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Gove: Gangs know all details about vulnerable children

Cabinet minister Michael Gove has claimed the Government and police are being denied basic information about vulnerable children, while paedophile gangs are fully informed.

Mr Gove said he faced a "wall of silence" when he tried to find out details about those in care homes, with his department unaware of locations and who was responsible for the children.

He said data protection rules and "other bewildering regulations" barred regulator Ofsted from giving information relating to children to the police. In contrast, Mr Gove said:

There was one group of people, however, who did seem to possess all the information: the gangs intent on exploiting these vulnerable children.

They knew where the homes were; they knew how to contact the children: at the fish and chip shop, the amusement arcade, in the local park, or just by hanging around outside the houses.

In the name of 'protecting children' by officially 'protecting' their information we had ended up helping the very people we were supposed to be protecting them from.

We shielded the children from the authorities who needed to be looking out for them.

– Education Secretary Michael Gove

Gove: Secrecy rules help gangs exploit children

Education Secretary Michael Gove has said police are unable to fully protect children because of the secrecy rules. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Michael Gove has said "absurd" secrecy rules in care homes helps "gangs intent on exploiting these vulnerable children".

The Education Secretary's comments came as an in-depth report into England's children homes revealed councils spent an average of £4,000 a week to place a child in accommodation.

Many children were sent far away from their local area, which Mr Gove described as "indefensible".

The report, which is due to be published in full today, was written in the wake of the Rochdale grooming scandal and found that 30% of homes fell below the basic standard set by the Government.

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Secrecy rules for children in care 'may help abusers'

Secrecy rules that apply to children in care homes may make them more vulnerable to abuse and less protected by local authorities, Education Secretary Michael Gove said.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he describes his experience of being confronted with a stream of "absurd" secrecy rules and a "wall of silence" as he attempted to get information on how children's care homes operate, following the Rochdale cases of sexual exploitation.

'Absurd' secrecy rules that apply to children in care may help paedophiles target them, Michael Gove said. Credit: PA

"I was met with a wall of silence. The only responsible body with the information we needed was Ofsted, [...] yet Ofsted was prevented by 'data protection' rules, 'child protection' concerns and other bewildering regulations from sharing that data with us, or even with the police.

"In the name of 'protecting children' by officially 'protecting' their information, we had ended up helping the very people we were supposed to be protecting them from."

Age UK welcomes plan for compulsory care training

The charity Age UK wants the enforced care worker training to teach staff how to notify authorities about suspected abuse or the poor treatment of the elderly by colleagues.

We also need to make sure that staff with the right values are recruited into caring roles and that they remain supported by a system that values and rewards the important work they do.

– Age UK's Michelle Mitchell

The push for training comes after a series of scandals in which elderly and disabled adults have been mistreated in NHS hospitals and private care homes.

Lamb demands 'clear standards' for care home training

Health Minister Norman Lambhas told The Daily Telegraph it is not acceptable that there are no “clear standards of the training that must happen in a care home”.

He told the newspaper:

I would not want a loved one of mine - or indeed myself - to be cared for by someone who has no training.

Criminal prosecutions must follow in the "most outrageous" cases of abuse but reforms are needed to improve the quality of care more widely in nursing homes and in pensioners' own homes, he said.

The Liberal Democrat minister said the new regime must not create “a tick box” culture, adding: “But the bottom line is, I don’t want a loved one being looked after by someone who has really no idea what they are doing.”

Report: Compulsory training for care home staff

National minimum standards are expected to be created to protect nursing home residents. Credit: ITV News

Care home staff will be made to undergo compulsory training under Government plans to protect the elderly in the wake of a number of high-profile scandals, The Daily Telegraph has reported.

Health Minister Norman Lamb told the newspaper the lack of basic requirements for training care workers was leaving pensioners in the hands of staff who have "no idea what they are doing".

Proposals expected in weeks will suggest national minimum standards for preparing new recruits to work in nursing homes, according to the report.

Carers who help with tasks like washing and dressing elderly people in their own homes will also apparently be required to complete the training.

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CQC report found 'failings in NHS care'

Standards in care have been dropping, the report found Credit: PA Wire

Fifteen per cent of hospitals and 20 per cent of care homes failed to meet minimum standards on ensuring residents had enough food and drink, and the help they needed to consume it.

Ten per cent of NHS hospitals and 15 per cent of nursing homes failed to meet standards on treating patients with dignity and respect.

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