Scottish Executive: Held responsible at last? - Once again it looks like Westminster is being left behind with regards to progressive social law making, as an ‘Expert Group’ - set up by the Scottish Executive to review the law on corporate homicide in Scotland - has recommended creating a new offence of corporate killing through recklessness.
Under the proposed new offence, organisations whose actions or failure to put policies, practices & systems in place to ensure the health & safety of its employees & the public, could face prosecution if these actions result in death.
This differs from the Home Office’s proposals which will essentially build on the English common law of manslaughter, with an organisation being found guilty if the way in which its senior managers managed or organised its activities caused a person’s death through gross breach of a duty of care.
The Group considered that those proposals would not translate easily into Scots law and could retain the problems associated with identifying a ’controlling mind’ - the main difficulty with the current law of culpable homicide as it applies to organisations.
Other recommendations from the Expert Group include a new stand-alone offence to deal with directors and others who are directly responsible for the death of employees or the public and a secondary offence for directors or senior managers whose actions/omissions significantly contributed to the new offence of corporate killing being committed.
Press release ~ Report ~ Expert Group ~ Unison Scotland ~ CBI Scotland Submission ~ T&G Response to report ~ STUC response ~ ALARM website ~ HSE – Risk Management ~ ROSPA ~ Crown prosecution Service ~ Basis of Liability ~ Centre for Corporate Accountability
HSE: Legal ‘costs’ of RSI - A new database expanding & updating existing information on Court judgments in repetitive strain injury (RSI) cases, will be of direct & immediate benefit to the Health and Safety Executive who funded it and to legal and health professionals working in the field RSI, trade unions, insurers & designers.
The work related upper limb disorder (WRULD) database has free access to users who register and provides details of judgments including the factors that Courts considered important in reaching their decisions, degree of care exercised by employers and amount of damages awarded to claimants
It is estimated that in 2004/05 375,000 people in Great Britain suffered from a musculoskeletal disorder(MSD) mainly affecting the upper limbs or neck that was caused or made worse by their current or past work.
Press release ~ HSE Musculoskeletal disorders website ~ RSI database ~ HSE research report RR010 ’How the Courts are interpreting HSE guidance and health and safety regulations: An exploratory study of Court Judgements in personal injury claims for WRULDs’. ~ HSE Musculoskeletal Disorders Programme ~ RSI-UK Mailing list ~ RSI Association ~ Aching arms (or RSI) in small businesses: Is ill health due to upper limb disorders a problem in your workplace? ~ NHS Direct Online
ippr: Healthy. Wealthy and Demanding - Reforms to patient choice in the NHS could help reduce health inequalities according to new research published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr), which says the government’s current choice agenda advantages the healthy, wealthy & demanding.
The report recommends a set of measures to make health care choices effective for the worst off social groups, which are currently prevented from exercising full choices by lack of information & knowledge, language problems, inadequate access to transport and IT, or disability.
Examples of health inequality highlighted include the fact that hip replacements were 20% lower among lower socio-economic groups, despite roughly a 30% higher need and that around 1.4 million people miss, turn down or do not seek healthcare because of lack of access to transport.
The ippr has also published its report, which explores what choice means for people over age 65 and examines the Government’s proposals on individual budgets.
Press release ~ Equitable Choices for Health (scroll down for free summary) ~ A Mature Policy on Choice ~ Pfizer in the Community ~ Patients Forum – White Paper: Choosing health ~ RCN – Real choice in health service ~ Indices of deprivation ~ Kings Fund – Health deprivation
WG Newswire: Proving white collar crime – If your organisation was asked to produce reliable evidence of what has happened in a white collar crime, or to resolve a legal dispute – how well would it respond?
Well, help is at hand, as the Information Assurance Advisory Council has published a Guide to Digital Investigations and Evidence. Nearly all organisations underestimate how often they may be called on to produce reliable evidence of what has happened in & around their ICT systems and they also underestimate the demands that the legal system makes in terms of ensuring the admissibility and reliability of digital evidence.
Unless an organisation has developed a detailed planned response to typical risk scenarios, much potential evidence will never be collected or will become worthless as a result of contamination.
Moreover, during an investigation, the organisation will be constantly faced with a dilemma: Cut service provision when essential systems are switched off so that evidence can be properly preserved; or be profoundly ‘handicapped’ in proving your case because evidence cannot be produced.
The first part of this guide is directed at major decision-makers and their senior advisers, including lawyers, while the second part of the guide is for those who will have to implement policy such as information security staff, computer security incident response staff and those tasked with dealing with the sharp end of an investigation.
Press release ~ Information Assurance Advisory Council ~ Director’s and Corporate Advisor’s Guide to Digital Investigations and Evidence ~ Information Systems Integrity Group, London School of Economics ~ National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) ~ Scottish NHTCU
Defra: Pets Abroad – With an Englishman’s ‘home’ just as likely to be in Spain, France, Greece, Cyprus, etc. these days, many more people than before are concerned about whether they have to leave their pet(s) in kennels, while they spend perhaps months abroad.
Historically, the UK has required rabies-susceptible animals to be quarantined for six months, but since 2000, the UK’s Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) has allowed pet dogs and cats to enter the country without quarantine provided certain conditions are met. In 2004, the EU introduced the European pet movement regulation and, under this system, the UK has broadly retained its quarantine and PETS requirements.
By February 2007, the EU is due to carry out a review of some of the requirements to the EU-wide system and Defra, therefore, considers that the time is right to carry out an evidence based review of rabies import policies, which will cover import requirements for rabies-susceptible mammals including dogs, cats, rabbits and rodents, but not for animals, such as birds.
Defra has written to interested parties, providing them with an opportunity to comment (by 10 February 2006) on & influence the future direction of policy.
Press release ~ Consultation on review of rabies disease import control policy ~ Contact details for Animal Health Divisional Offices (AHDO) and State Veterinary Service ~ Defra – Bringing pets into the UK ~ Dog and Cat Travel and Risk Information Scheme (DACTARI) ~ European pet movement regulation ~ Defra Rabies Factsheet ~ Health Protection Agency on Rabies ~ DH Rabies website
UK CEED: The wider benefits of ICT - The UK’s most innovative local authorities, businesses & voluntary sector organisations are being invited to enter the 2005 eWell-Being Awards (closing date for entries Friday 2nd December 2005).
The awards, which were developed by SustainIT – an initiative of the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development (UK CEED) - and supported by BT, are the first in the UK to identify & promote the environmental, economic & social benefits of ICT.
The awards cover a wider remit than that of the government’s current targets for e-enabling of access to public service, including projects which make use of ICT to reduce the environmental impacts of energy, water & resource use and ICT projects or applications which encourage more efficient & flexible ways of working.
It is also looking for voluntary sector projects that use ICT to enhance access to services & opportunities for socially excluded individuals & groups and entries focusing specifically on enhancing ICT access & services for elderly or disabled people.
Full article ~ SustainIT ~ UK CEED ~ BT Environment & CSR Campaign ~ UK Phenology Network ~ Woodland Trust ~ Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. ~ South Witham Broadband (SWB)
Neil Stewart Associates: Is the NHS equality ready? - Diversity policy is one of the biggest challenges facing hospitals and health services in the coming two years with new duties to promote disability & gender equality and forthcoming start-date for legislation on age equality. On top of the requirement for NHS bodies to have renewed their Race Equality Schemes in May 2005 is an obligation to develop Disability and Gender Equality Schemes.
The interaction of these extended legal frameworks will generate a new round of cases and demand higher standards of practice & sensitivity. Also most of the new standards apply not just to employment law but in goods & services, the conduct of the whole organisation, how it delivers its services, monitors its performance and conducts its relationship with suppliers, partner organisations, contractors and PFI partners.
The new duties will present particular contract & professional problems which must be addressed now and not left until the last minute as their solution will take time, leaving some organisations open to legal action by default.
The conference - Promoting Disability, Gender and Age Equality (02/12/2005) - will set out how the NHS and other healthcare providers can roll out policies, which not only promote better employment practices, but exceed the standards being demanded by law in all areas of activity.
Further details ~ DH Race Equality website ~ Department of Health Race Equality Scheme 2005-2008 ~ Race and Diversity strategy ~ Mental Health Bill - Consultation on Race Equality ~ DTI Age Discrimination ~ Acas Equality & Diversity website
Home Office: Security does not appear to come cheap these days as, fees for a new standard 10-year adult passport are going to rise by £9 to £51, effective from 1 December 2005. This 21% rise actually forms part of a 70% rise in just 3 years, as passports in October 2003 cost just £30.
The rise is required to ‘reflect the cost of implementing key anti-fraud measures to combat the rapidly growing threat of passport fraud and forgery’ and the UKPS are seeking a further fee review next year.
Some of the additional funding was used to introduce the secure delivery of passports scheme (reducing losses during delivery by over 80%) and to launch a database of lost & stolen passports.
Press release ~ Briefing note on the UKPS current programme of work ~ Personal Identity Project – interim report of Glasgow pilot ~ Hansard report of Consular Fees ~ UKPS –Biometric Passports
CIOB: Due to the increasing demand for places on the Chartered Institute of Building’s Graduate Diploma Programme, the CIOB will be inviting other accredited universities to express their interest in developing & delivering this programme.
The Diploma was designed to meet the needs of employers who want to recruit non-cognate graduates to construction-related jobs, not only to meet the current shortfall, but also to supply the different skills & approaches that are currently needed.
Press release ~ CITB-ConstructionSkills ~ bConstructive ~ National Construction College ~ Promoting Women in Construction
ODPM: Home Information Packs, which are being introduced by Government to reform the home buying & selling process, will become mandatory from 1 June 2007. The Packs are expected to cost around £600 +VAT for the average home and included in this is the Home Condition Report, costing around £300 plus VAT.
It is expected this scheme will be operating by the summer of 2006 and a ’dry run’ will follow later in the year designed to provide assurance to the industry and the public in advance of mandatory introduction.
Press release ~ ODPM HIP website ~ Current consultation on HIP Draft Regulations ~ Getting a Home Inspector Qualification
Cabinet Office: The Cabinet Office has announced the relocation of a grand total of 30 staff to Birchwood in the North West of England from the Cabinet Office’s e-Government Unit (eGU. The move is designed to establish a shared service centre with closer & improved interaction with the UK IT profession. The relocation will begin in January 2006 and take place in phases over the course of 2006
The relocation is an integral part of Cabinet Office’s response to the Lyons Review, which aims to relocate 20,000 civil service posts away from London and the South East of England. The Chancellor reported in his Budget (March 2005) that 4,300 posts had moved out and announced a further 3,600 (a total of 7,900) as having been identified to be ‘delivered’ by March 2008.
Press release ~ Birchwood Park ~ Lyons Review ~ e-Government Unit (eGU) ~ British Chamber of Commerce Response to Lyons Review ~ Choosing Locations for Government Business ~ OGC – Relocation FAQs
Defra: New targets to increase recycling of magazines have been formally agreed by the government and the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA), who represent some 90% of all magazine publishers in the UK. The agreement should see 50% of magazines recycled by the end of 2007, increasing to 70% by the end of 2013.
Press release ~ Defra Producer Responsibility website ~ Voluntary Agreements ~ Local Authorities Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) ~ WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) ~ Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) ~ Paper recycling - exposing the myths
Defra: Some of the UK’s most environmentally sensitive upland lakes and streams are starting to recover from the effects of acid rain. According to new research the amount of acidic sulphur in UK waters has generally halved in the last 15 years and, in turn, acidity is declining & wildlife is beginning to recuperate.
Since 1970 there has been an 84% decline in sulphur dioxide emissions (from 3.8 million tonnes to 1 million tonnes in 2002) and a 37% decline in emissions of nitrogen oxides.
Press release ~ ’Future of Britain’s Upland Waters’ ~ Defra Freshwater Umbrella research programme ~ UK Acid Waters Monitoring Network ~ EU Clean Air and transport ~ United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone Protocol (the Gothenburg Protocol) ~ National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NECD) (2001/81/EC) ~ Large Combustion Plants Directive (LCPD) (2001/80/EC) ~ IPPC Directive (96/61/EC)
HSE: The £1m Worker Safety Adviser (WSA) Challenge Fund third round is now open to small businesses that show a commitment to improving worker involvement in H&S, offering grants of up to £100,000 per application.
The aim of the fund is to inspire organisations to work together on projects that encourage & promote employees and their employers to co-operate in driving forward improvements in managing health and safety. Closing date for applications is Friday 16 December 2005.
Press release ~ Application forms ~ Award Winners for 2005 - 06 ~ Project North East (PNE)
DfES: Parents could obtain discounts & free child places on family breaks taken during the school holidays as the Government joins forces with the travel industry to launch Every Lesson Counts, yet another drive to tackle absence from schools.
The Government also confirmed it is expanding the ’Fast Track to Attendance’ programme to target over 10,000 ’serial truants’ who account for 1 in 5 of all instances of truancy across the country, with their parents facing a penalty notice or court prosecution unless their child’s attendance improves.
Press release ~ Pupil Absence in Schools in England: 2004/2005 (Provisional) ~ Every Lesson Counts ~ Federation of Tour Operators ~ Evaluation of Fast Track to Prosecution for School Non-Attendance Research Information ~ Teachernet – Beating Truancy ~ Truancy Sweeps
Defra: The government has claimed that communities at risk from flooding have more to gain from flood management than simply acquiring better protection against rising water and efforts to maximise the benefits to the environment, to people & to local economies should be an integral part of measures to reduce flood risk.
A new fund has been launched as part of the Making space for water programme and £1.5m is available over three years for the development of flood & coastal erosion risk management projects which deliver a range of environmental, social and economic benefits. The closing date for proposals to reach Defra is 30 April 2006.
Press release ~ Making space for water ~ Defra Flood Management website ~ Institute of Civil Engineers – Engineering skills for flood risk management ~ National Flood forum ~ Preparing for Floods ~ National Appraisal of Assets at Risk of Flooding and Coastal Erosion in England and Wales ~ Flood Ranger ~ Wallasea Wetlands
DH: The government has launched the Oral Health Plan for England, Choosing Better Oral Health, which is intended to support the new contracts for dentists in promoting preventive oral care and also to help Primary Care Trusts target poor oral health across the country. The Oral Health Plan includes a 6-step programme aimed at improving oral heath and reducing health inequalities.
Press release ~ Choosing Better Oral Health ~ BASCD ~ Personal Dental Services (PDS) pilots ~ DH Dental Services website ~ British Dental Health Foundation ~ Community Dental Health ~ Dental Health services Research Unit ~ Oral Health Specialist Library ~ Adult Dental Health Survey ~ Children’s Dental Health ~ British dental Association
Home Office: The Government has set out how its Drug Intervention Programme (DIP) will ensure that women and those from minority ethnic groups receive the treatment they need.
The Race and Diversity strategy is intended to localise treatment by commissioning services to meet local needs, continue to develop a workforce which responds appropriately & sensitively to different needs and increase community engagement in the development & delivery of local services.
Press release ~ Drug Interventions Programme ~ Drug Strategy ~ Race and Diversity strategy ~ Drug Action Teams ~ National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) ~ DH Substance Abuse website ~ Treatment Works website ~ Staff development toolkit for drug and alcohol services
Home Office: The government is claiming that communities will have a bigger say in future how crime and anti-social behaviour are dealt with and will be able to trigger local action by police & local authorities to tackle the most persistent problems.
The measure was one of a number of initiatives outlined in the National Community Safety Plan (NCSP), which sets out the Governments key priorities for improving the safety of our communities in the next three years and is being put forward as a new holistic approach to community safety, which joins up work across central government, including contributions from the ODPM, DfES, DH and DfT.
Also published is the fourth annual National Policing Plan (as an annexe to the NCSP), which sets out national priorities for policing in England and Wales over the next three years.
Press release ~ see following APA Press release ~ National Community Safety Plan 2006 - 09 ~ Previous Nation Policing Plans ~ Association of Police Authorities (APA ) ~ Home Office Communities website ~ Together We Can Action Plan ~ Safe Stronger Communities Fund (SSCF)
Pensions Regulator: A consultation document (closes 12 December 2005) on the Pensions Regulators approach to implementing the requirements on cross-border schemes has been published, which sets out the regulators overall approach to operating the cross-border requirements. These will come into force at the end of the year.
Press release ~ Consultation document ~ PR’s Cross Border scheme website ~ DWP consultation (closed)
Defra: Given the extremely large number of individuals who list ‘fishing’ as their hobby, Defra should get a large response to their current consultation (closes 8 February 2006) on proposals to increase the number of mature bass around the coast of England, by increasing the minimum landing size (MLS) of bass from 36cm to 45cm.
The Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society presented Defra with a Bass Management Plan, outlining how they wished to see bass stocks managed in the United Kingdom for the benefit of recreational fishermen.
This plan proposed a range of measures including the introduction of a bass licence, carcass tags, bag limits for recreational anglers, a closed season, an increase in the MLS, enhanced bass nursery area protection, net restrictions within 1 mile of the coast and near shore netting restrictions.
Press release~ Consultation ~ Net Benefits ~ Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society ~ Management plan ~ British Marine Life Study society
DCMS: The government has announced a package of support to help police and local authorities effectively tackle alcohol-fuelled disorder. It is intended to ensure that enforcement authorities are able to make the most of the new powers to deal with alcohol-related problems contained in the Licensing Act 2003.
The package consists of a ’How To’ guide setting out how councils and the police can use the new powers in the licensing act to crack down on alcohol fuelled disorder and details of a phone line to offer local authorities advice on implementing the new act (020 7072 7447), which will be live by 24th November.
Press release ~ Summary of The ’How To’ guide ~ DCMS Alcohol & Entertainment website ~ The Law and Being Drunk ~ Alcoholics Anonymous
DH: The government has announced a new guide for the NHS that is intended to put new focus on older people’ mental health, including delirium, dementia & depression. The new service development guide - ’Everybody’s business. Integrated mental health services for older adults: A service development guide - sets out the key components of a modern older people’s mental health service.
The guide will be supported by a mapping programme that will collect information on older people’s mental health services, their availability and how they are staffed. Information from the mapping programme will help managers and commissioners develop services and bids for resources and also help support performance management.
Press release ~ ’Everybody’s business. Integrated mental health services for older adults: A service development guide’ ~ www.everybodysbusiness.org.uk ~ DH Mental Health website ~ Care Services Improvement Partnership ~ Healthcare Commission ~ Commission for Social Care Inspection ~ National Institute for Mental Health in England ~ Redesigning Mental Health Day Services
Defra: A new website has been launched to provide information & advice on how legal and sustainable timber can be purchased, in line with the UK Government’s timber procurement policy. The Central Point of Expertise on Timber Procurement (CPET) website will be maintained by ProForest, which has wide experience in responsible purchasing.
Buyers & suppliers will find advice on how to specify legal and sustainable timber, how to assure themselves they are getting what they ask for, background information on how these practical solutions were developed, and under what criteria evidence should be assessed
Press release ~ Central Point of Expertise on Timber Procurement (CPET) website ~ ProForest ~ ERM website ~ UK Timber Trade Federation ~ Environmental Audit Committee Report: Buying Time for Forests: Timber Trade and Public Procurement
Defra: All Single Payment Scheme applicants in England should soon receive the SPS Information for Farmers and Growers - October 2005 Update, which meets requests from farmers for further guidance on important issues such as transfers of entitlements and calculating set-aside from 2006 onwards.
It also includes information that may be particularly relevant to growers of short rotation coppice and Miscanthus or other permanent crops grown on set-aside for non-food uses, who have until 16 December to amend their SPS application forms, to take advantage of recent changes to the eligibility rules for claiming the Single Payment on land growing permanent crops, multi-annual crops and energy crops.
Press release ~ Rural payments Agency ~ SPS publications ~ October 2005 Update ~ Farm Business Advice Service (FBAS) flyer for "knowing your options" service
Home Office: New guidance to protect children using chatrooms and search engines has been published by the Home Office. Internet service providers have helped develop the guides to create a safer online environment for children when they use moderated chat services or search engines.
The guidance says that providers should:
· offer users a way of reporting material that is illegal or potentially harmful to children;
· offer content filtering on search engines;
· manually review and approve websites included in search services aimed at children;
· consider whether they need human or automatic moderation for chatrooms;
· ensure where necessary staff who come into contact with children have had relevant Criminal Records Bureau checks.
Press release ~ search safely document ~ Home Office’s Internet Task Force for child protection ~ Internet Watch Foundation ~ Internet Crime Forum ~ Virtual Global Taskforce
DTI: Match Winners, a guide to encourage collaboration between the private sector & social enterprises has been launched as part of the first ever Social Enterprise Day in this year’s Enterprise Week.
The Match Winners guide, which has been developed in partnership with the Community Action Network (CAN) explores the outcomes of existing partnerships between social enterprise & private sector business and offers some new practical guidance on how to benefit from commercial collaboration.
Press release ~ Enterprise Week ~ Enterprise Solutions Award ~ Social Enterprise Coalition ~ Community Action Network (CAN) ~ FRC Group ~ The Cresco Trust ~ Charlton Football Club ~ Greenwich Leisure ~ Pack-it ~ Small Business Service – Social Enterprise ~ Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Said Business School, Oxford ~ Copies of Match Winners can be ordered by telephone on 029 2048 6000 or by email at Matchwinners@pack-it.com
DfES: The Foster review of Further Education (FE) colleges has called for a ’sharper focus to improve students’ employability and supply economically valuable skills’.
Press release ~ Foster Report and review website ~ From little acorns: Towards a strategy for spreading good practice ~ National Skills Academies Prospectus 2005/6: An innovative approach to meeting employers’ needs for training ~ LSC document: Priorities for Success - Funding for Learning and Skills ~ DfES White Paper: Skills Getting on in business, getting on at work ~ White Paper: 14-19 Education and Skills ~ National Employer Training programmes
NAO: A National Audit Office report - Reducing Brain Damage: Faster access to better stroke care - says that the priority afforded to stroke care by the Department of Health and the wider health service can be increased, given its impact & cost.
The report recommends further improvements in preventing, treating & managing stroke patients, in line with recent evidence, which would reduce the number of deaths, improve recovery rates, increase NHS efficiency and lead to significant financial savings.
NAO Press release ~ DH Press release ~ Reducing Brain Damage: Faster access to better stroke care: Executive Summary ~ Full Report (1.4Mb) ~ Economic analysis ~ Report on GP activity in line with the Quality and Outcomes Framework ~ Different Strokes website ~ The Stroke Association ~ Health Education Board for Scotland ~ Portable Scanners (news item) ~ DH Stroke website
NAO: The National Audit Office has published a report on the complexity of the benefits system. An appropriate degree of complexity exists where there is a balance between the system being detailed enough to meet the needs of a wide range of different individuals in various circumstances, yet straightforward enough to run efficiently - According to the NAO, the DWP has not yet achieved this balance.
Press release ~ Dealing with the complexity of the benefits system: - Full Report (1.2Mb) ~ Executive Summary ~ Social Security Advisory Committee ~ DWP Five Year Strategy ~ Available Benefits ~ Disability Allowance
DTI: The government has published an extensive study of the UK’s wind resource, which it claims underlines the ability of wind power to make a significant contribution to the UK’s energy needs and backs up the Government’s efforts to harness its potential.
The research, conducted by Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute for the DTI, analysed hourly wind speed records collected by the Met Office at 66 locations across the UK since 1970.
Press release ~ Wind Power and the UK Wind Resource (Scroll down for other links) ~ DTI Wind Power ~ National Energy Foundation
Cabinet Office: Baroness Fritchie has published an internal view report charting the development of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) since its establishment in 1995. The report is based largely on documentary evidence but also includes some commentary from key players who were involved in some way in OCPA’s development.
Baroness Fritchie said: "In January this year the Graham Committee on Standards in Public Life report ’Getting the Balance Right: Implementing Standards of Conduct in Public Life’ made a number of recommendations which may have a major impact on the work of my Office. I look forward to seeing the Government’s response to this report."
Press release ~ Internal Research Project examining the role and development of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments [VLF 1.3Mb, 233 pages] ~ Executive Summary ~ Study Topics for the OCPA Internal Review ~ Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life ~ Code of Practice ~ ’Getting the Balance Right: Implementing Standards of Conduct in Public Life’ ~ Seven principles of public life
Home Office: Responding to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs’ report and recommendations on methylamphetamine, the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke said:
"Methylamphetamine is a dangerous drug that has had a major impact on communities in countries such as the United States. It is fortunate that we are in a position to take early action by introducing strong preventative measures to halt its use."
Press release ~ Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs ~ Methylamphetamine report & summary (scroll down)
Defra: The epidemiology report on the case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 in a quarantine facility in Essex has now been received from the National Emergency Epidemiology Group and been published by Defra and its main findings are:
· Within the species documented as coming from Taiwan only the Mesias were infected with H5N1 and 53 out of 101 birds had died.
· Infection with H5N1 was transmitted between the Mesias, but there is no evidence of transmission to other species in the facility including the sentinel birds.
Press release ~ epidiomological report on avian influenza in a quarantine premises in Essex ~ Defra Avian Flu website
Defra: New changes to waste regulations are intended to help reduce the thousands of tonnes of household waste being fly-tipped each year. From Monday, November 21, all householders in England will have a responsibility, under the waste ’Duty of Care’, to ensure their rubbish is passed on to authorised carriers only. Those householders not taking reasonable measures to do so could face fines of up to £5,000.
Registered waste carriers, other than the local council, can now be found online thanks to a new ’waste carrier register’, set up by the Environment Agency.
Press release ~ Waste Duty of Care Regulations ~ Defra Duty of Care website ~ Defra Fly tipping website
DCA: Richard Brook has been appointed as the Public Guardian (designate) and Chief Executive of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The post of Public Guardian was established by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and will be created by the transition of the current Public Guardianship Office (PGO) into the new Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
The OPG will go beyond the current remit of the PGO which deals with financial matters for people who lack capacity, to regulating all decision-makers (Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputies) who are appointed to make the whole range of finance, health and welfare decision for people who lack capacity.
The new organisation will not be formally launched before early 2007, although it will run in transition mode for a year beforehand. Richard Brook will take up his appointment in February 2006.
Press release ~ Mental Capacity Act 2005 ~ Public Guardianship Office (PGO) ~ Mind website
DCA: The Legal Services Complaints Commissioner, Zahida Manzoor, has urged the Law Society’s complaints handling arm to make every effort to meet the targets included in its Plan. Speaking, as she published her Interim Report, ’Pushing for Change’, on the Law Society’s performance over the first half of this year, Ms Manzoor said:
"However, on current performance trends it is likely that the Law Society will only meet four out of seven of the targets included in its plan. It needs to make every effort to meet these targets, which would bring its service a step closer to being effective and efficient. At the end of the financial year I will have to decide if the Law Society has handled complaints in accordance with its Plan or not, and, if not, to consider if a penalty is appropriate."
Press release ~ ’Pushing for Change’ ~ Legal Services Complaints Commissioner (LSCC) ~ Law Society ~ Consumer complaints service ~ Consumer Complaints Board
DTI: The European Union has announced a new competition to ‘recognise & reward outstanding initiatives that have supported entrepreneurship in villages, towns and cities across Europe’ and is calling on all participating countries to promote these awards and to send in entrees before 31 May next year. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in November 2006.
The Awards were set up at the suggestion of the UK and are based on the UKs successful Enterprising Britain competition.
Press release ~ European Enterprise Awards ~ Enterprising Britain ~ EU Enterprise and Industry website ~ Sherwood Energy Village
HSE: A serious injury to a young warehouse employee has prompted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to emphasise a number of important safety issues to employers in the warehousing and commercial storage sectors. These include supervision of inexperienced workers, planning work at height and ensuring safety procedures are maintained outside normal working hours.
Provisional figures for 2004/5 show that 53 workers died after falling from height and nearly 4,000 suffered major injuries. Falls from height are the most common cause of fatal injury at work and account for 13% of all major injuries.
Press release ~ HSE Falls website
CABE: 94% of new private housing built over the last three years in the north of England fails to measure up on design quality, according to an audit published by CABE, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.
CABE reviewed the design quality of 93 schemes by the 10 largest volume housebuilders in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber, revealing that 24% of the schemes were judged ’poor’, with a further 70% are ’average’ and only 6% are ’good’ or ’very good’.
For many homebuyers, CABE believes the design of new housing in both the North and the South of England is not as good as they deserve and a similar picture is painted by the residents themselves
In a separate independent survey, 241 residents from 11 of the audited housing schemes were asked to rate the design of the place where they live. The resulting report, What it’s like to live there, revealed that the overwhelming majority consider where they live to be ’average’.
Both reports highlight three key weaknesses: Parking, poor layout and frequent failure to create places with a real sense of character and identity. All of which issues are due to be discussed this week at a 3-day forum of organisations involved in the huge housing expansion planned for the ‘Thames Gateway’, which will be looking at a design initiative drawn up by Essex County Council.
Full article ~ CABE ~ Housing audit: Assessing the design quality of new homes in the North East, North West and Yorkshire & Humber (VLF 2Mb) ~ What it’s like to live there (VLF 1.4Mb) ~ Housing Audit: Assessing the Design Quality of New Homes (VLF) ~ What home buyers want: Attitudes and decision making among consumers (VLF 1Mb) ~ Building for Life ~ Essex Design Initiative ~ ODPM – Greening the Gateway
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