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Social work code will put service 'on path to success'

The code of conduct for social workers will put family services "on a whole new path to success", a government minister said.

Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson, said:

Having grown up with around 90 foster children and worked as a family lawyer in the care system for over a decade, I've seen up close and personal the pressures that social workers are under - and also the wonders they can work in the most desperate circumstances.

These new measures announced today will help set social work on a whole new path to success - setting the very highest standards for social workers providing greater assurance to the public and most importantly ensuring the very best for our children.

– Edward Timpson

Social workers will 'watch for FGM and child marriage'

Social workers will be required to spot young girls at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage under fresh guidelines.

According to the Knowledge and Skills social workers will be required to:

  • Identify the full range of risks to children including sexual, physical and emotional abuse and neglect and know how to protect children.
  • · Support families by strengthening their relationships, resilience and access to resources.
  • · Understand the impact of adult mental ill health, substance misuse and domestic violence on family functioning and child development.
  • · Plan for permanence for children who can no longer live at home.

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Social work code biggest shake up 'in a generation'

A new code of conduct for social workers is being hailed as the "most significant transformation" of family services "in a generation" by the Department of Education.

Read: New measures to end FGM to be announced at summit

Sad child
Social workers will have to pass a test based on the code of practice to qualify for the specialist license. Credit: PA

Social work chiefs want the Knowledge and Skills Statement to become the corner stone of the service, setting out what is expected from child and family care staff.

Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, Isabelle Trowler, said "having absolute clarity" about what was required from staff would restore public trust in the service.

The guidelines come as the Government launch plans for a new gold standard for social workers supporting vulnerable families and children at risk of abuse or neglect.

The new Approved Child and Family Practitioner status will ensure the highest levels of public protection for our most vulnerable children, but social workers will have to finish a rigorous 'pass or fail' test.

Read: Ofsted: Coventry children's services 'inadequate'

Sir Bobby Robson's cancer charity raises £7.3m

On the fifth anniversary of Sir Bobby Robson's death his widow said he would be "astonished" to know his cancer-fighting charity has now raised £7.3 million.

Sir Bobby Robson died in 2009 aged 76.
Sir Bobby Robson died in 2009 aged 76. Credit: Empics

When the much-loved ex-England manager launched his foundation, the aim was to raise £500,000 but he was not confident of reaching that total, Lady Elsie said.

Since he faced his fifth and final battle with cancer, wellwishers have continued to raise money in memory of the former Ipswich Town, Barcelona and Newcastle United boss.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation was set up after he was inspired by his oncologist Professor Ruth Plummer, who told him funding for research was needed.

Experts to investigate cause of Eastbourne Pier fire

Fire investigators will return to Eastbourne Pier today after a devastating blaze ripped through the historic landmark.

Firemen continue to tackle the final flames of a fire at Eastbourne Pier on Wednesday evening.
Firemen continue to tackle the final flames of a fire at Eastbourne Pier on Wednesday evening. Credit: PA

The huge fire destroyed part of the 144-year-old Grade II-listed structure and sent plumes of black smoke into the sky on Wednesday afternoon.

Up to 80 firefighters tackled the blaze from the coast, the beach and from underneath the Victorian structure, which is privately-owned by Cuerden Leisure.

Embers could still be seen burning some five hours after the fire started.

Bakery must pay £23k to worker sacked over pregnancy

A bakery has been ordered to pay more than £23,000 to a former worker after an employment tribunal found she had been sacked for becoming pregnant.

Nicola McNamee and daughter Melissa Rose at home in Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh.
Nicola McNamee and daughter Melissa Rose at home in Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh. Credit: Pacemaker

Nicola McNamee, 24, took the sex discrimination case against Melting Moments bakery in Co Fermanagh after she was dismissed around a week after telling her employer she was going to have a baby.

The company claimed that its decision to let Ms McNamee go last April, just two months after taking her on, was based on her conduct and performance.

But this contention was rejected by an industrial tribunal panel sitting in Belfast, which instead found the reason for dismissal was "the fact of her pregnancy".

The panel also accepted a claim by Ms McNamee, who was supported in bringing the case by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, that she was told at her initial job interview not to get pregnant or married in her first year in the job.

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Chris Evans breakfast show breaks audience record

BBC Radio 2 breakfast host Chris Evans has hit another audience high, with a new record number of listeners to his show.

Chris Evans has hit a record audience high.
Chris Evans has hit a record audience high. Credit: PA

The 48-year-old now pulls in 9.91 million each week, giving his show the biggest audience recorded in the UK since the current measurement methods were launched 15 years ago.

Evans is almost four million ahead of his Radio 1 breakfast rival Nick Grimshaw, who has himself seen a slight boost in his numbers to 5.97 million - up from 5.89 million this time last year.

Radio 3 has seen its audience slip below that of the BBC's digital-only 6 Music for the first time.

Former DPP Starmer plans to run for Labour in 2015

Former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Keir Starmer has confirmed he will put his name forward to stand as a Labour parliamentary candidate.

Sir Keir Starmer pictured at the CPS in 2010.
Sir Keir Starmer pictured at the CPS in 2010. Credit: PA

The human rights lawyer said he will seek selection in the Holborn and St Pancras constituency if the party does not run an all-woman shortlist.

Sir Keir was strongly tipped to fight the seat after former Cabinet minister Frank Dobson last week announced he would stand down at the 2015 general election.

He told the New Journal: "It would be an honour for anyone to succeed Frank Dobson.

"It will now be for the party to agree the process and timetable but if it is an open shortlist I intend to seek selection from members of Holborn and St Pancras, my home for over 15 years."

Former royal aide charged with sexually abusing girl

A former aide to the Duke of Edinburgh has been accused of sexually abusing a girl in the early 1970s.

Benjamin Herman, 79, is charged with three indecent assaults against the youngster, who was about 12, between 1972 and 1974.

During this time Herman served as the Philip's equerry, or personal assistant.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: "Benjamin Herman, 79, will appear at Wimbledon Magistrates Court on Monday. He is charged with three counts of indecent assault between 1972 and 1974 on a girl aged around 12."

Two US volunteers exposed to Ebola virus victims

Two US Peace Corps volunteers have been isolated and under observation after being exposed to a person who later died of the deadly Ebola virus, a Peace Corps spokeswoman said.

"Two Peace Corps volunteers have had contact with an individual who later died of the Ebola virus," the spokeswoman said.

"These volunteers are not symptomatic and are currently isolated and under observation."

The spokeswoman said the volunteers will return to the United States after they are cleared to travel.

Earlier, the Peace Corps said it was pulling volunteers out of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone due to the increased spread of the virus.

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