The NSPCC sent an immediate response to our JCB campaign letter, submitted to them on Monday 12th October and demanding an explanation of why they felt it was ok to accept a massive donation from a company renting out their equipment for the destruction of West Bank homes. Our concerns are not new to them, their reply clearly highlights that they have spent time considering just how serious and damaging taking this money from JCB would be. The reply is below:

Dear [SWAN],

The NSPCC’s mission is to prevent cruelty to children, fighting child abuse in the UK and providing support and advice to both victims and professionals.

In line with Charity Commission guidance the NSPCC has produced ethical corporate fundraising guidelines reflecting its values in relation to this goal and undertakes due diligence based on criteria approved by its Trustees in relation to corporate partners.

The purpose of the above due diligence is to ensure that the NSPCC is not associated with any organisation connected with slavery, human trafficking and child labour or where a director or officer has been convicted of a sexual offence.   

The export activities of a corporate do not form part of our ethical checks unless there is demonstrable evidence that there is an association between such corporate and a country on which the UK Government/Department of Trade has formally imposed trade restrictions. 

The issues which your letter raised were discussed by the Board of Trustees and having also considered our Complaints Policy further, it appears that your allegations relate directly to JCB’s activities rather than the NSPCC’s.  Therefore, in accordance with this policy, I suggest that you contact JCB direct.

We are grateful for the employees of JCB who continue to fundraise for our work with and for children in the UK.

Yours sincerely,

Josephine Swinhoe

Executive Director of Income Generation

Yet the worries are serious – and the public are concerned. The Guardian on Friday saw numerous letters submitted expressing dismay at JCB’s actions, and SWAN are responding publicly. Watch this space. Do contact the press and join our campaign.

Swan statement on the Amnesty International report “As If Expendable”

As social workers, service users and carers we welcome the publication of Amnesty International’s report which exposes the government’s criminal failure to protect elderly and vulnerable people in care homes during the pandemic. The report makes very difficult reading as it lays out the statistical evidence for deaths in care homes during the pandemic. 18,562 deaths from Covid in care homes from December 2019 to June 2020 , the vast majority of these people over the age of 65. This represents 40% of the total number of Covid deaths. 13,884 (76%) died in care homes the remainder in hospital after leaving care homes. The actual number of Covid deaths likely to be much higher as the number of Covid “excess deaths” was 28,186 a 46% increase on the number of deaths in care homes for the same period last year. These are shocking statistics and it needs to be remembered that each number represents a human life lost and the devastating effect this has on family and carers.

Amnesty International rightly challenge Matt Hancock’s assertion that the government placed a ring of steel around care homes to protect their residence. The government knew that the UKs 400,000 care home residents were particularly vulnerable to the Covid virus.

Amnesty cites the following as the evidence of the governments failure to discharge its Article 2 and Article 3 towards UK citizens with regard its positive duty to protect life and protect its citizens from inhumane and degrading treatment:

Mass discharges from hospital into care homes of patients infected or possibly infected with COVID-19 and advice that “[n]egative tests are not required prior to transfers / admissions into the care home”.

Advice to care homes that “no personal protective equipment (PPE) is required if the worker and the resident are not symptomatic,” and a failure to ensure adequate provisions of PPE to care homes.

 A failure to assess care homes’ capability to cope with and isolate infected or possibly infected patients discharged from hospitals, and failure to put in place adequate emergency mechanisms to help care homes respond to additional needs and diminished resources.

A failure to ensure regular testing of care home workers and residents.

Imposition of blanket Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) orders on residents of many care homes around the country and restrictions on residents’ access to hospital.

 Suspension of regular oversight procedures for care homes by the statutory regulating body, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

SWAN supports the demands of Amnesty International including a full and independent public inquiry.

We are now entering the second wave of the pandemic and this criminal negligence must not be repeated. We support the immediate demands of Amnesty International:

Equal access for care home residents, staff, and visitors to regular testing.

Adequate representation and involvement of the social care and care home sector in the decision-making processes related to matters which impact care home residents at all levels.

 Adequate and continued supply of PPE for care homes to enable them to comply with national guidance and ensure all staff have undertaken training on its purpose and correct use.

Adequate mechanism to assess and build the capacity of care homes to deliver appropriate infection prevention and control, including in regard to their ability to isolate new or returning residents effectively and limiting the movement of staff as much as possible between care homes; and to provide adequate care for residents with COVID-19 and other residents.

Full access for care home residents to the NHS services to which they are entitled.

A thorough review of DNAR forms that have been added to care home residents’ care plans and medical files since the beginning of the pandemic to ensure they have been completed with the full knowledge, consideration and consultation of the resident and/or their family or independent advocate where they do not have mental capacity, according to the terms set out in the Mental Capacity Act. Ensure all staff working in the home understand when and how DNARs apply and that they do not in themselves indicate that a patient does not want to be taken to hospital or does not want to receive (non-CPR) medical treatment.

 Empowerment of care homes to develop visiting policies which respect and fulfil residents’ human rights and which give voice and agency to them, their families, and/or their legal guardian, while ensuring their safety and that of their fellow residents.

Full transparency in the collection and publication of all relevant data related to the deaths of older people in care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The balancing of human rights is complex, peoples right to life needs to be protected and we understand that social distancing and shielding the vulnerable are necessary steps to protect infection. But the protection from abuse and the right to contact with our families are also important. Adequate funding for ongoing testing in care homes and for local authority staff could ensure that safe visiting takes place. Social workers, healthcare professionals, families and representatives could safely have “eyes on” visits to ensure residents wellbeing and undertake statutory protection of the vulnerable.

SWAN believes that this was an avoidable tragedy and the blame for what has happened lays firmly with the current Conservative government. 40 years of neo liberal policies in social care and public health have undermined the capacity of public services to protect the most vulnerable in our society which has been compounded by over a decade of austerity. The government’s negligence, belief in herd immunity and prioritising the handing of contracts to private firms is further evidence that concern for profits overrides concern for human life.

We ask our members and supporters to read the full report from Amnesty, share this statement and ask our trade unions and professional bodies to do the same.

SWAN believes that these tragedies will continue until we have fully funded national care service that is accountable to service users, carers and the public.



The UK Palestinian Mental Health Network recently highlighted to SWAN that the NSPCC has accepted a £5 million pound donation from JCB.

This is highly problematic and has led to SWAN spearheading a social work campaign to have the NSPCC refuse this money. Today we publish our campaign letter, sent to their CEO and signed by SWAN and 14 other high profile social work professionals. Any further letters sent by Swan supporters will encourage the NSPCC to respond. Can you help? Read ours below:

Text Box:

Peter Wanless


Neil Berkett

Chair of the Trustees

Weston House

42 Curtain Lane


EC2A 3NH                                                                                                      11-10-20

Dear Peter and Neil,

We are writing to you in regard to the NSPCCs decision to accept a donation from JC Bamford Excavators Ltd (JCB). This is because we believe there is very clear evidence that these machines being used to demolish Palestinian homes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

We do not accept that the NSPCC can exonerate itself from all responsibility by claiming that this relates to JCB’s activities and not that of the NSPCC.

We refer you to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory.”

JCB has been fully informed of the use of its equipment in ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights, yet continues to supply its Israeli partner, Comasco, with that equipment. Consequently, JCB may be aiding and abetting the commission by another person of a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

In March 2016 the United National Human Rights Council adopted resolution 31/36 that called upon business enterprises in all states to take all measures necessary to comply with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The UN identified a number of business activities that raised particular human rights violations concerns. These included the supply of equipment and materials facilitating the construction and the expansion of settlements, the supply of equipment for the demolition of housing and property and the destruction of agricultural farms, greenhouses, olives groves and crops.

Subsequently, in 2020, the UN report A/HRC/43/71 named JCB as one of 112 business entities which the UN Human Rights Office considers in breach of international law.

JCB are currently the subject of a formal complaint by eminent lawyers (Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights) who cite JCB’s failures under OECD guidelines to apply due diligence within their human rights obligations.

Research by the Shoal Collective found that JCB’s products were used in 2018 in at least 130 demolitions, including the destruction of at least 2 schools and 31 homes. These demolitions displaced 163 people, including 31 children. They generally are used to carry out demolitions in vulnerable farming or Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley or the South Hebron Hills. The bulldozers were most often used to destroy people’s homes or animal structures, olive and fruit trees. They were also used to destroy wells, and community freshwater systems, cutting off villagers from water sources.  Reports complied in 2019 found that JCB machinery was involved in demolition of property that displaced 123 people and 39 children. 

We recognise the excellent work NSPCC does and applaude your aim to “Give a voice to children when no one is listening” and to “fight for every childhood.”  But British children should not benefit at the expense of Palestinian children and their families. Nor should a charity accept money from a company complicit in war crimes.

We therefore call on the NSPCC to demonstrate a truly ethical position, cease to take money from JCB and prove that every child matters.

We very much look forward to your reply and hope that the NSPCC will reconsider its position.  


Alissa De Luca-Ruane  on behalf of:

Social Work Action Network Steering Committee

Professor Nigel Parton

Emeritus Professor, University of Huddersfield

University of Huddersfield

Dr Nigel Patrick Thomas
Professor Emeritus of Childhood and Youth 
Associate Director, The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation

School of Social Work, Care and Community

University of Central Lancashire

Norma Baldwin

Professor of Child Care and Protection (Emeritus)

University of Dundee

Ian Butler – Emeritus Professor of Social Work at the University of Bath. 

Kate Ramsden, UNISON Scotland (and children’s rights officer). 

Diana Neslen, Retired Social Worker

Professor Claudia Bernard
Co-Head of Department 

Head of Postgraduate Research
Social, Therapeutic & Community Studies
Goldsmiths, University of London

John Stevenson

Retired Social Work Team Manger

Past Chair UNISON Scotland Communications Committee

Leah Levane, co-chair, Jewish Voice for Labour

Barrie Levine – Lecturer in social Work, Glasgow University.

Lorraine Radford, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Central Lancashire, UK.

Henry Maitles

Emeritus Professor of Education

School of Education and Social Sciences

University of the West of Scotland

Ann Davis, FAcSS
Emeritus Professor Social Work and Mental Health
University of Birmingham

Eric Blyth

Emeritus Professor of Social Work

All queries may be directed to swansocialwork@gmail.com or Annie O’Gara on

 0114 4382351.