This report, published in April, includes the Children’s #Right2Food Charter, which calls for a new, independent Children’s Food Watchdog to lead the charge on tackling children’s food insecurity in the UK.
One in three (4.1 million) children live in poverty in the UK, with an estimated 2.5 million living in food insecure households.
The Children’s Future Food Inquiry is the first attempt to directly and systematically seek the views of children and young people living in poverty across the UK. It has spent 12 months investigating children’s food insecurity in each of the four UK nations, and the project’s final report pulls together direct input from hundreds of young people, the front line staff, academics and experts.
The #Right2Food Charter included in the report presents the Inquiry’s young ‘Food Ambassadors’ (aged between 10 and 18 years) own recommendations for loosening the grip of food poverty on children in the UK and improving their access to enough nutritious food.
With the first stage of the Inquiry concluded, the committee (made up of parliamentarians and civil society experts; including the Children and Young People’s Commissioner in Scotland and the President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) will focus on establishing the Children’s Food Watchdog, and its first action will be to conduct an economic costing of the full range of measures proposed in the report by the young people as solutions for the problems identified by the Inquiry.
These measures aim to tackle the differences in policy and provision across the UK with the aim to achieve minimum equitable standards, including extending the entitlement of free school meals to the 23% of children not entitled to them who are missing lunch due to lack of money; ensuring the funding provided for free school meals is actually sufficient to buy a healthy lunch; and ensuring that more families benefit from the fruit and vegetable vouchers provided through Healthy Start (from which currently only 30% of children in poverty benefit)
From the Guardian
In his final report on the impact of austerity on human rights in the UK, Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty, accused ministers of being in a state of denial about the impact of policies, including the rollout of universal credit, since 2010. He accused them of the “systematic immiseration of a significant part of the British population” and warned that worse could be yet to come for the most vulnerable, who face “a major adverse impact” if Brexit proceeds.
He said leaving the EU was “a tragic distraction from the social and economic policies shaping a Britain that it’s hard to believe any political parties really want”.
The New York-based lawyer’s findings, published on Wednesday, follows a two-week fact-finding mission in November after which he angered ministers by calling child poverty in Britain “not just a disgrace but a social calamity and an economic disaster”.
Now he has accused them of refusing to debate the issues he raised and instead deploying “window dressing to minimise political fallout” by insisting the country is enjoying record lows in absolute poverty, children in workless households and low unemployment.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration launched the Healing the Generational Divide interim report, which offers solutions to divisions between older and younger people.
New polling found that one in two people aged 75 or over think the younger generation ‘don’t have it bad, they just complain more,’ while 52% of the UK population believe Brexit has widened the gap between the old and the young.
To bridge generational divides, which not only include different political outlooks but increasing geographical and social separation between age groups, the APPG’s interim report sets out a series of suggestions to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together under four main policy areas – community projects and initiatives, public services, housing and planning, and technology.
Specific recommendations include:
- A penny charge on every transaction carried out using self-service machines to counteract potential damage caused by a lack of everyday contact between people. This could generate £30m or more per year to fund inter-generational and community projects.
- All nurseries, schools and care homes should be encouraged to foster connections between the different generations who use their services and, where possible, to co-locate services on one site.
One of the Salvation Army’s customers of another language services, who supports victims of trafficking, has alerted them to the fact that gangs may be recruiting interpreters for the purpose of re-trafficking victims during face to face appointments.
Whilst this incident took place in London, the Salvation Army would like to alert all relevant networks and organisations nationally in case this was not a one of incident.
They have issued some hints and tips on how to be observant when using interpreters:
- Never leave the interpreter alone with a victim, especially in waiting rooms or reception areas.
- This includes not just visually but also within earshot to ensure no subtle communication is taking place.
- Please ensure victims leave at different times to an interpreter.
- Be wary of any interpreting activity that seems out of the norm or not in keeping with what is being asked to be interpreted.
- If a victim looks distressed in the presence of an interpreter, cease the session immediately.
- Unfortunately, even interpreters with full references, qualifications and DBS checks may still be involved in trafficking gangs, so if you have any doubts or hesitation about the quality of an interpreter, please tell your language service provider immediately
A confidential survey of members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has revealed an epidemic of stress related illness and massive mental health issues, among people employed by charities and NGOs.
The survey found that 80 per cent of respondents said that they had experienced workplace stress in the last 12 months, while 42 per cent of respondents believed their job was not good for their mental health.
The findings of the survey place a further spotlight on the sector, following several high profile tragedies.
Of further cause for concern for the organisation’s concerned, 44 per cent of respondents didn’t believe they worked for a well-managed organisation, over a third (34 per cent) didn’t feel valued at work and four in 10 (40 per cent) didn’t feel their job was secure.
Over 850 members from 238 organisations replied to Unite’s survey.
From Civil Society
Social care charities have called for local government commissioners to give greater consideration to the wider benefits that voluntary sector bidders can bring.
Umbrella body the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) says in a report published today that the government’s Social Value Act has fallen short of its intention to boost charities’ inclusion in procurement.
It says: “Although the Social Value Act 2012 encouraged commissioners to consider the wider social, economic and environmental impact of care services, in reality its impact has been limited.”
The report, Above and Beyond, says the social impact of voluntary sector providers of social care “needs to be more widely acknowledged” among local authority commissioners. It gives examples of some of the wider community development initiatives some social care charities provide.
This House of Commons Library briefing paper looks at the forthcoming Green Paper on social care for adults, whose publication has been further delayed – it will now be published “at the earliest opportunity”.
The publication of the Green Paper has been delayed several times: it was originally due to published in “summer 2017”. The latest position is that it will be published “at the earliest opportunity”, although the Health and Social Care Secretary had previously said in January 2019 that he “certainly intend[ed] for [publication] to happen before April ”. According to media reports, the most recent delays are attributed to the Government concentrating on Brexit and also a lack of clarity and detail about the proposals to be included in the Green Paper.
The original rationale for the Green Paper was to explore the issue of how social care is funded by recipients, and a number of policy ideas have reportedly been under consideration for inclusion in the Green Paper including:
- a more generous means-test;
- a cap on lifetime social care charges;
- an insurance and contribution model;
- a Care ISA; and
- tax-free withdrawals from pension pots.
Other topics that the Government have said will be included are integration with health and other services, carers, workforce, and technological developments, among others. The Government will also consider domestic and international comparisons as part of the preparation for the Green Paper.
Vulnerable children with learning disabilities are stuck in mental health hospitals for too long in poor conditions
Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, has published a new report, ‘Far less than they deserve: Children with learning disabilities or autism living in mental health hospitals’. The report shows how too many children are being admitted to secure hospitals unnecessarily – and in some cases are spending months and years of their childhood in institutions when they should be in their community. It warns that the current system of support for those with learning disabilities or autism is letting down some of the most vulnerable children in the country.
The report also finds shocking evidence of poor and restrictive practices and sedation, with some children telling the Children’s Commissioner of how their stay in mental health hospital has been traumatic, and parents too often left feeling powerless to do anything to intervene.
The care of every patient in segregation or long-term seclusion will be reviewed as part of plans to improve the model of care for autistic people and people with learning disabilities.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, has announced that the government will fund specialist, independent advocates who will:
- work with families
- join up services
- work to move people to the least restrictive care and then out into the community
There are currently 2,245 patients in mental health inpatient settings in England. The government has committed to halving this number by 2024. Since 2015, the number has reduced by 22%.
The plans were announced ahead of the publication of the Care Quality Commission’s interim report into the use of restraint, segregation and prolonged seclusion in health and care settings. The report was commissioned by the Health and Social Care Secretary last November.
The Health and Social Care Secretary will accept all of the CQC report’s recommendations and has announced a wider package of measures to improve care for autistic people and those with learning disabilities.