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Lisa Nandy addresses Labour Friends of Palestine and Middle East meeting

At a packed Labour Party Friends of Palestine and the Middle East fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference, Lisa Nandy highlighted the role of British business in the occupied Palestinian territories.

She said we needed to send a clear message to those businesses that were the face of Britain in countries such as Palestine and all other countries in conflict that they should be upholding the highest possible standards of ethical behaviour.

Lisa called for any company involved in the violation of human rights to be delisted from the London Stock Exchange, for proper labelling to be enforced on products from the Occupied Territories and for Government to cease contracts and public procurement for any company involved in unethical behaviour.

October 12, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa Nandy hosts Social Media session at Labour Conference with YouthZone and O2

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy chaired a discussion at Labour Party conference in association with O2 on social media and its place in political campaigning.

The panel included O2 Think Big’s Robert Aitken, Young Labour’s Simon Darvill, Lord Steve Bassam and Tom Watson MP.

The event can be viewed here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjtObF-DQpQ&list=UUSANGhOju90XRJa8TU0UVAQ&index=1&feature=plcp

October 12, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa Nandy addresses New Statesman and Medical Aid for Palestinians event at Labour Conference

Last week MAP hosted a fringe event at the Labour Party Conference in association with the New Statesman entitled, ‘New Thinking on Palestine: What Role Can British Policy Play?’ The panel included Phyllis Starkey, MAP Trustee and former Labour MP; Ian Lucas MP, Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Lisa Nandy MP, Shadow Minister for Children and Families; and Councillor Attalah Said. It was chaired by the Editor of the New Statesman, Jason Cowley.

Lisa Nandy, Shadow Minister for Children and Families said the following:

Over the course of the few days during which she had been in the West Bank, Nandy said, there had been many things that had made her upset and angry on the behalf of Palestinian people “who were being systematically stripped of their dignity”. However, the thing that concerned her most as the Shadow Minister for Children and Families was what was happening to children in Palestine. “Palestinian children,” she said, “only have the opportunity to meet the other side when they are watching their parents being humiliated at checkpoints; when they are walking miles to school because somebody has built a wall between their home and their school; when they are having names called at them by settler communities; when they are watching water being siphoned off from them in the Jordan Valley so that they don’t have enough water to wash in or to drink, while just a few miles away within their actual line of sight they are seeing settler children who are swimming in swimming pools.” This situation, Nandy commented, is creating a sense of hate, hopelessness and despair and the time for action is now.

Focusing her remarks on the role of British companies in helping to perpetuate a system that “is trampling over the very basic rights of Palestinians,” Nandy said she was shocked and appalled when she got to the West Bank to see that there were several British-based multinationals helping to prop up the system.

Singling out G4S, which was in charge of security at the Labour conference, Nandy spoke about the role the company is playing, providing services under contract with Israel to Israeli prisoners in detention facilities, including Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank. As part of that contract they are involved in transferring prisoners to Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as restricting family visiting rights to young people under the age of 18 in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Nandy stated, was a crucial land mark in recognising how important it is to uphold the rights of the child across the globe. “The truth,” she continued, “is that if you threaten children’s rights anywhere, you threaten children’s rights everywhere.”

Other examples of British based companies included Veolia, which runs waste management companies under contract to local authorities in the UK whilst being involved in the development and running of an illegal tram system across the West Bank, and Eden Springs which siphons water from the Golan Heights and then provides that water for profit to the Westminster and Scottish governments.

Although she has raised these concerns with governments repeatedly over the last couple of years, they have said it is not a matter of public significance, despite the fact that these companies are in receipt of public money and hold significant public contracts.

G4S has said that it will exit from the work that they are doing under contract with Israel at the earliest opportunity. In the meantime, however, Nandy said, it is “making a mockery of our commitment to human rights in the UK”. Referring to Professor John Ruggie’s set of principles for business and human rights, she stressed the importance of recognising that the same ethical responsibilities that apply to individuals and to states also apply to businesses. Three things need to happen, she said:

1. The London Stock Exchange cannot continue to be a home to companies involved in perpetrating gross human rights and environmental violations around the world. Companies listed on the London Stock Exchange should be assessed for their environmental, social and human rights impact.

2. Labelling needs to be more clearly defined. Often goods that are labelled as being from Israel are actually from the occupied Palestinian territory.

3. Public contracts should not be awarded to firms that consistently violate human rights.

This, Nandy suggested, is “not only a moral imperative because of our obligation to the Palestinian people or to children, it is a priority because we have to do everything we can to help create a level playing field so that those businesses that are upholding the right standards are encouraged to flourish.” These companies, she continued, “are our public face around the world – in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territory – these companies represent Britain.”

October 12, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Attracting and Retaining Excellent Social Workers Depends on a Better Social Work System

Originally Published in Huffington Post:

Last week the IPPR proposed a new graduate scheme for social workers, run by a social enterprise Frontline which would be independent of government. Frontline would train top graduates at summer school who then would spend a year training on the job in a local authority, before committing to a minimum of two years working with disadvantaged children.

The report is based on a very welcome recognition that good relationships are crucial to children’s lives and that very often the social worker is the critical adult in a vulnerable young person’s life. Ensuring we have excellent, highly motivated people who are empowered to do better by children than they currently can is a priority. But while individuals are one of the most critical factors in changing children’s lives, that should not allow us to ignore the wider pressures in the social work system – pressures which are becoming intolerable for too many good social workers for a number of reasons.

Firstly, since Lord Laming’s report into the tragic death of Victoria Climbie there has been a recognition that it is everybody’s responsibility in society to keep children safe from harm. Labour’s 2004 Children Act made that a statutory duty and introduced comprehensive guidance, Working Together, which aimed to empower the police, health services and others to do it. Charities warn that the pressures on other agencies, coupled with the Government’s reduction of Working Together and their catastrophic health reforms, has left other agencies increasingly retreating into their own core functions. This leaves social services under greater pressure than before.

Yet this is also at a time when the level of resources available to them has been reduced – through huge cuts to the Early Intervention Grant, youth services and local authority children’s services departments in areas where there is the greatest need. Meanwhile there are rising numbers of children in care, for many reasons including poverty. These factors have left nearly eight of every 10 social workers saying their caseloads are now unmanageable.

This is dangerous because it means that many of the people whose job it is to listen to and understand the children they support simply do not have enough time to do it. Three of the things highlighted by Professor Eileen Munro in her review of the profession – cutting administrative burdens, improving administrative support and putting in place robust management systems – would help immediately and the government’s progress on these has been too slow.

But in the longer term reshaping our public services so that they are active agents of prevention, not crisis management services, is vital. That is why Labour is right to say that a change of course on the economy is not only badly needed but would be our top priority in government.

Earlier this year I met with children to discuss what they value in the adults who work with them. Like the IPPR report, they believed it was essential those people had high aspirations for them, and they said that very often they do, with amazing consequences. But they also believed that the adults who support them need to understand their lives, which is one of many reasons why, alongside top graduates, we must retain the ability to attract people through other routes and from other backgrounds.

Finally, despite shortages of social workers there are currently many graduate social workers out of work. The shortage is in no small part caused by a lack of people with experience who stay in the system. Burnout is cited frequently as a key reason for high turnover. That is why it is essential that while we continue to strive to attract and promote excellent social workers from all backgrounds we do not lose sight of the wider system which will determine our ability to retain them.

October 10, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa Nandy meets with NSPCC young ambassadors at Conference

Lisa Nandy took the time to meet up with young ambassadors from the NSPCC at Labour Party Conference in Manchester. As shadow Minister for Children and Young Families, Lisa shares the NSPCC’s commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable children.

Lisa also showed her support for the NSPCC’s ‘Children’s Party’ campaign which encourages children’s voices to be heard in policy-making and the ambassadors were delighted that she took party in their ‘Children’s Party’ quiz.

October 8, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa Nandy backs Whizz-Kidz Paralympic inspiration initiative at Labour Party Conference

Lisa Nandy pledged her support at Labour Party Conference for an initiative launched by charity Whizz-Kidz, to gather young disabled peoples’ hopes for the legacy of the Paralympics. Lisa, who is Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Young People, has supported Whizz-Kidz since entering Parliament and worked with them on improving disabled access to public transport.

The findings from the ‘Generation Inspired?’ consultation will help ensure that those charged with delivering the Paralympic legacy are fully informed about what young disabled people want – and expect – following the Games.

Lisa met 22 year old wheelchair-user and Whizz-Kidz Ambassador, Chris Tickle, at the Manchester Conference. Chris said:

“Attending Labour Conference was a great opportunity to discuss the legacy of the Games with lots of MPs – and it was brilliant to get their support for Generation Inspired.

The Paralympics showed the potential for changing attitudes to disability across the whole of society. Now we need everyone to play their part in improving accessibility and changing attitudes so that young disabled people like me can fulfil their potential.”

Lisa Nandy said,

“It was fantastic to meet Whizz-Kidz and hear about their valuable work providing mobility equipment and opportunities for fun and friendship for young disabled people.

“It is absolutely vital that the views of young disabled people are at the heart of plans for the Paralympic legacy. I am delighted to back the Generation Inspired initiative and encourage my constituents to take part in the consultation to make sure their views are heard.”

The full link to Whizz-Kidz’s Generation Inspired survey can be found at http://bit.ly/WKGenInspired.

The charity supports young people to access the right mobility equipment – including powered wheelchairs – at the right time; and delivers wheelchair skills-training, work placements, and other life-skills to help their transition from childhood to adulthood.

October 8, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa Nandy meets Scouts at Labour Party Conference

Lisa Nandy MP met with dozens of Scouts from across the country at Labour Party Conference to hear what they had to say about issues that affect them.

The annual ‘Scout Speak Up!’ events have been created for Scouts to attend the conferences and are unique in the conference calendar.  They are entirely youth led, giving young people the opportunity to debate with politicians the issues that really matter to young people today.

Riona Kelly, an Explorer Scout said, “It’s great that young people have the opportunity to tell politicians what we think, and for them to listen. It is important that young people have a say, and events like today’s is a great step forward. As a Scout it is important for me to get involved and help inspire others to do so too.”

Issues discussed this weekend included raising the age at which young people can vote, tuition fees and how young people can ensure that their voices are heard by decision makers. Lisa was also told by the young people how Scouting enriches their lives and their local communities. Many talked about how the skills they’ve learned in Scouting have helped them to find employment and supported their applications to university and college.

Lisa Nandy said, “I really enjoyed the Scouts Speak Up! event during the conference in Manchester.  It was great to hear what young people had to say and to discuss the issues of the day with them.”

October 8, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Wigan libraries encouraged to apply for Arts Council grant

Applications are now open to Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts Libraries fund and libraries in Wigan are encouraged to apply. Over the next two and a half years, £6 million of National Lottery money will be invested in projects delivered by public libraries or library authorities working in partnership with cultural organisations involving all types of art/artistic activities including: music, dance, theatre, visual arts and literature.

The Arts Council wants the Grants for the arts Libraries fund to inspire ambitious and innovative partnerships between libraries and arts organisations that will encourage library users, and those living locally to get involved with arts and culture. By investing £6 million for public libraries to lead on artistic activities, the Arts Council are recognising the important role that libraries can play as centres of discovery.

Yes, libraries are places in which people develop a real love of books and can access information, but they are also at the very hearts of their communities. They can be exciting places in which you can encounter music, drama, sculpture, or any kind of art; somewhere that sparks an interest that might just become a real passion.

Public libraries can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £100,000, covering activities lasting up to three years. The fund opens to applications today and will run until March 2015. Guidance notes for applicants can be found on the Arts Council website.

October 8, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa Nandy responds to IPPR’s Frontline report

IPPR have today published a new report proposing to apply the Teach First model to meet the growing need for quality graduates in children’s social work.

In response to the report Lisa Nandy MP said:

“Labour welcomes the recognition in today’s report that good social workers are critical to an excellent care system.

Ministers need to wake up to the wider pressures on the system. Budget cuts and rising caseloads are creating a perfect storm for the most vulnerable.

There are a high number of unemployed social workers but a shortage of experienced staff. The Government must take action to relieve the pressures on social workers if they are to retain the best of the profession.”

October 4, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Shocking extent to which exploited young girls in Rochdale were ignored

Today’s review reveals the shocking extent to which exploited young girls were ignored when they asked for help from the authorities after enduring appalling abuse at the hands of adults.

Now that the perpetrators are behind bars, the priority must be to ensure that in future young girls are not left at such serious risk of harm either in Rochdale, or anywhere else.

This does not just include the police and social services. All agencies have a responsibility to work together to listen to children and keep them safe from harm.

September 27, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment