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Katy Sprague Not Warned of Threat to Kill Hours Before her Murder

A woman was not told her neighbour had threatened to kill her just hours before he murdered her, a review has found.

Zac Jackson strangled Katy Sprague, 52, at a supported living complex they both lived at in Cambridge in November 2019.

A review found failures were made in Jackson's care and Ms Sprague was not "adequately safeguarded".

Cambridgeshire County Council said it would work with partners to ensure the findings were "fully implemented".

A spokesperson said the authority had taken a "thorough review of how we commission and contract in this area of adult social care" since the murder.

Jackson strangled Ms Sprague, his neighbour at Denham Place, in the common room of the flats on Coleridge Road - where support for people with mental health difficulties is run by Sanctuary Supported Living - on 27 November 2019.

He was convicted of murder last year and jailed for a minimum of 15 years.

The court heard that on the morning of the murder, Jackson attempted to strangle a community psychiatric nurse, later saying he was "going to kill her, kill the manager and kill Katy".

A safeguarding adults review, published on Wednesday, found there had been tensions between Ms Sprague and Jackson in the past and "this was not referred to when the threats, just prior to her death were made".

Ms Sprague "was not made aware of the threat that was made about her some hours before her death and there was not enough consideration regarding her safety", the review found.

The review also found similarities "in many ways" with a previous incident in November 2018, when Jackson made a gesture as if to strangle a support worker and made threats to kill others, including Ms Sprague.

It said there had been "continual evidence of self-neglect" by Jackson but found "a lack of evidence that there was any coordinated activity to address this with consideration to [his] mental capacity and mental health".

The report continued: "It has to be concluded that there were indications that [Jackson's] mental health and physical health were declining and there were indications that he posed a risk.

"He had on at least one occasion made specific threats regarding [Ms Sprague]. The care and risk plans did not adequately reflect or mitigate this."

It questioned whether Jackson, who according to the report had paranoid schizophrenia, would have been better in accommodation with a "more detailed care and support plan".

An inquiry by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) previously found Ms Sprague was "not effectively safeguarded".

A Cambridgeshire County Council review found the authority had "failed to meet all [Jackson's] needs to which the Care Act applied" and therefore had failed its statutory duty.

The new review agreed with an earlier internal inquiry which concluded: "Based on the balance of probability, organisational abuse/neglect did not contribute to [Ms Sprague's] death but there is evidence to suggest she was not adequately safeguarded from risk of harm."

A separate independent review for the NHS, also published on Wednesday, looked at Jackson's care and found there was inadequate risk assessment and management.

It found that prior to the November 2018 incident Jackson's risk assessment had not been updated for over a year, and then not updated again for another 12 months "despite there being several occasions which should, under trust policy, have prompted a review".

The trial heard that on the day of the murder the community psychiatric nurse contacted a crisis team after the threat, but nobody was available to assess Jackson until the following day.

The review found the nurse, referred to in the report as a care coordinator, said she did not inform other staff of Jackson's threat, "because she was in shock and briefly forgot about it".

But it added she did not perceive Jackson to be a threat to her, the support worker or Ms Sprague, adding: "Rather Jackson's concerns were about himself, and his actions were seen as largely a way of getting attention."

Family input

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Adult Partnership, which published the new report, said it was "grateful" for the input from Ms Sprague's family, which "helped to ensure Ms Sprague's voice was heard through the report".

It said the partnership remained "deeply committed to ensuring that agencies make the further changes that are needed to take forward the learning that has arisen from this safeguarding adult review and [Ms Sprague's] tragic death".

A spokesperson for Sanctuary Supported Living said: "We are deeply saddened by [Ms Sprague's] tragic death and she remains in our thoughts.

"We are currently considering the review report, including its detailed recommendations."

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said the authority was "keen to ensure that our services fully meet the needs of those vulnerable people we care for, as well as the legal responsibilities and duties we have under the Care Act".

They added: "We accept all the recommendations of the report and have taken the time to review how we work with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and Sanctuary, the commissioned provider.

"This will be subject to continuing and ongoing monitoring, to ensure the lessons really are learnt."

A CPFT spokesman said the trust, which has since recruited and trained safeguarding experts, "fully" accepted the review recommendations.

"Since this incident occurred, we have made significant improvements to our safeguarding processes, and we have a plan in place to ensure the further changes needed are embedded into our services," he added.

Credited: By Phil Shepka, BBC News, 19th January 2022, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-59908433 

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A boys' boarding school has issued an apology to the victims of abuse by former barrister John Smyth QC in the 1970s and 80s.

 

Smyth beat teenage boys who attended Christian summer camps from public schools - including Winchester College. The school said sorry for its failings after the publication of an independent review of the abuse against ex-pupils.

Smyth was found to have had "unfettered access to the college" which allowed him to groom and abuse boys.

Smyth, a barrister and evangelical Christian, who died aged 77 in South Africa in 2018, chaired the Christian charity the Iwerne Trust from 1974 to 1982, which ran religious holiday camps for boys.

Since 1982, a number of boys who had attended the camps have said they were violently beaten by Smyth.

Reports of his alleged physical abuse of 22 boys were revealed in an investigation by Channel 4 News in February 2017.

Following the Channel 4 programme, the fee-paying college commissioned a review from two independent experts, Jan Pickles OBE and Genevieve Woods.

The scope of the review was limited to events related to Winchester College.

Among the conclusions, the report found Smyth regularly participated in college events, including meetings of its Christian Forum.

The review concluded his access was not challenged by the school, although it adds there were "some attempts by individual staff members to question his involvement or restrict his access to certain pupils".

It acknowledged that safeguarding procedures had changed over the past 40 years, but added "even basic safeguards which were common at the time for those in ministry or teaching roles, such as the use of interviews or references, were not utilised in relation to Smyth".

The report noted: "Smyth's unfettered access to the college allowed him to groom boys and created opportunities for abuse."

'Traumatic and lifelong'

In a letter at the start of their report, the reviewers noted: "The report concludes that John Smyth was primarily responsible for the harm which was done to pupils of the school in the 1970s and 1980s, but the systems which were in place at the time failed to monitor or deter his abuse and his coercive influence.

"The response of the college in 1982, when the abuse was disclosed, did not prevent Smyth from moving overseas to minister at other schools and continuing to work in positions of trust, where he committed horrific abuse against children."

The report concludes that the impact of Smyth's abuse had been "traumatic and lifelong".

In a statement, the college said: "We acknowledge the courage and determination of the victims in pursuing the truth about John Smyth. The college apologises unreservedly for its part in their terrible experiences."

It added that "all institutions, as this review urges, should challenge themselves to do better within a society where abuse is increasingly recognised and reported".

The school said its current safeguarding procedures have been "successfully inspected".

Credited: BBC online https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-60050300, Dated 19th January 2022

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Government are seeking views on proposed changes to the statutory guidance 'Keeping Children Safe in Education' (KCSIE) 2021, with a view to making changes for September 2022.

KCSIE sets out what schools and colleges should do a to safeguard children. Schools and colleges must have regard to KCSIE when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Who this consultation is for:

·         School and college staff

·         Designated safeguarding leads and their deputies

·         Governing bodies of maintained schools (including maintained nursery schools)

·         Proprietors of independent schools (including academies, free schools, and alternative provision academies) and non-maintained special schools

·         Management committees of pupil referral units (PRUs)

·         Post 16 providers as set out in the Education Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021

·         Local authority children’s services

·         Professionals working in social care

·         Teaching unions

·         Safeguarding practitioners, including training providers

·         Supply agencies

Why your views matter

The purpose of this consultation is to seek views about proposed changes to Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) statutory guidance. KCSIE sets out those legal duties that schools and colleges must comply with, together with what schools and colleges should do to keep children safe. Schools and colleges must have regard to KCSIE when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It is split into five parts, as follows:

·         Part one - sets out what staff in schools and colleges should know and do. It explains their safeguarding responsibilities, what the various forms of abuse and neglect look like and what staff should do if they have concerns about safeguarding matters.

·         Part two - sets out the arrangements for the management of safeguarding, including the responsibility of governing bodies and proprietors, the role of designated safeguarding leads and the safeguarding policies and procedures that should be in place.

·         Part three - sets out the safer recruitment arrangements schools and colleges should adopt and describes in detail the checks that are required for individuals working or visiting a school or college. 

·         Part four - sets out how schools and colleges should manage allegations of abuse made against teachers and other staff including supply teachers, other staff, volunteers and contractors. 

·         Part five - is about managing reports of child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment and sets out what governing bodies and proprietors should be doing to ensure reports of child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment are managed appropriately.

Closing date for YOUR VIEW ends on March 8th 2022. Use this link to complete the survey. 

Credited: https://consult.education.gov.uk/safeguarding-in-schools-team/kcsie-proposed-revisions-2022/consultation/intro/ 

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Youth warnings, reprimands and cautions will no longer be automatically disclosed to employers who require Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificates from 28 November.

The changes, which come as a result of a Supreme Court judgment that found some elements of the existing filtering rules for Standard and Enhanced DBS checks were disproportionate, are intended to make it easier for people with certain convictions to find employment.

The multiple conviction rule will also be removed, meaning that if an individual has more than one conviction, regardless of offence type or time passed, each conviction will be considered against the remaining rules individually, rather than all being automatically disclosed on the certificate.

Christopher Stacey, co-director of Unlock – a group that campaigns for people with convictions – welcomed the changes, but said they did not go far enough to improve access to work for some people with childhood convictions. 

“The changes coming in on 28 November are a crucial first step towards achieving a fair system that takes a more balanced approach towards disclosing criminal records,” he said. “However, we are still left with a criminal records system where many people with old and minor criminal records are shut out of jobs that they are qualified to do.

“We found that over a five-year period, 380,000 checks contained childhood convictions, with 2,795 checks including convictions from children aged just ten. Many of these childhood convictions will continue to be disclosed despite these changes.

“Reviews by the Law Commission, Justice Select Committee, former Chair of the Youth Justice Board Charlie Taylor and David Lammy MP have all stressed the need to look at the wider disclosure system. The government’s plan for jobs should include a wider review of the criminal records disclosure system to ensure all law-abiding people with criminal records are able to move on into employment and contribute to our economic recovery.”

New DBS guidance advises organisations to update their recruitment processes in light of the changes and check the Ministry of Justice website for which convictions or cautions should be disclosed by job candidates.

It suggests that employers ask job candidates: “Do you have any convictions or cautions (excluding youth cautions, reprimands or warnings) that are not ‘protected’ as defined by the Ministry of Justice?”

It also urged employers to include the following paragraph in their standard job application forms: “The amendments to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (2013 and 2020) provides that when applying for certain jobs and activities, certain convictions and cautions are considered ‘protected’. This means that they do not need to be disclosed to employers, and if they are disclosed, employers cannot take them into account.”

The guidance says: “Employers can only ask an individual to provide details of convictions and cautions that they are legally entitled to know about.

“If an employer takes into account a conviction or caution that would not have been disclosed, they are acting unlawfully under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

“Employers should conduct a case-by-case analysis of any convictions and cautions disclosed and consider how, if at all, they are relevant to the position sought. It would be advisable for the employer to keep records of the reasons for any employment decision (and in particular rejections), including whether any convictions or cautions were taken into account and, if so, why.”

Cedit: Ashley Webber - Personnel Today

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More than 1,000 children have been linked to county lines drug gangs following a three-week crackdown by authorities.

The National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC) said the children were among more than 2,400 vulnerable children protected in October 2018, January and May this year.

Around 131 referrals were made to the National Referral Mechanism, which identifies possible victims of human trafficking.

A total of 1,882 arrests were made, 403 drugs lines disrupted, £182,000 worth of drugs seized and 391 weapons - including 38 firearms - were found during the three week intensified crackdown.

The Home Office NCLCC was set up in a bid to target gangs exploiting children to sell drugs throug the so-called county-lines.

The term refers to the mobile phone lines dedicated to taking orders from drug users, which are operated by gangs from large cities who have expanded into smaller towns.

Young and vulnerable people often have their homes made into bases where drugs are sold from and turned into drug dens.

NPCC lead for county lines, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Duncan Ball, said: “Since the NCLCC was set up we have made great strides in tackling and dismantling cruel county lines gangs and protecting the vulnerable people exploited by them.

“The large number of arrests and weapons seized is testament to the hard work and dedication of the centre and of officers across the country who work tirelessly to pursue and prosecute those involved.”

The NCA predict there are around 2,000 "deal lines" in operation.

Nikki Holland, the NCA’s county lines lead and director of investigations, said: “Thanks to the dedication of law enforcement officers over the past year since the centre launched, we have been able to target county lines networks in a co-ordinated way like never before – taking huge numbers of drugs and weapons off the streets and safeguarding those most vulnerable.”

Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire Kit Malthouse added: “County lines has a devastating impact on our communities and we are working relentlessly to disrupt these gangs and put an end to the exploitation of children and vulnerable adults.”

Credit: ITV

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