DWP:  Office of Disability Issues - David Blunkett has announced that a new Office for Disability Issues will be established later this year.  The government claims that this will ‘give real choice to people with disabilities over how services are delivered, ensuring they are suited to their needs and helping them achieve independence’.


Quite how this will mesh with the proposed new ‘super quango’ one-stop shop offered by the proposed Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) remains to be seen.


According to government estimates, there are around 10 million adults (22%) and 700,000 (5%) children in Great Britain likely to be covered by the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which defines disability as ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.


The Government is also publishing a Green Paper on welfare reform in the autumn.

Press release ~ SUCCESS ~ ’Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People’ ~ Pathways to Work ~ DDA ~ Canadian Office for Disability Issues ~ New Zealand ODI ~ Submit an opinion on UK ODI (asap)



Defra:  Fly Away Carbon - British Airways has launched a new scheme, backed by the government, where its customers can volunteer to help to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from their flight by making a contribution to an organisation called Climate Care to invest in sustainable energy projects that tackle global warming by reducing carbon dioxide levels.  It would be nice to think that the ‘government backing’ included participation in the scheme for all Ministerial air travel.


Air travellers can choose to make a donation via a link from the airline’s website for the cost of the emissions created by their journey.  For example, the donation on a return flight from London Heathrow to Madrid will cost £5 and a return flight from London Heathrow to Johannesburg will cost £13.30.


The money raised will be used by an organisation called Climate Care to invest in sustainable energy projects, in countries such as South Africa and India that tackle global warming by reducing carbon dioxide levels.


The airline believes that emissions trading is the best long term mechanism for limiting aviation carbon dioxide emissions and supports aviation’s inclusion in the European Union emissions trading scheme from 2008.

Press release ~ BA Carbon Emissions web page ~ Defra Climate Change website ~ Climate Care ~ Sustainable Aviation website ~ A strategy towards sustainable development ~ Sustainable Travel International website ~ Aviation and the environment: Using economic instruments ~ Aircraft Emissions and their Impacts on the Atmosphere  ~ GreenSkies website ~ CAA Environment web page ~ Skan-UK website



DfES:  The Great Vegetable Challenge- As excitement builds for the 14 October cinema release of The Curse of the Were-rabbit, the first big screen adventure for triple Oscar winner Nick Park’s Wallace & Gromit characters, the DfES’ ’Growing Schools’ programme has teamed up with Aardman Animations to encourage more primary schools to create an ’outdoor classroom’ to help their pupils learn about diet, nutrition and the natural environment.


The ’Great Vegetable Challenge’ competition will invite every primary school in the country to design its own growing area for a chance to win £2,500 to have their garden built, with four runners-up prizes of £500 to help them develop their playgrounds into a growing area.


This item provides the perfect excuse for readers to preview Wallace & Gromit in their latest outing, in which they have formed their own humane pest control company, ’Anti-pesto’ and are defending village allotments from the clutches of the Were-rabbit on the eve of the annual Giant Vegetable Competition.

Press release ~ ’Growing Schools’ programme ~ The ’Great Vegetable Challenge’ ~ The Curse of the Were-rabbit ~ Aardman Animations

General News

MOD:  The UK’s ground forces are getting a state-of-the-art Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) giving them accuracy out to a range of almost 70 Kilometres.

Press release ~ Defence Procurement Agency ~ Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System ~ Light Mobile Artillery Weapon System rocket launcher


Defra:  Defra is funding the first 2 years of setting up costs for a new professional body – The Association of Commons Registration Officers - for people involved in the registration of common land and town & village greens.

Press release ~ Defra Common Land website ~ Commons Registration Authorities (CRAs) ~ Research the feasibility of enabling an Association of commons registration officers (RE0222) ~ Fifth National Seminar on Common Land and Town and Village Greens in Gloucestershire.~ Common Land Stakeholder Working Group ~ Common Land Policy Statement 2002 ~ Common land, town and village greens and the Commons Bill

DH:  Students undertaking nursing and midwifery diplomas in England are now to continue to receive their NHS bursary payments throughout pregnancy & childbirth under interim arrangements, which have been backdated to June 1st 2005.

Press release ~ NHS Student Grants ~ Financial help for health care students


CC:  The Competition Commission (CC) has provisionally concluded that consumers have allegedly been ‘overcharged’ in the region of £80 million to £100 million a year, for the supply of consumer credit through store cards and associated insurance in the UK.  The CC is required to publish its final report by 17 March 2006 but expects to report before that date.

Press release ~ The provisional findings report and Remedies Notice ~ OFT’s referral


WaterVoice:  WaterVoice Central will meet Severn Trent Water and South Staffordshire Water in Birmingham on Thursday 22 September 2005, before it hands over to the new Consumer Council for Water on 1 October.

Press release ~ WaterVoice ~ new Consumer Council for Water website should be www.ccwater.org.uk from Monday 3 October

Policy Statements and Initiatives

Defra:  The government has published a strategy for plant health, which is intended to bring together existing policy on preventing, containing and eradicating plant pests and diseases across Defra and look to the future.

Press release ~ Plant Health Strategy for England ~ NAO report - Protecting England and Wales from plant pests and diseases ~ Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food: Facing the Future, ~ Legislation and International procedures ~ Defra main Plant health website ~ Horticultural Code of Practice ~ Invasive non-native species ~ Review of Non-native Species Policy ~ England biodiversity strategy - Annual stock take 2003-2004


Defra:  England’s farmers will be able to save themselves time, money and labour by plugging into a new web-based system which will ultimately ‘transform their partnership with Government’.  The Whole Farm Approach, which will launched next year, could save the farming industry up to £28million a year, depending on uptake, by cutting red tape and delivering a quicker, simpler and more efficient way of doing business.

Press release ~ Whole Farm Approach ~ Animal Health and Welfare strategy ~ Farm Assurance schemes


Defra:  Advice from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that Defra’s proposed new BSE testing system for older cattle should replace the Over Thirty Months (OTM) rule, has been accepted by the Government.  The OTM rule currently imposes an automatic ban on all older cattle from entering the human food chain, while the new system will allow UK cattle born after 31 July 1996 to be slaughtered and sold for human consumption.


However, older UK cattle born before 1 August 1996 will continue to be excluded from the food chain and there will be a new legal offence of sending cattle born before August 1996 to abattoirs producing meat for human consumption. The new testing system is expected to replace the OTM rule on 7 November 2005. Changes in export restrictions are not expected to come into effect before early 2006.

Press release ~ Food Standards Agency (FSA) BSE website ~ FSA - Over Thirty Months (OTM) rule ~  Defra’s BSE website ~ National CJD surveillance unit ~ Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee ~ DH CJD website


DfES:  Skills Minister Phil Hope has welcomed the start of the new college year with the launch of new teaching materials and techniques aimed at making Further Education more stimulating.  Providers are invited to nominate Subject Learning Coaches who will get free professional training and membership of regional subject networks so that they can coach colleagues in their own organisations.

Press release ~ Success for All ~ Success for All – The Second Year 2004 ~ Learning and Skills Council


DH:  A team from University College London and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne have been chosen to lead a £20 million initiative to speed up the development of new medical treatments for dementia and neurodegenerative diseases such as Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntingdon’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.

Press release ~ Dementias and Neurodegenerative Disease Research Network ~ Alzheimer’s Society ~ Parkinson’s Disease Society (PDS) ~ UK Clinical Research Network (UKCRN) ~ Scoping report for Wales Dementias & Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network


MOD:  All Armed Forces personnel and their families have been urged to register to vote by Defence Secretary, John Reid, as he launched MOD’s annual voter registration campaign.  Distribution of 400,000 copies of ’Register to Vote’, a combined leaflet and registration form, to all members of the Armed Forces is underway and coincides with a publicity campaign across Service media.

Press release ~ ‘Don’t lose your right to vote’ ~  ‘About my vote’ ~ The Electoral Commission ~ The British Army website ~ Help Information Volunteer Exchanges (HIVEs)


DCMS:  The Government has announced ‘reforms’ which it claims will dramatically streamline the way sport is organised, clarify the responsibilities of sporting bodies and greatly improve the chances of Britain’s medal hopefuls for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Press release ~ DCMS Sport website ~ Carter Report on Sport ~ Carter Report Supporting EvidenceUK Sport ~ Sport England ~ Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) ~ TASS 2012 Scholarships ~ Disability Sport England – TASS 2012 ~ English Institute of Sport (EIS) ~ SportsAid ~ National Coaching Foundation


Defra:  People who have an interest in, and are involved in managing heather and grasslands, are being consulted (closes 8 December, 2005) on proposed changes to the laws and Code of Practice governing heather and grass burning in England.

Press release ~ consultation paper ~ Defra Heather and grass burning website ~   H&GB Code ~ Swaling Checklist

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

OFT:  A new advice leaflet for consumers considering entering into Hire Purchase (HP) agreements has been published by the OFT after three major car finance lenders made improvements to their consumer agreements to provide fairer and more transparent contract terms.

Press release ~ Hire purchase - Making the right choice ~ Consumer regulations website ~ BBC guide to Hire Purchase ~ Faulty goods bought on hire purchase


MOD:   New public safety measures have been announced following a wide-ranging Ministry of Defence (MOD) review into helicopter low flying training, initiated in response to recommendations from the Louth and Spilsby Coroner. From 3 October, more accurate information on planned helicopter flying will be available to the general public through the MOD freephone helpline.

Press release ~ British Horse Society ~ Be Seen - Be Safe campaign ~ MOD’s Review of Military Helicopter Low Flying ~ MOD’s low flying website


DTI:  A new publicity campaign to tell people what they need to know about civil partnerships has been launched by the government.  The guidance gives people information about how they can register their civil partnership and what their new rights and responsibilities are in areas like tax, pensions and benefits.


Couples will be able to give notice at a Register Office that they want to register a civil partnership and will be able to register after 15 days, from 21 December 2005.

Press release ~ Women & Equality Unit ~ Leaflets & guidance

Annual Reports

DCA:  The Crown and County Courts in England and Wales Annual Reports covering April 2004 to March 2005 have been published.

Press release ~ Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS) ~ Crown Court Annual report ~ County Court Annual report

General Reports and other publications

Healthcare Commission: The results of a major national survey show users of mental health services are satisfied with the care they get.   However, the mental health patient survey, published by the Healthcare Commission, also highlights a number of areas where care could be improved, including better emergency support and better information on the side effects of medication.

Press release ~ Survey of users of mental health services 2005 ~ Count Me In, the National Mental Health Ethnicity Census ~ Mental Health and Social Exclusion ~ DH – Choosing Talking therapies ~ User Led research on talking therapies ~ DH Mental health website ~ National Service Framework (NSF) for Mental Health – modern standards and service models ~ Care programme approach (CPA) ~ Effective care co-ordination in mental health services: modernising the care programme approach - A policy booklet ~ An audit pack for monitoring the care programme approach


DTI:  Employment Minister Gerry Sutcliffe has launched a DTI-commissioned report into the characteristics of a High Performance Workplace, based on a comprehensive survey of almost 3,000 UK businesses, which shows that firms which have high performance practices outperform firms that do not by £1,600 per worker each year.

Press release ~ Work Foundation ~ People, Strategy and Performance ~ DTI employment relations website


DWP:  Estimates of the levels of fraud & error occurring in claims for Pension Credit over the period October 2003 to September 2004 have been published on the Dept. for Work and Pensions website.  The estimated overpayment was 4.9% of the benefit paid over the year, which is equivalent to an estimated overpayment of £280 million.

Press release ~ Fraud and Error in Pension Credit from October 2003 to September 2004 ~ Targeting Benefit Fraud website ~ Benefit Fraud Inspectorate ~ Benefit Fraud Reporting Form


Defra:  England’s coastland, rivers, farms, and environmentally sensitive land are ‘reaping’ the results of action to safeguard and improve England’s wildlife and countryside, according to scientific data released by Defra.  The new data show that 67.4% of ecologically-sensitive SSSI land is in favourable condition - up from 56.9% in March 2003.

Press release ~ Working with the grain of nature: a biodiversity strategy for England (see latest news for indicators) ~ Defra SSSI website ~ English Nature SSSI website


Acas:  Acas has welcomed the publication of the final in a series of reports on part-time & flexible working by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).

Press release ~ Britain’s Hidden Brain Drain ~ The EOC’s investigation into flexible and part-time working website (see ‘related documents’ for previous reports) ~ Acas FW website ~ DTI FW website

Legislation / Legal

ODPM:  The ODPM and DEFRA claim that new measures to make buildings more energy efficient will save one million tonnes of carbon per year by 2010, equivalent to emissions from more than one million semi-detached homes. 


The changes to Parts F and L (ventilation and fuel conservation) of the Building Regulations two years ahead of schedule from April 2006 and the implementation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive are hoped to result in making a major contribution to the UK’s commitment to combat climate change.

Press release ~ Energy Efficiency in Buildings Directive (Parts L&F): Interim publications 2005 ~ ODPM Building Regulations website ~ Energy Performance of Buildings Directive ~ Air pressure leakage testing of buildings ~ Decent Homes programme ~ Low or Zero Carbon Energy Sources – Strategic Guide (Interim Publication) ~ Energy Smart Project~ Building a future for Wales: a strategy for sustainable housing ~ Energy Efficiency: The Government’s Plan for Action


FSCS:  Consumers may be entitled to compensation of up to £48,000 if they have lost money as a result of their dealings with any one of 43 firms recently declared in default by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Consumers who believe they may have a claim should contact the Scheme on 020 7892 7300. The service is free.

Press release ~ Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) ~ FAQs


OFT:  The OFT has launched a market study into the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), which is the method by which the UK Departments of Health seeks to control the price of the branded medicines for prescription in the hospital and community sector.

Press release ~ Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme: Eighth Report to Parliament, Department of Health, March 2005. ~ DH PPRS website ~ Assessing the impact of public sector procurement on competition

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

CC:  The Charity Commission has changed its main contact number and the new number - 0845 3000 218 - will charge customers at local rate, rather than national rate. Minicom users can contact the Commission on 0845 3000 219. Calls to the former number will be automatically redirected.

Press release ~ Charity Commission

Business and other briefings

Pensions Regulator:  A five-point plan to help employers and trustees meet the challenge of pensions tax simplification has been prepared by the Pensions Regulator.  The briefing highlights the need for action in respect of the changes from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and provides guidance to help employers and trustees prepare for A-day on 6 April 2006.

Press release ~ Pensions Regulator website ~ Pensions Regulator - Pension Tax simplification ~ HMRC - Pension schemes guidance


Defra: The Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales met on 5 September 2005 to consider the representations made in response to its further proposals (made on 27 July 2005) for a new Wages Order to come into effect on 1 October 2005.  The Board carefully considered the representations received and as a result decided to confirm its proposals for a new six-tier grading structure.

Press release ~ Defra Agricultural employment website ~ Agricultural Wages Board ~ T&GW Agricultural wages campaign


HMRC:  HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has launched a project to measure the administrative burden on small business of complying with the tax system.  Businesses and other groups that are contacted as part of the exercise are strongly urged to participate to ensure that their views are included.


HMRC would like to hear from any organisations wishing to participate and can be contacted on abmeasures@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk or 020 7147 0492.

Press release ~ Better Regulation ExecutiveHMRC – Supporting Enterprise & Productivity ~ Hampton Review - Reducing administrative burdens: effective inspection and enforcement ~  Better Regulation Task Force (BRTF) report - Regulation: Less is More


HMRC:  VAT Business Brief 18/05


·         VAT: A review of the scope of the VAT exemption for medical services - announcement of consultation (closes 16 December 2005)

·         New Civil Investigation of Fraud Procedures

Press release ~ Business Briefs 2005 (it sometimes takes time to appear here)

Reminders for events being held next month

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


Date: 3 - 5 October 2005

Venue: Earls Court One, London

Organiser: Neil Stewart Associates - Reinventing Accountability for the 21st Century

A two-day international event and training day which will explore innovative approaches to building accountable leadership and organisations in the 21st century.


Date: 4 October 2005

Venue: Birmingham

Organiser: Homeless Link - Making the link: opening up research into homelessness  

Homeless Link supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, provide an opportunity for people both within and outside the homelessness sector to talk us about the wider issues affecting homeless people.


Date: 5 - 6 October 2005

Venue: Victoria Park Plaza Hotel, London

Organiser: Chartered Institute of Purchasing & SupplyPremier Conference

The central themes of this year’s Premier Conference examine the contribution that purchasing and supply management can make to the management of risk, whilst ensuring security of supply, and how procurement can drive innovation, both within organisations and with external suppliers.


Date: 6 October 2005

Venue: 4 Hamilton Place, London W1

Organiser: Local Government ChronicleImproving policy design

A timely conference that will analyse the recent initiatives aimed at improving communication between central, regional and local government.


Date: 6 October 2005  

Venue: Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch, London

Organiser: National School of Government - Is your HR function Fit for Business?

Feedback on a project involving a consortium of nine public sector organisations including government Departments and Agencies, and local authorities, who wanted to improve HR performance. All participants will receive a complimentary copy of the project report - ‘Fit for Business’.


Date: 9 October 2005

Venue: Newcastle race course

Organiser: Royal British Legion - Newcastle Raceday


Date: 13 October 2005

Venue: Inmarsat Conference centre, London EC1

Organiser: Neil Stewart AssociatesModernising Mental health services: Developing Leadership, Recruitment, Retention and training

An opportunity to discuss how best to develop a more diverse and coherent NHS Mental Health workforce, with structured career development programmes and a drive to recruit more service users as part of the workforce.


Date: 22 October 2005

Venue: Chepstow race course

Organiser: Royal British Legion - Chepstow Raceday


Date: 22 October 2005

Venue: Fairfield Halls, Croydon.

Organiser: Royal British Legion - Biennial gathering of the Massed Bands of the Royal British Legion Concert


Date: 26 – 28 October 2005

Venue: Sunningdale Park, Larch Avenue, Ascot, SL5 0QE

Organiser: National School of Government - Developing Tomorrow’s Manager 1

Equipping people to work at a level to provide top-quality support to their managers and developing their potential to be the leaders of tomorrow. Designed for administrative officers and their equivalent, on completion you should understand the basis of effective management


Date: 27 October 2005

Venue: London Hilton, Park lane, London

Organiser: Chartered Institute of Purchasing & SupplyCIPS Supply Management Awards 2005

The awards are run jointly by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) and its fortnightly magazine, Supply Management. For the CIPS Supply Management Awards 2005, the 10 team and two individual categories will be presented at a black-tie gala dinner at the London Hilton on Park Lane on Thursday 27th October.


Date: Up to 15 December

Venue: none

Organiser: Citizenship Foundation - Take a hands-on approach to politics, journalism and the legal system


Now in it’s 15th year, The National Youth Parliament Competition helps 11-18 year olds understand the democratic process and gives them the opportunity to video their own parliamentary debate.


The National Political Journalism competition, challenges young people (11-18 year olds) to experience first-hand the relationship between politics and the media. They are asked to tackle a local, national and international political issue of their choice, by taking on the roles of media professionals and create real news pieces in print, TV or radio.


In the Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial competition students take on the roles of court staff, lawyers & witnesses and present the prosecution and defence of a specially written criminal case. 


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

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