free web stats

Southport Reporter - You local online newspaper for Merseyside and the Liverpool City Region.

  .Sign up to get our FREE email news bulletins.  


News Report Page 9 of 11
Publication Date:-
News reports located on this page = 3.

Children could be put in harm's way by changes to social care regulations, says MP

A Merseyside MP says vulnerable children:- "could be put in harm's way" by changes to social care regulations introduced because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central, said the Government's temporary amendment of 10 sets of regulations relating to children's social care and support services were "unnecessary" and "reduce children's rights with very few safeguards."

The MP said the Government should not use the Covid-19 crisis as a cover for removing protections for children, and has backed a children's charity that has applied for a judicial review. Mr Esterson said:- "These changes are unnecessary and could put children in harm's way. Labour opposes these regulations. We understand the pressures that Local Authorities are under right now, but these measures could increase the risk of harm to children and the Government has not produced any evidence to suggest they are necessary. It is not acceptable to make sweeping reductions in children's rights with very few safeguards and absolutely no parliamentary scrutiny."

The temporary amendments relax some administrative and procedural obligations placed on Local Authorities in the delivery of children's services. Some of the key changes include scrapping the requirement for 6 weekly visits to children in care, making fostering and adoption panels optional, relaxing duties to independently scrutinise care plans and children's homes, and extending temporary care placements. Opponents of the changes says it provides for limited internal or external scrutiny of decisions, and no requirement to report use of the flexibilities to Government. Mr Esterson said:- "There is no requirement on Local Authorities or providers to report on how they are using these flexibilities. They should document any such use and Ofsted must monitor any such use. It is important for us to understand how these flexibilities are being used on the ground."

The Welsh Government has taken a different approach, choosing to simply issue guidance which explains how Local Authorities can:- "work in an innovative way to continue to meet their statutory duties."

Mr Esterson continued:- "The Government has tried before to make the changes and they have been strongly opposed by Labour and children's charities. They should not now be allowed in through the back door with Coronavirus as a cover. Some vulnerable children are actually more vulnerable due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Protections should be being strengthened, if anything. These regulations should be revoked immediately."

A children's rights charity, Article 39, has applied to the High Court for a judicial review of changes made to children's social care law. Article 39 accused the Government of using the Coronavirus crisis as an excuse to:- "destroy children's safeguards" by making the same changes they've previously attempted. The Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, called for the regulations to be revoked. She said the most concerning changes should be reversed' as an "absolute minimum" and as an "urgent priority."

Working Mums share how they juggle legal career and kids from home

FOR many of us, working from home can be a struggle. But for working mums who have children at home with them, staying focused can be a constant battle.  Leading female experts from the legal industry have shared their experiences of working from home with children; from interrupted Zoom calls to ignoring social media pressure; and how they hope the lockdown will impact flexible working for mums in the future. The legal team are based across the North West and work for specialist medical law firm Patient Claim Line.

Commenting on the interviews, Patient Claim Line's People Director Tim Scott said:- "Before the lockdown, we were already seeing higher demand for flexible working from candidates in the recruitment marketplace. I think that is likely to increase after the lockdown, especially in companies where it has been demonstrated it can be done successfully."

Law is traditionally viewed as a strict, formal and sometimes impersonal industry. So, how has the enforced lockdown changed this rigid industry's approach to working and what does this mean for working parents? Three female leaders share their thoughts. 

Georgia Briscoe is Director of Medical Negligence at Patient Claim Line. The Mum of 2 is based in Wirral. "Each day is different," Georgia comments, when explaining how she is coping with having the children at home during working hours. "They need structure and motivation in the current situation and so I plan with them the work they need to do and set goals. I also ensure they do physical activity. If they have routine they are pretty easy to manage but it has had its moments!"

For Georgia, Briscoe, like any parent, working from home with kids has had its mishaps. "The children had a race through the house when I was on a conference call, so I locked them in the garden. It was a nice day though, which was lucky! Alexa often pipes up when I'm on conference calls too."

But for Georgia, these conference call mishaps needn't impact professionalism and she explains that honesty is the best policy when handling these scenarios. "The person on the call found it funny and also told of similar recent experiences."

The medical negligence expert is confident that the current lockdown will change future working routines for families for the better. Jennifer Cocoran is an Audit & Compliance Executive at Patient Claim Line and Mum of 3 based in Southport said that:- "It shows we can do it. There will be lots of commercial benefits and also a happier, healthier workforce due to work life balance."

Jennifer admits that juggling childcare for small children during lockdown can be tricky. "My 16 year old is self sufficient, and my 10 year old is pretty easy to manage. The 22 month old is another story. Her Dad and I have been hot desking whilst working from the same home to manage the childcare so far. It is certainly a little more distracting, but not unpleasantly so and my manager understands I may need to work non-standard hours to complete tasks."

Whilst enforced working from home is likely to increase future work flexibility, Jennifer suspects it might also have the reverse effect. Nicola Kenyon, PR Manager at Patient Claim Line, is a mother of 3 from Southport commented:- "I suspect that there will be more of it as it offers a degree of flexibility. Conversely, maybe some people will be more grateful to get into the office."

Nicola explains that families just have to do what they have to do to get through the challenge of lockdown at home. "I started out with very little expectation of how much homeSchooling I would be able to do. They have been doing the work that has been set, but there's none of the wonderful creations and activities that I see others doing all over social media. But, I'm fine with that; everyone's situation is different and we just have to get through it in our own way! My husband is a Teacher and is still working so it's definitely a juggle! But, my children are:- 12, 9 and 6, so they are able to entertain themselves and we have a good sized garden so the nice weather has made a huge difference! My work spills into the evenings and weekends as I do have to divert time during the day to entertain the children. There haven't been any timetables or plans, we are just all doing what we need to so we can get through this time."

For Nicola, the lockdown will change the ways of working for many people. "The digital infrastructure is there to make it happen and this sudden need for it will act as a catalyst for change. I think there will be a lot of requests for working from home now that people have seen how it can work for them and their business. But, I also think that a lot of people will be desperate to get back to the office and have face to face interaction. So many people need flexible working for a whole host of reasons and hopefully now they will be able to have a more agile way of working to improve the work/life balance."

Spike in online searches for cleaners confirms local Molly Maid Franchise efforts to lead the way back in servicing its community

AS businesses in Preston and Southport area slowly get back to work, the local Franchise Owner for Molly Maid, the national professional cleaning company has been actively planning her return for several weeks. Though services provided in a customer's home were never required to cease operating during the lockdown, many businesses like Molly Maid decided it was the right thing to do to ensure that their employees and customers were safe. But resuming service is something that Franchise Owners Clare Carter and her 15 employees are proud of. Carter notes:- "It feels great to be 1 of the 1st businesses getting back to work. The response from our customers has been phenomenal and our employees are glad to be back working. It was a really tough decision to stop providing our home cleaning services; especially to our older and vulnerable customers. Most can't properly clean their home themselves so it's an issue of health and safety. But it is also about the health and safety of our employees too. If we couldn't safely bring our employees back to work and safely provide our cleaning services to customers, then we would not be able to resume cleaning."

The company has introduced several changes as part of their Home Safe procedures to ensure that they can safely provide their services. It includes:- daily health checks of their fully employed teams following NHS guidelines, implementing social distancing measures between teams, customers and within customers home along with the use of a sanitising cleaner that was proven to be effective against all enveloped viruses including all Coronavirus.  "It has taken a bit of time to work through these new procedures. But we started thinking of these things from the 1st week in April. It's important that local businesses like ours help our community get back on its' feet." says Carter.

The company has also seen a big increase in interest in its cleaning services, with online searches almost doubling in recent weeks. As more families have been confined to their home and using every inch of it, most are finding it difficult to stay on top of the cleaning. Carter concluded that:- "We're happy to be back helping, servicing and doing our part to rebuild our community."  The company has also been selected by the Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for taking the lead in developing safe back to work processes for their employees.

News Report Audio Copy


Please support local businesses like:-
Mind Games Southport

 Kings Plaice - Southport - Merseyside

Our live webcams...



This is a live image that reloads every 30 seconds.

An Image from our Southport Webcam above. To see it live, please click on image.

See the view live webcamera images of the road outside our studio/newsroom in the hart of Southport.

An Image from our Southport Webcam above. To see it live, please click on image.


Please support local businesses like:-

Get your business noticed

Our aim is to provide you not only the current news, but also to help promote our local areas diverse and rich history, our innovative businesses, along with our amazing culture. We can only do this with your help and support though advertising. Fine out how you can get your business advertised on here and help you business get seen.

Click here.

Click on to find out why the moon changes phases.  
This is the current phase of the moon. For more lunar related information, please click on here.

Disability Confident - Committed


Find out whats on in and around Merseyside!

This is just 1 of the events on our event calendar, click on
here to see lots more!

This online newspaper and information service is regulated by IMPRESS, the UK Press Regulator.

This online newspaper and information service is regulated by IMPRESS the independent monitor for the UK's press.

This is our process:-
Policy - Complaints Procedure - Whistle Blowing Policy

Contact us:-


Calls will cost 7p per minute, plus your telephone company's access charge.
Calls to this number may be recorded for security, broadcast, training and record keeping.

Click on to see our Twitter Feed.   Click on to see our Facebook Page.   This website is licence to carry news from and UK Press Photography. Click on to see our Twitter Feed.

Our News Room Office Address

Southport and Mersey Reporter, 4a Post Office Ave,
Southport, Merseyside, PR9 0US, UK

Tracking & Cookie Usage Policy - Terms & Conditions
  - Southport Reporter® is the Registered Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope.