Friday, 31 October 2014

Care worker arrested after making Nazi salute

From the Daily Record:

"A CARE worker in a children’s home has been arrested after he was seen on video making a Nazi salute amid shameful scenes of violence after the independence referendum. Darran Murray, a senior residential worker, has been reported to the procurator fiscal and is under investigation."

"The 37-year-old was photographed just behind police barricades as officers attempted to separate hundreds of rival supporters in Glasgow’s George Square the night after the poll. Murray can be seen in our pictures extending his arm in a Nazi salute."

"He was caught on video with a bottle of Buckfast, shouting obscenities to television cameras and singing pro-union songs. Images of the disorder were beamed across the world on TV and social media. Police set up a special unit to investigate..."

"A social work source said: "Someone wandering around George Square shouting sectarian remarks while swinging a bottle of Buckfast is not someone we would welcome working with and influencing vulnerable young children. "We are awaiting the Crown Office decision."...

"The six-bed unit provides residential care to vulnerable and special needs youngsters aged eight to 18."

Read more

 See also

Why measure wellbeing?

"It has long been argued that the progress of the country should not be measured by looking just at growth in GDP. For a full picture of how a country is doing we need to look at wider measures of economic and social progress, including the impact on the environment." [fracking, for example ? ]

"Developing better measures of well-being and progress is a common international goal. At the 2007 OECD World Forum a declaration was issued calling for the production of high-quality facts-based information that can be used by all of society to form a shared view of national well-being and its evolution over time. This was followed at the European level by the European Commission communication on Beyond GDP. The international well-being agenda also gained momentum following the landmark report in 2009 from the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress."

"Within the UK, there is a commitment to developing wider measures of well-being so that government policies can be more tailored to the things that matter."

So, as economies are being run down, there has to be another indicator to compare one part of the world with another. GDP will not do. For the managers of the global systems, they will be interested in compliant populations, fit young people, perhaps - that is, anything which gives a particular population an edge, or usefulness over others, to the giant corporations.

Looking for a `full picture of how a country is doing` - `high-quality facts-based information`, as this is called - is for the governing class, not society as a whole -  who are no better off for having a wellbeing index assigned to them. On the contrary, the price people will pay for this is to be subjected to constant surveillance and harassment. Vulnerabilities like old-age, disability or the `wrong attitude` will be ranked low in the pecking order. There are already indications that the Westminster government has no tolerance for these vulnerabilities:

The elderly are seen as a drain on the NHS and now we have the Liverpool Care Pathway and assisted suicide. The disabled are declared `fit for work` and those with the `wrong attitude` are going to be dealt with by `extremism disruption orders.`

Scotland`s commitment to wellbeing

Here we have Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and Getting it Right for Every Citizen. It begins early - pre-birth - with the SHANARRI wellbeing indicators, and the named person, who will collate the `high-quality facts based information`  There is no opt-out or appeals process when early interventions are `tailored to the things that matter` - to the government. Children will be studied as they `evolve` over time.

The Scottish government has not been open with the public and that is very concerning in itself.  GIRFEC has been sneaked into legislation as a child protection issue. It is nothing of the kind - it is part of the global surveillance agenda  -  and will do more harm than good.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

More controversial links to Leon Brittan

Fiona Woolf
Oh  ! They so want to have an inquiry into Child Abuse at the highest levels, do they not?

From the Telegraph 2014:

"A Labour MP was last night embroiled in a row over the use of parliamentary privilege after he told the Commons that Lord Brittan, the former home secretary, had been accused of "improper conduct with children".

"Jim Hood, the Labour MP for Lanark and Hamilton East, was denounced by Conservatives after he used a debate about coal miners to discuss reports about Lord Brittan. "

"Lord Brittan has been accused of failing to act on a dossier about alleged VIP paedophile rings given to him by MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983. The peer has denied the claims. .."

"The rumours that Sir Leon Brittan was involved with misconduct with children does not come as news to miners who were striking in 1984. When miners were going up into the dock in magistrates’ courts we were aware and miners were declaring… the point is miners were saying in the dock in magistrates’ courts throughout the strike that they objected to instructions coming from the home secretary when there was reports about child abuse being linked with that same home secretary."

"The new chairman of the government inquiry into child sex abuse has recently been criticised for her links to Lord Brittan.
Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of London, has faced calls to resign after she admitted that she entertained the former home secretary and his wife three times at dinner parties at her house, and twice went to his home in central London for dinner.

Members of the Home Affairs Select Committee are considering recalling Ms Woolf after new evidence emerged about her links to Lord (Leon) Brittan, the former Home Secretary previously criticised for failing to act over the scandal. "

"Fiona Woolf, the controversial head of the Government’s child sex abuse inquiry, is under renewed pressure after it emerged another member of her inquiry panel has links with Lord Brittan. "

"The Telegraph can disclose that Dame Moira Gibb – who was appointed to sit on the panel on Tuesday along with a number of other experts – has admitted a close personal friend worked with Lord Brittan during part of the period which will be closely scrutinised by the inquiry."

See also

Digitised identities

Identity cards ceased to be legal documents on 21 January 2011. However, the Westminster government is beginning to merge all government departments and other public bodies into GOV.UK online. Members of the public can engage with these services - for instance renewing a passport - on the internet, but this will require that the person provides authentication that they are `who they say they are.`

"Once they have proven their identity with an identity provider, the identity provider can authenticate their identity with multiple public services (relying parties) as and when required to by the citizen."

So whatever the service the citizen connects to, the user is seamlessly transferred to the identity provider for authentication, and then is automatically passed to the department they are looking for - and only one username and password is required. All of this is meant to provide a user friendly `experience`and nobody has to worry about identity cards. That is taken care of in the cloud.

See Scotland’s Digital Future: Data Hosting and Data Centre Strategy for the Scottish Public Sector

The Scottish government states: "Our overall policy position is that cloud computing is part of the strategic future of digital public services in Scotland. It has potential to fundamentally change the nature of digital public service delivery and, when appropriately utilised, can provide benefits in cost effectiveness, energy efficiency and speed of deployment."

"The principles and approaches will be aligned to the development of the European Commission’s European Cloud Computing Strategy and will be kept under review and amended or supplemented as cloud computing and legislation evolves and lessons are learned from the adoption and accelerated growth within the public sector."

Who will be the identity provider in Scotland?

We are informed that myaccount will give people across Scotland a secure and easy way to access public services online. .."Currently local authorities and the NHS are able to use myaccount, but there will be more as the system develops over time."

They continue: "There will be many tasks you can do online without needing to sign-in. However, when you do need to sign in, using myaccount will give you one username and password for secure and trusted access to all public services across Scotland."

Step 1: "Register via to create a myaccount. Once you have created the account you will be given a unique username and a password.

Step 2: "Use this username and password to sign-in to many of your local services online.

"The Scottish Government considers that the people of Scotland will prefer a public sector, not-for-profit body to be responsible for "myaccount". This contrasts with the UK Government’s approach of individuals setting up an account with a private sector body.

Actually it will make no difference to the outcome.

Because, the plan is that eventually all services will be accessed online and there will be no communication via a counter service, postal service or telephone. No human contact, whatsoever. This will mean that everyone will require to authenticate their identity with an online identity provider if they wish to access health services, education, whatever.

At the moment, those people who are unemployed and need benefit must engage with the job centre via the internet and provide evidence that they are making attempts to look for work. Sanctions can be applied almost instantaneously by switching off the service. As the world gets more connected through smart meters, the internet of things and biometrics - having all of this activity linked to an `identity` who will also be interacting with services, will mean that people will produce a digitised version of themselves in the cloud.

And that is the whole point. Governments and private bodies are very keen to track the activities of individuals and populations. Control will be absolute.

It is the reason why naive children are being encouraged in schools to connect with the internet, giving out their personal details, getting fingerprinted and used to making transactions without money. Soon all monetary transactions will be digitised and tied to an `identity`- just like everything else. As the children grow up they will be ready to walk into the nightmare totally unsuspecting.


Monday, 27 October 2014

Accessing Glow

Glow is the Scottish school intranet for educators and pupils which was launched at the Scottish Learning Festival in 2007 and at the time was the third largest single online platform for education in the world. The intranet allows teachers and pupils to connect to the world wide web and to communicate with each other and thus facilitates some of Curriculum for Excellence`s requirements which are about motivating pupils, group work and interdiscisciplinary learning.

A major migration project was instigated in 2013 to move content to a new environment which includes Microsoft Offic 365, an integrated cloud application suite, that is demonstrated in the video below. So pupils are able to connect to Glow using their own digital devices from any location and can still participate in online learning even when not at school.

Glow overview October 2014 from Glow Scotland on Vimeo.

The ICT in Education Excellence Group, in their final report, recommended that the system should remain flexible enough to allow it to evolve. At the moment not all schools have adequate broadband and wifi and not every child has their own smartphone, ipad or laptop, but the ambition is there to push forward towards a nationwide communication system for schools.

Of course, since the online services are stored in the cloud, there is a need for users to authenticate themselves in order to obtain access to their accounts. This is what the group has to say about it:

"The Digital Scotland initiative is exploring options for the online delivery of public services and, as part of this, is considering the possibility of providing an online identifier for all Scottish citizens. Obviously, it would make sense to utilise this, as far as possible, in the authentication system for Glow Plus."

Each Glow user account will have the name and photograph of the user as well as other details. Many pupils will have their fingerprint on the school record, as well as data about their education, wellbeing and families. If everything goes to plan, all of this information will be connected to the online identifier. It does not matter that the information will not exist in the one database, since each piece of information will have a shadow in the cloud and will be matched to only one unique individual. It can be collated.

It can be easily understood why the Scottish government has already spent millions on this project. Never mind lifelong learning, children are being set up for lifelong monitoring.

PDF file: ICT in Education Excellence Group - Final Report (2.2 MB)
See Glow data breach:

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Forced Adoption Exposed

The Department for Education has announced new funding opportunities for adoption agencies to improve existing and new services.

Because prospective adopters have reported a high level of variation in the support servives they have received, priority will be given to raising standards in customer service.

"There is no specific minimum or maximum amount of grant award, but as an indicative guide for bidders, and reflecting the national focus of this grant programme, we would expect grant awards to be in the region of £100,000 - £750,000."

(The National Prospectus Grants Programme 2015 - 2016)

Facebook profile picture revealed at school assembly

A 15-year-old says she was humiliated by a teacher who showed an enlarged picture of her in a bikini to more than 100 other students during a school assembly.
Children at Eggbuckland Community College in Plymouth, Devon, were shown the photograph taken from her Facebook profile to illustrate the pitfalls of posting private images online.
Unknown to the schoolgirl, who has not been named, staff had taken her swimwear photo off the internet. It was blown up and added to a portfolio of other pictures then shown during a packed school assembly.
Making an example of the girl at a school assembly was totally uncalled for, never mind the thought that a teacher  would go trawling on Facebook to find such images. The shock value of this event would have detracted from any lesson that pupils would have been expected to learn.  It`ll be a joke !

If it happened at assembly, surely the head teacher must have been involved. Could the pupil not have been talked to privately and warned that her Facebook profile was not on the privacy setting, if that was deemed so important? It makes you wonder about some teachers. Perhaps there are a few who should never be trusted with confidential information about pupils, and their families, which they now can access from school databases at the click of a mouse.

As well as some admirable ones, I`ve certainly met a few vindictive teachers in my time who didn`t seem to know where to draw the line. Overall I suspect there`s more to be concerned about in a school database, than there is about any image, freely chosen, and placed on a Facebook page. 

I wonder if the incident was documented in the girl`s file. It would probably make interesting reading and I certainly would advise the girl to take out a data subject access request, just in case.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Data profiling to find Neets

This is from Capita One who offer what they call a first class IT management system. "For Barnsley Council, the early identification of children at risk of becoming Neet (Not in employment, education or training) was an important but laborious task. Using the One Child Profiling Tool, the authority can now gather all of the information needed to identify these vulnerable children in about an hour."

"Previously, this important early intervention work required various staff members and agencies to pull together information from multiple databases. The job was so huge that it could only be tackled annually."

There are assurances from the Information Commissioner`s Office that the Data Protection Act should not be seen as a barrier to the sensible use of personal information. "Organisations have a statutory duty to help young people in their area.. Collecting and analysing the information available to deliver and plan these services makes clear sense, though where profiling is being carried out it`s vital that care is taken to protect young people`s information."

It`s easy to see how this is working. Just give yourself a statutory duty to interfere, and you have a license to disregard the Data Protection Act.

As the Found Generation states: "Clearly, the most significant direct reason for the current rate of youth unemployment is the lack of jobs available. This is, however, not just a short-term problem due to the economic crisis or Eurozone crisis. While there is a short term lack of jobs, successive governments have not done enough to encourage or stimulate job creation, particularly in the private sector."

I would question the idea that there is a short term lack of jobs - we`re due another bank crisis - but yes, the problem for youth is the lack of jobs. Rather than owning up to the failure of the economic system and the government, children and young people are being data stripped and targeted as `vulnerable.` That`s abusive. They are no more vulnerable than young people of previous generations, many of whom, walked straight from school into jobs, but that is because the jobs were there.

UPDATE 10.11.2014
As well as another forecasted bank crisis there is also the problem of advances in technology.

See the Telegraph and how ten million British jobs could be taken over by computers and robots over the next 20 years, wiping out more than one in three roles.


An inquiry into allegations that a woman who suffered a miscarriage in a prison was forced to clean up after herself has found no disciplinary action was needed. The woman lost her baby at Peterborough Prison, run by private firm Sodexo. 
A Sodexo inquiry found she had received the same care she would have received outside prison. Shadow justice minister Jenny Chapman said she had serious concerns about the inquiry and doubted its conclusions.
"It is difficult to believe she has received the same care as she would outside prison - such as pain relief, support and counselling," she said.
Leicester Crown Court heard in December that the woman was left to clean up after herself while the foetus remained in her cell, after the miscarriage in November.

Sodexo investigated itself and found no fault with itself - no surprise there.

Melanie Shaw, child abuse survivor and whistleblower, has recently been released on bail from the Peterborough prison run by Sodexo. She reported to Neon Nettle how prisoners` basic health needs were often ignored and she herself had not been given treatment for a leg ulcer which had deteriorated badly.

A woman in a neighbouring cell was given an injection and then had a miscarriage. Many of the women in prison have been through the care system and are particularly vulnerable.

FCKH8 Ad campaign

For the latest ad campaign from t-shirt company FCKH8, the brand enlisted five girls between the ages of 6 and 13 to spread the word about issues regarding gender, race and sexuality.

One by one, these princess costume-clad girls address pay inequality, gender expectations and sexual assault with unexpected frankness. The clip features cursing aplenty ("Fuck that sexist shit!") amidst statistics about the pay gap, rape and violence against women.

Behind every one of the five children are questionable adults who are prepared to degrade the little girls. This is child exploitation and totally inappropriate.

Princess costumes and feminism are a ridiculous mix. When this gets tied in with children provocatively swearing on behalf of women - conspicuous by their absence - the effect is even more warped. There`s a subliminal message here which is insulting to women, and girls.

See the video on youtuge: the hypersexualisation of girls

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Baby P documentary

 By on October 22, 2014 

Baby P
                  Peter Connelly 

The 90-minute documentary examines the aftermath of Connelly’s death in 2007 and questions why other agencies including the police, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Ofsted did not come under the same scrutiny that social workers did.

Ofsted ‘cover-up’
The documentary features an anonymous Ofsted inspector who accuses the children’s services inspectorate of a “cover-up”. The inspector claimed to have seen Ofsted’s report about the inspection of Haringey that was held prior to the scandal. The inspector said the report rated Haringey’s services as ‘good’, but says it “disappeared” after the story hit the headlines and when the document was published after an emergency inspection of Haringey, the grade had been changed to ‘inadequate’.
Sharon Shoesmith, the director of children’s services at Haringey at the time, also raises questions about Ofsted’s emergency inspection in the documentary. “To see the amount of manipulation that went into producing that report was really quite devastating,” she said. 

At the time Ofsted’s chief inspector claimed Haringey Council misled its inspectors, which explained why the emergency inspection found the local authority’s services to be failing while a 2007 assessment had rated them good.
‘Complete story’
The documentary also includes claims that the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), which was managing St. Ann’s – the hospital where Connelly was examined before his death, tried to cover up concerns that practitioners working there had voiced before the 17-month-old’s death.

Kim Holt, a doctor who had been working at St. Ann’s before taking stress-related sick leave, told the film makers that after the story broke she was approached by GOSH and their lawyers about concerns she had been raising. “They were trying to get me to retract my concerns, sign a confidentiality agreement and take £120,000 for doing it,” she said.

In the documentary GOSH said that the allegations against it had not been upheld by numerous investigations.
Baby P: The Untold Story will air at 8.30pm Monday 27 October on BBC One
  • Sharon Shoesmith will be taking part in debate on ‘Blame and accountability in child protection: How much have things changed since Baby P?’at Community Care Live Children and Families on 20 November. The event is free to attend for professional social workers.
Read more

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The inquiry panel

The NSPCC helpline and ChildLine provide help and support to thousands of adults, children and families, it says on its website. No other charity has access to so many vulnerable children. It is surprising therefore to note that the charity failed to recognise what was going on in Rotherham where 1400 children have been reported to have suffered sexual abuse. The same can be said for many other areas where inquiries have taken place, or are still going on: Where was the NSPCC?

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC is to be part of the inquiry into historical child sex abuse but there are a number of reasons why abuse survivors are not happy about this and one of them is his close association with cabinet ministers. There is a strong sense that this is the beginning of another cover-up of paedophile activity around Westminster.

Then there is Theresa May`s endorsement of Fiona Woolf who is to head the inquiry: "I am confident that she will lead the work of the panel with authority, and that under her leadership the panel will get to the truth of these issues." This is despite the fact that Fiona Woolf has published details of the dinner parties and other engagements she has had with Leon Brittan and his wife. It was Leon Brittan who was in charge of the Home Office in the 1980s when he was handed a file which included allegations of child abuse by senior figures at Westminster. The file has since disappeared.

The terms of reference of the inquiry have been published which are "To consider the extent to which State and non-State institutions have failed in their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation; to consider the extent to which those failings have since been addressed; to identify further action needed to address any failings identified; and to publish a report with recommendations." It is not part of the inquiry`s function to determine civil or criminal liability. If the panel become aware of child abuse they will pass the matter to the police who have so far failed to prosecute leading figures at Westminster.

It is interesting to note what is not going to be part of the inquiry. There is no call for witness testimonies from child abuse survivors. Abuse at Kincora boys` home in Ireland will not be covered and neither will be abuse in Jersey and Scotland.

"The Inquiry Panel will cover England and Wales. Should the Inquiry Panel identify any material relating to the devolved administrations, it will be passed to the relevant authorities." And if that should happen it is likely that we will never hear another word about it.

The inquiry’s website can be found at
See also

Face recognition using CCTV, smartphones and cameras

Police in Leicestershire are the first force in the UK to test a new face recognition software system. Images can be taken from CCTV, police body cameras, digital cameras and smartphones. The images are compared with over ninety-thousand custody images on the NeoFace database. Leicestershire police have been impressed that the system provides initial results in a few seconds and other forces have shown an interest.

This is a bit worrying given that young people are being encouraged to share their images using their smartphones and CCTV cameras are being installed in schools. In 2012 it was reported in the Guardian that more than 200 schools across the UK were using CCTV cameras.

"More than 200 schools across Britain are using CCTV cameras in pupils` toilets or changing rooms, according to figures obtained by anti-surveillance campaigners, who warned that the research raised serious questions about the privacy of schoolchildren.

A total of 825 cameras were located in the toilets or changing rooms of 207 schools across England, Scotland and Wales, according to data provided by more than 2,000 schools.

The figures are based on freedom of information requests lodged by the campaign group Big Brother Watch. Its director, Nick Pickles, said the full extent of school surveillance was far higher than the group had expected, adding: "Schools need to come clean about why they are using these cameras and what is happening to the footage."

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Questions about Enquire

Enquire is the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning. It is for pupils who need extra support in order to become successful learners, which will be recognised as one of the important capacities in Curriculum for Excellence. Advice and information is independent and provided to parents, carers, practitioners, children and young people. A parent is quoted on their website as saying: "I found the staff I spoke to extremely helpful, understanding and sympathetic," which is great because many parents will testify that in order to battle through the system to obtain extra help for their children they often had to wade through a jungle of jargonese and obfuscation, with little help at the end of it.

But reassuringly, visitors to the Enquire website are informed that additional support for learning is not just a good idea - it`s the law ! Therefore no battles required, perhaps.

It is not until one remembers that here in Scotland we have GIRFEC (Getting it right for EVERY child) and Curriculum for EXCELLENCE that the penny drops. Why would providing additional support for a child in need, not be the law?

Still, there are some pesky questions that remain. For instance, why is it that although a parent can ask for a specific assessment at any time for a child who has additional support needs, there is no timescale set out in law for a local authority to carry out the assessment, following which a service should be provided? After all, we have GIRFEC with its emphasis on early interventions which have the back up of evidence based research (so we are told) which indicate that there cannot be one minute`s delay, otherwise the child will be damaged beyond repair - and so will the economy.

OK we are dealing with different laws. There is the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 and the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. But surely GIRFEC trumps all previous laws since it includes EVERY child and its message is to share information, respond appropriately, and `do not delay.`

There might be an explanation for the, albeit, unintended contradictory information, provided on the Enquire website, if we take account of the date that the information was uploaded. Some of it has been provided before the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 became law. That makes sense. Well it does, until we remember that the Highland Council have been functioning with GIRFEC well before the Act came into force and Enquire have, and still are, providing their website services to the Highland Council.

Now that we have mentioned the pilot scheme, this leads to another question. Where is the named person in all of this? Why do we need Enquire if the NAMED PERSON is there functioning as the first point of contact for parents and children?

Files may never be found says MP

THE HOME Office knows where its child abuse files are but might never release them,  campaigning MP,  John Mann,  has warned...

"The Labour MP for Bassetlaw says he knows of further alleged paedophiles linked to the London guest home at the centre of Operation Fernbridge, in which the police are investigating claims of abuse by politicians civil servants and judges..."

"Earlier this week Rotherham report author Prof jay said she herself had been denied council minutes from a four year period covering the late 1990s and early 2000s because the council had apparently lost the minutes of key meetings."

"I think these files still exist, I think there are people in the Home Office who know where they are and what has been removed from where."..

"Mr Wanless is looking at how the Home Office handled allegations of child sex abuse that were set out in a dossier in the 1980s by former Conservative MP Geoff Dickens, and how police and prosecutors handled information given to them."

"At the conclusion of this Mr Wanless will look at the Rotherham files. It is thought the Home Office will publish an update on the Wanless inquiry by November." (Yorkshire Post)
"There is another problem: Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, has too many connections with the establishment to be considered an independent reviewer of historical child sex abuse." See the extract from Wikipedia:After joining the Civil Service, he held a variety of posts at the HM Treasury, including Head of Private Finance Policy, and Principal Private Secretary to three Cabinet Ministers including Michael Portillo, both when Portillo was Chief Secretary to the Treasury and later as Secretary of State for Employment. Wanless later held senior positions within the Department for Education and Skills and its successor then including Director of School Performance and Reform and Director of Strategy and Communications.

Wanless was CEO of the
Big Lottery Fund between February 2008 and May 2013 when he was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). He is a non-executive director of The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT), which operates academy schools in South East England.

In July 2014,
Home Secretary Theresa May announced that he would be leading a review into historical sex abuse claims.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Transparency and Accountability Bill - second reading

John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD):
"There are greater tensions in today’s society. One of the failures of society rests in the tension between the Executive and the legislature... It tends to be very difficult to get anything out of the Executive."
"For example, in the Ashya King case, the father talked of himself as being a refugee from the UK because he was threatened with care proceedings, and we know that there was a wardship application against the family. It was clear that the hospital would have had an emergency protection order had they not left the country. When I raised that with the Prime Minister, he did not understand that I was asking Parliament to have a collective investigation into what is going on..."

"The context of the Bill is to improve transparency and accountability in the public sector, and within that I have included a number of different elements. With regard to the super-complaints proposal from Which?, the idea is basically to give a designated representative body the power to make a super-complaint to regulators of public services to address systemic issues. That sort of thing does go on. There can be difficulties within the health service. It is far better to enable challenge from outside the system. We saw with the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Care Quality Commission the tendency for even the regulators to cover things up."

"We have too many cover-ups in Britain, and the Bill seeks to reduce their number. ... Under the Enterprise Act 2002, designated representative bodies can make super-complaints to the Competition and Markets Authority about detrimental features of private markets. This power does not currently extend to markets for public services where detrimental features can also arise. We know all about that..."

"Public services are vital to millions of people across the UK, but people’s voices are not always heard when they experience a problem..."

"Another organisation that contributed to aspects of the Bill is the Campaign for Freedom of Information. This relates to closing a loophole in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 that allows contractors providing public services to escape scrutiny. They are not subject to FOI requests in their own right and so provide only the information that they are considered to hold on behalf of the authority..."

"As the director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, Maurice Frankel, said, each new outsourcing contract reduces the public’s access to information because of a loophole in the FOI Act. Information that is vital to the public may be kept secret simply because the contract doesn’t provide for access. The Bill would restore the public’s right to know.".. We need action from the Government, whoever is in government and at whatever stage, to deal with those exemptions, because what are clearly public functions are escaping accountability..."

Family court issues

"Earlier this week, a gentleman from German radio came to see me. He was concerned about the situation in Rotherham, which he had been investigating. Not only did the local authority take children into care, where they were found to be less well protected, but if they became pregnant it put them up for adoption on the basis that there was a future risk of emotional harm... At the moment, in essence, the only really effective audit on family court proceedings, particularly for public family law, is the example of international cases. The advantage of international cases is that two different jurisdictions are looking at the same case. Earlier I cited the King case, where the family went off to Spain and are now in the Czech Republic. Obviously that case was considered by the Spaniards. They were lucky because they managed to get their story out on YouTube and were not injuncted."

"There are similar cases. The Paccheri case is well known—it concerns the lady who was forced to
have a caesarean when she visited the UK whose child was then adopted. When we investigate the medical evidence put to the Court of Protection, we find, looking at the considerations by experts on the internet—that there was a good, detailed critique of the judgment, but it was published only because we found out about what had gone on; it was not published as part of an ordinary process..."

"Had detailed consideration been given to a second opinion in this case, it would have said, "Actually, this isn’t necessary." The traumatic way in which the lady was treated did not help her in the long term..."

"There are two types of international cases: those whereby people leave the UK to escape the system, and those whereby a foreign citizen’s case is decided on by the UK jurisdiction. The advantage of the Paccheri case is that the Rome family court gave a judgment that is publicly available and basically says that it does not understand what is going on in England..."

"We know what happens. The managerial priorities of local authorities determine what their staff do. If they do not do those things, we see what happens. There is the case of Joanna Quick, who wanted to recommend the return of a baby to its parents. She would not do what she was told by the management, so they fired her. One cannot blame social workers who are in that environment for doing what their management tell them to do..."

"(T)here are clearly cases when someone`s litigation capacity has been removed wrongfully. They are then stuck. They are a non-person as far as the system is concerned. If they want to appeal to the court, the application cannot be accepted because they have no capacity. People go down to the courts, but get turned away on that basis..."

"My view is that what we are doing is awful for children and families and, as time goes on. we are finding out more and more that that is the case. .."

"On the maltreatment of grandparents—I went to a Grandparents Plus event, and grandparents are not treated with respect by the system. There is evidence that each change of placement for a child taken into care, including the first change of placement, is psychologically damaging, but obviously at times we need to do that because leaving a child where it is can be worse—although the Rotherham case showed that at times that does more damage than in other circumstances. Going and staying with granny, however, is generally not that much of a problem because it is the sort of thing that has happened and the child is used to it. We should be a little more focused on families and the wider family—aunties, uncles and so on—than the current system, which is very much driven by the system. .."

Full transcript:  

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Report on competency-based education

This is from the Kyle Academy website:

"Teachers and practitioners will share information to plan a child’s ‘learning journey’ from 3-18, helping their progression from nursery to primary, primary to secondary and beyond, ensuring the change is smooth."

It is difficult to understand why children now require the assistance of teachers and practitioners in order to make the transition from nursery to primary school, for example. They used to manage that fine before. It looks like it is the sharing of information about children which is the important aspect of the change.

From Kyle Academy again:

"The term ‘curriculum’ has traditionally been associated with the subjects available within the school. With the introduction of Curriculum for Excellence, the term ‘curriculum’ applies now to "the totality of all that is planned for children and young people throughout their education..."

So it is information about the totality of all that is planned for children which is being shared. This is the data driven whole child approach. It would be foolish not to see that the curriculum has been changed in order to achieve this outcome.

Tom Hamilton of the General Teaching Council for Scotland was one of several people consulted in the recent International Study in Competency Education in which Curriculum for Excellence is reported on, a number of times.

The USA report explains: "(C)ompetency-based education takes a holistic approach to the "whole child," embracing the idea that to bring a student to true proficiency, it is important to have more than a simple record of previously demonstrated academic abilities. The social and emotional aspects of a student’s learning must be considered for an understanding of his or her motivation for, engagement with and ownership of learning."

It might be more accurate to say that the report attempts to `explain away` the need to gather personal information about students. They do this by pointing out that on the international scene educational systems are converging. "National governments have come to incorporate family and physical data into the academic goal-setting process where possible, working from the assumption that a child`s academic performance is inseparable from his or her state of mind and physical well-being."

Referring to Kyle Academy in particular they mention that a local school from a deprived area closed and merged with the academy which caused a certain amount of disruption. "With no guidance available, the school implemented its own innovative approach to personalisation to keep students on pace and improve equity in performance...Staff found what they needed in a rigorous data tracking system - one they built themselves, with the aid of a retired head teacher, to meet their needs."

Here it gets even more interesting: "Teachers first met and pored over every resource available, getting to know each student based on personal data, past transcripts, and current achievement levels. Staff also used a nationally available database on poverty and single-family homes to develop a full portrait of each child." Those 9 and 10 year-olds, identified as at-risk, had a campus police officer and community partners to monitor their behaviour during the day and at night.
This is as far away from teaching as it is possible to get.

We have recently been informed by Michael Russell MSP that Scotland could become a global pioneer by making its curriculum the first to be continually updated. While the children are being tracked - and some of that is quite alarming - it is going to be more difficult to monitor what the system as a whole is doing.

Friday, 17 October 2014 harvesting to go ahead

The patient data harvesting plan is to go ahead after NHS England said that it had "listened carefully" to objections for the past six months and put in place safeguard to prevent data from being hacked or misused."

"The proposals were put back following vociferous objections from privacy campaigners and GPs. They argued that the plans were unnecessary and undermined the confidential patient-doctor relationship. The plans for anonymisation of the data, meanwhile, were criticised for the ease with which they could be de-anonymised."

"The information that will be taken from GP patient-record databases and exported to the database will include a patient's date of birth, NHS number and postcode - but not their name - as well as their confidential medical information."

"That, warn privacy campaigners, will be enough for anyone with basic analytics skills to de-anonymise the data in order to identify individuals."

"The health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is a staunch supporter of the plans, has said that the data will not be shared with insurance companies for commercial reasons. However, many insurance companies carry out research and will be able to access the data under this criteria."

NHS England is now planning pilot schemes in six areas across the country covering up to 265 surgeries and 1.7 million patients. The areas include Hampshire, Blackburn and Darwen in Lancashire, Leeds and Somerset. Patients that want to opt out will have to write to their GP or their patient data will be extracted from their GP surgery and uploaded to the database. Some may need to opt out a second time, after opting out earlier this year..."

"Phil Booth, head of the campaign group Med Confidential, told the Daily Mail that nothing had changed with the programme: "The basis of the programme is unchanged - identifiable medical information will be extracted from the GP record of every man, woman and child in England."  

Update late 2014: has been placed on Google servers.

See also the recent report below:

Missing tooth boy is snatched by Norwegian authorities

"Norwegian authorities have snatched away a Russian couple’s young son after he shared the story of a missing baby tooth with his classmates. The parents are accused of child abuse."

"The boy’s grandfather, Gennady Sharkikov, recounted the disturbing incident to LifeNews. On October 8, five-year-old Oscar Shianok did not come home. Norwegian Child Welfare Services (CWS) picked the child up from school and placed him into protective custody."

"According to Oskar’s parents, Natalya and Sergey Shianok, a few days before his removal, Oscar had told his classmates that his mother accidently yanked out one of his baby teeth. Natalya explains that she was helping him pull a T-shirt over his head and accidently knocked out an already-loose tooth. "

The CWS report claims his mother was abusive and deliberately knocked the tooth out.

"Natalya and Sergey came to Norway from Russia looking for work and a better life for themselves and their two children. The parents quickly found employment and settled into a quiet life in Troms, a medium sized city in the north. "

"Natalya says that the family reached out to the Norwegian police for help, but were told that the missing tooth story was evidence of abuse and grounds for removing the boy from their custody. Police then began to ask leading questions about their younger daughter, Aleksandra. "

"The family left Norway in distress and returned to Murmansk, Russia."

One young world summit 2014

Thirty years after he founded Band Aid people in poorer countries are still dying because they are poor Bob Geldof told the attendees of the One Young World summit which opened in Dublin yesterday. ..Referring to the pace of climate change he said we were "at a critical moment" when it comes to climate change adding that we are "destroying any possibility of life" not just for this generation but also the next.
Addressing the 1,300 attendees representing 190 countries at the event which takes place in Dublin’s Convention Centre over the next few days Mr Geldof said "we must find a way through the terrible situation we have locked ourselves into and we must navigate an intellectual path...if you don’t do it there’s a problem".
Earlier Taoiseach Enda Kenny told delegates their generation could make a major difference while also touching on the issues which have faced Ireland in recent years and its more recent economic recovery. ..[What recovery ?]
Meanwhile former president Mary Robinson underlined the importance of sustainable development to combat climate change, an area which she said required "transformative leadership".
The three-day event, which co-founder David Jones yesterday described as "a platform to give brilliant young people a catalyst to drive change in the world" will see the attendees, who are aged between 18 and 30, present on and discuss a broad range of topics on major issues facing the world. ..

It is always worth referring back to the Club of Rome and their dire predictions:

"In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself."

Regardless of their influence the Club of Rome got it wrong and there has been no global warming for the past 18 years despite rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So we do not talk about global warming any more; we use the ubiquitous term `climate change` to implicate humanity in an impending global disaster.

But this new term is rather weak. It is obvious that the climate is changing - it always has. If there was no climate change there would be no seasons and no carbon and hydrologic cycles and we would be living on a dead planet. Where do these people get their science from, the discredited  UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ?

Undaunted, the globalists will keep pushing forward their ideas that humanity can only survive with sustainable development and smart technologies:

Speaking of Europe, "Rosales believes "member states are embarking on a re-visioning process" to fulfill their commitments to Agenda 21, as part of the Millennium Development Goals. What he fails to acknowledge, however, is that these ‘goals’, along with numerous other sustainability and natural capital initiatives, are steered by globalist corporations and financiers , such as Lockheed-Martin, Dow Chemical, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Bank of America and World Bank ...The path to a steady-state economy has been prepared for nearly 40 years, by pricing ecosystem services , and promoting the idea we should ‘go beyond GDP’ ."


Of course, oil is a finite resource but there is profit in promoting scarcity for the oil companies. There are 40 years of oil left, they say - there`s certain to be more - and this is using present day technologies which can and will be further developed, when required. So the window of opportunity is there to develop the alternative energy sources -  some of them already exist - and more scientists and engineers in the world than there have ever been before. They just need to get to work on what matters. There is no need to claw back economies into stagnating steady states and no need to prevent third world countries from developing. It`s time to tell the `doom and gloom` merchants we`re tired of their message.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Barnardo`s blames child abuse victim

"The children's charity Barnardo's has been accused of blaming a victim of child sexual exploitation for her own sexual abuse by a gang of men who had groomed her."

"A letter written by a Barnado's project worker in 1993 says that abuse of a 16-year-old girl in accommodation owned by the charity could have been avoided if she had not placed herself in danger."

"The letter states that the girl was sexually assaulted but: "The situation could have been avoided if [she] had not been party to the antics of a group of young men."

"It goes on: "Having consumed a quantity of alcohol and three valium tablets [she] was not able to maintain control or respond to the situation in a constructive and cohesive way."

"Last month chief executive of Barnardo's Javed Khan condemned institutions that had blamed children for their own abuse and called for them to be investigated by the Government's independent inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation."

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Westminster child abuse inquiry

"A 67-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of historical child abuse following an investigation into claims of a paedophile ring with links to Downing Street. The unnamed suspect was held in Dorset yesterday and questioned at a local police station before being released last night, Scotland Yard said."

"In 2012, he used Prime Minister's Questions to claim that a file of evidence used to convict a man called Peter Righton of importing child pornography in 1992 contained 'clear intelligence' of a paedophile gang. He also claimed that a member of the group had bragged about links with a senior aide to a former Prime Minister."

"Mr Watson wrote to Scotland Yard about the case, and the force later launched a number of separate criminal investigations after assessing the information."

Meanwhile the inquiry into historic child sex abuse seems to have ground to a halt as pressure mounts against Fiona Woolf:

"The controversial new head of the Government’s inquiry into historic sex abuse is under growing pressure as more evidence emerged of her links to a key figure in the scandal."

"Fiona Woolf has connections going back at least a decade with Leon Brittan, who is accused of involvement in a cover-up when he was Home Secretary."

DBFamilyLaw has written an open letter to Fiona Woolf regarding potential bias but the Mayor of London has so far not responded.