Stirling MP in the doghouse over claim relating to care of a pet


Stirling MP in the doghouse over claim relating to care of a pet

A £40 claim relating to the care of a dog has been paid back by Steven Paterson’s office.

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SNPStirling MP Steven Paterson
Stirling MP Steven Paterson
Stirling MP Steven Paterson has been embroiled in an expenses row after it emerged his office had paid back a £40 claim relating to the care of a dog .
His staff now admit the claim should never even have been made in the first place.
The SNP politician was named as the fifth most expensive MP in Britain earlier this week after it was revealed that, for the 12 months to May 31, he made a total of 833 claims worth £99,366.37.
The claims included one of £40.50 for “arrangements for care of a…

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Why No Criminal Charges Against Maria Mallaband Care Group ?

The owners of a care home have been fined £1.6m after a 91-year-old woman died from hypothermia.

Mrs Annie Barritt was found ill in her room at Oaklands Country Rest Home, at Kirk Hammerton near York, on 4 November 2012 and died later in hospital.

An investigation revealed problems with the home’s heating system.

The home’s owners, Maria Mallaband Care Group Ltd of Leeds, pleaded guilty to one breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

York Crown Court was told Mrs Barritt suffered from dementia and would have required 24-hour care.

When she was admitted to hospital her body temperature was 25.3C rather than the usual 37C.

An investigation by Harrogate Borough Council found that, in addition to the faulty heating system, Mrs Barritt had not been given any hot food or drink on the day of her death.

‘Beggars belief’

Staff had also not updated her care plan after she was discharged from hospital a week before her death.

Tony Moule, environmental health officer at the council, said: “No fine can ever compensate the family for the loss of their mother in such shocking circumstances.

“For an elderly vulnerable person to suffer hypothermia, whilst in bed in her room under the care of a national care provider, beggars belief.”

Mrs Barritt’s sons, David and Anthony, said: “It is hard to believe that an elderly lady with dementia could be treated in such an appalling way in a care home that claimed to specialise in the care of such vulnerable people.”

They added they hoped their mother’s “sad and unnecessary” death would lead to an improvement of standards at the home.

Maria Mallaband Care Group Ltd said in a statement it wished to offer its “deepest sympathies” to Mrs Barritt’s family.

It continued: “They trusted us to look after their loved one and we failed, and for this we are very sorry.”

It said a number of improvements had been made since Mrs Barritt’s death and the home was currently rated as ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission.

In addition to the fine the company was ordered to pay the council’s costs of £45,560.

Directors of MMCG -

The numbers Labour did NOT want you to see on TV this morning – and why


This morning I had the privilege to be at the special conference for the announcement of the result of the leadership contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith.

As you will know by now, the result was emphatic, with Corbyn gaining a decisive 61.8% share (313,209/506,438/654,006) of the votes in spite of the efforts to weed out around 250,000 mostly Corbyn supporters by suspensions, expulsions and simply not sending them a ballot.

But there was a significant little passage of events that you will have missed. I was seated directly behind deputy leader Tom Watson and party General Secretary Iain McNicol, within easy touching distance (if I had wished:

wp_20160924_001Iain McNicol looking positively underwhelmed at Labour’s overwhelming democratic choice

As he prepared to read the results, NEC Chair Paddy Lillis said he would read out the overall result but would also show the results by voting constituency (full members, supporters…

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Murdered priests mourned in Mexico’s troubled Veracruz state — The Catholic Media Center says 28 priests have been killed in Mexico since 2006

Peace and Freedom

 Associated Press SEPTEMBER 21, 2016 — 2:00PM
 A person prays in Our Lady of Fatima Church in Poza Rica, Veracruz state, Mexico, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. Two of the church’s priests were found dead on Monday, and were last seen Sunday. Their bullet-ridden bodies were found on a roadside. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

POZA RICA, Mexico — Mourners packed a church Wednesday for a Roman Catholic Mass in memory of a priest who was murdered along with another cleric in the troubled Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

Parishioners filled all the standing room inside the church in the community of Paso Blanco while others outside listened through the windows, huddling under the eaves as a steady rain fell.

A large banner on the front of the church bore a photo of the young Rev. Jose Alfredo Suarez de la Cruz, who was ordained only a few years ago and…

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Hammersmith Jobcentre approaching claimants to take photographs for DWP promotional material. 

The poor side of life

I, amongst others have always had a sneaking suspicion that the DWP likes to approach claimants in their quest to find willing victims for their promotional material. They’ve been caught out in the past when using paid models, so now they are trying it on with claimants.

Whenever I see any DWP promotional material, I and others like to research the validity of their photographs and information. Indeed their new Universal Credit promotional material is extremely misleading and inaccurate. So you can imagine my joy at receiving confirmation of their plot to involve claimants.

Please note that the person involved is not easily intimidated. I’m sure that a person who is scared and vulnerable would give in to their requests straight away. They might think that if they refuse they could be put at risk of a sanction or worse.

Now, it’s extremely rare for a claimant to be actually…

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The most disturbing aspect of a sexual-abuse scandal at an elite, New England prep school.

An independent report released on September 1 detailing the long-term sexual abuse that went on at St. George’s School, an elite boarding school in Rhode Island, shed light on the policies that fostered an environment where faculty and staff took repeated advantage of students.

The report, commissioned by St. George’s and an organization called SGS for Healing and conducted by an outside law firm, found that six employees abused at least 51 students, and that students sexually bullied or hazed 10 others.

Among its findings, the report determined the rules and standards in place at the school — which “paved the way for abuse of students” — were common among most boarding schools during the 1970s and 80s, and the school’s leaders “did little, and certainly not enough” to remedy the situation, according to the report.

For instance, the school allowed faculty to take students on overnight and weekend trips at the school’s expense, and dorm parents – adult advisers who live in student dorms  – often let older students supervise dorms in their absence. These practices were, according to the report, not unique to St. George’s, and l eaders at the school were not found to have “acted differently than the leaders of many other boarding schools in New England or elsewhere in the United States.”

While the nearly 400-page report paints a disturbing picture of the “private hell” many students experienced, it also investigates how a scandal of this scope could have happened in the first place.

“…[T]he most relevant question is whether school leaders took the steps necessary to prevent, to the extent possible, teachers or staff from molesting students, or to prevent older students from sexually assaulting younger students,” the report reads.

Despite its overall inaction, the school took some steps to address the abuse, according to the report. It fired three employees: Howard White, the associate chaplain; Al Gibbs, the athletic trainer; and Franklin Coleman, the choirmaster and music teacher. A fourth employee and English teacher, William Lydgate, was “likely fired” for the same reason, according to the report.

St. George’s, however, continued to support Gibbs and Coleman after their departures. St. George’s found that Gibbs was abusing girls, taking naked photographs of them, and circulating those pictures among male students, and at least 31 girls made firsthand reports of abuse at Gibbs’ hands, according to the report.

Despite being aware of Gibbs’ misconduct, however, the school continued to award him a $1,200 annual grant for “distinguished service,” a grant he received until his death in 1996.

The school’s Dean of Faculty also continued to recommend Coleman for other teaching positions. Coleman joined St. Georges’ during the 1980-1981 academic year and worked there until May 1988. He “sexually abused at least one student in each year of his tenure at the school,” according to the report.

“But we believe there is no credible justification for the actions the school took to help Coleman and Gibbs after the school fired them,” the report reads.

The revelation of such widespread abuse at the school prompted investigators to question why officials ignored the reports and why these issues were not brought to light earlier. The tendency of administrations to look the other way is not unheard of though.

“Often, in these environments, it’s common to have victims report the crime and not be taken seriously, or be silenced by the administration and have their reports buried,” Terri Poore, policy director at the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, told Business Insider.

“What we’ve seen historically is that whenever there’s a closed system, whether it’s the military, or in this case, a school, there’s a strong hierarchy and a sense of secrecy and authority,” Poore said. “The need for the organization to protect its own reputation can trump the well-being of the victim.”

Pennsylvania Penn State University Students Sexual Assault Fraternity Protest Rape PSUStudents and others demonstrate on the Penn State campus. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Soon after the report’s release, St. George Headmaster Eric Peterson announced that would not renew his contract, set to expire in June 2017, and essentially step down from his role.

Despite the school’s previous mistakes, the investigation itself was thoroughly handled, according to Anne Scott, whose account of being raped repeatedly as a sophomore by Gibbs in the 1970s was the key to bringing about the investigation.

“It was very well done, in terms of how the investigation was conducted and the final report itself,” Scott told Business Insider.

“I am happy with the steps the school has taken, especially the fact that they’re going to remove Mr. Zane’s name from the girls’ dormitory, which was very important to the Gibbs survivors,” she continued.

Scott was referring to Anthony Zane, headmaster of the school during her years at St. George’s. Saying Zane represented a “massive failure” in child protection when he was headmaster, Scott cited his seemingly lenient behavior toward Gibbs, as well as his alleged dismissiveness toward another victim, Katie Wales.

Although Zane was aware of allegations of sexual abuse against Gibbs, he signed off on a recommendation letter for him and approved a stipend Gibbs received annually until his death, according to the report.

“When Katie Wales went to Zane, she was not believed and not treated well at all,” Scott said.

Zane “has said it was he who approached Wales, after a senior boy happened to catch Gibbs photographing a naked girl with a towel over her face and reported him, and said that he never called Wales crazy,” according to Vanity Fair.

Zane did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Since the report’s release, St. George’s also noted it’s taken action to improve the school’s culture. A representative for St. George’s pointed Business Insider to a letter sent to the St. George’s community on September 1 by Leslie Heaney, Chair of the Board of Trustees. Heaney highlighted several steps the school would implement in light of the report’s findings.

First, she announced that St. George’s would retain “David Wolowitz, an attorney who specializes in this area, to review the school’s reporting procedures and policies and to conduct additional boundary training of faculty and staff.”

The letter points out that a training session occurred in June.

St. George’s would also conduct more extensive and ongoing background checks of employees and volunteer staff and create a “Community Response Team” to handle allegations of sexual abuse in partnership with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

“It’s a very good idea and an effective tool for schools to partner with local rape crisis centers to better address sexual violence on campus,” Poore said. “Along with that, they should also find ways to improve the conversation itself around sexual assault.”

While Scott expressed relief the school has address the issue, she said “there is always more to be done, and that applies to how schools make it a habit to be ever vigilant …. This isn’t something that just happened decades ago; it happens today. And schools, including St. George’s, need to be vigilant in keeping children safe.”

When asked about steps that can be taken on a larger scale, Scott stressed the need for legislative reform in addressing sexual violence.

“We need mechanisms to regulate private schools, we need to reform reporting laws, and we need to put forward a legislative and regulatory reform agenda,” she said, underscoring the flaws in current Rhode Island law, particularly on the civil side.”