Examination of Witness (Questions 180
MONDAY 13 MAY 2002
180. Thank you. Finally, you were able to hear
the evidence from Mr Leadbetter and Mr Waterman talking specifically
about children in relation to the social services departments,
local government and education. Is there any comment you would
like to make about any of that evidence?
(Mr Newell) I think not specifically. At the moment
so many of the developments for children are provoked by scandals
and I think that is a terrible indictment of the way this society
works, that we wait until something quite awful happens or until
40 police forces are investigating abuse around the country and
then we begin to do something about it. The purpose of the commissioner
would be to be much more proactive, to look at these issues to
see how one could really avoid them. In the same way the two Chief
Inspectors of Prisons have been drawing attention to the awful
shortcomings of our young offender institutions in report after
report. Some of those shortcomings are being put right, at least
in individual institutions, but one gets the awful feeling that
the problem is moving around, there are still far too many tragic
suicides of young offenders and so on. Again, I think it needs
this more powerful figure with a high profile to ensure that Government
feels accountable, including to those not at the moment very popular
young who it is really supposed to be acting as parents to.
181. Thank you very much for coming here today.
I would like to reiterate to you the comments I have made to the
previous witnesses, that anything else which strikes you that
arises from your evidence that you would like to submit to us
as written evidence we would be very pleased to receive. Thank
(Mr Newell) Thank you very much. Incidentally, if
the Committee is interested I do have enough copies of the report
I wrote for the Gulbenkian Foundation.
Chairman: That would be helpful, thank you.