Editor's Comment on online grooming, and letters in this week's Solihull Observer - The Solihull Observer

Editor's Comment on online grooming, and letters in this week's Solihull Observer

Solihull Editorial 22nd Sep, 2017   0


ONLINE grooming and sexual exploitation of children is as unacceptably prevalent as it is sickening.

This week, we feature three initiatives to tackle it, from a school head, a charity (NSPCC) and the multi-agency West Midlands-wide ‘See me, hear me’ campaign.

Yet disturbing cases continue. Equally troubling is Solihull School headmaster David EJJ Lloyd’s revealing and welcome account of how increasingly school time is being spent dealing with issues and anxiety related to pre-teens’ social media obsessions. He calls on parents to act.

It’s surely also time for MPs to change the law to more effectively clamp down on social media giants to prevent more internet abuse, as the NSPCC has said recently.


Many people are surprised to learn there are more than 81,000 children in care in the UK – and almost 50,000 are teenagers.

With a child going into care every 20 minutes, there are simply not enough foster carers to look after them.

We urgently need more people who could make a huge difference to a young person’s future by providing the safety and security that can prepare them for life.

Our foster carers open their hearts and homes to children and teenagers who have had a very difficult time, helping them to achieve their potential in a safe and loving family. And in return, our carers tell us the rewards are simply amazing.

It’s vital that we find the right families for all children and young people – ones in which they’re able to be themselves and express themselves.

We need foster carers from all cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. You can be of various ages, single or married, male or female, a homeowner or renting, straight, lesbian, gay, trans or bisexual. We believe you can be a foster carer and so should you.

Anyone considering becoming a foster carer – especially for teenagers – should visit our website at www.barnardos.org.uk/fostering

Hugh Sherriffe

Director Barnardo’s Midlands & South West


The NHS provides excellent care to thousands of people day in, day out. We all have an understanding of the pressures the NHS faces, but this should not stop people from speaking up when things go wrong.

Data published last week by NHS Digital revealed that there were 208,400 complaints about the NHS in 2016-17. However, all too often, patients and their families are not fully aware of their rights. The NHS Constitution states that everyone has the right to complain, to have their complaint about NHS services acknowledged within three working days, and to have the matter properly investigated.

It is important that patients are also aware that if they are dissatisfied with the way in which their complaint is handled, they have the right to bring their complaint to us – the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) – for an independent and impartial view.

Where the PHSO upholds complaints, we recommend that the NHS puts things right by offering an appropriate remedy. This might be an apology, a financial remedy, the creation of action plans to ensure mistakes are not repeated, the introduction of additional staff training, or changes to policies and procedures. Throughout our work, we see a wide variation in the quality of NHS complaint handling so it is imperative that people know their rights and are not afraid to complain when mistakes are made.

Rob Behrens, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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