Wrong to expose gross NHS abuses?
Whistleblower nurse who filmed elderly patient neglect found guilty of misconduct over TV exposé. The truth is deadly to socialism
A whistleblower nurse has been found guilty of misconduct for secretly filming the neglect of elderly patients for a BBC documentary. Margaret Haywood, 58, filmed patients suffering in filthy conditions at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton for Panorama. The senior nurse's 20-year career now lies in tatters. A hearing today will decide whether she should be struck off the nursing register. The Nursing and Midwifery Council ruled that Miss Haywood had prioritised filming over her obligations as a nurse and had breached patient confidentiality.
Last night the divorced mother of three from Liverpool told how she risked her career to help patients when working on the Peel and Stewart acute medical ward as an agency nurse between November 2004 and May 2005. She said: 'I did it because of the appalling state patients were in. I knew as soon I went on to the ward there were serious problems. 'There was blood on the curtains which had not been changed. There was faeces on the floor which had not been cleaned. It had obviously been there for days.
'Food was being left on the table when patients obviously needed help to eat. One lady was blind and did not even know the food was in front of her because no one told her. 'There was a lady who used to be a nurse herself who was afraid to ask to go to the toilet because of the nurses' attitude. Another woman who had terminal cancer was left screaming in pain because she was not given pain medication.
'I was absolutely broken-hearted. It's not what you expect when you go into nursing. 'I tried to put things right and get standards improved. I prepared a report, but no one took on board what I was saying. 'It was all being ignored and hushed up; that's why I went to Panorama. I only wanted to help people. I am a very caring and compassionate person.'
The Undercover Nurse programme caused a public uproar when it was screened in July 2005. It later emerged that the hospital, which then had the lowest rating of zero stars and an £8million deficit, had received a number of complaints before filming started. Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust was forced to a public apology admitting 'serious lapses in the quality of care' after the issue was raised in the House of Commons. Since the programme aired, new care standards have been put into place.
Miss Haywood, a grandmother of seven, now works for a private care home. She admitted breaching confidentiality - even though all patients on the programme gave consent after they were filmed. She said after the hearing: 'I will be devastated if I lose my registration. I've worked so hard. 'Nursing is my life, I'm devoted to it and I'm passionate about what I do. I think it's a case of shooting the messenger. 'I admitted breaching patient confidentiality, but I did not expect them to conclude that my fitness to practise had been impaired.'
Last week a supply teacher who secretly filmed shocking scenes of pupils misbehaving and school cover-ups for a 2005 Channel 4 Dispatches documentary was found guilty of unprofessional conduct and suspended for a year.
Whistleblower nurse considers High Court appeal
The nurse struck off for using a secret camera to expose the neglect of elderly patients at an NHS hospital is considering a High Court appeal against the decision. Margaret Haywood, 58, gathered evidence of "horrendous" conditions at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton for a BBC Panorama documentary.
Hundreds of nurses have contacted the Nursing and Midwifery Council to protest its decision to to ban her from the profession, amid fears that it will discourage other NHS whistleblowers from coming forward.
Miss Haywood from Liverpool, who worked as a nurse for 20 years, is now taking advice from her professional body about challenging the ruling at the High Court. Chris Cox, director of legal services at the Royal College of Nursing, said: "The RCN has been providing legal representation for Margaret Haywood from the outset and is very surprised at the severity of the punishment dealt out by the NMC panel. "Our legal team are working with Margaret to explore the various legal options available to her in light of the judgment."
The RCN has also set up a Facebook page and a public petition to build support for Miss Haywood, who was said to be devastated by the misconduct hearing's decision on Wednesday. It ruled that she had breached patient confidentiality by agreeing to take undercover footage for the BBC documentary, which was screened in July 2005, even though it conceded that conditions on the ward where she worked were "dreadful".
Yesterday (FRI) the NMC disclosed that it had received 400 emails and 200 telephone calls in support of Miss Haywood, with most of the complaints coming from other nurses.
The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) which reviews all decisions taken by the NMC, said it would not seek to challenge the ruling, as it only intervened when it believed punishments had been too lenient. "She of course has the right to appeal," a spokesman said. Any appeal must be lodged within 28 days.
"Despite a doubling in the amount spent per primary and secondary pupil, attainment levels have remained flat"
Sound familiar? Detroit or DC? No. Scotland. The Leftist idea that money is the solution to everything constantly fails but they never lose faith in it. And they accuse business of being money-mad!
Analysis by Reform Scotland shows that despite a doubling in the amount spent per primary and secondary pupil, attainment levels have remained flat. “It is clear from the research that the extra spending is simply not delivering value for money,” Geoff Mawdsley, director of Reform Scotland, said. “Put another way, billions of pounds have been spent in the last decade to little or no effect.” While spending per pupil has risen from £2,092 to £4,638 at primary level and from £3,194 to £6,326 at secondary schools, the proportion of those gaining five good grades at the end of fourth year has fallen from 47 per cent to 46 per cent.
Reform Scotland also claimed that data it had obtained showed that pupils in England who had been lagging behind Scotland in 1998 are now ahead, with the number achieving equivalent grades rising from 36 per cent to 48 per cent. The Scottish education system has long been regarded as among the best in the world, but the report claims that this view is now a myth.
Mr Mawdsley called on the Scottish government to publish more information about pupils' performance. “Using the measure of the pupils attaining five good grades by S4, including maths and English, would be a good start,” he said.
Reform Scotland also urged ministers to look at best practice from other countries and said that the government should consider a report it published this year, in which it argued for parents to be given more power to choose which school to send their children to. The report said that parents from poor backgrounds should be given credits of up to £10,000 to allow them to send their children to independent schools.
Responding to the latest report, Murdo Fraser, deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: “This shows that the way devolution has been administered has not provided value for money for Scots. Politicians who only have the power to spend money without having to worry about where it comes from are never going to be as responsible as those who have to keep an eye on the income side of the ledger.”
The report provoked a furious response from a former Scottish minister in the previous Labour-Lib Dem Executive, who said: “Reform Scotland has produced a series of reports, none of which has contained any original research or thought. It is simply regurgitating right-wing ideas which have failed in Scotland in the past. To call them a think-tank is an abuse of the word ‘think'.”
A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “There is no doubt that Scotland can do better in education performance. That is why we are now embarking on the biggest reform in education for a generation.”
Reform Scotland's report comes as a former Labour economic adviser claimed that devolution has had an adverse effect on public services in Scotland. John McLaren, who worked for the late First Minister Donald Dewar, also said that the education system had been particularly affected, with performance lagging behind that in England. His report commissioned by The Sunday Times to mark the tenth anniversary of devolution said: “One can tentatively conclude that government being closer to the people has not led to improved relative performance in Scotland. In fact it may have had the opposite effect.”
Both reports' findings were dismissed by Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the teaching union Educational Institute of Scotland, who said: “Scotland continues to send a higher proportion of pupils on to higher education than England does, and if things were as bad as is being made out that wouldn't be happening.” [Would that be because there are substantial tuition fees in England but none in Scotland? Never trust a Leftist to give you the full facts]
British Teenagers don't know how to write a letter, say education chiefs
Letter writing is becoming a lost art, according to education chiefs. They said teenagers are increasingly unlikely to be able to address a letter correctly, spell 'sincerely' or sign off with their name. Basic punctuation is being abandoned as emails, text messages and gossip magazine-style 'cliches' take over. It is feared that youngsters will be handicapped by their failings, particularly when applying for jobs.
The problems were highlighted by the country's largest exam board, the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, in a series of reports on last summer's English GCSEs. In one question, candidates were found lacking when asked to address a letter to a Government minister about education.
'There were surprisingly few who: put an address, included a date, wrote an appropriate salutation, signed off appropriately and consistently with the salutation, included the name of the sender,' the report said.
Of another paper, which also called for the writing of a letter, the alliance said: 'The misuse or lack of capital letters were the commonest errors, an error often compounded by poor hand-writing and illegibility. Initial letters in sentences are frequently written in lower case; random capitals are used throughout the response, and the personal pronoun "I" is written in lower case. 'Inaccurate sentence structure where punctuation is almost entirely lacking, or where sentences are loose and lack accurate sentence breaks abounded.'
Meanwhile, examiners at Oxford and Cambridge have warned about the death of the apostrophe due to increased use of text messaging. They criticised pupils' limited vocabularies, which left them 'trapped firmly in the world of magazine-speak and dully predictable cliche; such as "you will love it".'
Examiners agreed that 'sentence construction, spelling and boundary punctuation were becoming less reliable'. Professor Alan Smithers, of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said: 'Everyone from time to time needs to be able to write a formal letter. It is worrying if children aren't picking this up as it will essentially handicap them in future.'
Australia opts out of racist conference (But not Britain)
AUSTRALIA has cancelled plans to attend an anti-racism conference in Geneva over concerns the UN-backed forum will degenerate into a launchpad for anti-Semitic attacks. The decision to boycott the Durban Review Conference was taken after Australia, in conjunction with the US, Israel and other countries, was unsuccessful in pushing for changes to the wording of a draft document upholding anti-Semitic remarks in the 2001 Durban Declaration.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith yesterday said that while Australia remained strongly committed to fighting racism, the federal Government could not support the document reaffirming the original declaration. Canada, the US, Israel and Italy have for similar reasons already pulled out of Durban II, which begins today.
The Netherlands broke ranks with the European Union last night to join the boycott. Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said The Netherlands would not attend because it feared the event would be abused ``for political ends and attacks on the West''. Germany is also considering a boycott, after intense lobbying by Mr Smith and Mr Verhagen.
Pro-Palestinian Labor backbencher Julia Irwin broke ranks to slam the boycott.
Canberra's 11th hour decision follows a US State Department announcement on the weekend that changes in the meeting's final document did not address concerns of anti-Israel and anti-Western bias. The 2001 Durban conference ended acrimoniously, with Israel and the US storming out in protest over Arab attempts to adopt a resolution equating Zionism with racism.
Mr Smith said he feared the Geneva conference was heading the same way. "The 2001 declaration singled out Israel and the Middle East," he said. "Australia expressed strong views about this at the time. The Australian Government continues to have these concerns. "Regrettably, we cannot be confident that the review conference will not be used as a platform to air offensive views, including anti-Semitic views. Of additional concern are the suggestions of some delegations in the Durban process to limit the universal right to free speech."
Mr Smith's argument was strongly rejected by Ms Irwin. "It's a shame Australia will be one of a handful of nations boycotting the Durban conference," Ms Irwin said. "Any nation which has policies which discriminate on the grounds of race or religion should not be above criticism and should not be supported by the Australian Government."
Australia's Jewish community warmly welcomed yesterday's decision. Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot said the Durban II conference would not advance the fight to combat racism but would again single out Israel for condemnation. Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said Durban II's draft declaration was always going to be problematic. "With Libya chairing the preparatory committee assisted by Cuba as rapporteur and Iran as one of several vice-chairs, the proposed outcome document has mixed the fight against racism with a variety of morally deplorable political agendas," Dr Rubenstein said.
Palestinian groups expressed anger and disappointment at the decision, which they said showed Australia was not serious about ending racism. Australians for Palestine founding member Moammar Mashni said the Rudd Government had bowed to pressure from pro-Israel lobbies.
While Britain says it will be attending, [Another indication of the antisemitism that infests Britain's Leftist intelligentsia] the participation of countries such as Iran and Cuba, which have reputations as serial human rights violators, is likely to ensure the summit turns into an anti-Israel and anti-US slanging match.
Britain: Where the "caring" of a "caring" Leftist government is most needed, it seems nowhere to be found
"Entering the care system is catastrophic for a child’s future prospects". And the morons think more money will fix it. How is more money going to improve the foster-carers? Shocking thought: Could some of the Christian families who have been knocked back as carers because they refused to preach "gay pride" or the wonders of Islam actually make better carers than some of the present lot?
The care system is “catastrophic” for the prospects of an abused or neglected child and must be overhauled, MPs say today. The quality of residential and foster care is governed by luck to an unacceptable degree, says the crossparty Children, Schools and Families Select Committee. The MPs accuse the Government of failing in its duty as a corporate parent by not raising standards of care across the country despite a series of reforms.
The MPs call for a new national framework of fees and allowances for foster parents, who look after about two thirds of the 60,000 children in the care system, in order to attract and retain better families.
Foster parents currently face a postcode lottery in allowances, with some getting as little as £70 a week to pay for all a child’s needs and no fees, even though many give up their jobs. Foster parents should be paid all year round, and not just when they have a child living in their home, the MPs say.
Ministers should change the law and demand that the health service and criminal justice system in particular give children in care special consideration, in the same way they get preferential treatment in choice of schools.
The highly critical report also condemns local authorities for encouraging children to leave their foster homes when they are 16. That is often the point when vulnerable young people go off the rails, left alone in a bedsit or flat and given little support with managing their finances or looking after themselves.
The Government has recently said that no child should leave care before the age of 18, but the MPs said local authorities were dragging their heels because of the costs, and that in any case 21 should become the normal age to leave care.
The report echoes concerns voiced by Andrew Flanagan, new chief executive of the NSPCC, who told The Times this month that he feared children were being left in danger at home with their parents because the care system was such a poor alternative.
The outcomes for children in foster and residential care are very poor. Three quarters of those leaving care have no qualifications and within two years half become unemployed and one in six homeless. Half of those in jail aged 25 or under have been in care, as have a third of the whole prison population.
The committee is concerned that the care system’s poor reputation may contribute to reluctance to take children into care when necessary.
The MPs also urge ministers not to neglect residential care as an alternative to foster care, pointing out that care homes are used far more widely elsewhere in the European Union and to good effect.
The report criticises the low level of qualifications of staff in care homes and says they should all be trained to NVQ Level 3 without delay. In other parts of the EU, professionals in care homes are usually graduates.
The Government has implemented several programmes of reform of the care system since coming to power, but critics say they do not amount to the step change required.
Experts say that, with the thresholds for taking children into care now higher than ever, their problems are often far greater when they are removed from home and many require expert help. Local authorities say that they spend about £40,000 a year on each child in care, but much of that is spent on social workers monitoring the placement, not on the staff or foster parent doing the caring.
The care system has come into sharper focus since the death of Baby P pushed the issue of child protection to the top of the political agenda.
Barry Sheerman, Labour MP for Huddersfield and chairman of the committee, said that care must become a positive experience for the child.
“It is imperative that the Government, through its Care Matters reform programme, tackles the perception that entering the care system is catastrophic for a child’s future prospects,” he said. “It must be seen as a positive experience, but this will only happen if the state can better replicate the warm, secure care of good parents for every child in the system.”
Beware green jobs, the new sub-prime
When everybody seems to have the same big idea, you just know it can only mean trouble. Remember sub-prime mort-gages? Now universally excoriated as the spawn of the devil, the proximate cause of the credit crunch and all that followed, a few years back “sub-prime” was everyone’s darling. Financiers loved it because it generated sumptuously high-yielding debt instruments; governments, because it promised to make even the poor into proud property owners.
Now business lobbyists and governments on both sides of the Atlantic have got a new big idea. They call it “green jobs”. Leading the pack is, as you might expect, Barack Obama. The president recently defended a vast package of subsidies for renewable energy on the grounds that it would “create millions of additional jobs and entire new industries”.
In Britain, the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, promises billions in state aid for the same purpose. To add verisimilitude, last week he gave a royal wave from the inside of a prototype electric Mini. Mandelson’s chauffeur was a representative of the lower house: the transport secretary, Geoff Hoon.
The occasion for this photo opportunity was the government’s proposal to offer a £5,000 subsidy to anyone buying an electric car of a type not yet available: exact details to be given in Alistair Darling’s forthcoming budget. The idea is to create a “world-beating” British-based electric-car-manufacturing industry, while also attempting to meet Gordon Brown’s promise to have the nation converted to electric or hybrid cars by 2020.
That remarkable prime ministerial pledge predated the recession; its motive was to demonstrate that Britain was “leading the world in the battle against climate change”. We aren’t, as a matter of fact; but under new Labour we have certainly led the world at claiming to do so. Mandelson expressed this almost satirically last week when he declared that “Britain has taken a world lead in setting ambitious targets for carbon reduction”.
As ever, new Labour confuses announcements and newspaper headlines with real action. Whenever it becomes obvious even to ministers that Britain will not meet its current carbon reduction target, they replace it with a yet tougher target, only with an extended deadline.
It does not yet seem to have occurred to new Labour that this is making it look ridiculous, especially to the environmentalists whose support it is presumably trying to solicit. Or perhaps it has, but it would rather that than lose our “world leadership” in target-setting.
There is something almost comical in the government’s belief that the electric car, dependent as it is on the national grid, is a sort of magic recipe for reducing carbon emissions. Some months ago President Sarkozy of France had an identical idea and commissioned a report on the prospects for turning Renault and Citroën into producers of mass-market electric vehicles. The report concluded that “the traditional combustion engine still offers the most realistic prospect of developing cleaner vehicles simply by improving the performance and efficiency of traditional engines and limiting the top speed to 105mph. The overall cost of an electric car remains unfeasible at about double that of a conventional vehicle. Battery technology is still unsatisfactory, severely limiting performance”.
Note that this crushing verdict came in a country where electricity is for the most part generated by nuclear power, which produces . In this country, more than three-quarters of the grid’s power comes from theno CO2 fossil fuels of gas and coal.
Presumably it is the latter that accounts for the fact that when the London borough of Camden commissioned a study to see whether it should introduce electric vehicles for some of its services, it found that “EVs relying on the average UK mix of energy to charge them were responsible for significantly more particles of soot that lodge deeply in the lungs . . . than the average petrol-powered car”.
If all our electricity were to be generated by wind power, without any fossil-fuel back-up, this criticism would not apply. Then the cars could take days, rather than hours, to recharge (depending on the weather) and would be so expensive to run that driving would become the exclusive preserve of the rich.
A further absurdity is that electric cars are suitable only for short rides within urban areas – precisely where we are being encouraged to abandon cars and use public transport. Ken Livingstone exempted electric cars from his congestion charge as if, in addition to their suppositious environmental benefits, they also had the magical property of being incapable of contributing to congestion. As the Ecologist magazine has reported: “The focus on electric vehicles and the political love they get is totally misguided . . . to have that as the spearhead of government transport carbon-reduction policy is insane.”
The magazine is controlled by Zac Goldsmith, the prospective Conservative candidate for Richmond Park and team Cameron’s environmental guru. Last week his colleague George Osborne took a different tack, observing that the absence of plans for a national network of charging points meant that “the Labour plan is like giving people a grant to buy an internal combustion engine, without bothering to set up any petrol stations”. Osborne had his own suggested grant to create “green jobs”: “We will give every household a new entitlement to £6,500 of energy-saving technologies.”
I’m not sure how the Tories came up with the figure of £6,500. It is pointedly bigger than Labour’s proposed £5,000 electric car subsidy; but all these figures are preposterous. If you multiply £6,500 by the number of households in the land, you get to £160 billion, bigger on its own than the national debt that Osborne has repeatedly told us is unaffordable.
Electoral bribes apart, there is a more serious misconception behind the idea that ploughing subsidies into the “green economy” is a sure-fire way of boosting domestic employment. At best it will move people from one economic activity to another. Labour’s plans would subsidise car production workers to move from making conventional models to electric vehicles, which hardly anyone wants to buy. Osborne’s proposals would subsidise the double-glazing and home insulation industry and suck in many workers gainfully employed (without subsidy) elsewhere.
The key to a successful, wealth-generating economy is productivity. Saving energy is what businesses have done already, because it lowers their production costs. The problem with any form of subsidy is that it makes the consumer (through hidden taxes) pay to keep inherently uneconomic businesses “profitable”. Meanwhile, diversified energy companies such as Shell, with plenty of speculatively acquired wind-farm acreage, are salivating at the plans by Obama to introduce cap-and-trade carbon emissions targets for American industry.
Obama’s energy secretary, Steven Chu, had some soothing words for US manufacturing companies that complained that the new policy will make them even less competitive with Chinese exporters, since the people’s republic has indicated that it has no intention of inflicting a similar increase in energy costs on its own producers. He suggested that America might have to introduce some sort of “car-bon-intensive” tariff on Chinese goods. One of China’s envoys, Li Gao, immediately retorted that such a carbon tariff would be a “disaster”, since it could lead to global trade war.
Actually, Mr Li is right: and this is how an achingly fashionable and well-intentioned plan to create “millions of new green jobs” could instead end up making the global economy even sicker than it is already.
Asylum seekers win right to stay in Britain because of 'shambolic' immigration hearings
More evidence that Britain has a government that does not WANT to control immigration. Leftists WANT to disrupt the society in which they live
Failed asylum seekers are winning the right to stay in Britain because of "shambolic" failings in the immigration hearing system. Hundreds of appeal hearings are going ahead without a representative from the Home Office to defend its original decision to deny asylum. Immigration lawyers admitted that the situation is helping their clients to win cases they might otherwise have lost. The disclosure could help explain why the percentage of asylum seekers winning their appeals has risen from 17 per cent in 2005 to 25 per cent for the third quarter of 2008.
Opposition politicians criticised the "shambolic" and "bizarre" situation in which asylum appellants are not properly cross-examined. Over the last two weeks, reporters from this newspaper attended 25 hearings around the country. At 24 of them, no Home Office Presenting Officer (Hopo) – who is tasked with putting the department's case before the immigration judge – was present. In the one remaining hearing, the officer turned up late and admitted that she was unprepared.
Senior sources close to the hearings have said the Home Office is failing to properly defend about a third of cases which come to appeal. One court official, who asked not to be named, said: "It is becoming a common problem. There is a shortage of qualified staff so cases have to go ahead without anyone to present the Home Office's case and defend the original decision."
This failure is of benefit to those making the appeal, according to lawyers. Annette Elder, a partner with the firm Elder Rahimi, which represents five to 10 appellants each week, said: "Frankly, it does make our job easier. "It is hard to say whether we have won a case because a Hopo hasn't been present. But if someone isn't being cross-examined then their chances of success have to improve. There is less chance of any errors in their case being exposed. There are days when you are relieved there is no one from the Home Office."
Another immigration lawyer, who asked not to be named, said: "I know there are occasions when we have won because the Home Office hasn't turned up." "It has happened when we have had immigration cases when the appellant has been accused of using false documents. The Home Office has not been there to prove that claim and has not provided any evidence to back it up. We have won automatically because of that."
The Home Office representative is supposed to defend the department's original decision, cross-examine the appellant and provide guidance for the presiding judge. The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) service website advises those who have instigated appeals that a Hopo will be present. But in all but one of the cases attended by Sunday Telegraph reporters, the judge – who often only receives the files a few hours before the hearing – was forced to try to make sense of the case alone.
Reporters attended hearings at Taylor House in Islington, London; Bennett House in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs; and Sheldon Court in Birmingham. During a morning session at Taylor House last Tuesday, one judge informed the appellants in three separate hearings: "There is nobody here from the Home Office so there will be no cross-examination. I may ask some questions for clarification."
At a hearing in Stoke last Wednesday, a judge was told that the Home Office representative had been absent for two hearings because he was working on another case in the same building. The judge simply remarked: "It's always a juggling act." A lawyer representing an appellant told the court: "I have evidence today which the Home Office could have challenged but they have chosen not to turn up."
Judges who preside over the hearings are forced to make decisions based on what they hear and on the "skeletal" refusal letter submitted by the Home Office in advance. In the one case where a Home Office representative did turn up – at Taylor House in Islington – the official arrived late, telling the judge that she had just dropped her children off at school and she had no idea she was due in court until she had been contacted by the office. The case, already 45 minutes late, was adjourned for a further 15 minutes so the officer, who had to apologise for her casual dress, could finish reading the case files.
The judge made four separate interventions about the relevancy of her line of questioning. The officer later had to withdraw a crucial part of the Home Office's case against the Iranian national because she could not prove it.
Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, condemned the Home Office's failure to staff the individual hearings. "I think it is a shambolic situation. The Home Office keeps talking about tightening the system but clearly the reality is the opposite," he said. "They need to get to grips with the situation. I think in the case of the Home Office, the culture of chaos starts at the top. "Ultimately, it is the job of the Home Secretary and her ministerial team to set the right expectations for the department. Clearly that is not happening."
Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "It looks as if the Home Office tribunal system is in a state of some chaos. The failure of the Home Office to field representatives inevitably means an appellant's case is not properly cross examined. "The real concerns that the immigration officer may have had, and which led to the original decision, are not been given their day in court. I think it's bizarre that the judge isn't given advance notice of whether the Hopo will be present. At least then they would be aware that they had to study the files in depth."
Civil liberty campaigners also criticised the lack of Home Office representation, saying it caused problems for the appellant.
A spokesman for the tribunal service said: "We do not collect data on Home Office representation at Asylum and Immigration Tribunal hearings. We are aware that there are times when hearings are conducted without a Home Office official present. There is no requirement on the Home Office to send a representative. Therefore, it is up to their discretion."
A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: "Public protection and harm reduction remains our primary consideration when deciding on whether or not a case should be represented. Only a very small percentage of AIT hearings are not attended by a presenting officer and the figure of one in three is unfounded. "We have said we will target the most harmful people first and part of this is about making sure that we focus our resources on defending the right cases in court. Team managers carefully scrutinise and identify suitable cases to proceed without representation.
"In these few cases where an officer is not present, the immigration judge, if not deciding to adjourn the appeal, will determine the appeal in accordance with their power under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 on the evidence before him."
UK: Market forces must make way for interventionism, says British minister: “New Labour will today abandon 12 years of support for market forces by unveiling an interventionist strategy under which the Government will subsidise the growth industries of the future. In an interview with The Independent, Lord Mandelson said the drive could create hundreds of thousands of jobs in hi-tech and low-carbon industries over the next 10 years, to compensate for the smaller financial services sector that will emerge from the current recession. The new strategy marks a reversal of the Government’s free-market approach since Labour won power in 1997, as ministers follow the bailout of Britain’s ailing banks by intervening in other key areas of industry.” [So Britain is about to head back to pre-Thatcher poverty]