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Dear Dr Starkey
Early Interventions: The political risk
The Management of Green Paper Family Policy
Thank you so much for your letter of 21 September enclosing a reply from Margaret Hodge.
I wonder if you would do a reply?
I’m afraid that something has gone dreadfully wrong in Whitehall. The intended reform project - on which the Green Paper is based - has been deliberately destroyed, swapped for a Civil Service spoiler. They’ve been working on the wrong project. This is well known outside the Department. It is bound to become a major bone of contention over the coming months. I’ve enclosed a draft letter you might consider as the basis for a reply. Anything along these lines would do.
SUGGESTED REPLY TO MARGARET HODGE
Dear Mrs MARGARET HODGE
The Early Interventions project
Thank you for your reply of 17 September to my constituent David Mortimer in relation to his concerns about the Early Interventions pilot put forward in my letter to the Right Hon Charles Clarke of 25 August. Mr Mortimer has asked me to say how very helpful he found your reply. In particular he notes you say, at paragraph 3, that Family Resolutions “does not differ from the original project”. In addition he notes the suggestion, at paragraph 5, that ‘Early Interventions’ only existed as a briefly-considered name-change to the FR project ‘earlier this year’. In this connection,. Mr Mortimer has drawn my attention to your comment to the House the previous year (23 October 2003, Hansard 332WH) about ‘the early intervention schemes in Florida’ of which you say: ‘I have looked at the scheme… it is extremely interesting and we are considering whether we can take it forward with Mrs Justice Bracewell.” Mr Mortimer has asked me to raise the following points. He has seen documentation clearly showing that it was the fully-designed ‘Early Interventions’ project which was - as you told the House - submitted to the DCA and DfES on 8 October 2003. He also claims that Early Interventions was the project approved by Lord Filkin - as confirmed by Lord Filkin’s letter to the CEP on 29 April 2004 (‘The Early Interventions project which was developed by New Approaches to Contact (NATC) and others, is being developed and taken forward’.) Mr Mortimer claims there is no resemblance between the project which has come out of Whitehall (Family Resolutions) and the agreed project which went into Whitehall (Early Interventions). The core EI innovation was deliberately omitted. He claims that departmental officials spent a year working up a private project of their own - which is the opposite of the project submitted, the opposite of the project approved - and, incidentally, of no use. Since this Section 8 project was, as you say, intended to form a ‘key proposal’ in the Green Paper, Mr Mortimer wonders if the Green Paper will be undermined. In making these observations, Mr Mortimer claims that the attempted substitution of the Early Interventions pilot is well known to the press, parents groups and lawyers; he further claims that a full professional announcement to this effect, rejecting FR as the wrong project, is scheduled for publication. Mr Mortimer has asked me if you can find out which civil servant or civil servants decided to - as he puts it - ‘swap’ one project for another.
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