12/12/2013 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: Rated


inadequate for four years. Now a pledge from Birmingham City


Council to transform Children's Services. We still has some urgent


issues. That is why this review is clear. We need to continue to focus


on the safety of children. But we hear from one social worker who tell


us morale is at rock bottom. Also tonight.


Tackling extremists: a government minister in talks at a city mosque.


This was actions were taken forward to prevent terrorism and to ensure


that mosques and other fave institutions have that sense of


security. 20,000 jobs in the offing as


development plans get the go`ahead in Coventry, Warwickshire and the


Black Country. Football as you've never seen it


before: no running ` it's walking pace for the over 55s.


And it's been calm up until now but that's all changing over the weekend


` in fact, even sooner then that. Hear all about it in the forecast


later. Good evening. There's a new plan


tonight to transform Birmingham's much criticised Children's Services


and better protect youngsters at risk. A series of child deaths and


damning reports have seen the department labelled a failure and


placed in "special measures" by the Government. The council says it's


going to spend more money filling vacancies among social workers and


improving the way it works with others safeguarding children. But,


in a rare interview, a front line child protection officer's told us


the service is in a mess and change can't come quickly enough. Giles


Latcham reports. Short lives, long term failure.


Birmingham's children services have been rated inadequate for years `


the deaths of vulnerable children stand sad testament to a city's


shame. For three`and`a`half years James has pounded the inner city


beat trying to protect the young and at risk, waving goodbye to


colleagues who've had enough. I think we are half staffed at the


moment. It varies from team to team. Some team, one team is only fully


staffed. I know other parts whether four staff. There are huge vacancy


rates. It is very difficult. It may get worse. And for Children's


Services as a whole it's been a bruising few months. In October a


damning report identified a "significant" number of chances


missed to prevent the death of two`year`old Keanu Williams, beaten


to death by his mother ` Birmingham's latest failure to


protect a vulnerable child. Later that month the head of the education


watchdog Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, branded Birmingham's


Children Services a "national disgrace". In November the


Children's Minister, Edward Timpson, wrote to the council's leader saying


he'd ordered an independent review of the council's plans to improve


Children's Services. The council's new plan promises an extra ?10


million to recruit and retain experienced social workers and


closer co`operation with health professionals, teachers and the


voluntary sector. You can see that children cannot be guaranteed their


safety in this city. We set have some certain issues. That is why


this review is very clear. We need to continue to focus on the safety


of children and this is part of how other people in the future go about


it. For some on the front line though this is the fourth or fifth


attempt they've seen to overhaul the service. The staff are tired and


fatigued. We are now very jaded. James chooses to stay and accepts


there is no quick fix. Nor though is there any more room for failure.


Earlier I spoke to Councillor Brigid Jones, the councillor responsible


for children's care and family services in Birmingham. I started by


asking her Why should we believe this latest relaunch of children's


services will work? There are three key things at a difference. In the


past we have underfunded children's services in the city. What we are


proposing is a budding sustained an extra investment to bring up to the


level it should be. In the past we have done things on our own. We have


not bought our partners along with those. What's different is we are


going to have our partners rivers around the table making things


better. The third thing is that historically we have done things on


short`term plans. We have leapt from short`term plans to restructure, new


leader to new leader. What we are doing now is looking for stability.


We will stabilise things so we can have sustained improvement going


forward, looking into the future. You talked about stabilising. There


is one team appeared about which should have 24 people in there, but


there are only four. How can that be? We are very short staffed at the


moment. That is rooted problem. Until you get more great social


workers into Birmingham it'll be hard to get improvement going. The


view we have, the is high. `` view. How you get people in? We are


working to change our reputation. We have had the reputation for a long


time. That has not been held by the national coverage we have had, some


the Commons have been put out there. We want people to realise our


Birmingham is changing. We are looking to the future. Burnham


should be a place to have on your CV. We are the biggest place in the


country `` Birmingham. There are challenges here which you won't find


anywhere else. You can develop your career here. We have been in a bad


place a long time, but that is changing. We want people about their


attitude to improve, and who want to make a difference.


Coming up later in the programme: We're in Redditch where campaigners


are fighting to protect front line services at the town's hospital.


A 33`year`old man from Dudley's being questioned by police this


evening on suspicion of terrorism offences. The West Midlands Counter


Terrorism Unit arrested him at his home this morning on suspicion of


distributing an ideological publication. The arrest came as the


Government's Security Minister visited a Birmingham mosque for


talks on tackling extremism. Here's our special correspondent Peter


Wilson. A meeting about tackling extremism.


But this was a collection of all the faiths, held in a mosque, but


attended by a bishop and a Rabbi. This was about the freedom to


practise ones faith without fear. The me, it was good to learn about


Muslim fears for their security, because we in the Jewish community


are warned. The community building on peace, and we condemn violence of


all kinds. This summer tested that unity to breaking point but,


Birmingham's togetherness held. One man, 82``year`old Mohammed Saleem


was stabbed killed simply because he was a muslim. The murderer ukrainian


student Pavlo Lapshyn also planted three bombs outside mosques to


spread hate and fear. I was very struck by that strong sense of


community, and how by continuing to maintain that, we can be that much


stronger in confronting those who would seek to divide and how we


stand together in confronting those who might seek to use extremism in


that way. The government says the biggest security, some Al`Qaeda


style groups. Many other communities who gathered in Birmingham today say


that what concerns them is extremism from the far right. It is not just


Al`Qaeda inspired which takes at the time of us. We are also doing work


around the extreme right wing, around extreme rights and


environmental rights. We have a broad sphere of work, but not all of


it is Al`Qaeda. The biggest of the nail bombs was planted at the Tipton


Mosque. No one died due to a delay in prayer times but the explosion


continues to reverberate. The community itself is more vigilant


since then. Initially, the mosque was opened doors, and people coming


when they wanted. Now we have to be a bit more vigilant, and the


community itself is vigilant. Todays meeting was held in a Mosque which


once had been a piano making factory. It is a place of prayer,


charity and hope for the future. The mosque plays a particular role,


which is to enforce ideas of citizenship and belonging, and


letting people feel they are part of the fabric of British society. Those


things which we tried to reaffirm and address whether we are. There


were discussion about what can be done to deal with those who preach


hate but today was about those who preach faith unity.


Two out of three Midlands Air Ambulance helicopters remain


grounded this evening over safety concerns. It follows a fault that


was discovered yesterday on an EC`135 helicopter operated by Bond


Air Services for the North West Air Ambulance. It's the same model which


crashed onto a bar in Glasgow, killing nine people.


New forensic tests could provide a breakthrough in the 22`year


investigation into the disappearance of Nicola Payne. The young mother,


who was 18, was last seen in the Henley Green area of Coventry in


December 1991. A number of items recovered during the police inquiry


have been sent for up to date forensic testing. Her parents, John


and Marilyn Payne, said they were waiting for test results and hoping


for closure at last. A ?48 million biomass plant which


will use waste wood to generate electricity is to be built in


Birmingham. It's the first of its kind in the UK and it'll be able to


power 17,000 homes a year. The project ` in Tyseley ` will create a


100 construction jobs and is due to be completed in 2016.


Plans to deliver more than 20,000 jobs in the West Midlands over the


next decade have won approval today from Government ministers. In


Coventry and Warwickshire, an investment of ?90m is expected to


create more than 15,000 new jobs by 2025. Nearly 9,000 of them will be


in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector. And in the Black


Country, more than 5,000 jobs and 1,500 apprenticeships could be


created over the next four years, as private investment worth ?130m is


pumped into Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell. The two schemes


have received the green light under the City Deal programme ` where


councils and business leaders are given more control over how money is


spent locally. From Coventry, here's Kevin Reide.


In spite of the gloomy skies there was an air of optimism in Coventry


and Warwickshire today as the government announced the area was to


get a so called City Deal. It'll give the local authority and local


enterprise panel more powers to create jobs. We have to see this as


a first step. This is as showing governments that if they give us


more power, more Cash, we will spend it more effectively and we would get


better things for the region. Here in Coventry their user money to set


a clear house. It'll be a fast tracking centre the companies who


want to expand. One such company is Penso, who carry out specialist


design and manufacture for the likes of Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedees.


They're quickly outgrowing their space in Coventry and plan to double


their size by building a new factory right next to their existing one.


Instead of having a number of organisations go to, and I think


there were over a hundred organisations we needed to approach


your help, now we can go to one port or they will help us finance, it


will help us with grants, it will help us are planning, and also


developing our skills for. That is brilliant. The City Deal replaces


the work done by the now disbanded Advantage West Midlands, and as for


how may jobs will be created forecasts vary, but the Prime


Minister said on local radio today it would be more than 10,000.


Today's announcement is not a complete rose garden though. We hope


to see extra jobs by 2025, and support growth in engineering. The


audit commission said other city deals had not yet demonstrated that


they can deliver value for money. Kevin Reide, BBC Midlands Today,


Coventry. Joining me now is the chairman of


the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, Stewart Towe. Nearly


6,000 new jobs and 1500 apprenticeships. How important is


this to the Black Country? This is fantastic news. We have some the


world players in automotive and airspace. What you really need to do


now is to make sure we have got those other sites, and those skills


available to attract supply chain in, so we can both encourage our


existing companies to grow, and also attract inward investment, so we are


making the most of those skills which are there in the Black


Country. Your proposal also includes support for 2,800 long term


unemployed. How tough is it to find work in the Black Country? It is a


big problem. To get our young people to understand that careers in


engineering are good opportunities, those tenants are there. They are


showing growth in all they are doing. We now have a supply chain


looking behind them are businesses who want to be part of that advanced


manufacturing in our area. We need both young people and the long`term


unemployed to understand that these opportunities for them, as well for


other people already qualified. What about the here and now? Many those


anchor tenants are a long way through their plan but the engine


plans. Those are needed built, those jobs are nearly there. We need to


make sure that Brownfield sites are available for the supply chain into


those, to make sure that when the keys are in place, we can make sure


the maximum opportunities are available to the people in the Black


Country. Does this mean the local enterprise partnerships are working?


It means we know what those issues are, locally. It means that the


partnership between the public and private sector is really important,


in terms of taking forward the opportunity for the people and the


jobs in the Black Country. Thank you.


Part of Birmingham City centre is being re`named the 'Social


Enterprise Quarter' to promote companies that use their profits to


help society. National examples include The Big Issue magazine, the


Eden Project in Cornwall and Jamie Oliver's restaurant Fifteen, and


it's thought there are 300 social enterprises in Birmingham. Our


business correspondent Peter Plisner reports.


Making his daily bread. Albert Smith used to be a nurse. That was until


he decided to start a social enterprise bakery. For him a


liberating experience. I think I can make my own decisions. I am able to


create things that in my previous occupation I couldn't. I network and


I determine how much how little I pay. And Albert was there today at a


special market to launch Birmingham's new Social Enterprise


Quarter. So too was council leader Sir Albert Bore whose a big fan of


the concept. Every can cluster them, then it will attract others, and a


major scare that encouragement to individuals who are thought about


setting up a small business, but not done so. The brianchild of Sarah


Crawley the head of the Digbeth based Initiative for Social


Entrprenuers, the aim now is to increase the number of new firms.


What we expect will happen is they will do a lot of inter`trading, they


will work together and improve their businesses in terms of the


activities they do. It will improve the numbers are people they employ,


but also their contribution to the economy of Birmingham. This is a


custom factory in the centre of Birmingham. There are 30 different


firms operating from these buildings. One of them is SHELANU, a


women's craft collective making specialist cards and jewelery. It


has a very deep social purpose, which is why it is a sort of


enterprise, because it is there, providing a sense of belonging for


women in the city, and providing a kind of service for women. Once


described as the city of a thousand trades. If more social enterprises


are set up, then Birmingham might get the title back. Peter Plisner,


BBC Midlands Today in Digbeth. This is our top story tonight: Rated


inadequate for four years, now a pledge from Birmingham City Council


to transform children's services. Your detailed weather forecast to


come shortly from Shefali. Also in tonight's programme.


Forget fast and furious football: how about the more genteel version,


walk football for the over 55s? Lit by 20,000 lives, a winter


wonderland. Join me shortly. Campaigners fighting to protect


services at their local hospital are staging a candle`lit vigil tonight.


A and maternity services at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch could


be moved to hospitals in Worcester or Birmingham as part of a ?50m


savings plan. Ben Sidwell is in Redditch tonight. Ben, what's the


mood at the vigil? There is a small but cheerful group behind me. They


are pretty determined. Eight years ago to the day they were here,


fighting exactly the same cause. That tiny one, this time they're


fighting the battle again. Let's talk to the chairman. Neil, you are


fighting to save services? We are beamed at the two years. Basically,


we are appealing for the NHS to maintain accessible services with


the capacity to cope the people in Redditch. You get out there as a


group. Our leaders appointed by the numbers here? Would you expect more?


It is a cold December evening. We have a 55,000 strong petition.


People do what they can, and we just hope the NHS are listening to the


thousands of people they spoke to. B to the town's MP. They are talking


about this today. What would your message be? We do need sustainable


services here. It is crucial that this hospital is remains open. I was


assured as possible will remain open. I want to see the services of


this hospital open. We will carry on campaigning until that happens. The


guys are going to stay here with the candles. They're been here since


four o'clock. They will stay here till about seven tonight. The result


could be out sometime in early January. They should know early next


month. Back to you. Thank you. Think football and it probably


conjures up images like this ` the high`octane, lightning quick action


on show when teams such as West Brom and Aston Villa collide in the


Premier League. But, in Shropshire today, a footballer's life was a


touch more genteel. In fact, everything was done at walking pace.


Here's Laura May McMullan. It's still the beautiful game. It's


just played at a slower pace. Anyone runs and it's a foul. Walking


football was set up in Shrewsbury back in September. It's one of three


groups across the county set up to improve the health of older men.


Even if you're unfit, don't think you can't do this, because it is


walking. It's got tremendous benefits. The sessions are aimed at


men aged 55 and over. Robert Formby is the oldest member at 76. I've had


my knees done twice but this is great and it keeps me healthy. White


alike? For the exercise. It is good fun. I must have said a dozen times,


referee, he is running. It is hard to work out whether you're running


all you are a fast walker. Health experts say not enough people are


exercising. Only a third of adults in England do the recommended 2.5


hours a week of moderate exercise. But making a switch in your late


40's or 50's can be a benefit. It's about changing people's perceptions


and we're finding it's hard to get older men doing exercising The


sessions take place every Thursday morning at the Monkmoor recreation


ground and more new members are joining every week. New Age UK says


a healthy heart is a healthy head. Members are joining every week.


For the last nine years, Dave Edwards and his family have


brightened up Christmas in their neighbourhood with a vast array of


festive lights. And this year, Dave has decked out his home with a


staggering 20,000 LED lights to raise cash for a Birmingham hospice.


Lindsay Doyle is there now. It looks spectacular? It is incredible.


20,000 lives. We have Christmas trees, we have Father Christmas and


reindeers. It is incredible. The men behind it is Dave Edwards. Dave,


you're been doing this for a number of years? I've been doing this since


I was five years old. I'm 22 now. White Highlanders take to you to put


them up? It is about 14 hours a day. What is your lectures the belike? It


is 90% more efficient than it was before. We hardly even noticed it.


It is all the charity? Yes. We tried to raise for local charity. Caters


with me now. You must be delighted they do for you? It is fantastic.


Dave has already raised ?250 for the hospice, and we would love to travel


it, because that put a carer by the bed for at least a week. Come and be


inspired by these lights. These are wonderful, Ashley when the ball. You


don't know they're here and be inspired by these lights. These are


wonderful, Ashley when the ball. You don't know they're here until you


can. I was astonished when I saw it. It is fantastic. There is a


donations box, if you want to come along, take a look at this


spectacular display, and donate if you're able to. Back to you.


Time for the weather, and it's been quite mild today, hasn't it? Will it


go on, Shefali? Anything the only thing that inspired it is it turning


wintry. Rain is coming. You can see that there is increasing pressure


around that, which indicates the winds are increasing as we head into


the weekend. We get the ball rolling this evening and overnight. The rain


is already starting to sweep up on the south`west. It is very


fragmented, but there will be some dark centres, indicating where the


heaviest outbreaks will be. This will ease in the early hours. In


some places there are loads of nine to 10 Celsius. `` Loews. For a brief


time tomorrow morning, it is looking very dry, quite quiet, then it is


not long before the next band of rain comes. This one could be a bit


heavier, more active. You can see a lot of dark colours there. It would


be quite torrential, and possibly contain thunder. It won't last for


too long. Later on in the afternoon, it will get dryer, but it is milder


than today, with highs of 11 degrees. As rain rattled through, it


will turn a bit breezy. This is what is going on over the weekend. We


have two more bands of rain coming through, but because of the timing


of those, one is Saturday and the other is Sunday into Monday. It


deals still going to be mild, although it will be quite windy.


This is what the weekend is looking at. Highs of nine to 11 Celsius.


at. Highs of nine to Tonight's headlines from the BBC. 22


air ambulance and police helicopters are grounded after a fault is


discovered. And rated inadequate for four years,


now there's a pledge from Birmingham City Council to transform children's


services. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be


back at ten o'clock with more on the ?48 million biomass plant planned


for Birmingham which will be able to power 17,000 homes a year. Have a


great evening.


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