We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

It is the duty of the local authority looking after a child to advise, assist and befriend him with a view to promoting his welfare when they have ceased to look after him.

Section 19A in Part II of Schedule 2 to the Children Act 1989 – as inserted by the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000

20 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Chris Harper

    A local authority as a friend?

    How sweet.

    By what mechanism can an organisation be a personal friend?

  • guy herbert


    The interesting thing is the duty to “befriend”.

    In the first place, how can friendship be created by fiat?

    In the second, a natural person befriending a child would be regarded with extreme suspicion, and it would be the duty of the same authority to investigate him or her for “grooming”, and to report any suspicions to all and sundry in the child protection orbit.

  • Lizzie

    Chilling, isn’t it?!

  • Julian Taylor

    From our past experience, local authorities are very good at ‘befriending’ vulnerable children – just take a look at Islington, Staffordshire (the ‘Pindown’ scandal), Cleveland, the recent Derbyshire cases and countless other cases.

  • Jesus, that’s creepy as hell.

  • “grooming” indeed – for life as a customer of “Social Services”.

    This and other such “duties of care” hamstring and distract Local Authorities so much they can hardly empty our bins or light our roads.

    I prefer a therapsid to a therapist, for at least a therapsid is a mammal-like reptile

  • Julian Taylor

    Today’s Times carries a story regarding a very Blairite plan to hold details of every child in England, being revealed on Channel 4’s 30 Minutes.

    It strikes me that, in strict accordance with the theory that everything the government ploughs public funds into achieves the exact opposite of its intention, they are most likely not so much setting up a national database to ‘protect’ children but more to ‘befriend’ children in a Gary Glitter sense of ‘friendliness’.

  • The most terrifying words in the whole of the Universe are

    “I’m from the Government. I’m here to help …”

    I’d put this as a VERY close second. As Hitler said, “Give me the child and I will show you the man”

  • guy herbert


    The Times (and the rest of the media) is a little slow off the mark. The data collection has been going on for some time. And linking it all up was the business of the Children Act 2004, which we simply could not get parliamentarians or media interested in at the time. (Sold as it was on the basis of a notorious child-murder case…) It expressly sets aside all rules and duties of confidentiality.

    If you really wants to make your flesh creep, see here. The Stasi were mere amateurs by this lot; and as link by link it slips from the chains of a liberal culture the beast of Blairism may yet get a taste for blood.

  • Rob

    philB said:
    As Hitler said, “Give me the child and I will show you the man”
    I always thought it was the Jesuits .(Link) who said that. Good point though

  • philB: Quite right. In practice, it’s usually a case of “I’m from the Government. I’m here to help myself to your money.”

    Surely this legislation should also be criticised for its poor drafting? It’s hopelessly vague about what the local authority is actually required to do – phrases like “advise” and “promoting his welfare” can be interpreted in any way they like. But giving the authority a duty towards the child even after it has “ceased to look after him”, and hence no longer has control over him, seems to be giving them a duty that could be impossible to carry out. The first flaw saves them from the second one!

    Tolstoy once invited us to imagine Genghis Khan with a telephone. The managerialist incompetence of the Blair government invites us to imagine the Soviet Union run by Homer Simpson.

  • dearieme

    Rejoice, you silly sods. Read it again. “His”, “him” – someone has learnt the old lesson that masculine pronouns need not refer to male creatures – no “his/her” or “their” tosh. If we can get our language back, perhaps we can get our country back. Rejoice, I say.

  • RAB

    Well, perhaps not as sinister as it looks.

    What I took it to mean, using my very rusty legal skills, is that the duty of the council (they are in Loco Parentis here remember) is to instill in their wards, via advise, assistance and friendship, a mindset in their charges that will sustain them in the big bad world, when they are no longer legally responsible for them.Lifeskills if you like.
    I hardly think they are going to turn up 5 years after a persons 18th birthday and say

    Remember us from the Care Home?
    Fancy a swift half and a chat about how you’re getting on Darren me old mate !

  • ian

    Chuldren ending up in care usually also end up at the bottom of the cheap – but then who wouldn’t with your local council for a parent. This legislation is the usual government response to something that has failed -lets do even more of it…

    Despite the overtones read into it by previous commenters it is however well intentioned even if doomed to failure. No normal parent throws their kids out at 16 to sink or swim without some continuing support – which is what happened to children leaving local authority care. BUt if the council has failed them up to 16 why should they expect to get it right afterwards?

  • ian

    …for cheap read heap!

  • guy herbert

    ian is of course right.

    The section is followed by lots of regulation about how authorities should do this, but if they are failing in this fairly obvious component of bringing up children in their care, as the urge to legislate suggests, then no amount of central regulation and inspection is likely to help. In fact, being distracted by further box-ticking and training courses will almost certainly make conscientious staff less effective.

  • Chris Harper

    The only thing creepy about this is its oleaginous saccharinity.

    It just sounds like the sort of niceness that nanny feels she should be espousing.

    It is, of course, utter blairite drivel.

  • CH: oleaginous saccharinity

    Isn’t that an anagram of “David Miliband”?

    No? Well it bloody well should be!

  • Julian Taylor

    Guy, that is certainly even more scary than I thought it could ever be. Then just as I finish reading that piece I see The Great And Noble Leader is intending to unveil “plans for the state to target “problem children” before they are born.”

    As they say … read it and weep.

  • Brian

    I don’t know; having the local authority as your friend may have several advantages. After all, your friends don’t threaten to send the boys round if you don’t cough up seventy quid a month.