is increasing across the region.

Key Messages
Across the West Midlands there has been an increase in patients presenting at primary care centres with influenza-like symptoms, this is not impacting on normal service delivery. The number of people with swine flu admitted to hospitals in West Midlands has increased this week, as have the number admitted to critical care, although as a proportion of hospital admissions this is still low and not impinging normal activity.

Activity /Rates – GPs
This shows the number of patients attending primary care with influenza-like illness, taken from the latest Health Protection Agency QSurveillance data. This data indicates an increase for the week ending 4th October 2009, across England, West Midlands, but a decrease within Birmingham East and North.

The reported rate of GP consultations per 100,000 population within the West Midlands for the week was 29.5 (compared with 23.3 for the previous week).

West Midlands average 29.5 (per 100,000)
England rate 28.5 (per 100,000)
NHS Birmingham East and North 22.4 (per 100,000)

Number of Hospital Admissions
The total number of new admissions with swine flu admitted to hospitals in the West Midlands for the period 1st October to 7th October 2009 is 82. As of 7th October, there were 47 people in hospital.

Number of Swine Flu Related Deaths
There have been no swine flu-related deaths reported since our previous update. The total number of deaths for the region remains at nine.

Update on Anti-Viral Collection Points (ACPs)
Total number of Antiviral Collection Points planned for the Local Health Economy: 10
Currently open: 1 (Stechford)

The PCT currently has one ACP open which is in line with the current level of need. Plans are in place to open more collection points to meet any increase in demand.
Total number of assessments via the National Flu Pandemic Service (West Midlands): 134,862
Total number of antivirals collected (West Midlands): 63,913

Schools
There are a small number of schools across the West Midlands reporting absenteeism in children with flu like symptoms since the beginning of the Autumn term. In some of these schools, swine flu has been confirmed. This is not unexpected and our surveillance and early warning systems have been helpful in identifying these cases. Every school and early years setting in the West Midlands has now been provided with swine flu information and advice.

Public Health Message
A National Pandemic Flu Service has been launched to ensure that people with flu or flu-like symptoms are able to get advice and help. The service is made up of a dedicated website and call centres which provide people with a quick way to check their symptoms and get access to antiviral drugs. For most people, swine flu is not a serious illness and they should start to feel better after a few days without needing to go to their GP or A&E.

National announcements this week
Don’t Underestimate Seasonal Flu – Remember to get your Annual Flu jab
The Department of Health has launched its annual seasonal flu vaccination campaign. Everyone aged over 65 is routinely offered the jab, as are younger people with long term conditions. The campaign urges people, with all the coverage of Swine Flu, not to forget about getting their normal annual flu jab.
 
Thursday, October 08, 2009
  UK Energy Research Council's Peak Oil Report
The UK ERC have done a report on oil production.

Their press release says:
A new report, launched today by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), argues that conventional oil production is likely to peak before 2030, with a significant risk of a peak before 2020. The report concludes that the UK Government is not alone in being unprepared for such an event - despite oil supplying a third of the world’s energy.

The report finds that we are entering an era of slow and expensive oil as resources get harder to find, extract and produce. Major new discoveries, such as those announced recently in the Gulf of Mexico, will only delay the peak by a matter of days or weeks.


The government should wake up to this issue as it is not one that can be spun away. I may ask them to present in the House of Commons to APPG OPO
 
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
  Birmingham Childrens Social Services Report
I have been quite busy working to highlight the systematic problems that cause the situation where Birmingham has the problems as identified in Monday's report. I will do a detailed post at some stage about this.

However, it is my view that Birmingham is far from being the worst Childrens Services Authority for Child Protection. It is, however, the most honest.
 
Monday, October 05, 2009
  Birmingham Childrens Social Services Report
Today the special scrutiny into childrens services in Birmingham was released. In essence it recognised that my assertions that the system was not working were true.

What needs to happen is a systemic review of how the child protection system fails to work. This has not really happened with all of the reports so far.

There are simple proposals that would help. For example allowing councils to employ people with experience but without the formal qualification would help. Parents in their 40s and 50s are well suited to looking at the issues from the perspective of someone who knows how difficult raising children can be. It is really unfair to chuck young graduates in at the deep end.

We need to move away from a tick box culture towards one which values good judgment. This means getting rid of the performance indicators and making sure that computer systems are established with the objective of helping people do their jobs rather than collate information for the performance indicators.

At the Bournemouth conference I spoke at two meetings about this issue.

We also need Ofsted to release the full list of serious case reviews commissioned.
 
Sunday, October 04, 2009
  Why did the government break the care system?
It is becoming more obvious now that the public family law system in England particularly is broken. Within the system there are some good people doing a good job, but a lot of the system is almost going off at random. There is an overload of references for DV and the filtering system which should identify where action is needed fails.

What particularly broke the system was in fact a mathematical error. The government when calculating the denominator for the adoption target used the number of children in care rather than those going into care. The government's strategy was not to have a majority of children adopted from care, but the outcome was in fact this.

This became obvious to me earlier this year when I read Ofsted's Annual Performance Assessment which said that adoption was only ever suitable for a minority of children. However, a proper analysis of the statistics looking at the flows shows that the number of chilren under 10 adopted from care is of the order of 60% of those under 10 taken into care.
 
Friday, October 02, 2009
  Election Results 1st October 2009
Bolton MBC, Crompton
Lab 1528 (47.4; -2.6)
Con 935 (29.0; +1.0)
Ind 377 (11.7; +11.7)
LD Anne Warren 284 (8.8; -13.2)
Green 99 (3.1; +3.1)
Majority 593
Turnout 31%
Lab hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Broadland DC, Wroxham
LD Ben McGilvray 960 (62.5; +57.9)
Con 346 (22.5; -9.5)
UKIP 134 (8.7; +8.7)
Green 50 (3.3; -2.8)
Lab 46 (3.0; 0.0)
[Others (0.0; -54.3)]
Majority 614
Turnout 38%
LD gain from Ind
Percentage change is since May 2007.

Derby City UA, Allestree
Con 1988 (52.3; -10.2)
LD Deena Smith 1037 (27.3; +15.1)
Lab 532 (14.0; -0.3)
BNP 242 (6.4; -4.5)
Majority 951
Turnout 35%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.

East Ayrshire UA, Doon Valley
Lab 1221 (50.5; +1.5)
SNP 891 (36.9; +10.9)
Con 176 (7.3; -1.1)
Ind 84 (3.5; -13.1)
Ind 44 (1.8; -14.8)
Turnout 26.78%
Lab gain from Ind
Percentage change is since May 2007

Kettering BC, Northfield
Lab 265 (37.9; -17.7)
Con 258 (36.9; -7.6)
LD Cindy McGrath 80 (11.4; +11.4)
BNP 58 (8.3; +8.3)
English Democrats 39 (5.6; +5.6)
Majority 7
Turnout 35.12%
Lab hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.

Maidstone BC, Fant
LD Fran Smith 702 (46.4; +18.8)
Con 393 (26.0; -7.4)
Green 317 (20.9; +4.9)
Lab 102 (6.7; -16.3)
Majority 309
Turnout 23.6%
LD hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.

North Norfolk DC, Walsingham
LD Hugh Lanham 389 (58.1; +32.5)
Con 237 (35.4; +35.4)
Lab 43 (6.4; +6.4)
[Others (0.0; -74.4)]
Majority 152
Turnout 36.56%
LD gain from Ind
Percentage change is since May 2007.

Preston City DC, Fishwick
Lab 656 (55.7; +7.6)
Con 283 (24.0; +24.0)
LD Luke Bosman 239 (20.3; -23.2)
[Others (0.0; -8.5)]
Majority 373
Turnout 30.97%
Lab hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Sandwell MBC, Wednesbury South
Lab 1006 (45.1; +6.7)
Con 946 (42.4; +1.6)
LD Dorothy Hilda Brayshaw 168 (7.5; +7.5)
Green 109 (4.9; -0.2)
[BNP (0.0; -15.7)]
Majority 60
Turnout 23.49%
Lab hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Spelthorne BC, Laleham and Shepperton Green
Con 814 (42.2; -16.2)
LD Richard Dunn 742 (38.5; +13.4)
UKIP 154 (8.0; +8.0)
Ind 142 (7.4; +7.4)
Lab 77 (4.0; -12.6)
Majority 72
Turnout not known
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.

Wychavon DC, Droitwich South West
LD Stephanie Vale 521 (47.4; +6.1)
Con 416 (37.8; -4.3)
Lab 163 (14.8; +14.8)
[Green (0.0; -16.6)]
Majority 105
Turnout 27.6%
LD gain from Con
Percentage change is since May 2007.
 

Click Here for access to higher resolution versions of the photos The license for use allows use of the photos by media as long as they are attributed.

better brent chart

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