Published Tuesday, 2nd August 2005


Defra:  Green alternative to knocking down - Elliot Morley, Climate Change & Environment Minister at Defra has announced his approval for an environment-friendly refurbishment of homes (in Acton, West London), which is intended cut the amount of harmful carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.


The developer, Berkeley Homes has hired climate change advisers Future Forests to measure the environmental effects of the project and to suggest how emissions could be reduced through initiatives such as using renewable electricity during construction.


Unavoidable carbon emissions from the construction phase will be ’offset’ by Future Forests, who will financially support a micro-hydro electricity project in Bulgaria and a sustainable forestry scheme in Bedfordshire, which will save & absorb carbon dioxide emissions.


This is in keeping with taking a ’world’ view of global warming, which accepts that the effects of one action can be offset by other actions, not necessarily in the exact same location.

Press releaseSteps individuals can take to reduce the amount of energy ~ Future Forests ~ Sustainable Development Commission ~ PHARE Micro Hydro in Bulgaria ~ UK’s Sustainable Development website



Defra: What the French have given us – Following on from the French President’s comment last month regarding BSE and ‘what the UK gave France’, this month he finds himself ‘inside the greenhouse throwing stones’.


A cull of 10,240 pheasants (imported for shooting from France) at a farm in Surrey, to stop the spread of Newcastle Disease, has been completed and the affected premises are now being cleansed & disinfected.  Defra has continued to urge poultry keepers all over the country to stay vigilant following the outbreak at the farm and to alert authorities if their birds show suspicious symptoms.

Press release ~ Timeline of events ~ Disease factsheet ~ The Poultry Site ~ Institute of Animal Health



DH: Getting a second opinion on NHS statistics – Last week saw the government claiming that the most recent statistics show that NHS vacancy rates are continuing to fall to low single figures, with GP and Consultant numbers now at an all time high. 


However, on closer inspection, it appears the figures relate to vacancies of 3 months or more, which means that they don’t really reflect the strain on those staff having to cover vacant posts for those 3 months.


Nor do they necessarily reflect the situation in London, as highlighted in a recent King’s Fund report, which said:

·         staff turnover remains high, with London accounting for around one-third of all NHS vacancies across England

·         recruitment to the allied health professions in the capital continues to be difficult

·         GP vacancies remain high, with shortages likely to increase in the future.


One also wonders just what will be the fallout from the implementation of Agenda for Change, which is causing a degree of unhappiness among many staff as they start to get the results of the job matching & evaluation exercise.


One could also comment on the wide use of agency staff to ‘fill’ vacancies!


Like with all statistics, one needs to read the small print, but surely they should realise that using the phrase ‘synthetic estimates’ is hardly likely to inspire confidence in those reading them?

Press release ~ press release ~ King’s Fund - Trends in London’s NHS Workforce ~ NHS Professionals ~ King’s Fund - London Calling? International recruitment of health workers to the capital ~ Synthetic Estimates of healthy lifestyle behaviours


General News

OFT: Consumers using credit brokers to introduce them to sources of mortgages and consumer loans of £25,000 or less, are being reminded by the OFT that, if they are not found a suitable loan within six months and do not take up any loan offered (for whatever reason), the broker can only keep £5 of the arrangement fee.

Press release ~ Consumer Credit Act 1974 Section 155 - Right to recover brokerage fees  - Guidance note ~ The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (No.1) Order 2003 ~ Consumer Credit Act 1974 – OFT Business information


OFT:  The OFT has recently searched the premises of 22 companies in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire under warrant as part of an investigation into allegations of collusive tendering for public and private contracts in the construction industry between 2000 and 2005.


The OFT operates a leniency policy under which companies that report anti-competitive behaviour may qualify for 100% immunity or significant reductions from financial penalties under the Competition Act.

Press release ~ OFT - Enterprise Act 2002 ~ Guidance on the OFT’s leniency programme for cartels ~ Seeing the light ~ Confess to the OFT ~ Competition Act leniency regime ~ DTI – Enterprise Act ~ Competition Act Chapter I - prohibition on anti-competitive agreements.


OFT:   The OFT has launched a market study into public sector information holders (PSIHs).  The study will look at whether or not the way in which PSIHs supply information works well for businesses, and examine whether PSIHs have an unfair advantage selling on information in competition with companies who are reliant on the PSIH for that raw data in the first place.

Press release ~ Public Partners Information Scheme ~ The Regulations on the Re-use of Public Sector Information ~ HM Land Registry ~UK Hydrographic Office ~ Office of Public Sector Information ~ EC research led to publication of commercial exploitation of Europe’s public sector information


OFT:  The OFT has written to eight major credit card companies to consult on its provisional conclusion that the levels of default charges they impose (e.g. for late payments) are excessive, bearing in mind that the law restricts the damages that can be awarded to compensate for loss suffered as a result of a breach of contract.

Press release ~ Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts (UTCCRs) – consumers ~ UTCCR - business ~ Treasury Committee Report (scroll down & click on ‘Default Charges’) ~ Response to Treasury Cttee


DH:  A report found that over 700 people are currently barred from working in regulated social care settings by the Protection of Vulnerable Adults Scheme (POVA), which was one year old last week.

Press release ~ PoVA – Guide to scheme ~ FAQs ~ PoVAFirst ~ Bichard inquiry ~ Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) ~ NHS - Protection of Vulnerable Adults ~ NHS - Protection of Children Act scheme (POCA) ~ DH - Practical Guide to POCA ~ List 99


HSE:  The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has signed an agreement with the National Trust and Swindon Borough Council to work together on health and safety at Trust premises.

Press release ~ Strategy for Workplace Safety in Great Britain to 2010 and beyond, ~ H&S (enforcing authority) regulations 1998: A-Z guide to Allocation


Cabinet Office: Five new non-party-political peers recommended by the House of Lords Appointments Commission have been announced by the government

Press release ~ Appointments Commission


ODPM:  Entries are being invited (by Monday, 5 September 2005) for this year’s Deputy Prime Minister’s Awards for Sustainable Communities, which are intended to recognise people, projects and initiatives that contribute to making towns, cities and communities, including those in rural areas, better places in which to live and work.

Press release ~ To apply on-line ~ ODPM awards website ~ Details of 2004 Finalists ~ ’Homes for All’ ~ ’People, Places and Prosperity’


CIOB:   The CIOB have issued a ‘Position Statement’ in which they claim that the London Olympics 2012 is the perfect vehicle to promote a career in the built environment. They also support the use of temporary and re-usable venues along with demountable grandstands, as providing a sustainable solution that helps minimise capital expenditure and creates a harmony with the needs of the community.


The statement provides details of key bodies, facts & figures, construction timelines (with estimated costs) and venue information.

Press release ~ London Development Agency (LDA) ~ The Olympic Delivery Agency (ODA) and The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) ~ London Olympics Bill


HM Treasury:  The Treasury are consulting (closes 16 September 2005) on its proposals to strengthen & modernise the arrangements under which a limited number of commercial banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland are permitted to issue their own banknotes

Press release ~ Consultation ~ Bank of England ~ Design of Scottish Banknotes ~ Ulster Bank


DTI:  Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks has published two consultations on different aspects of connecting & regulating remote sources of renewable energy to the grid.  Both consultations close on 19 October 2005.

Press release ~ ’Adjusting Transmission Charges for Renewable Generators in the North of Scotland’ ~ ’Regulation of Offshore Electricity Transmission’  ~ DTI renewables website ~ British Wind Energy Association ~ Renewable Energy in Argyll ~ Energy Act 2004 (section 185)


DCMS: The DCMS and ODPM have launched a public consultation (closes 17th October) on revisions to the criteria used to assess a building’s suitability for listing, as they consider that the current criteria are broad & unclear and that the practice used by English Heritage when assessing buildings for listing needs to be clarified.

Press release ~ Consultation documentation ~ Heritage Protection Review


DH:  Chief Nursing Officer Chris Beasley has launched a consultation (ends October 21st, 2005) regarding the future development of mental health nursing in England.  The consultation is seeking views as to how mental health nurses should contribute to a wide range of issues, including:

·         Services for people from black and ethnic minority groups

·         The delivery of psychological therapies

·         Health promotion

·         Meeting the needs of carers.

Press release ~ consultation document ~  Delivering "Choosing Health" ~ "Delivering Race Equality" ~ Royal College of Nursing ~ RCN survey ~ National Institute of Mental Health in England (NIMHE) ~ A good choice for Mental Health ~ Mental Health and Social Inclusion

Home Office/DH:
Measures to tighten the procedures for the prescribing of controlled drugs in patient care have been announced in a joint consultation (closes 21 October 2005) by the Home Office and the Department of Health.  This consultation is concerned with implementing changes proposed in the Government response on prescribing of controlled drugs and strengthening the audit trail.

Press release ~ Misuse of Drugs Legislation consultation ~ Safer Management of Controlled Drugs ~ DH Substance Misuse website ~ Home Office Drugs Misuse website ~ Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) ~ Fourth Report of the Shipman Inquiry


Defra:  Views are being sought on proposals to restrict, and in some cases ban, the keeping of endangered species and related specimens in the United Kingdom.  The Government also proposes to apply the EU regulations to restrict the private keeping of primates to specialist keepers able to show they were properly equipped to house and care for them.  Consultation closes 31 October 2005.

Press release ~ Consultation paper ~ Defra - Global Wildlife and Zoos website ~ Council Regulation (EC) 338/97 ~ UK CITES website ~ International CITES website ~ WWF ES website ~ ARKive images website ~ UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

Welsh Assembly Govt.: A new website that provides people with information on the quality of local authority social services has been launched.  It will have details of the joint reviews carried out by the Social Services Inspectorate for Wales and the Wales Audit Office, plus copies of leaflets, and a detailed handbook.

Press release ~ Joint Review website


Welsh Assembly Govt:  Patients who are having problems coping with difficult times during their life, such as the loss of a loved one or depression, will now be offered a range of professionally selected self-help books to complement traditional treatments as part of the Book Prescription Wales initiative being extended across Wales.

Press release ~ Health Challenge Wales ~ Self-help books for depression: how can practitioners and patients make the right choice? ~ Primary Care Question Answering ServiceNHS Direct


HSE:  The HSE has launched a new guide for safety and other trade union representatives, offering practical advice on long-term sickness absence and return to work issues. It outlines six key actions that union representatives can take, in partnership with employers, to reduce sickness absence and help sick employees to successfully return to work

Press release ~ Working together to prevent sickness absence becoming job loss ~ TUC H&S website ~ HSE sickness absence website ~ INDG397 - Off work sick and worried about your job ~ INDG399 - Managing sickness absence and return to work in small businesses


Defra:  Defra has published two more guidance notes on pollution control standards for installations regulated by local authorities under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act.

Press release ~ Pollution Prevention and Control Act ~ EA -Pollution Prevention and Control ~ PG6/27(05) - Vegetable matter drying processes ~ PG4/02 (05) - Fibre re-enforced plastics

Annual Reports

FCO:  The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Science and Innovation Network annual report has been published.

Press release ~ Network Annual Report for 2004-2005 ~ FCO Science & Innovation website ~ Science & Technology (S&T) Strategy

General Reports & Other Publications

Water Voice:  A coalition of consumer bodies has expressed disappointment that the Government’s response to a House of Commons Trade and Industry Committee report - Debt and Disconnection - failed to acknowledge the need for an overhaul of the current system of third party deductions, against a background of rising utility bills.

Press release ~ House of Commons Trade and Industry Committee report, Debt and Disconnection ~ Debt and Disconnection: Government Response to the Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2004-05 ~ Third party deductions scheme ~ Citizens Advice – Evidence to DWP working Party ~ Energy Retail Association ~ energywatch ~ National Consumer Council ~ Water UK ~ WaterVoice


ODPM:  The Audit Commission has published the Fire and Rescue Authorities’ Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) - the first independent review of England’s 47 authorities.

Press release ~ Fire CPA reports for English Fire and Rescue Authorities ~ ODPM Fire & Rescue Service website ~ Fire Fire White Paper, Our Fire and Rescue Service  ~ National Framework for the Fire and Rescue Service ~ Latest Fire Statistics


DfT:  The Department for Transport has today published National Statistics on the travel habits of residents in Great Britain.

Press release ~ National Travel Survey: 2004 ~ FOE transport website


DTI:  The 2005 Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics has been published.  With many detailed tables, supported by charts and commentary, the Digest provides comprehensive data for 2004 and an account of trends in energy supply and demand in the United Kingdom.


In addition, data for 2004 in Energy Consumption in the United Kingdom have also been released, which brings together statistics from a variety of sources, providing a comprehensive review of energy consumption in the UK since the 1970s.

Press release ~ Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics ~ Energy Consumption in the United Kingdom ~ Energy - its impact on the environment and society


HSC:  The Health & Safety Commission has published the latest detailed statistics on fatal injuries in HSE and local authority (LA) enforced sectors in 2004/05 - Statistics of Fatal Injuries 2004/2005.

Press release ~ Statistics of fatal injuries ~ HSE Risk management website


DCMS:  The DCMS and MLA support the recommendations in an independent report by PKF Accountants and Business Advisors that examined a case for a national purchasing agency for libraries, streamline processes and extended opening hours.

Press release ~ Report ~ DCMS libraries website ~ LGA Efficiency task group ~ Society of Chief Librarians

Legislation / Legal

Defra:  Environment Minister Elliot Morley has agreed to make a drought order to allow Southern Water to reduce the compensation flow from Weir Wood reservoir to the River Medway from 5.45 Ml/d to 3.6 megalitres a day.

Press release ~ EA Drought web pages ~ Weir Wood reservoir


Defra:  A pilot programme of lay TB cattle testing is to start next month, Defra has announced.  The ’Veterinary Surgery (Testing for Tuberculosis in Bovines) Order 2005’ permits competent State Veterinary Service Animal Health Officers to be trained in ’intradermal skin testing techniques’ and, under direct veterinary supervision, to carry out tuberculin testing and measure & record the results.

Press notice ~ Defra TB website ~ Consultation on this pilot


DCA:  The Court of Appeal has handed down its judgment in the case of R (Burke) v the General Medical Council. The judgment of the Court is to allow the GMC’s appeal, and to set aside the declarations made by the judge.


Mr Burke took proceedings because he does not wish to die of hunger & thirst and wished to be assured that before his condition reached its final stage, artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) would not be withdrawn.

Press release ~ Judgement ~ Law reports


ODPM:  New rights for leaseholders to receive regular statements of their service charges are to be delayed following concerns raised by social landlords in a recent consultation.  The ODPM does not expect progress on other outstanding accounting provisions in the 2002 Act to be delayed and that a further announcement on the commencement of these provisions will be made in due course.

Press release ~ ODPM Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 ~ ODPM Leasehold website ~ Section 21 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 ~ DCA website

Policy statements & Initiatives

DfES:  Pilot schemes to examine the practical questions of building on the phonics teaching already present in primary schools and early years settings, and further catch-up classes for children with severe literacy problems will be introduced in 200 selected primary schools and linked early years settings from September, Schools Minister Andrew Adonis has confirmed.

Press release ~ Playing with Sounds programme ~ Rose Report ~ National Literary Trust - phonics teaching ~ Ofsted – Teaching of Phonics ~ Reading Recovery~ Literacy Framework ~ PIRLS international study


DfES:  Education and Skills Secretary Ruth Kelly has announced that every baby and young child in England will receive free books in an expansion of the current Bookstart scheme.

Press release ~ Bookstart ~ Booktrust ~ National Literacy Trust


DfES:  News of a summer camps programme that will provide sporting & educational activities over the next two years, for over 20,000 children from England.

Press release ~ Do it 4 Real ~ YHA Hampstead Heath ~ YHA London website (under construction) ~ Young People’s Fund ~ Youth Green Paper


DfES:  The government has announced increased weekly thresholds for the existing Higher Education Childcare Grant and the widening of categories of eligible childcare to allow students parents using carers approved under the new Childcare Approval Scheme access to the HE Childcare Grant.

Press release ~ Higher Education Childcare Grant ~ Childcare Approval Scheme

EU legislation, initiatives, etc

The Government proposes to apply the EU regulations to restrict the private keeping of primates to specialist keepers able to show they were properly equipped to house and care for them - See ’consultation section’ for details.

Business & other briefings

HMRC:  Business Brief 14/05


·         VAT - Disclosure of VAT Avoidance Schemes - Changes to the rules

·         VAT - Partial Exemption: Tribunal decision in National Provident Institution (NPI)

·         Consultation document on changes to the VAT exemption for insurance-related services

Press release ~ Business Briefs 2005


Reminder for events being held next month

Date: 08/09/2005 to 22/10/2005
London and Paris
Organiser: Royal British Legion -Forthcoming Fundraising Events


Pedal To Paris - Oversubscribed

The tenth anniversary of our hugely popular annual ride from Greenwich, London to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.



Date: 13/09/2005
Venue: Malmaison Hotel, Birmingham
Organiser: Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply
This half day seminar will deal with the practical implementation of the new rules, recent court cases covering the current legislation and procurement under EU treaty rules.



Date: 21/09/2005
Organiser: Capita Conferences
The Government wants to increase the provision and access to low cost home ownership in
London, South and South East England.


Recently a raft of policies have been introduced which are designed to help aspiring homeowners onto the property ladder and this conference will keep you up to date with the rapid pace of reform.


In the morning, expert speakers will outline and evaluate current and future low cost home ownership schemes including shared ownership, HomeBuy and Key Worker programmes. Local authorities and housing associations will be encouraged to apply these schemes as widely as possible, so now is the time to consider their impact on your organisation.


For further information on the above (and subsequent) events please click HERE