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Preview: Latest news from the public and voluntary sectors, including health, children, local government and social care, plus SocietyGua

Society | The Guardian

Latest Society news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

Published: Mon, 25 Sep 2017 21:12:52 GMT2017-09-25T21:12:52Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017

Exposed: ‘secretive’ NHS cost-cutting plans include children’s care

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 23:01:06 GMT2017-09-24T23:01:06Z

Documents reveal £5m cuts in South Gloucestershire will include cancer diagnostics and treatment for children with complex needs

Cancer diagnostics and treatment for children with complex needs are among services earmarked for cost-cutting plans considered by the NHS to plug a funding gap, according to documents seen by campaigners.

The plans, by South Gloucestershire clinical commissioning group and released under a freedom of information request, show that waiting targets for non-urgent operations are also due to be relaxed under the “capped expenditure process” (CEP) as the health service seeks to balance its books in the current financial year.

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Revealed: Britain's most powerful elite is 97% white

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 15:00:48 GMT2017-09-24T15:00:48Z

Exclusive: just 36 of 1,000 most powerful people are from ethnic minorities, despite decades of anti-discrimination laws

Explore the full data on The Colour of Power website

Barely 3% of Britain’s most powerful and influential people are from black and minority ethnic groups, according to a broad new analysis that highlights startling inequality despite decades of legislation to address discrimination.

From a list of just over 1,000 of the UK’s top political, financial, judicial, cultural and security figures drawn up by the Guardian in partnership with Operation Black Vote and in consultation with academics, only 36 (3.4%) were from ethnic minorities (BAME). Just seven (0.7%) were BAME women.

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Falling number of NHS child psychiatrists provokes 'deep concern'

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 18:51:42 GMT2017-09-24T18:51:42Z

Shortage of mental heath specialists comes at same time as distress among children is rising, says Royal College of Psychiatrists

The number of NHS psychiatrists helping troubled children and young people in England is falling despite the growing demand for care, new official figures have shown.

The total number of psychiatrists working in children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) fell from 1,015 full-time equivalent posts in May 2013 to 948 in May this year. The figure includes all doctors working in CAMHS psychiatry, both consultants and trainees.

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Stress and social media fuel mental health crisis among girls

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 06:00:09 GMT2017-09-23T06:00:09Z

NHS data shows 68% rise in hospital admissions because of self-harm among girls under 17 in past decade

Girls and young women are experiencing a “gathering crisis” in their mental health linked to conflict with friends, fears about their body image and pressures created by social media, experts have warned.

Rates of stress, anxiety and depression are rising sharply among teenage girls in what mental health specialists say is a “deeply worrying” trend that is far less pronounced among boys of the same age. They warn that the NHS lacks the resources to adequately tackle the problem.

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Foster charities fear child refugee crackdown after Parsons Green attack

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 19:30:24 GMT2017-09-23T19:30:24Z

UK’s largest fostering charity makes plea after Iraqi orphan Ahmed Hassan, 18, is charged with attempted murder

Britain’s largest fostering charity has made an impassioned plea that the Parsons Green terror attack should not lead to a new crackdown on child refugees coming to Britain.

Eighteen-year-old Ahmed Hassan, who is believed to have arrived illegally in the UK two years ago as an orphan from Iraq, was charged with the terror attack that injured 30 people nine days ago on a rush-hour District line train.

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Nurses who failed English test aimed at curbing immigration set for a reprieve

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 23:05:29 GMT2017-09-23T23:05:29Z

Hurdle that included correct use of tenses and essay structure led to dramatic fall in skilled staff registering

Language rules introduced to curb immigration are set to be relaxed after they prevented native English-speaking nurses from working in the NHS.

The NHS has a shortage of 40,000 nurses and recruiters and NHS employers have been lobbying for looser language requirements so that thousands of nurses from countries such as Australia, India and the Philippines can work in Britain.

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Overstretched hospitals face winter flu crisis, doctors warn

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 23:05:29 GMT2017-09-23T23:05:29Z

A&E departments risk ‘grinding to a halt’ as number of patients waiting more than 12 hours for treatment soars

Emergency departments risk “grinding to a halt” this winter, say medical leaders. They warn that the number of patients facing long waits for treatment is likely to hit record levels.

Dr Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said staff were dangerously overstretched, as NHS figures showed the number of people waiting more than 12 hours for treatment during the coldest months of the year has soared.

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Ministers told to cut wait for new benefit amid evidence it is causing debt

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 23:05:29 GMT2017-09-23T23:05:29Z

Report raised ‘very serious concerns’ with government over delay before first payment

Ministers are facing growing calls to slash the time welfare claimants are forced to wait before being entitled to the government’s flagship new benefit, having been warned some time ago by their own advisers that the delay is “beyond reasonable justification”.

David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, has been under pressure to slow down the roll-out of universal credit, which combines several benefits into one payment, after mounting evidence that it is pushing new claimants into debt and rent arrears. There are also calls for the government to end the seven-day waiting period after a new claim is made. The delay saves the government £250m a year.

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Universal credit is a shambles because the poor are ignored | Nick Cohen

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 17:00:21 GMT2017-09-23T17:00:21Z

Far from being progressive, the measure will bring destitution of a huge scale

Poverty is a disease that silences its victims. It is impossible to imagine a government or institution designing a programme to combat racism without listening to members of ethnic minorities or a new road without consulting the home and business owners it would disturb. The poor, however, never have a say. Society infantilises them. It deems them no more worthy of an opinion on the welfare state that rules and increasingly wrecks their lives than it deems schoolchildren worthy of an opinion on the national curriculum.

We will see the doleful consequences as universal credit rolls out from being a niche benefit forced on a few hundred thousand claimants in pilot projects to the essential living allowance for eight million people. In theory, it’s a lovely idea. Even now, critics always begin by saying: “Of course, everyone agrees the benefit system must be simplified but…” Or: “Iain Duncan Smith had noble aims but…” It is as if the mere presence of good intentions is enough to dilute objections; as if, not only conservative commentators but liberals and leftists have never heard of the road to hell – and what paves it.

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Hospital bosses forced to chant 'we can do this' over A&E targets

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 18:17:44 GMT2017-09-25T18:17:44Z

Trust leaders say they were left feeling ‘bullied and humiliated’ by the incident at a meeting to improve performance

Hospital bosses were forced to chant “we can do this” by a senior NHS official in an effort to improve their accident and emergency performance in advance of what doctors have warned will be a tough winter for the NHS.

Hospital trust chief executives say they were left feeling “bullied, patronised and humiliated” by the incident last week at a meeting attended by Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, and Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS in England.

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Loosening the green belt will not end UK’s housing woes | Letters

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 17:50:29 GMT2017-09-25T17:50:29Z

Building in already stressed areas will not work in the long term, Mike Hurdle says, while others point out the effects of squanderous development and maldistribution, and sing the green belt’s praises, and Deirdre Mason questions whether things were any better in the 1960s

Towns surrounded by green belt land have already done more than elsewhere to accommodate housing (Britain needs new homes: loosen the green belt, 22 September). Even if we use only a small fraction of green belt land, large-scale additional housing will be supported by existing roads, destroying the natural breaks between town and villages, and causing endless urban sprawl.

In many areas, the existing roads cannot cope with traffic. I live in Guildford, the sixth most congested place in the UK. We are under great pressure to build a lot of housing, because successive governments have lacked the foresight and imagination to ensure that all parts of the country have sufficient housing, jobs and the infrastructure to match. We can’t just think of “putting houses where the jobs are” – we also need to think about encouraging employment where there is the room, and cheap land, to build housing.

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It doesn’t make sense to leave alcohol out of the drugs debate | Letters

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 17:46:39 GMT2017-09-25T17:46:39Z

Blaine Stothard is puzzled as to why recent articles have not mentioned alcohol, and Owen Wells says the criminalisation of drugs in 1971 has a lot to answer for

It was interesting and puzzling to see John Harris’s piece on illegal drugs (I was relaxed about Britain’s drug culture evolution… , 23 September) two days on from the five points of view on whether or not drugs should be legalised (G2, 21 September). Interesting in the light of the government’s drug strategy but puzzling in that neither piece mentioned alcohol. Looking at statistics about illegal drugs without considering the wider context will result in the continued pursuit of policies that are only partially informed and based on legal and moral concerns rather than public health concerns.
Blaine Stothard

• What most commentators on drug legalisation ignore is that until the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, most drugs were legally obtainable in the UK (the exceptions were LSD and amphetamines). Before the act came into effect there were about 900 registered heroin addicts in the country, most of them members of the medical profession, and most in employment. It was the prohibition of heroin in 1971 that led directly to the huge increase in drugs misuse and the enormous, illegal industry to manufacture and supply them. Legalisation would simply be to recognise the disaster that was caused by the criminalisation of drugs in 1971.
Owen Wells
Ilkley, West Yorkshire

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Diane Abbott urges end to online abuse of BBC's Laura Kuenssberg

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 17:34:20 GMT2017-09-25T17:34:20Z

At Labour conference, shadow home secretary asks why female journalists and politicians are so often in the firing line

Diane Abbott has called for an end to online abuse of the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, and asked why it is female journalists and politicians that so often find themselves in the firing line.

The shadow home secretary said she was saddened to hear that Kuenssberg was being accompanied by a security guard at Labour conference after facing a backlash from some Jeremy Corbyn supporters over claims of bias.

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Ian Williams obituary

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:38:35 GMT2017-09-25T16:38:35Z

My friend and colleague Ian Williams, who had died of cancer aged 67, was a miner in east Kent. He was born into the industry: his grandfather was one of the many who walked from South Wales to find work in the county’s new fields during the 1920s. When coalmining ended, Ian had a vision for a new arts centre in the old buildings – it is a vision some are hoping will one day become a reality.

Ian was born in Aylesham, one of three sons, to Edward, an electrical engineer for the National Coal Board, and his wife, Mary (nee Thomson). Ian went to school in the village and then on to secondary education in Hersden. He did his electrical engineering apprenticeship training at Canterbury College and at Chislet colliery.

Continue reading...Ian Williams had the visionary idea of using the old colliery buildings to make what he called ‘another Aldeburgh’Ian Williams had the visionary idea of using the old colliery buildings to make what he called ‘another Aldeburgh’

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Why developers must be held accountable for social housing safety

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 15:48:45 GMT2017-09-25T15:48:45Z

Years of safety deregulation have put many social housing tenants at risk, prompting voices in the building industry to call for a renewed focus on duty of care

Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June, housing safety has been a huge concern for both politicians and the general public. The images from Kensington shocked the world, but the huge scale of the problem was revealed by the sheer number of blocks with similar concerns when the government carried out fire safety checks on cladding samples submitted from other tower blocks across England.

After the collapse of the 22-storey Ronan Point block in 1968 due to a gas explosion, new building regulations were brought in to make construction safer in tower blocks. But in August, four blocks in the Ledbury estate in Peckham, south London, were evacuated after Southwark council admitted it could not be sure the buildings – which were built at the same time as Ronan Point – had, in fact, been strengthened.

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How affordable housing benefits the wider economy

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 15:48:25 GMT2017-09-25T15:48:25Z

Research showing direct benefits to the Treasury and the economy as a whole mean the economic case for investment in social housing has reached a critical juncture

This June, analysis of official statistics revealed that over the past seven years, there has been a phenomenal 97% drop in the number of government-funded socially-rented homes being built in England each year.

Austerity measures have seen direct central government support for all public bodies fall, but since 2010 the money housing associations receive from the government for each new home has dwindled from about 50% to closer to 20%, according to Adam Morton, a policy leader at the National Housing Federation.

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The hidden homelessness crisis: 'what happens to those who are turned away?'

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 15:42:29 GMT2017-09-25T15:42:29Z

Official homelessness figures may not be capturing the extent of the crisis – particularly among single mothers and young people

There were 59,260 people accepted as statutorily homeless in 2016. Despite this being less than half of the 2003 peak of 135,000, it represents a 48% increase since 2009. But the impact has by no means fallen evenly.

The statutory definition of homelessness is just one of a number of categories of homelessness, taking into account only individuals or families who local authorities are obliged to assist. Figures released for 2016/17 by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) show that the largest proportion of people affected by statutory homelessness are single mothers – 47% of the overall figure, despite making up only 9.2% of households.

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Life on the job in social housing: 'it's always important to remember our social purpose'

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 15:42:22 GMT2017-09-25T15:42:22Z

Empathy and resilience are a must for frontline housing sector staff, says Kirstie Brewer

For tenants hit hard by the government’s welfare reforms, staying afloat has become increasingly tough, with many treading a precarious line between adjusting to the benefit cap and falling into rent arrears.

Nigel Wicks, a financial inclusion officer for housing association Optivo, helps tenants manage their budgets and access support they might not know is available. He is one of an army of frontline workers employed by housing associations to try to support residents with their financial decision-making.

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Anonymous 'honesty' websites: safety experts tell parents to be vigilant

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 13:35:59 GMT2017-09-25T13:35:59Z

Proliferation of anonymous feedback apps such as Sarahah is prompting concerns about cyberbullying among schoolchildren

Online safety experts have warned parents to be vigilant about teenagers’ use of anonymous feedback apps that allow users to leave unnamed comments about others, amid new concerns over cyberbullying.

As policymakers analyse the roots of teenage depression, in response to research published last week indicating that 24% of 14-year-old girls and 9% of boys are depressed, the role of social media has come under scrutiny, particularly the soaring popularity of “honesty” sites.

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PFI has been a lousy deal for the UK | David Walker

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 17:25:51 GMT2017-09-25T17:25:51Z

PFI deals may have interest rates worthy of Wonga, inflexible contracts and high service charges, but it won’t be easy to bring them back into the public fold

PFI has been a lousy deal. As estimated a few years ago, the UK state stands to pay £304bn to acquire assets with a 2012 capital value of £56bn – the kind of interest rate usually meted out to poor families by Wonga and Brighthouse.

Related: John McDonnell: Labour would bring PFI contracts 'back in-house'

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Only cross-party cooperation can fix our broken housing system

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 15:49:04 GMT2017-09-25T15:49:04Z

The UK’s housing crisis can be solved, but the government and the Labour opposition need to develop a shared vision and strategy

This year’s general election saw a bidding war between the major parties to establish who could promise the most new homes for the next five years. Theresa May won that battle, with the pledge of 1.5m more homes by 2022, but both parties promised levels of housebuilding that have not been seen since the 1970s. Is this likely or even possible?

Last year, just 164,000 homes were built in England. That’s an improvement on recent years, but is still below the pre-recession peak of 200,000 and no one seriously believes that we are in sight of reaching the more than 240,000 new homes we need every year to constrain rising rents and house prices.

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I'm reinventing mental health care by putting patients in charge

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 09:35:56 GMT2017-09-25T09:35:56Z

My experiences as a mental health service user helped me to set up and run a suicide crisis centre

A feeling of powerlessness dominated my experience of mental health services. And this feeling was at its worst when I was sectioned. Sectioning replicated aspects of the traumatic experience that initially caused my suicidal crisis. I felt trapped, captive and utterly out of control. I couldn’t escape. .

The limited control I had over my interactions with mental health professionals also had a negative impact on me. In the psychiatrist-patient relationship, the power lies with the psychiatrist. And in the community, mental health teams decided how often I would be seen, what kind of care I would receive and when the care would end. Each of these things made me feel vulnerable.

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Universal credit is a social policy disaster in the making | Priya Thethi

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 06:23:06 GMT2017-09-25T06:23:06Z

Research compiled from social landlords show more people being pushed into poverty. We need to fix the delays and mistakes before full rollout

Universal credit is the biggest change to our welfare system in 40 years. By the time it has been fully rolled out in 2022 it will potentially affect 8 million people across the UK. The rollout so far has been controversial, and fraught with difficulties. Social housing organisations, in which only around 2.6% of tenants (pdf) are currently claiming universal credit, have been hit particularly hard by the speed and scale of the change.

In August 2017 the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) released a guide for landlords, in a bid to to explain what the changes will mean and how they can support their tenants. Unfortunately, it made little to no mention of how to deal with the slew of administrative issues, faults and delays, which have already caused hardship for so many claimants.

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I only have 10 minutes to help jobseekers get back on their feet and find work

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 09:46:13 GMT2017-09-23T09:46:13Z

Staff like me desperately try to provide what little help we can - but jobcentre closures and the roll out of universal credit will make things even worse

As a jobcentre work coach, I am tasked with moving jobseekers (those on health-related benefits or income support) into employment. It is my job to interview people and help identify the barriers stopping them from working. We then agree how they can be overcome.

Related: Jobcentres have been stripped of all compassion for young people

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Pressures on the NHS are holding back progress on mental health | Richard Vize

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:55:27 GMT2017-09-22T10:55:27Z

Major advances in mental health care cannot be sustained without fixing problems in primary care and hospitals

Are mental health services getting better or worse? The government repeatedly claims it is pumping money into rapid improvements, while a number of stories in recent days reinforces the impression that services are unravelling in the face of unparalleled demand.

The Education Policy Institute has revealed that more than a quarter of children referred to specialist mental health services in 2016-17 – tens of thousands – were turned away (pdf).

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Social housing: haunted by Grenfell, hemmed in by cuts, left in limbo

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 06:51:54 GMT2017-09-22T06:51:54Z

Warm words for social housing providers from communities secretary Sajid Javid can’t make up for a lack of a coherent housing policy

When housing association leaders met in Birmingham this week, the sun shone, but a metaphorical pall of smoke hung over every session. No-one can ignore the the burnt-out shell of Grenfell Tower, 125 miles south.

It is not yet clear how the terrible events of 14 June are going to change this government’s housing policy. Since 2010, all government effort has been aimed at encouraging home ownership. Social housing – properly affordable homes for rent – has been actively discouraged.

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End-of-life issues have been in the too-hard basket for too long | Jill Hennessy

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 02:46:22 GMT2017-09-21T02:46:22Z

One terminally-ill Victorian takes their life each week; we haven’t been giving them the choices they need to have a good death

Far too many Victorians have suffered too much and for too long at the end of their lives.

Talking about death is a challenging and confronting issue. For too long, end-of-life issues have been in the too-hard basket. This needs to change. Improving policy and community awareness about the end of life, and death, are essential if we are to improve Victorians’ choices about how and where they experience both.

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Lord Sainsbury: ‘This is why I believe in the welfare state. Certain things should be a right’

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:00:17 GMT2017-09-19T12:00:17Z

As his Gatsby Charitable Foundation reaches 50, the businessman and benefactor says that philanthropy is no substitute for benefits

David Sainsbury, Lord Sainsbury of Turville, who for 50 years has been a major benefactor of charities, education, research, the arts and projects in developing countries, and whose foundation has already given away more than £1bn, is appalled when I ask if he watched last month’s TV programme Get a House for Free, in which millionaire Marco Robinson gave a flat to the applicant deemed to be the most worthy recipient.

“I can’t think of anything I would like less,” he murmurs. “This is the reason why I believe in the proper welfare state, because I think these things should be a right. And I would hate to put myself in a position of trying to judge other people’s worthiness.”

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The Lobbying Act is stifling charities. But the Tories don’t seem to care | David Brindle

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:00:14 GMT2017-09-19T10:00:14Z

Proposed reforms to the “gagging law” were a chance for the government to offer an olive branch to the third sector. But ministers passed it up

What does Theresa May’s government think of charities? Beyond the customary warm words, there are growing and worrying signs that it doesn’t take them especially seriously as players in the public space.

Related: Charities condemn rejection of changes to Lobbying Act

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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017: the shortlist

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 09:42:00 GMT2017-09-25T09:42:00Z

The shortlisted projects and teams in each of the eight categories in this year’s awards

The judges have met and deliberated and we are delighted to now announce the shortlisted projects and teams in each of the eight categories of this year’s Guardian Public Service Awards.

The winners and runners-up will be announced at our awards ceremony on 28 November 2017 and a special supplement will be published online and in the paper on 29 November 2017.

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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017: vote now for Public Servant of the Year

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 09:39:40 GMT2017-09-25T09:39:40Z

This year’s five shortlisted contenders for Public Servant of the Year have been announced. Voting closes on 9 October

Five public servants have been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Public Servant of the Year award, which is now open online for public voting.

We’re looking for a public servant who has contributed outstanding work and made a real difference. We asked those making a nomination to explain:

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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017: key dates & FAQ

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 07:06:54 GMT2017-06-14T07:06:54Z

Full timeline for the awards and all your questions answered

14 June 2017: Awards launch
31 July 2017: Extended deadline for entries - entries close at midnight
25 September 2017*: Shortlist announced. Voting opens for Public Servant of the Year.

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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017: categories and criteria

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 07:07:29 GMT2017-06-14T07:07:29Z

Our judges are looking for the very best teams and projects from central and local government, housing, health, social care and the voluntary sector

Now in their 14th year, the Guardian Public Service Awards, supported by EY, aim to showcase the improvements and innovation underway across UK public services and recognise brilliant ideas, techniques and measurable impact.

This year the Guardian’s Society networks, which serve communities of dedicated staff working in housing, health, social care, the voluntary sector,criminal justice and central and local government, and SocietyGuardian, have set out once again to recognise and reward excellence across public services.

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Women in the greatest need are being let down by a lack of local support

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 08:25:39 GMT2017-09-25T08:25:39Z

New map shows women in England and Wales facing multiple disadvantage are being put at risk by confusing, fragmented or non-existent local services

Nobody ever turned up to a substance misuse clinic in need of support solely for substance misuse, says Pip Williams, who spent 26 years living with alcohol and drug dependency. At the same time, she grappled with mental health issues, an abusive relationship, homelessness and periods of losing her children to care.

“When you’re a woman with multiple issues you face a choice: we have to deal with what’s killing us first – is it substance misuse or is it domestic violence,” she explains. “Support for those things can only be accessed in silos; there needs to be a place where woman can get holistic help for it all – and before they reach crisis.”

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Hospital to home: people's needs must be central to transfers of care | Paul Burstow

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 07:07:18 GMT2017-09-25T07:07:18Z

When moving people between care, small details make a big difference and staff must be involved at every stage

When moving between hospitals, home and care homes, it can be harmful to those receiving care if the process is poorly managed. Quite simply, time is muscle. In as little as 12 hours, an older person admitted to hospital can lose the ability and confidence to stand unaided. Once lost, that muscle and confidence is hard to recover.

Following a 2015 review by NHS Providers into transfers of care, which I chaired, it was concluded that “there is no simple solution to delays in transfers of care: no one individual to blame nor a magic bullet that will solve everything”.

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The Big Anxiety festival: mental health, science and the healing power of art

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 18:00:00 GMT2017-09-24T18:00:00Z

The world’s biggest mental health and arts festival features more than 60 events, ranging from relaxing art installations to Awkward Conversations

Anxiety can come in many forms: from feeling nervous about giving a presentation, to not wanting to leave the house. But can an arts festival provide some sort of balm for mental health problems?

An ambitious and large scale project, The Big Anxiety festival – a University of New South Wales initiative run over seven weeks in Sydney – is trying to not only get people talking about their mental health, but also to alleviate some of the associated pain.

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Mental health data shows stark difference between girls and boys

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 09:00:12 GMT2017-09-23T09:00:12Z

There is a discrepancy between emotional problems perceived by parents and the feelings expressed by their children

A snapshot view of NHS and other data on child and adolescent mental health reveals a stark difference along gender lines.

Related: Stress and social media fuel mental health crisis among girls

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Schools fear impact of budget cuts amid girls' mental health crisis

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 09:00:12 GMT2017-09-23T09:00:12Z

Problems include self-harm, eating disorders, depression, panic attacks, school refusal and attempted suicide

In a girls’ school on the fringes of London, the headteacher and her deputy are contemplating the challenges their pupils face, and the toll it takes on them every day. They describe self-harm, eating disorders, depression, panic attacks, school refusal and attempted suicide.

Where do the roots of the problem lie? “I’ve been in teaching 40 years,” says the headteacher. “I’ve never known this level of dysfunction in society.”

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How can we improve the mental health of girls and women?

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 09:00:12 GMT2017-09-23T09:00:12Z

Girls and women are excelling in many fields, but figures show increased anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm

Girls and women are currently in a paradoxical place when it comes to their wellbeing. Outwardly they are excelling in multiple fields, including education, sport, science and politics. Yet figures confirm increasing anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm, particularly and disproportionately in young girls. So what can be done to help them feel as well on the inside as they appear to be performing on the outside?

There is no doubt that the modern world poses many challenges, such as the fierce competition to “have it all” and to stay ahead of the game. This creates a perfectionist “Supergirl” culture where Fomo (fear of missing out) is common parlance, driving excessive and anxious behaviours, which can lead to “burn out”. Of course we won’t survive without fear and yet the challenge is to discern between the fears that serve us and those that hold us back.

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'Our daughters must not be scared to talk about their mental-health issues'

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 06:00:08 GMT2017-09-23T06:00:08Z

Young women and their parents describe what triggered their depression and panic attacks, and their strategies to cope

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The facts about girls’ mental health laid bare | Letters

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:38:06 GMT2017-09-22T17:38:06Z

Readers respond to reports of growing mental health problems among girls, including Katherine Sacks-Jones on the effect of abuse and Lucy Russell on the impact of stereotyping

New research showing that one in four girls have signs of depression (Report, 20 September) is yet more evidence of an alarming trend of increasingly poor mental health among girls and young women. Young women are now the most at risk group for mental ill health, with extremely high rates of self-harm and post-traumatic stress disorder. Although the drivers of mental ill health are complicated, we can’t ignore the fact that poor mental health among women and girls is often closely linked to physical and sexual abuse. Agenda’s own research has shown that more than half of women who have mental health problems have experienced abuse. This needs to be addressed.

To avert a growing crisis in women and girls’ mental health, the government and health service need to take urgent action. We need to see investment in services in schools and in the community – and we must also ensure that the care and support women and girls receive takes into account their specific needs, particularly their experience of trauma.
Katharine Sacks-Jones
Director of Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk and co-chair of the Women’s Mental Health Taskforce, Department of Health

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Common ear infections don't need antibiotics, health watchdog says

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:01:31 GMT2017-09-21T23:01:31Z

Children should not be routinely given antibiotics for ear infections, watchdog says, amid concerns about overuse reducing effectiveness of antibiotics

Children with common ear infections should not be given antibiotics, a health watchdog has said.

New draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) says parents should treat the infections with paracetamol or ibuprofen instead. It comes a few days after the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also warned parents that antibiotics are not suitable for many common conditions.

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Get up, stand up: including exercise in everyday life healthier than gym, says study

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 22:30:30 GMT2017-09-21T22:30:30Z

Taking the stairs and getting off the bus a stop early are more likely to protect against heart disease and early death than working out, research shows

Incorporating physical activity into our everyday lives, from taking the stairs to holding “walkaround” meetings in the office, is more likely to protect us from heart disease and an early death than buying a gym membership, according to the author of a major new global study.

The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, found that one in 20 cases of heart disease and one in 12 premature deaths around the globe could be prevented if people were more physically active. It compared 130,000 people in 17 countries, from affluent countries like Canada and Sweden to some of the least affluent, including Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

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Almost 10,000 EU health workers have quit NHS since Brexit vote

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:16:27 GMT2017-09-21T17:16:27Z

Staff losses will intensify recruitment problems at health service, which now has 40,000 vacant nursing posts

Around 10,000 EU nationals have quit the NHS since the Brexit referendum, it has emerged.

NHS Digital, the agency that collects data on the health service, found that in the 12 months to June, 9,832 EU doctors, nurses and support staff had left, with more believed to have followed in the past three months.

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Pregabalin, known as 'new valium', to be made class C drug after deaths

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:06:19 GMT2017-09-21T16:06:19Z

Prescription drug is handed out too readily and used recreationally, say doctors, with 111 deaths linked to it last year

A prescription drug described as the “new valium” is to be classified as a class C controlled substance after it was linked to a growing number of UK deaths.

Pregabalin – a substance used to treat nerve pain, epilepsy and anxiety – is increasingly being handed out too readily and being used recreationally, according to doctors and pharmacists. They say that when it is mixed with other substances it can lead to overdose. Deaths connected to pregabalin have risen from four in 2012 to 111 last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

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Fostering often leads to very good outcomes | Letters

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:38:53 GMT2017-09-21T18:38:53Z

We don’t need more demonising headlines about fostering, we need more foster carers, says Javed Khan of Barnardo’s, while Mike Stein points out that with proper support fostered children make good progress from poor starting points

Dawn Foster is, sadly, right when she writes that fostering tends to appear in the news for negative reasons (It’s hard enough as a foster child without being demonised, Opinion, 21 September).

When a troubled young person falls into the justice system, the implication is sometimes made that fostering could be part of the cause. What is forgotten is that these young people have often already suffered trauma or been at risk of harm – which is precisely why they need fostering.

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Reeling in the years: dementia-friendly screenings make cinema accessible to all

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:19:40 GMT2017-09-21T10:19:40Z

Cinemas across the UK are hosting special screenings and reminiscence therapy activities for older audiences as part of World Alzheimer’s Month

It’s a little after 1.30pm on a Wednesday and a crowd has gathered outside the Rio cinema in Dalston, east London. The first film of the day will not start for another hour, but regulars to the monthly classic matinee are eager to grab their favourite seats.

The matinee is aimed at the community’s senior citizens and all the screenings are dementia-friendly. Cinemagoers are greeted warmly by the familiar faces of the Rio’s staff, who take their orders for tea, coffee and cake – all free with the £2 ticket.

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Abuse inquiry 'should hear more evidence from Cyril Smith complainants'

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:04:00 GMT2017-09-20T15:04:00Z

Call for additional evidence comes before public examinations into claims involving council homes and schools in Rochdale

More alleged victims of the former Liberal MP Cyril Smith and officials who investigated him should be allowed to testify at the child sexual abuse inquiry, a preliminary hearing has been told.

The call for additional evidence comes before three weeks of public examinations – due to start on 9 October – into historical allegations involving council homes and schools in Rochdale.

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Personal budgets: why do councils still call the shots on care? | Colin Slasberg

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:45:03 GMT2017-09-20T07:45:03Z

Councils still assess eligibility and allocate resources, but we’ve known for decades that letting people choose and pay for their own care works better

Two recent high court judgments – Oxfordshire v Davey and Merton v JF – highlight the ways councils assess eligibility for social care and allocate resources. One vital issue they underline has so far gone completely under the radar: personal budgets.

When the Care Act came into effect in 2014, it was hailed as the most significant change in social care law for 60 years. A key measure was to make it a legal duty for councils to provide all service users with a personal budget.

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Lack of compensation for child sexual abuse victims 'unacceptable'

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:29:05 GMT2017-09-19T16:29:05Z

Children’s commissioner for England calls for rewrite of rules that withhold payments from children who ‘consented’ to abuse

The children’s commissioner for England has condemned draft government rules that mean children as young as 12 could miss out on compensation because they “consented” to their own sexual abuse.

Anne Longfield called for the justice secretary, David Lidington, to rewrite the “deeply shocking” child sexual abuse guidelines drawn up by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

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Adult social care is in crisis mode. We need a clear long-term plan | Joel Charles

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:57:32 GMT2017-09-19T10:57:32Z

Every family is affected by the challenges of our ageing society. The government must act now to build health and care provision fit for all

This party conference season, all political parties will use their platforms to set out a post-election vision. Adult social care was one of the big general election issues, and the government has indicated that an adult social care green paper is likely next year. The next few months are critical for capturing the views of the public, the health and care sectors and charities working to support older people.

At Future Care Capital, we have launched a new policy report about the challenges facing our ageing society and the implications for every generation. Addressing three key themes – intergenerational fairness and the economics of ageing, health and care futures, and planning ahead – we invited leaders from the public, private and third sectors to contribute. They considered how policies and spending decisions that impact health and care outcomes could better reflect the challenges and opportunities we can expect in the next five, 10 and 15 years.

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Police 'may consider working with paedophile hunters'

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 07:29:25 GMT2017-09-18T07:29:25Z

UK’s lead police officer on child protection says he wants such groups to stop, but says ‘I am not winning that conversation’

The UK’s lead police officer on child protection has said forces will “potentially” have to look at working with so-called paedophile hunters.

Senior officers have previously said vigilante groups such as Dark Justice or The Hunted One could put child abuse investigations at risk.

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Universities must do more to stop the graduate brain drain

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 11:48:10 GMT2017-09-25T11:48:10Z

Most students move away after graduating but universities can persuade them to stay by building links with employers and improving local housing

  • Paul Marshall is a director at UPP

Britain’s universities are among the best in the world, distributed across the country creating pockets of excellence and ingenuity. But too often our universities act as mirrors rather than solar panels – taking in the best and the brightest and then bouncing them out again rather than retaining them to add energy and value to the local economy. At a time of debate over whether higher education delivers value, universities must work harder to demonstrate the positive impact they have on their local area.

Related: Regional growth and universities – a link that's more than academic

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How much do you spend on housing compared to your grandparents?

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:35:12 GMT2017-09-22T11:35:12Z

We’d like to hear from young people and their grandparents about their experiences of housing

Millennials are spending three times more of their income on housing than their grandparents, says a study launched by former Conservative minister David Willetts.

18-36 year olds are typically spending over a third of their post-tax income on rent or about 12% on mortgages, compared with 5%-10% of income spent by their grandparents in the 1960s and 1970s.

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London council finds 35 men living in one three-bedroom house

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:52:52 GMT2017-09-20T13:52:52Z

Brent council says it is cracking down on exploitative landlords after shocking case in which every room was filled with mattresses

A raid on a three-bedroom house in north-west London has found 35 men living in rooms full of mattresses.

The discovery was made on Winchester Avenue, Queensbury, at about 6am on Tuesday following complaints from neighbours, Brent council said. The men, all of eastern European origin, had piled bedding in every room except bathrooms, with one mattress even laid out under a canopy in the back garden.

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Why are housing association flats lying empty when Grenfell survivors need them?

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 06:30:39 GMT2017-09-20T06:30:39Z

Properties owned by Kensington and Chelsea housing associations are being earmarked for redevelopment rather than providing much-needed homes

In the heart of Chelsea, not far from Kings Road, more than 150 social housing flats stand empty on an estate set up over a century ago by the philanthropist William Sutton to house “the poor of London and other towns”. The four red-brick blocks, part of the Sutton estate, are at the centre of a long-running battle between local residents and England’s largest housing association, Clarion Group. This dispute has intensified in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire in the same borough.

Clarion, which owns the Edwardian estate, believes the flats in four red-brick mansion blocks are no longer fit for purpose. It wants to demolish the entire estate of 462 flats, spread across 15 blocks, and rebuild 343 flats with 237 for social rent and 106 for sale on the private market, some with multimillion-pound price tags. Last November, the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea rejected the application to demolish the Edwardian estate because it did not include enough replacement social housing. But the day before the Grenfell fire, the government’s planning inspectorate received an appeal against the refusal from the housing association, signalling its intention to press ahead with the lucrative development. A public inquiry into the appeal is due to start in May 2018.

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Supported housing: getting people back onto their own feet | Kim Thomas

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 06:13:39 GMT2017-09-20T06:13:39Z

Their work is crucial, but supported housing providers are feeling anxious about the future

Residents of London’s Acorn House are all recovering addicts who were previously homeless. The house has 16 individual bedrooms, with a communal kitchen, dining and living areas, but – perhaps more importantly – the residents, who are all men, receive one-to-one counselling to tackle their addiction problems.

Steve Coles, chief of Spitalfields Crypt Trust, which runs Acorn House, says the men are also offered a daytime recovery programme that includes everything from IT skills and cooking classes, to gardening, woodwork, language and physical exercise courses. After six to nine months, residents can progress from Acorn House to one of the trust’s shared houses, which act as a stepping-stone to full independent living.

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Millennials spend three times more of income on housing than grandparents

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 23:01:30 GMT2017-09-19T23:01:30Z

David Willetts warns of ‘housing catastrophe’ as he launches study that lays bare intergenerational inequality

Millennials are spending three times more of their income on housing than their grandparents yet are often living in worse accommodation, says a study launched by former Conservative minister David Willetts that warns of a “housing catastrophe”.

The generation currently aged 18-36 are typically spending over a third of their post-tax income on rent or about 12% on mortgages, compared with 5%-10% of income spent by their grandparents in the 1960s and 1970s. Despite spending more, young people today are more likely to live in overcrowded and smaller spaces, and face longer journeys to work – commuting for the equivalent of three days a year more than their parents.

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Want to help after a disaster? Give cash, not clothing | Julia Brooks

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 09:15:25 GMT2017-09-25T09:15:25Z

Most of the stuff sent to disaster areas is inappropriate or useless. Get your wallet out instead so the professionals can buy what they need

  • Julia Brooks is a researcher at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Between government bodies , charities of every size, and contributions from concerned individuals, a massive Hurricane Harvey relief effort has taken shape in the US. But these well-intentioned bids to ship goods to Texas are perpetuating a common myth of post-disaster charitable giving.

As a researcher with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, acentre at Harvard University dedicated to analysing and improving the way professionals and communities respond to emergencies, I’ve seen the evidence on dozens of disasters, from Hurricane Sandy to the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. It all points to a clear conclusion: in-kind donations of items such as food, clothing, toiletries and nappies are often the last thing that is needed in these areas.

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Strength in numbers: finding the right partnerships for your business

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 06:00:40 GMT2017-09-22T06:00:40Z

Combining forces with other companies and charities can help a small business thrive, but you need to get the basics right

Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely business. With long hours and the final say on all decisions, the constant pressure is a lot to bear. As someone who had always worked in charitable organisations and never in a commercial enterprise, I knew when I started my business that I didn’t want to go it alone.

My baby food business, Piccolo, was launched with a tiny marketing budget. This had the potential to be a real issue for two reasons – first, we needed to raise awareness quickly, and second, parents obviously want to trust a brand before buying its products for their babies. So we needed a way to secure confidence among our target market.

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Tough calls: on the debt crisis frontline with charity StepChange

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:48:39 GMT2017-09-20T11:48:39Z

The Guardian speaks to helpline advisers dealing with issues such as credit card debt, high-interest loans and bankruptcy

There is a pause, a moment’s silence and then a deep exhalation before the words finally come.

The caller has only been asked her name but it is a big moment, almost like a confession when she finally speaks. Debt is an exhausting secret to keep, but telling a stranger about a problem you can hardly bear to face yourself takes courage.

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Bare mountain: man who climbed peak in underwear gets hypothermia

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 22:27:35 GMT2017-09-18T22:27:35Z

Nathan French, 19, tackled Snowdon – the highest mountain in Wales – wearing nothing but Superman briefs

People planning to climb Snowdon are being urged to dress appropriately after a teenager developed hypothermia after hiking up the mountain in just his underwear.

An ambulance crew were called after 19-year-old Nathan French from Halewood in Merseyside completed the 1,085-metre climb of the highest mountain in Wales but became unwell at the summit.

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Fresh fears for newborn babies as Rohingyas’ plight worsens

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 23:44:00 GMT2017-09-16T23:44:00Z

Aid agencies in camps are overwhelmed as family tragedies unfold on Myanmar’s border

More than 400 babies have been born in the no man’s land between the borders of Bangladesh and Myanmar in the past 15 days as 400,000 Rohingya people have fled from the violence, house burnings and gunfire in Rakhine state.

The Rohingya are trapped. Myanmar’s military has blamed insurgents for the latest round of violence. The UN has called the situation a “humanitarian disaster” and aid agencies are overwhelmed. About 80% of those fleeing are women and children – and there are babies being born along the way.

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Charities condemn rejection of changes to Lobbying Act

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 15:53:59 GMT2017-09-15T15:53:59Z

Campaign groups fear most vulnerable will be left without a voice and say act has chilling effect on freedom of speech

Charities have condemned ministers for rejecting changes to the Lobbying Act which were made by a government-commissioned review body. Campaign groups say they will be left unable to speak out for vulnerable and marginalised people in society because the law has a chilling effect on freedom of speech.

The Lobbying Act restricts what non-governmental organisations can say in the year before a general election.

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Trevor Bottomley obituary

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 12:01:09 GMT2017-09-15T12:01:09Z

My father, Trevor Bottomley, who has died aged 96, spent his working life, and much of his retirement, dedicated to the co-operative movement. He helped to expand co-operatives overseas, particular in Botswana, and through his work at the International Co-operative Alliance he developed co-operative education programmes around the world.

He was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, where his parents, Nelson Bottomley and Mabel Carter, worked in a woollen mill. An intellectually curious boy whose parents could not afford the grammar school place offered, at 14 he became a delivery boy for Trowbridge Co-operative Society, spending his free time exploring the Wiltshire landscape. He twice slept inside Stonehenge to watch sunrise on the summer solstice.

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No-one likes to talk about death and money - even in a good cause | Rob Cope

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 06:06:34 GMT2017-09-14T06:06:34Z

Remembering a charity in a will is an opportunity to support causes people care about into the future. Let’s not fight shy of a difficult conversation

  • Rob Cope is the director of Remember a Charity

If there are two things the British public tend to be most reluctant to discuss, it’s death and money. Bearing in mind that both are core components of a legacy gift, you can understand why many fundraisers, chief executives and trustees – even those who are entirely comfortable talking about large financial gifts – can still be reticent to discuss gifts in wills with their supporters.

While legacy conversations do need to be handled sensitively, we certainly shouldn’t be afraid of them. Legacies are an opportunity to shape the world beyond our lifetime and give people a chance to make sure the causes they care about are supported well into the future It’s this iconcept that we’re promoting during Remember A Charity week from11-17 September, 2017.

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Love it, hate it - or just don't get it: share your pictures of public art

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 06:09:26 GMT2017-09-21T06:09:26Z

Send us pictures of the local sculptures and artworks that have inspired civic pride, raised eyebrows and provoked lively debate in the pub

Related: Rachel Whiteread: Turner prize winner criticises 'plop art'

Turner prize winner Rachel Whiteread is not a fan of ‘plop art’: public sculptures plonked somewhere in an apparently random and inconspicuous fashion.

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Tackling council cuts in Scotland through community action | Jane Dudman

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 06:21:39 GMT2017-09-20T06:21:39Z

In East Ayrshire, community action plans are showing how cash-strapped Scottish councils may be able to keep public services running

On a coolish Thursday in September, three residents of the small Scottish town of New Cumnock are enjoying an aquaerobics class in the town’s newly-refurbished outdoor swimming pool. These women aren’t just keeping fit and healthy, they may also be part of the answer to one of the toughest challenges for councils in Scotland as in the rest of the UK: how to tackle drastic funding cuts in the future, by actually reducing demand for public services.

Speaker after speaker at the recent annual meeting of the chief executives of Scotland’s 32 local authorities reiterated the size of the challenge. Budgets have fallen in Scotland, with one forecast last September estimating that key public services, including local government, face cuts of up to 17% over the next four years.

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Boris Johnson's dodgy use of statistics is a constitutional crisis for Whitehall | David Walker

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:16:02 GMT2017-09-18T12:16:02Z

What’s the point in trying to make the civil service more professional if ministers scorn accuracy and mock the official arbiter of good governance?

The Boris Johnson affair – especially his dismissive rejection of the UK Statistics Authority – provokes a constitutional crisis. Not constitutional in the formal sense of the workings of parliament and the Crown, but in the spirit and procedures of Whitehall.

Related: Boris Johnson left isolated as row grows over £350m post-Brexit claim

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For waste enforcement officers, facing aggression comes with the job

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 10:02:09 GMT2017-09-16T10:02:09Z

Since I was assaulted at an illegal waste site, the Environment Agency are aiming to better manage hostile situations, trialling body-worn cameras to protect staff

Aggression, threats and on some occasions, violence, are all things you become accustomed to as a police officer. During my 30 years at Northumbria Police, I’ve found myself in tricky situations with tricky characters.

Dealing with these encounters helped me in my current role as a waste enforcement officer at the Environment Agency. It is my job to make sure waste sites have a permit and that they have the right measures in place to protect the environment. For example, fencing to prevent litter from escaping from the site, or drainage that is sealed and won’t pollute nearby water supplies.

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Juries, not judges, lead the way against racial bias in our justice system I Binna Kandola

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 06:11:02 GMT2017-09-15T06:11:02Z

The Lammy Review found that juries were consistent in their decision-making, irrespective of the ethnicity of the defendant. Judges are a different story

Related: The racial bias in our justice system is creating a social timebomb | David Lammy

We are told our criminal justice system is the fairest in the world, with highly trained, dedicated professionals involved at every stage. I was one of the members of the advisory panel for the Lammy Review (pdf) into the criminal justice system – its damning conclusion lays this claim of fairness to rest.

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If high streets must have charity shops, the money should stay local | Bill Grimsey

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 07:13:29 GMT2017-09-12T07:13:29Z

With some free wifi and a clear plan, councils could transform our decaying high streets into community hubs, charity shops and all

Charity shops could be a perfect way to recycle in the 21st century, but local authorities need to wake up and stop sleep walking.

Related: Budget cuts are forcing councils to flog off every asset in search of a quick buck I Bill Grimsey

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Why the world expert on Asperger's took 30 years to notice condition in his own son

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 06:58:24 GMT2017-09-25T06:58:24Z

Prof Tony Attwood, an internationally renowned clinical psychologist, was blindsided when he realised his son Will had the syndrome

Will Attwood has been addicted to drugs for the past two decades, an affliction which has seen the 35-year-old jailed multiple times and reliant on support from his family.

His father, Prof Tony Attwood, describes him as “a hero”. It’s a feeling towards his son that has come about since his decision about five years ago to watch an old family video.

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Rugby star Matt Dawson warns of tick dangers after heart scare

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 18:40:04 GMT2017-08-21T18:40:04Z

Former England captain fell ill with Lyme disease after being bitten in a London park and needed multiple operations

The former England rugby captain Matt Dawson has revealed he had to undergo heart surgery after being bitten by a tick in Britain.

He developed feverish symptoms after visiting a park in London early last year and was later diagnosed with Lyme disease, he told the BBC.

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'All my life suddenly made sense': how it feels to be diagnosed with autism late in life

Sat, 19 Nov 2016 09:00:04 GMT2016-11-19T09:00:04Z

Jon Adams was 52 when he learned he had Asperger syndrome. As adult referrals rise, he and others explain the impact – good and bad – of a late diagnosis

One day during his last year at primary school, Jon Adams drew a picture of a street in Portsmouth, the city where he still lives. The scene he drew had no people in it, but its representation of everything else suggested a talent beyond his years.

The headteacher happened to see the picture, and said he wanted to put it up in the school’s entrance hall. “And that was an honour,” Adams says, “particularly for someone who didn’t think they were any good, because they’d been told they weren’t any good, every day.”

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Gabrielle Deydier: what it’s like to be fat in France

Sun, 10 Sep 2017 08:00:31 GMT2017-09-10T08:00:31Z

Gabrielle Deydier’s book about being obese has ignited her native France. She tells Stefanie Marsh how her life has been a battle against ‘grossophobia’, discrimination and verbal abuse – until now

In August 2015, 37-year-old Gabrielle Deydier went for a job interview which she passed with flying colours. The job was for a position as a teaching assistant at a Parisian special needs school and the interview panel, including the school’s headmaster, had been so impressed with Gabrielle that they even told her they were worried in case she left for a better-paid job. There had been only one uncomfortable moment: it came at the end, as Gabrielle was walking out the door. The headmaster said: “The teacher you’ll be working under can be rather difficult.” Gabrielle barely heard him, she was so delighted about her new job.

It wasn’t long before she realised that “difficult” was a colossal understatement. “You’re Gabrielle Deydier,” was the first thing the teacher in question said when they met. “I don’t work with fat people.” Gabrielle tried to laugh it off, but the difficult teacher wasn’t smiling. “It wasn’t a joke,” she said.

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Statins cut the risk of heart disease death by 28% among men, study shows

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 20:00:40 GMT2017-09-06T20:00:40Z

Longest study of its kind concludes current prescribing guidelines are correct, and that statins show impressive benefits for men with high cholesterol levels

Statins cut the risk of dying from heart disease by 28% among men, according to the longest study of its kind.

The 20-year project examined data from 2,560 men taking part in a randomised clinical trial to test the effects of statins versus a placebo.

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NHS staff feeling drained by endless reorganisation | Letters

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 14:59:09 GMT2017-08-30T14:59:09Z

Letters from Dr Will Watson, Tony Cheney and Dr Richard Turner refuting Jeremy Hunt’s defence of his health policy

I must refute a lot of Jeremy Hunt’s points (Stephen Hawking is wrong about our NHS plans, 28 August). I will not waste time on his widely discredited statistic of rising NHS funding, nor discuss whether internal markets really are drivers for quality, but focus on safety.

While private health insurance rates may fall, private practice has increasingly been driven by self-pay. This is people digging into their own pocket for a scan, a specialist or an operation. It’s not hard to see why when outpatient waits are growing, itself unsurprising after Simon Stevens’ announcement in March that the 18-week target was being sacrificed to bolster other areas.

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