Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Nordic model

"Anne Longfield has teamed up with West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner to explore the potential for a pilot ‘Barnahus’ or ‘Children’s House’ in West Yorkshire, to help victims of child sexual abuse." Children`s Commissioner
How many would have confidence in West Yorkshire Police, or this? 

"Barnahus (which literally means Children´s house) is ... [an] interdisciplinary and multiagency centre where different professionals work under one roof in investigating suspected child sexual abuse cases and provide appropriate support for child victims...."

According to the KnowledgeExchange blog the Barnahus model takes the joined-up-approach to a whole new level of intervention because "the Barnahus model involves ... interdisciplinary working between different teams and allows for a complete package of care and support for a child to be created to reflect their needs. Within the Barnahus centres there are normally facilities including medical rooms, interview rooms, courtrooms, and residential facilities for those young people deemed at risk and who need to be taken immediately into temporary residential care..."

No separation of powers there and particularly worrying given police whistleblower John Wedger`s testimony that these various bodies worked together to cover-up child sexual abuse in the London area and elsewhere; and then when the Home Office finally got his evidence, somehow they lost it.

Now this: "In 2017, in response to the success reported in the Nordic models, the UK government earmarked Police Innovation Funding of £7.15m to help establish and roll out a similar scheme in London, which would see criminal justice specialists working alongside social services, child psychologists and other services and, it is hoped, pave the way to create a UK-wide Barnahus model in the future."

BBC reports on police whistleblower`s concerns

Published on 26 Feb 2018

Andy Collins on BBC

Sir Mike Penning backs Police Whistleblower campaign

"Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning has given his full support to local recently-retired detective, Jon Wedger, in his campaign to change the law to protect police whistleblowers following his personal experience."

"Mr Wedger says he exposed a well organised and established child prostitution racket which he alleges was known to, but covered up by, senior officers in the Metropolitan Police. As a result, Mr Wedger claims he was subjected to serious bullying which led to him suffering PTSD and which, he feels, was designed to ultimately destroy him."

Sir Mike Penning MP said:

"I have supported Jon since day one for both exposing the horrendous child prostitution case that he believes was being covered up and also for his apparent appalling treatment since becoming a police whistleblower when his life was made a living hell."

"At the end of the day, all I want to see is the truth come out and I fully support his courageous efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice and in campaigning for a change in the law to better protect police whistleblowers."

"From talking to John it is clear that we need a truly independent organisation to help police whistleblowers. Once a police officer finds themselves in a position of being a whistleblower, they are truly on their own. It takes tremendous courage and bravery to pursue it, but this shouldn’t be the case."

His {John Wedger`s] JustGiving page can be found at


See also Police whistleblower talks to Brian Gerrish

Monday, 26 February 2018

Jumping around the charities

"Ex-Save the Children chief executive Justin Forsyth has resigned from Unicef saying he does not want coverage of his past to `damage` the charities."

"Mr Forsyth faced three complaints of inappropriate behaviour towards female staff before leaving Save the Children, the BBC reported this week."

"He was accused of sending inappropriate texts and commenting on what young female staff were wearing."

"He said he `apologised unreservedly` to the three workers at the time..."

"The allegations come after Brendan Cox - the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox - quit two charities he set up in memory of his wife amid allegations of inappropriate behaviour."

"The Charity Commission said it had `extensive regulatory engagement` with Save the Children after allegations of misconduct and inappropriate behaviour were made against Mr Cox and Mr Forsyth between 2015 and 2016."

Psychiatric medication is dangerous

"Cruz’s school counsellor protested to the Department of Children and Families that they should re-examine their conclusion that he was a `low risk` for violence. Then in January 2017, two months after the agency had closed its investigation, the Broward County Public Schools disciplinary records indicate that the school referred Cruz to the Department of Children and Families for a `threat assessment` because of a long history of  `fights with teachers` and `using profane language with school staff.` No other information was provided about the outcome of that referral."

"What was going on? When public agencies have difficult children and young adults to deal with, they automatically turn to psychiatric diagnosing and drugging. Previously concerned adult authorities then withdraw their concern and attention because the child is getting `psychiatric treatment.` Caring, empathic and effective psychosocial treatments fall by the wayside."

"Authorities do this without grasping that they are shoving the child under a suffocating chemical rug in the form of neurotoxins that blunt all emotions and stifle all behavior. Those dooming the children and youth to psychiatric oblivion probably do not know, as Bob Whitaker has shown in the Anatomy of an Epidemic, that psychiatric drugs will diminish their competence and quality of life, while also raising the cost of their treatment and their disability payments. They do not foresee that the psychiatric strategy for treatment will sometimes lead to tragic outcomes like the school shootings. Nor do they realize that the overall evidence of harm from psychiatric drugs is infinitely greater than the evidence for good effects, as scientist Peter Gøtzsche has confirmed in Deadly Psychiatry and Organized Denial."

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Social and Emotional Skills to be tested

"The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published details of its new Study on Social and Emotional Skills (SSES). While the OECD has been administering international large-scale assessments on ‘cognitive skills’ and ‘competencies’ with both children and adults for many years, the new SSES survey represents a significant shift in focus to ‘non-cognitive’ aspects of learning and skills. While details of the science behind its cognitive skills and competencies tests are relatively well known, it is now becoming clear that the OECD’s social-emotional skills programme will emphasize the psychometric science of ‘personality’ measurement..."

"The OECD first began signalling its interest in measuring and assessing social and emotional skills in 2014... "

"Organisations including the global education business Pearson and the Nudge Unit have produced research summaries and guidance on developing SELS. The core idea behind many social-emotional learning and skills approaches is that the ‘non-cognitive’ aspects of learning are fundamentally linked to academic progress and to a range of social and economic outcomes, such as productivity, labour market behaviours and overall well-being..."

"Moreover, many advocates maintain, SELS are malleable and can be improved through direct teaching intervention... "

"Major lobbying groups based in the US have produced scientific justifications for focusing on SE learning and skills. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has produced its own meta-analyses on social-emotional learning research and evidence..."

"Terms used for SELS including ‘character,’ ‘growth mindset,’ ‘grit,’ ‘resilience,’ and other ‘non-cognitive’ or ‘non-academic’ ‘personal qualities’ are often used interchangeably and gain traction with different academic, practitioner and policymaking communities. ‘Character’ has become the policy focus for the Department for Education in the UK following the 2014 publication of a cross-party Character and Resilience Manifesto, while ‘grit’ has been favoured by the US Department of Education, as in its 2013 report Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and PerseveranceCritical Factors for Success in the 21st Century. Emerging education policies in the European Union appear to emphasize ‘soft skills’ as a category that encompasses SELS..."

"In the US, SELS are a lucrative investment opportunity under the banner of ‘impact investing.’ These ‘pay for success’ schemes allow investment banks and wealthy philanthropies to invest in educational services and programs and then collect public money with additional interest as profits if they meet agreed outcomes metrics."

In Scotland SELS is promoted in Health and Wellbeing which teachers from every subject area are instructed to engage with as important for pupils in all aspects of Curriculum for Excellence.

At the same time academic standards in Scotland continue to fall.

Police will watch `resilience documentary`

Ayrshire Police Division are being encouraged to see all social problems as a consequence of the `early years.`

"Today, 20 February 2018, Ayrshire’s Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Paul Main, has announced that Ayrshire Police Division will soon become a ‘Trauma Informed Division’ aiming to improve awareness, among all police officers and staff in the division, of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)."

"ACEs are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse and neglect, witnessing domestic violence or growing up with family members who abuse alcohol or drugs. Each ACE increases a child’s likelihood of being a victim of violence, committing violence or being incarcerated at any point in their lifetime."

"The first stage of becoming 'Trauma Informed' will be to provide all 840 officers and staff time to watch the Resilience Documentary, which provides an overview of ACEs. Over 50 officers and staff from Ayrshire Division have already seen the documentary as part of a roadshow during the latter half of 2017."

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The Global Agenda

Brian Gerrish asks the rhetorical question: "What does DAVOS and the G8 and the global leaders get up to?"

"Well actually it`s doing things like this. So here we`ve got a Guardian article: London Community School Teacher in last 10 for $1m global prize."

"So here she is, Andria Zafirakou and she`s been shortlisted from more than 30,000 people for a teaching award. So the article, when you get into it, looks fairly innocuous. But what you need to look for is this; where this award came from."

"And here we`ve got the Varkey Foundation and Sunny Varkey, founder and Executive Chairman of GEMS education group. He`s a passionate education entrepreneur. He`s also tightly connected to World Economic Forum but that would bring us roughly back into George Soros`s field, Microsoft, UNESCO and the Clinton Global Initiative."

"So we`ve got a schoolteacher in Britain who`s very happy because the Clintons and others have said `We like you.` And we`ll come on to why they like her in a minute.  But dig in and have a look at some of the people."
"Sir Michael [Lockett] has a portfolio of businesses that operate across the communications spectrum, centred around corporate, political and institutional leadership. In essence, everything which is needed to build, protect and sustain reputation." 
"During the 1992 General Election campaign, he assumed leadership of the Conservative Party’s presentation unit for Prime Minister John Major. After 15 years, his role concluded with the successful leadership campaign for Prime Minister David Cameron."

"So you think it`s a little award by an independent organisation. No no no. This is the British government with its finger in the pie so to speak."

"So they liked the teacher because she said that basically she`s got to welcome parents in 35 different languages to make them feel comfortable bringing their children into her school. So this is not about rewarding a teacher. This is about promoting global citizenship."  

"So here`s GEMS. You can have a look at that. I loved this image Mike of the little blue eyed blonde haired girl but only one eye showing ....And if we just add in a bit more here. What are they doing ? "
"From an international curriculum, to contact with our overseas schools all over the world. GEMS offer a truly global education, helping young people become well-informed world citizens." 

"So they liked the teacher because she said that basically she`s got to welcome parents in 35 different languages to make them feel comfortable bringing their children into her school. So this is not about rewarding a teacher. This is about promoting global citizenship and of course this man is at the back of it, Bill Gates."

"And this is what he says: `When you think about what drives progress and improvement in the world, education is like a master switch - one that opens up all sorts of opportunities for individuals and societies`..."

"And of course what he really meant was this: `one that opens up all sorts of opportunities for individuals like me and our society`. So we`re not to know who these illustrious, immensely wealthy leaders are pushing this policy through, but they`re going to do it by giving our schoolteachers awards to make them feel good."


Mike Robinson: "Right today we have Agenda 2030 for Children: End Violence Solutions Summit. in Stockholm. Penny Mordant was there, of course. Well what`s this all about ? This is the global partnership to end violence against children. It`s where all major stakeholder groups come together to focus their words, actions and resources on ending violence against children, a unique public private partnership for all actors to hold themselves to account and work together to prevent and respond to violence against children. Does that make sense?"

"Yes," says Brian Gerrish.

"OK. It includes governments, UN agencies, international organisations, civil society, faith groups, the private sector, philanthropic organisations, foundations - like Soros for example - research practitioners, academics and children themselves. So they`re meeting in Stockholm today.[14 Feb] They`re saying we`re issuing an urgent call to action bringing together governments, UN, civil society and so on ... and responding to violence against boys and girls during the first `End Violence Solutions` summit. It will be a crucial meeting in our common responsibility to combat violence against children."

"And they say that in 2015 world leaders acknowledged the severity of epidemic levels of violence against children and committed to end all forms of violence and exploitation of children by 2030 as part of the sustainable development goals in Agenda 2030 and this summit is a major milestone towards achieving that."

"As I said, Penny Mordant was there today giving a speech. She`s pledging £5 million of government funding - international development funding, - to help protect vulnerable children across the globe following allegations of sexual abuse by Oxfam in Haiti. Now of course £5 million that is a huge proportion of the billions of pounds that are made in profits by the people who do exploit children every year. So of course that`s going to have a major impact Brian. "

"No. Didn`t think so."

"The International Development secretary is going to announce that funding at this meeting. She`s also commenting on Oxfam and other charities saying:"
"Unless you [charities] create a culture that prioritises safety of vulnerable people and ensures victims and whistleblowers can come forward without fear... we will not work with you."

"So, hold on, this is Penny Mordant who works for Theresa May who`s the person who has made sure people are in prison for whistleblowing or are being hounded out of their jobs for whistleblowing and so on.  Anything to do with child sexual abuse, you`re going to end up in prison in solitary confinement or you`re going to be harassed and lose your job ...."

Brian Gerrish: "Well this is absolutely correct Mike and I can say that we know... accurately and for certain that Theresa May had a personal briefing about the despicable treatment of MET police whistleblower John Wedger - about a fifteen minute conversation with British Prime Minister Theresa May - to say that a policeman, who`d blown the whistle on the grooming, abuse and deaths of children in London, and the cover up by politicians, local authorities and charities - Theresa May personally briefed on it. It`s nothing."

Mike Robinson resumes: "Well, Penny Mordant then said that she`s going to deal with Oxfam by referring them to the National Crime Agency. She said that while investigations have to be completed and any potential criminal prosecuted accordingly what is clear is the culture that allows this to happen needs to change and it needs to change now."

"We will just remind Penny Mordant, and others of course, that - well what did the Chief Executive of Oxfam say? Basically, well, if you think we`re bad lots of the other organisations are much worse."

"So, this has got to be dealt with and we`ll keep an eye on that conference and report on it in due course."


Brian Gerrish then reports on a letter from child abuse survivor and whistleblower Melanie Shaw who remains in prison. The account begins about 33.45 minutes into the programme.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Children removed to safety from isolated orphanage

"The British founder of a Cambodian orphanage is facing prosecution for sexually assaulting a boy in his care."

"Nicholas Griffin, 52, was held when police raided his isolated base in countryside near Siem Reap, in the north-west of the country."

"Up to 100 children were moved to a safe house in an operation that involved British and local investigators."

"Mr Griffin, originally from Wales, left Britain in 2006 before founding the Cambodia Orphan Fund, one year later."

"He faces a potential 10-year jail sentence over a claim he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy."

"He was originally held on suspicion of breaking child labour laws and his orphanage licence."

"The orphanage manager, a Cambodian man, has been charged with the illegal removal of a child to the orphanage."

"Jim Gamble, of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), said Cambodian police are now examining claims of `institutional abuse` within the orphanage, which occupies an unusual fortress-like building."

A post left on TripAdvisor says it all.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The difficult issue of mental health

"Family member Barbara Kumbatovich told the Herald, `she believed Nikolas Cruz was on medication to deal with his emotional fragility.` She was a sister-in-law of Lynda Cruz, the suspect’s mother, and she also told the Sun-Sentinel that she believes Nikolas has been on medications for several months..."

"While it is not clear how many medications Cruz was taking, the pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for depression and emotional issues are packed with a number of side effects that can lead to violent behavior..."

"There have been 150 studies in 17 countries on antidepressant-induced side effects. There have been 134 drug regulatory agency warnings from 11 countries and the EU warning about the dangerous side effects of antidepressants."

"Despite this deadly laundry list of potential reactions to these medications, their use has skyrocketed by 400% since 1988. "

Listen to  The Dr. Peter Breggin Hour 02.14.18

Friday, 16 February 2018

Fire safety sprinklers must wait for a review

"Government promises to help local authorities with essential fire safety works lie in shatters after it refused to pay for sprinklers in tower blocks."

"Communities secretary Sajid Javid has refused to commit funding to retro-fit sprinklers to tower blocks, saying that the government will instead await the outcome of a review of fire safety in housing before deciding whether sprinklers should be required by law and paid for by the Government."

"But according to Labour MP Dan Carden now is not the time for another review - `we need commitments` to ensure a tragedy such as Grenfell doesn`t repeat itself."

Disappearing words

"A book created to celebrate the disappearing words of everyday nature, from acorn and wren to conker and dandelion, is fast becoming a cultural phenomenon with help from a crowdfunding campaign by a school bus driver."

"Four months after publication The Lost Words, a collection of poems by Robert Macfarlane and paintings by Jackie Morris, has already shipped 75,000 copies and won two literary prizes. Now the book, aimed at reviving once-common `natural` words excised from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, will be discovered by a generation of children after a crowdfunding drive to place a copy in every school in Scotland."

"Jane Beaton, a school bus driver and travel consultant from Strathyre, Stirling, was moved to raise £25,000 to give the book to all 2,681 schools in Scotland after “a spur of the moment” commitment on Twitter."

Thursday, 15 February 2018

More allegations against charities come to light

"Oxfam has been accused of covering up the use of prostitutes by staff in Haiti in the wake of the deadly earthquake in 2010. Allegations that prostitutes were used by staff in Chad in 2006 have also emerged." 
"It has denied a cover-up, but the charity's chief executive has said nine members of staff `behaved in a way that was totally unacceptable`."


Mike Robinson spoke on UK Column News about some of these matters: "I just caught this headline on Sky News. Oxfam: Former development secretary Greening `absolutely shocked` by claims against Oxfam. "

"She was speaking to Sky News. She said she was absolutely shocked. She said: `I don`t recall being aware of those allegations` [while she was in post] `but I certainly know that when I had any instances raised with me, they always would have been followed up. I`m not the kind of person who would have ignored anything like that. Why would anyone?` "

Mike Robinson found this statement interesting given the involvement of the Charity Commission into allegations against Oxfam.

"Well the Charity Commission for England and Wales has announced that they are opening a statutory inquiry today into Oxfam and they are going to improve safeguarding in the charity sector as a whole, they claim. They say that this has come after the allegations made against Oxfam regarding misconduct by staff involved in the humanitarian response in Haiti. They said that they have concerns that Oxfam may not have fully and frankly disclosed material details about the allegations at the time in 2011; about its handling of the incident since; and the impact that these have had on public trust and confidence."

"But this is quite interesting because actually the Charity Commission had already been investigating Oxfam during the course of 2011 and they had produced a report which came out in December."

"It said in 2017 `We engaged... with Oxfam over a number of concerning allegations about recent and non-recent safeguarding incidents involving senior programme staff including allegations of sexual harassment of other staff... `"

What the Charity Commission found:
"Oxfam cooperated fully with us. We established that the charity has a strong policy framework around protecting staff and beneficiaries from sexual exploitation and abuse, which is underpinned by the activities of a dedicated safeguarding unit. We also saw evidence of several examples of best practice including the publishing of data and trends about allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation against Oxfam staff and partners."  

"Many of the allegations reported against senior country staff relating to sexual abuse and exploitation were not substantiated, and the Commission has seen no indication to suggest that the risks to staff at Oxfam are any greater than those facing staff in other similar organisations. However, there clearly have been incidents of behaviour that did not meet the organisation’s culture and values and which have brought into question how confident trustees could be in the charity’s wider people management systems." 
"We also identified some weaknesses in how trends in safeguarding allegations were picked up, reported to trustees and management follow up properly agreed."

"They said that many of the allegations reported against country staff - senior country staff - relating to sexual exploitation and abuse were not substantiated. Well, they`ve been substantiated now. So I`m questioning here how good is this statutory investigation going to be... when they ran an investigation last year and they found nothing."

"It goes on, though. But we concluded there`s further work for the charity to do in respect of its HR culture and overall governance and management of safeguarding. The Commission considers that the charity needs to be more mindful of the allocation of resources which enables an appropriate balance between proactive preventive activity in the investigation of individual allegations."

"So basically they said nothing of any use. They apparently found nothing particularly wrong with the charity but then we have these revelations over here and apparently today more revelations about alleged sexual abuse taking place involving children in Oxfam charity shops."

Brian Gerrish concurs: "It`s amazing isn`t it Mike? And of course when UK Column was pointing a finger at the UK charity Common Purpose... what was discovered?  Matthew Byrne, one of the Merseyside Common Purpose advisory board members. Horrific crimes. I will leave people to look him up for themselves. Was there an investigation by Common Purpose?  Nothing that was made public. Was there any police investigation into him and his links with Common Purpose? No investigation at all. Was there any follow up of the fact that Common Purpose had been providing training in many schools across the country particularly in the Sheffield area with no CRB checks. Nothing was followed up on that at all."

"So what we consistently see is that when allegations come to the surface, or evidence comes to the surface, overwhelmingly there`s a close down."

"But it`s beginning to grow, so people might have missed this from a couple of days ago. It`s focusing in on Brendon Cox. This is the Daily Mail and the article is that it`s alleged that Mr Cox grabbed here hips, pulled her hair and forced his thumb into a lady`s mouth in America, in a sexual way. This was a lady working in a US government job. She reported the incident to the police as a sex assault claim...And what comes to light again in this article ... So it included a text which he sent to her later."

"He left Save the Children after there had been numerous other complaints about him. So quite remarkable. Of course here we`ve got people tied in with the mainstream political parties. These are all allegations at the moment. They seem to be building up. But is any action taken against these major charities?"

"And of course one of the things we have consistently said in our UK Column report is that child abuse survivors simply laugh when you say `Well didn`t you get any help from NSPCC or Barnardos or any of the other major charities? Those survivors have simply laughed and said `Well of course the abusers are embedded within those charities as well`. Maybe we`re beginning to see it."

"And just to bring things full circle. We`ll bring in the Open Government Partnership. Now we mentioned them a couple of days ago. This is bringing us back towards George Soros. But I was intrigued to see that we`ve got Helle Thorning Schmidt as one of the Open Government Partnership ambassadors but she`s also there as Chief Executive of Save the Children International. So remarkable isn`t it? All these people clustered around the mainstream parties. Of course this lady married to ... Stephen Kinnock. Here she is working with a major children`s charity. That charity now coming under the spotlight alongside Oxfam."

Police whistleblower

"Well, we`ll contrast that with what? The testimony of a very brave Metropolitan policeman, John Wedger.  This man speaking out to UK Column on audio... and video, clearly saying that the British government, MPs, charities, local authorities covered up child abuse in London, including the deaths of children.  He was villified, hounded at work."

"He`s doing a walk from London to Manchester. This is his JustGiving page. He was after just £5,000 and I`m delighted to say that today I can report that that JustGiving target is up to £6,255. Now the additional money over his target of £5,000 is going to go to a charity. And if you go to the JustGiving site you can actually have a look at that. So some good news there Mike, but it`s taken John Wedger to suffer so much in order to get that story out.  Mainstream press, the BBC in particular, simply will not follow through on the evidence."  [13 February 2018]

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Lawyer accused of trolling victims

"A top human rights lawyer is facing an investigation after claims that she trolled victims of child sex abuse online."

"Barrister Barbara Hewson, 56, is alleged to have posted on social media referring to victims as 'lunatics', 'nutwings' and 'cowardly'. "

"It is also claimed that she told people speaking out about abuse they had suffered as a child to 'shut the f*** up'."

"The Bar Standards Board is launching a probe against Miss Hewson, according to the Sunday Mirror. "

"MailOnline has contacted the BSB for comment."

"The barrister, who has called for the age of consent to fall to as low as 13, is facing calls to be struck off."

"One woman, who says she has faced trolling by Miss Hewson on Twitter for two years, said it would discourage people from speaking up about abuse."

Read more:

Child abuse survivor still languishes in prison


Tasers used on vulnerable patients

"Police drew, aimed or fired Tasers in mental health hospitals, wards, and clinics 58 times in the first six months of figures being recorded."

"The government says a Taser should be a last resort - but campaigners say they should never be used in such settings."

"The data, from 43 UK area forces, covers the six months to September 2017, when Tasers were fired 22 times."

"Three used Tasers on people under 17. On two of those occasions the Taser was fired, once at a 15-year-old girl."

"The Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Met Police were the only UK area forces that failed to respond to BBC Radio 5 live's Freedom of Information request."

Friday, 9 February 2018

12 year old snatched by Barnevernet

"Unfortunately, we have to present a new case where the Norwegian Barnevernet Child Social Service removes a child from his mother’s home without cause, where the child is being harmed. In the video below, the mother claims that she removed her 12 year old son from school and homeschooled him because he received death threats from classmates. As can be seen in this video, the son runs away and the 2 social service people chase him around and finally they topple him and one of the men sits on top of him to prevent his escape."

Mr Handley`s family disappointed by coroner`s verdict

"After an 11-day inquest at Ipswich Coroners' Court, Dr Dean said an overall care co-ordinator `would have prevented this from happening` as there were a number of agencies involved in looking after Mr Handley."

"Mr Handley's mother Sheila, who gave evidence during the inquest, said outside court she was `disappointed` after the coroner's verdict."

"`With hearing about the gross failures identified and missed opportunities spoken of I find it very hard to understand how the coroner didn't feel able to use the word 'neglect' in his conclusion,` she said."

"`It feels to me, having heard all the evidence, that the level of the failures was such that Richard died because he was neglected. He wasn't given the care he needed to keep him safe`."


Mendip House has been closed down

Steven Morris

"People with autism living in a care home in Somerset were taunted, bullied and humiliated by staff, a review has found."

"Workers at the home run by the National Autistic Society threw objects at residents and teased and swore at them, the report from the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB) says."

"A whistleblower claimed one resident of Mendip House was slapped, forced to eat chillies and repeatedly thrown into a swimming pool."

"In another incident highlighted in the report, a staff member is said to have put a ribbon around a resident’s neck and ridden him `like a horse`. Concerns about a `laddish` culture were raised."

"When the home was investigated, inspectors found residents had been funding staff meals during outings and almost £10,000 had to be reimbursed..."

"Mendip House has been closed down and the residents, some of whom had lived there for many years, have been found new placements. Staff were disciplined and police investigated, but no criminal proceedings have been launched."

"The review draws parallels to the case of Winterbourne View, the private hospital near Bristol where people with severe learning difficulties were abused."

Data retention of internet activity is against the law

30 January 2018

"The Government is breaking the law by collecting the nation's internet activity and phone records and letting public bodies grant themselves access to these personal details with no suspicion of serious crime and no independent sign-off meaning significant parts of its latest Snoopers’ Charter are effectively unlawful."

"Judges at the Court of Appeal have today backed a challenge by MP Tom Watson, represented by Liberty, to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) a previous law covering state surveillance."

"DRIPA expired at the end of 2016 but the Government replicated and vastly expanded the same powers in the Investigatory Powers Act, which started to come into force in 2017. Liberty is challenging this latest law in a major separate case, to be heard in the High Court later this year."

"In anticipation of this ruling, the Government has already conceded that the Investigatory Powers Act will need to change. But its half-baked plans do not even fully comply with past court rulings requiring mandatory safeguards and they continue to allow public bodies to indiscriminately retain and access personal data, including records of internet use, location tracking using mobile phones and records of who we communicate with and when."

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

The quest for Big Data

Scottish kids are being taught to behave like performing seals:

"There is a furious row in Scotland just now about data gathering and information sharing."

"FOI requests have revealed that Police Scotland are running a Vulnerable Persons Database. If the Police think your 'well-being' is at risk then your details are added to the database so you can be monitored. There are, so far, 800,000 people on this database out of a population of 5.2 million – 15 % of the population."

"None of these have been asked if they want this attention from the Police and none were informed. In setting up this database they ignored a recent Supreme Court judgement that said the stockpiling of such data was illegal. They have, in another context, actually now admitted sharing data illegally..."

"Set up with the creation of Police Scotland in 2013, the system aims to provide a `holistic` approach to child and adult protection."

"It involves collating disparate pieces of information about a particular vulnerable individual into a single file - allowing officers to build a narrative about that person."

"At a supervisor's discretion, the file can be shared with other government bodies - for example health, social work or education - so that the person receives support..."

"Police Scotland has no policy for removing or weeding data from the VPD when it is no longer applicable - which the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said breached the Data Protection Act."

"Det Ch Insp Conway said this was because the VPD was set up as an interim resource, which is now being used beyond its intended lifespan."

"England has a National Pupil database which started out as an anonymous statistical tool on school performance. It now holds over 20 million highly detailed records on named children who are not informed how their personal data may be used, for what purposes, and by whom. And, yes, they sell the data to commercial entities."

Monday, 5 February 2018

Eugene ends hunger strike

February 2 at 1:18pm ·

Eugene has decided to end his Hunger Strike for the time being. Medway have told him he can see his son, and that his son can decide how often to see him in future. The hospital have started him on a liquid nutrition program, as his body will be unable to tolerate normal food for a while. From what I can gather the hospital visit was to do with inflamed digestive tract, which of course can be a consequence of hunger strike. He wants to be in better shape before his son visits. I'm sure we all wish Eugene a speedy recovery and hope that Medway are true to their word.


Nottinghamshire councils under scrutiny ?

"The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is looking at whether Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council could have done more to prevent child abuse in children's homes, foster care, and in adoption."

"It will establish the extent of any institutional failures to protect children in the care of the two councils from sexual abuse and exploitation."

"At a preliminary hearing in London on Wednesday (January 31), it was revealed that some of the full hearings - which will take place over three weeks in October this year - will be held in Nottingham..."

"The full hearing had been scheduled to be held entirely in London, but at a previous preliminary hearing, in May last year David Hollas, advocate for the Nottinghamshire Child Sexual Abuse Survivors Group, had made a request that they be moved to Nottinghamshire..."

"The hearing today is also looking at which particular case studies will be considered in the October hearings. There are 83 different complainants who are identified as core participants in those hearings, but only some cases will be looked at in detail..."

"There are four case study areas which have been proposed: Beechwood children's home in Mapperley, Wollaton House children's home in Wollaton, foster care, and peer-on-peer abuse."

"However, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, who represents 46 of the complainants, said this would be too narrow a focus.

"She told the hearing: `There were decades of abuse on an industrial scale of children in the care of Nottinghamshire councils`."

"We say that the proposals which have been made do not deal with the extent or the scale."

However, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, who represents 46 of the complainants, said this would be too narrow a focus.

She told the hearing: "There were decades of abuse on an industrial scale of children in the care of Nottinghamshire councils.

"We say that the proposals which have been made do not deal with the extent or the scale..."

There is no mention of Melanie Shaw who still languishes in prison and is in her cell  twenty three hours out of every twenty four. It appears likely that the establishment is ensuring that her testimony about child sexual abuse and murder at Beechwood care home is not available for the independent public inquiry


Here is Beechwood children's home survivor Joni Cameron-Blair talking to Clare McDonnell about the child abuse cover-ups in Nottinghamshire. 

Joni: "It wasn`t until about 18 months when I started documenting people`s behaviour towards children and I was going back maybe a year later or two years back to that same home - because it wasn`t always happening annually - sometimes it could be two, possibly three years - and I would go back and I would see the same members of staff still working there despite me feeding back my concerns and complaints."

"And then I also noticed that my reports would also be doctored and manufactured and my verbatim would be removed.  And I began to question this practice."

Clare McDonnell: "What was going on do you think?" 
Joni: "I think there were lots of contributing factors to be honest... I think a lot of it was about reputational protection; a lot of it was about protection for the insurance company policy; a lot of it was about the hierarchical protection of their own personal ... pay and pensions. It certainly wasn`t about the protection of children. I certainly didn`t see any protection of children despite the numerous concerns and complaints that I was taking to the inspectorate."
"I then took my concerns away from the inspectorate because I realised that no action was taking place. So I then took it to the panel. The panel consisted of the chief executive of Nottingham City Council, the director of Social Services and the assistant director of Social Services and a lot of other, you know, top people; and it was during these meetings that I ensured that my concerns were minuted."

"I needed documented proof that I was sharing my concerns and still no action was happening. And when I challenged that action and when they said to me and announced to me on that panel that they would be having investigations, I would no sooner get home and within days of addressing the panel they would cancel those meetings and cancel those investigations. And it was just quite staggering. I was just banging my head against a brick wall and for the life of me even today I don`t know why; I don`t know why they were preventing me from following my duty of care to protect children..."

[BBC Five Live Fri 14 Aug 2015 with Clare McDonnell]

Schoolchildren to be given psychological tests

PISA will test non-cognitive skills

[Ben Williamson `Code Acts in Education`]

"In recent years, the OECD’s PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) and PIAAC (Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies) tests have been the subject of extensive debate and research. New tests, such as the PISA-based Test for Schools to help schools compare themselves to international standards, as well as the expansion of its tests to include factors like problem-solving and well-being, have become available as the OECD has gradually extended its logic of measurement and comparison into policymaking systems globally..."

"Organisations including the global education business Pearson and the Nudge Unit have produced research summaries and guidance on developing SELS. The core idea behind many social-emotional learning and skills approaches is that the ‘non-cognitive’ aspects of learning are fundamentally linked to academic progress and to a range of social and economic outcomes, such as productivity, labour market behaviours and overall well-being."

"Moreover, many advocates maintain, SELS are malleable and can be improved through direct teaching intervention..."

"Terms used for SELS including ‘character,’ ‘growth mindset,’ ‘grit,’ ‘resilience,’ and other ‘non-cognitive’ or ‘non-academic’ ‘personal qualities’ are often used interchangeably and gain traction with different academic, practitioner and policymaking communities..."

"The data production expectations on schools, students and their families are, as the list demonstrates, extensive and extend well beyond the normal jurisdiction of the education sector into the extraction of information about homes, family relationships and parenting practices."

"The direct assessment will be delivered online using a centralized software platform for assessment of children’s SE skills. Notably, the OECD claims it will use log file data obtained during the test as additional indicators of SE skills."

"Log file information collected during computer-based international assessments has been described by Bryan Maddox as ‘process data’ collected about such things as response times and key strokes, which can be studied with ‘micro-analytic precision’ in the analysis of larger-scale assessment data..."

"This project exemplifies a form of stealth assessment whereby students are being assessed on criteria they know nothing about, and which rely on micro-analytics of their gestures across interfaces and keyboards..."

SELS: an investment opportunity

"Beyond the presumed scientific objectivity of personality testing, interest in SELS among government departments and policymakers is also due at least in part to the economic arguments made by its advocates."

"In the US, SELS are a lucrative investment opportunity under the banner of ‘impact investing.’ These ‘pay for success’ schemes allow investment banks and wealthy philanthropies to invest in educational services and programs and then collect public money with additional interest as profits if they meet agreed outcomes..."

For a discussion on `grit` and `growth mindsets`:

David Denby (June 21, 2016). The limits of "grit". The New Yorker culture desk blog

David Didau (July 10, 2014). Grit and growth: who’s to blame for low achievement? blog

David Didau (October 24, 2015). Is growth mindset pseudoscience? blog


Here is an extract from Jane Robbins` testimony to the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce which covers a similar topic.

January 30, 2018

"The Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking was created to pursue a laudable goal: To improve analysis of the effectiveness of federal programs. We all certainly agree that public policy should be based on evidence, on facts, not on opinion or dogma. So unbiased scientific research, for example, is vital for policymaking."

"But the problem arises when the subjects of the research and analysis are human beings. Each American citizen is endowed with personal dignity and autonomy and therefore is entitled to respect and deference when it comes to his or her own personal data. The idea that the government should be able to vacuum up mountains of personal data and employ it for whatever purposes it deems useful – without the citizen’s consent, or in many cases even his knowledge – conflicts deeply with this truth about the dignity of persons."

"Bear in mind that the analyses contemplated by the Commission go even further than merely sharing discrete data points among agencies. They involve creating new information about individuals, via matching data, drawing conclusions, and making predictions about those individuals. So in essence the government would have information about a citizen that even he or she doesn’t have."

"Our founding principles, which enshrine the consent of the governed, dictate that a citizen’s data belongs to him, not to the government..."