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Thurs 4 September 2003

It's not vested interests - it's what works!

UNISON, the union representing Scotland's children's panel staff and youth workers, today criticised Jack McConnell, Scotland's First Minister for his claim at the weekend that 'professional interests' were soft on anti-social youngsters.

Iain Montgomery, Secretary of UNISON's Scottish Childrens' Reporters Administration Branch, said "The First Minister has really missed the point. What children's panels and youth workers want, is a system that works, not knee-jerk political sloganising. It is clear that a properly resourced Childrens' Panel system does work, and until recently it was being held up across the world as the way to deal with young offending.

"If Jack McConnell wants to have the kind of impact on peoples' lives he talks about then what is required is proper training, support, and resources for the various parts of the system. The staff and volunteers of the Childrens' Panels, Children and family social workers, and youth and community workers are all suffering from increasing pressure and diminishing resources. No amount of rhetoric will change that.

"UNISON wants to work with the Executive to tackle anti-social behaviour, but simply making up policy on the hoof - like the suggestion of a Corrections Agency - doesn't help that process."


For Further Information Please Contact: Iain Montgomery, Secy, UNISON Scottish Childrens' Reporters Administration Branch 07787 887 061(m)