DH:  Fine in theory, but in practice who pays for the changeover? - The Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, says that improving health services by cutting unnecessary emergency admissions could help the NHS save over £400 million a year, according to new figures from the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.


The NHS spends around £1.3bn a year on admissions for patients with 18 common ailments - known as 'ambulatory care sensitive' conditions - such as asthma, angina and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  The most frequent admissions - those patients who repeatedly call on emergency care services and are often admitted to hospital three times or more during a year - are often for one of these 18 conditions.


Such emergencies account for a large proportion of total hospital admissions, and this varies enormously from area to area. In some regions, it is less than 10% of hospital costs and in others it rises to nearly 25%.


The recent White Paper announced a fundamental shift in expenditure from spending on hospitals to spending on care closer to home and on preventative services, which makes sense when one considers that there are over 15 million people in England living with a long term condition and that the same procedure in primary care can cost as little as one-third compared to secondary care,


However, while she was able to provide examples of good practice to illustrate the benefits of this shift of emphasis from Acute to Primary Trusts, there were no details provided about how PCTs (many of whom are already millions of pounds overspent) could cope with both the set up & running costs of these additional services.

Press release ~ NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement ~ Echocardiography in Primary care: Evaluating an Open Accesss service ~ General Practitioners with a Special Interest (GPswSI) ~ Eldercare problem in Cornwall (EPIC) ~ 2004 NHS Improvement Plan ~ Supporting people with long term conditions to self care: A guide to developing local strategies and good practice ~ Supporting experienced hospital nurses to move into community matron roles: Executive summary ~ How a Community Matron can help you with your long term condition ~ Case management competences framework for the care of people with long term conditions ~ Supporting people with long term conditions: An NHS and social care model to support local innovation and integration


Cabinet Office:  What are your views on inequality? - The interim consultation report for the Equalities Review has been published and shows that persistent inequality could seriously damage the economy and cost society billions each year in lost income.


The report looks at what inequalities still persist, gives some novel ways to measure them and identifies eleven current challenges where there are critical penalties causing inequality.


They want your views (by 5 June) about whether or not the findings presented are along the right lines (see the Next Steps section of the report)  and will therefore be holding a series of consultation events around Britain from late April to early June.  Through these events they will consult further on their interim findings. If you wish to attend one of these events you can find out more at the Equalities Review website and you can register HERE.


A final report will be published in autumn 2006 which will recommend proposals for public policy to deal with the causes & affects of inequality.  It will also look at how to deal with new challenges such as the collection of genetic data, an ageing population and the increasing number of carers, and what to do when support systems fail.

Press release ~ Commission for Racial Equality ~ The Equalities Review: Interim Report for Consultation ~ Foundations for Measuring Equality ~ Discrimination Law Review


DfES:  Rose is ‘red’ & accepted - Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has welcomed the final report of the Rose Review of the Teaching of Early Reading and has announced that the Government would be revising the statutory national curriculum to require phonics to be the prime approach used in teaching children to read.


The report stresses that good teaching, attention to speaking & listening skills and the systematic learning of phonics are crucial to raise standards, with early interventions to prevent children from falling behind. 


She accepted all the recommendations in the report and launched a programme of training for teachers through the Primary National Strategy and changes to Initial Teacher Training led by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA).

Press release ~ Final report ~ Interim Report (December 2005) ~ Primary National Strategy ~ Early Years Foundation Stage ~ Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) ~ Review of personalised learning in 2020 ~ National Literary Trust - phonics teaching ~ Ofsted – Teaching of Phonics ~ PIRLS international study ~ Reading for purpose and pleasure - An evaluation of the teaching of reading in primary schools


DH:  Rachel Stevens feels all fruity - In a society that seems to mainly concentrate on getting the message over about Breast Cancer, pop star Rachel Stevens provides a novel way of making men more aware of how the should monitor their bodies.


Last week was National Prostrate Cancer Awareness Week.  Prostate cancer has overtaken lung cancer as the most common cancer diagnosed in men, but research has shown that people do not have the same level of awareness about the disease as they do for other cancers such as lung or breast cancer.


Prostate cancer is rare in men of under-50 years old, but gets more common as men get older.  However, there is no clinical consensus on which is the best treatment for localised prostate cancer and there is currently insufficient evidence to show that screening would reduce deaths from prostate cancer.

Press release ~ National Prostate Cancer Awareness week ~ Everyman Centre, based at the Institute of Cancer Research centre ~ Rachel gets the message across ~ Making progress on prostrate cancer ~ Prostrate cancer risk management ~ Prostate Cancer Advisory Group ~ NHS Prostate Cancer Programme


OFT:  Buy your holiday souvenirs with confidence - UK consumers have had confirmation that an important protection is available to them when using a credit card following last week’s ruling by the Court of Appeal that section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 applies to overseas as well as domestic transactions, where the price of the purchase is above £100 but no more than £30,000.


Section 75 covers foreign transactions including where a consumer uses a UK credit card to:

·         buy goods while abroad

·         order goods from a foreign supplier while abroad for delivery into the UK

·         buy goods which are delivered to a UK address from overseas by telephone, mail order or over the internet


If you pay by credit card you can claim your money back from the card company if the seller fails to honour the contract, or the item is faulty or if the seller wrongly describes it or if the supplier goes out of business.  However, you are not covered by section 75 if you use a debit or charge card.

Press release ~ Court of Appeal ~ OFT ~ Consumers International ~ econsumer.gov ~ Euroconsumer


Industry News:  Scientific Policing originates in the north - First it was Las Vegas, followed by Miami and then New York.  Where next, we all wondered?


Well surprising as it may have been to people living south of the Watford Gap, but not to those ‘in the know’, the answer is ‘CSI – Leeds’, which last week saw the West Yorkshire police force’ Scientific Support Unit organizing & hosting the first-ever national conference (sponsored by the Forensic Science Service) to help forensic intelligence experts from police forces across the UK to share their best crime-fighting ideas.


The conference saw more than 100 representatives from 48 UK police forces and law enforcement agencies focus on the most effective ways of using the clues, yielded by forensic science, to catch more criminals and solve more crimes.


Det Sgt O’Farrell came up with the idea after touring the country to speak to other forces about West Yorkshire Police’s groundbreaking Operation Converter.

Full item ~ West Yorkshire Police ~ Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, University College London ~ Forensic Science Service ~ National VIPER Bureau ~ Kings College London, MSc in Forensic Science ~ Home Office Forensic Science website (including Cold case review – Operation Advance) ~ Aurora - Facial Biometrics and intelligence


Forthcoming Event:  The AIIM Roadshow - Managing Information & Documents (May 8th-12th) provides an ideal opportunity for both business managers and IT managers to update on what is possible and what return on investment can typically be achieved, without having to travel hundreds of miles to one central venue.  Hands-on demonstrations based on visitor’s own documents will focus discussions with vendors, whilst a series of workshops, seminars and advice centres will provide a vehicle for shared experience & learning.


The Roadshow is an opportunity to transform your organisation by unravelling your document processes, so reserve a FREE place now to learn how solutions for information & document management can help you:

·         Improve process efficiency & cut costs through process streamlining & standardisation

·         Provide faster & more reliable customer service

·         Help ensure regulatory compliance & reduce risk

·         Enable collaboration for employees and partners

·         Facilitate Business Continuity 24x7x365


All of the leading public sector suppliers of ECM (Enterprise Content Management) solutions and consultancy services will be represented at the AIIM Roadshow which visits:

Edinburgh on 8 May

Manchester on 9 May

Coventry on 10 May

Bristol on 11 May

London on 12 May

Further details ~ www.aiimroadshow.org.uk ~ DCA - Data Sharing website ~ DCA - Data Protection ~ DCA - Freedom of Information ~ Bichard Inquiry ~ Home Office Bichard website ~ Everychildmatters – Information sharing

General News

HSE:  The Health and Safety Executive has been reminding industry of the dangers of misusing retractable type fall arresters - sometimes referred to as 'inertia blocks' - following the interim findings of a research project.


The findings reveal that retractable type fall arresters, used to protect workers against falls from height, are commonly being misused in circumstances they have not been tested for, creating safety hazards and an increased risk of fatality.  The findings also indicate that some manufacturers and suppliers in the UK are failing to provide adequate instructions & information to use the products safely, which is adding to the problem.

Press release ~ Code of practice for selection, use and maintenance for personal fall protection systems ~ HSE:  Falls from height ~ Guide to Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 ~ Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 2002 ~ Inspector training and Speakers packs ~ Brief guide to regulations of working at heights


LSDA:  The Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) will start operating on 3 April 2006 from its base in Coventry and establishing a network of quality improvement advisers will be central to its work during the first year.


Improvement advisers – all hand-picked consultants with a track record in the sector - will help education & training organisations (learning providers) to develop & implement individual self-improvement plans.  They will put together a package of support that addresses urgent issues identified by the inspectorates, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) or the organisations themselves.

Press release ~ Quality Improvement Agency website ~ The Tribal Group ~ Learning and Skills Council (LSC) ~ The Quality Improvement Agency for Lifelong Learning


DTI:  The UK's £42 billion chemicals manufacturing industry will benefit from a new partnership between businesses, research & technology organisations and universities, with the launch of the Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network (CIKTN), an organisation aimed at making cutting-edge science available to UK businesses.


The Government has allocated £40 million to establish 19 KTNs, which embrace areas as diverse and vital as resource efficiency, photonics, materials, bioscience, healthcare technologies and now chemistry innovation.

Press release ~ Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network (CIKTN) ~ DTI Technology programme


MOD:  A new international study by the Royal Society - The Health of Gulf War Veterans - has been ‘welcomed’ by Veterans Minister Don Touhig, as proof that ‘no single cause can be attributed to the ill-health reported by some Gulf War veterans’.


Despite this rosy picture (as the study says):  It is clear that something has affected the health of around 20% of those members of the Armed Forces who took part in the 1991 Gulf War

Press release ~ 'The Health of Gulf War Veterans'  ~ National Gulf Veterans & Families Association (NGVFA)

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DTI:  New City Growth strategies have been launched to help bring investment & jobs to 10 cities.  The DTI supported strategies are based on a model developed in the US by Harvard Professor Michael Porter and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC).


City Growth views disadvantaged communities, which traditionally have low entrepreneurial activity, as untapped sources of enterprise with big economic advantages, such as an available workforce, strategic locations & under-served retail markets


The launch of the latest City Growth strategies follow the recently announced Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) announced jointly between the DTI, ODPM and Treasury.

Press release ~ London South Central City Growth Strategy ~ Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) (USA) ~ SBS:  Initiative for a competitive Inner City ~ Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) ~ LEGI:  Next steps ~ LEGI National Assessment criteria


Defra:  A number of pilot urban flood risk projects across England are sought, where examples of best practice in organisational approach, technical solutions and stakeholder collaboration can be applied.   Funding is available to support the development of partnerships at the selected pilot sites over the next 18 months.


The Defra questionnaire is aimed at key operating bodies & stakeholders and includes questions on sources of flooding, its severity, work done to investigate the problem and stakeholders involved.  If you feel you may have a possible candidate pilot please email the completed questionnaire to iud-pilots@defra.gsi.gov.uk by 8 May 2006.  (Save the questionnaire on your local system first and then open it in your word-processing package.)

Press release ~ Making space for water: Urban flood risk and integrated drainage project website ~ 'Making Space for Water' programme ~ Repair and restoration of buildings following flooding ~ SUPAFAST Project ~ Sewer Flooding - Your Questions Answered


Defra:  The Government published 'Pesticides and the Environment: a strategy for the sustainable use of plant protection products'  in a joint announcement by Defra, Scottish Executive Environment & Rural Affairs Department, the National Assembly for Wales and the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, Northern Ireland


The strategy tackles the use & environmental impact of plant protection products and will be delivered through action plans in the following areas:

·         Water

·         Biodiversity

·         Plant protection product availability

·         Amenity use

·         Amateur use

Press release ~ Strategy Document ~ Pesticides strategy website ~ Action Plan groups: Water ~ Biodiversity ~ Amateur Use ~ Amenity Use ~ Product Availability


Home Office:  The government is claiming that the lives of more than 100,000 young people have now been enhanced by the success of the Positive Futures programme, illustrated by the Home Office’s third Impact Report.


Positive Futures is a sports-based intervention programme for young people operating 115 local projects across England and Wales to help those living in some of the most socially deprived neighbourhoods find routes back into education, volunteering and employment.

Press release ~ Positive Futures programme ~ Third Impact report ~ Crime Concern


Seafish:  Fishermen have responded well to a major survey being conducted by The Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish) that will provide valuable information on the economic pressures currently facing the UK fishing fleet.


This new UK-wide survey will update the 2001 Seafish economic survey of the fleet and the financial information will also feed into other related projects, allowing Seafish to produce better financial forecasts showing how different vessel segments perform under the latest quota arrangements. This information could prove vital in assisting with annual quota negotiations with the European Commission.


If you would like a member of the team to meet with you to discuss the survey, assist in completing your questionnaire, or if you have not yet received a questionnaire and would like to take part, please contact either Kate Graham on 0131 524 8661 or John Anderson on 0131 524 8662, or email k_graham@seafish.co.uk or john_anderson@seafish.co.uk (asap).

Press release ~ Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish) ~ 2001 Seafish economic survey of the fleet ~ Vessel Business Planner


FSA:  The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has outlined four possible options for the future funding of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), following concerns raised about the fairness, proportionality & sustainability of the present funding arrangements.


The Discussion Paper (consultation closes 21 June 2006) proposes to divide the scheme into five broad classes (life and pensions; securities, mutual funds and derivatives; deposits; general insurance; and mortgages). It then proposes four options for future funding:

Option A: The broad classes would stand alone with no cross-subsidy between each class.

Option B: Above the broad classes would be a general pool whose operation would be triggered by catastrophic losses which overwhelmed a single class. (FSA favoured options)

Option C: Includes sub-classes within the broad classes. Each sub-class would meet the first tranche of liabilities falling to it. Each class would then meet its own class liabilities, net of first tranches.

Option D: A widening net with sub-classes, classes and a general pool.


After evaluating the responses the FSA will publish draft rules for funding the scheme in a Consultation Paper this autumn. The FSA expects that these will not come into effect before 1 October 2007.

Press release ~ Discussion Paper 06/1 ~ Oxera's Report

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

FCO:  Jack Straw has launched Support for British Nationals Abroad: a Guide, which comes against a background of rapidly-rising demand by Britons overseas for the Foreign Office's help, with three times as many trips abroad from the UK as in the mid-1980s and 13 million British nationals now living abroad.


This is the first time that the details of what the Foreign Office can - and can't - do to help British people in trouble abroad have been set out in a single document.  The Guide contains a wealth of tips on how to stay safe overseas and how travellers can protect themselves if things go wrong.

Press release ~ Support for British Nationals Abroad: a Guide ~ Summary version ~ Other language & related publications (scroll down) ~ Know before you go ~ Travel Advice notices


DfES:  Children's Minister Beverley Hughes and Police Minister Hazel Blears have launched new guidelines which they hope will help schools and police form Safer Schools Partnerships, which could include:

·         basing police officers in schools to help tackle pupil behaviour & attendance problems

·         introducing designated officers to liaise with schools as part of neighbourhood policing teams

·         working with schools, bus and train operators to tackle pupil behaviour when travelling to & from schools

Press release ~ Safer School Partnership - Mainstreaming Guidance ~ Safer Schools Partnership scheme ~ Every Child Matters – Safer School Partnerships ~ Street Crime Initiative report (scroll down) ~ Youth Justice Board ~ Crime Concern ~ Safer Schools and Hospitals toolkit ~ Safer Schools and Hospitals homepage


DfES:  The government has published guidance documents which it hopes will help implement its aim of having at least one, full-time, year round, qualified school nurse working with every cluster of primary schools and their linked secondary school by 2010.


The two documents - 'Looking for a School Nurse?' and an updated 'School Nurse Practice Development Resource Pack' by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Department for Health (DH) - show how school nurses can play a crucial role in supporting schools to promote good health.

DfES press release ~ Looking for a School Nurse? ~ Updated School Nurse Development Pack ~ CPHVA – School Nursing

Annual Reports

Healthcare Commission: Publishing the annual NHS staff survey, the Healthcare Commission praised trusts on the first significant sign of a trend towards fewer staff facing physical attacks, bullying and harassment from patients or their relatives.  But the Commission said it was too early to say whether the trend would carry on and urged NHS trusts to continue their efforts to tackle the problem.


The survey highlighted low numbers of staff reporting incidents of violence and abuse. These account for only half of those experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from any source, and only 67% of those experiencing a physical attack.


Only half of those questioned agreed that their employer would take effective action if staff were physically attacked. Only one in four reported that they had training in preventing and handling aggression from others in the last 12 months.


The survey also suggests that trusts could do more to reduce the spread of hospital-acquired infection. One in four staff said that their trust does not do enough to promote the importance of hand cleaning to staff, patients and visitors, with 21% reporting that, most of the time, hot water, soap & paper towels, and alcohol rubs were not always available.

Healthcare Commission press release ~ NHS SMS press release ~ 2005 National Staff survey ~ NHS Security Management Service ~ Legal protection Unit ~ NHS Security Management Strategy; ‘A Professional Approach to Managing Security in the NHS’ ~ DH – Healthcare associated infections ~ Saving Lives: a delivery programme to reduce HCAI including MRSA

General Reports and other publications

DfES:  The DfES has published the report of the National Audit of support, services and provision for children with low incidence special educational needs, ahead of the appearance of Schools Minister Andrew Adonis before the Parliamentary inquiry into SEN provision.


The study sought to:

·         Gain a picture of how local authorities meet the needs of children with low incidence special educational needs

·         Explore any gaps in services, support and provision, and how these gaps are being addressed, or could be addressed

·         Consider the implications for regional/local planning and development, including the possible development of Regional Centres of Expertise.

Press release ~ National Audit of Support, Services and Provision for Children with Low Incidence Needs ~ Teachernet – Special Educational Needs ~ Inquiry into SEN provision ~ Special Needs Support websites ~ Special educational needs and disability: Towards inclusive schools


DWP:  Findings from DWP research investigating the potential suitability of private maintenance payments for current CSA clients have been published.  At present, child maintenance payments can be paid in two ways: the Collection Service (CS), where payments are processed by the CSA; or Maintenance Direct (MD), where the non-resident parent (NRP) makes payments to the parent with care (PWC) directly.


The research study examined the extent to which MD may be appropriate for CSA clients and the influences and experiences that may impact upon parental decisions to adopt such a payment method.

Press release ~ Research report 327: An Investigation of CSA Maintenance Direct Payments ~ Summary version


NAO:  The National Audit Office has reported on the effectiveness of Postcomm’s regulation of quality of service and the report, which follows up on the 2002 report Opening the Post, finds that the overall value for money of regulation will be improved as it reduces burdens on Royal Mail, while enhancing consumer protections.


Quality of service (QoS) is crucial and Royal Mail’s performance against its quality of service targets has recently improved (in 2003 – 04 it missed all its targets, but in the first half of 2005 – 06 performance was above target for all but four products).


The current QoS regime put in place by Postcomm has shortcomings in protecting consumers and some elements of it over burden Royal Mail.  The proposed regime has an increased focus on quality from the perspective of the consumer, for example by including a target & associated financial incentive on mis-delivery of post.

Press release ~ Re-opening the post: Postcomm and the quality of mail services: Full Report (1.2Mb) ~ Executive Summary ~ Postal Services Commission (Postcomm) ~ Consumer Council for Postal Services (Postwatch) ~ DTI postal services website ~ Opening the Post


NAO:  Substantial savings could be made by more efficient management and purchasing of postal services by the public sector, according to a report by the National Audit Office which has found that an estimated £31 million a year could be saved across the public sector by 2008-09.


The NAO has produced a guide to help public sector organisations improve efficiency, drawing on examples of good practice in both the public and private sectors of how to reduce costs while at least maintaining customer service levels.

Press release ~ Improving the efficiency of postal services procurement in the public sector (2Mb) ~ Executive Summary ~ Booklet: A guide to better postal services procurement


NAO:  The National Audit Office has reported on the progress that Departments have made in establishing robust data systems to measure & report performance against 2003-06 Public Service Agreement targets. The NAO found that Departments had made variable progress in meeting good practice principles for managing data systems.


Recommended further actions to ensure that data systems for all PSA targets are robust include:

·         Departments should develop a more systematic approach to data quality assurance

·         Departments should plan & co-ordinate the data needs for new systems

·         Systems must be adequately documented & updated for any significant changes

·         Managers should check that data obtained from other organisations are fit for purpose

·         Departments should make users of performance data aware of limitations in underlying systems

Press release ~ Second validation compendium report - 2003-06 PSA data systems ~ Executive Summary ~ Public Performance reporting


National Statistics:   A new report from the Office for National Statistics - Labour Market Review 2006 – highlights some of the trends in employment over the last few decades ranging from (for example) the employment rate for married or cohabiting mothers, the male / female pay gap, types of job, percentage of teleworkers, a reduction in manufacturing jobs to 12% of the total and unemployment rates by ethnicity. 

Press release ~ Labour Market Review 2006 ~ Guide to Labour Market Statistics


DCA:  Better co-ordinated delivery of advice could help resolve disputes about debt, housing, employment and other matters earlier & more effectively, according to a report published by the Dept. for Constitutional Affairs.


The report, 'Getting Earlier, Better Advice To Vulnerable People', sets out a programme for co-ordinating & enhancing the role of independent advice across central & local Government and for using feedback from the process to help improve public services.  It aims to develop a strategy for helping people, especially the vulnerable & socially excluded, to obtain such advice more easily.

Press release ~ Getting better, earlier advice to vulnerable people: full report (1Mb) ~ A Fairer Deal for Legal Aid ~ Estimating the size and nature of the civil legal advice sector in England and Wales ~ Community Legal Service strategy ~ Lord Carter's independent Review of legal aid procurement

Legislation / Legal

DH:  Health Minister Rosie Winterton has announced the abandonment of the government’s attempt to radically overhaul mental health law, as she and Home Office Minister Fiona Mactaggart outlined proposals for a Bill to amend the existing Mental Health Act.


The new amending Bill, which will be introduced when Parliamentary time allows and will be substantially shorter than the draft Mental Health Bill 2004, will introduce supervised treatment in the community to ensure that patients who have been discharged from compulsory treatment in hospital, continue to comply with treatment.


The new Bill is intended to improve patient safeguards through taking order-making powers in regard to Tribunal hearings.  It will also be used to introduce the Bournewood safeguards, which will hopefully protect people who lack capacity and who are not under compulsion, but are deprived of their liberty.

Press release ~ DH Mental Health ~ Bournewood safeguards consultation ~ Turning point view on Bournewood ~ Mental Health Review Tribunal ~ Mental Capacity Act 2005 ~ National Institute of Mental Health ~ Chief Nursing Officer’s review of mental health nursing: Summary of responses to the consultation

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

CC:  At its recent conference for charities delivering public services, the Charity Commission announced a survey of all 160,000 main registered charities in England and Wales to discover information about the scope & extent of charities undertaking this work and the wider implications for the role of charities.


The survey will be sent to charities later in the Spring and the results will be announced this Summer.  They will also feed into the Commission's revised guidance on charities delivering public services.

Press release ~ The Charity Commission ~ Charities Bill update ~ Policy statement on Charities and public service delivery ~ Full cost recovery ~ NACVS website

Business and other briefings

DTI:  Over 1.3 million of the UK's lowest-paid workers will see their wages increase as a result of the increases in the Minimum Wage from October 2006.


The Government has accepted the Low Pay Commission's recommendations that:

·         the adult minimum wage rate should be increased from £5.05 to £5.35

·         the Development Rate should increase from £4.25 to £4.45

·         the minimum wage for 16-17 year olds should be increased from £3.00 to £3.30

Press release ~ Low Pay Commission ~ Low Pay Report 2006 ~ Salary sacrifice schemes ~ Tiger – National Minimum Wage ~ DTI – National Minimum Wage ~ HMRC – National Minimum wage


Pensions Regulator:  The latest module of the Pensions Regulator's free e-learning programme for pension scheme trustees is now available online.  In this module, which focuses on ‘Pensions Law’, the learner is faced with more complex scenarios involving governance, conflicts of interest and financial difficulties for the employer. They also start to consider funding problems and develop an understanding of the Pensions Regulator's role.


The programme syllabus has been based on 'Scope guidance' available on the regulator's website and will also form the basis of a new voluntary qualification for trustees to be launched by the Pensions Management Institute in April.  This new voluntary qualification will replace the current Trustee Certificate offered by the Pensions Management Institute. The next module will introduce investment issues.

Press release ~ Trustee Toolkit: registration ~ E-learning for Trustees Report ~ The Pensions Regulator ~ Pensions Management institute


Pensions Regulator:  The Pensions Regulator's new code of practice on trustee knowledge and understanding sets out practical guidance for trustees on how they can comply with new legal requirements that come into force on 6 April 2006.


Existing pension scheme trustees will have six months in which to acquire the relevant level of knowledge & understanding to ensure they are able to meet the requirements. New trustees will have six months from the date of their appointment.

Press release ~ Trustee knowledge and understanding code (scroll down)


HMRC:  Businesses and individual taxpayers will hopefully be able to file online more quickly, accurately and with greater certainty in the future as the Government sets plans in motion to invest in the growth of online services.  In line with Lord Carter's recommendations, HMRC will only implement the new measures when the IT systems that will allow efficient online filing are in place and are fully tested.


Lord Carter's other key recommendations, working towards an overall aim of universal electronic delivery of tax returns from businesses and IT-literate individuals by 2012, are to:

·         require businesses to file their VAT returns, company tax returns & PAYE in-year forms online in phases from April 2008

·         introduce new filing deadlines for Income Tax Self-Assessment (SA) returns of 30 September for paper forms and 30 November for online returns from 2008

·         promote online filing by tax agents and better quality data by withdrawing computer-generated paper "substitute" SA returns from 2007-08,  and

·         remove perceived barriers to early filing of SA and company tax returns by linking the period that HMRC has to query a return to the date it is filed

Press release ~ Lord Carter of Coles' Review of HM Revenue & Customs Online Services


HMRC:  VAT Business Brief 04/06


·         VAT: A review of the scope of the VAT exemption for medical services

·         VAT: Off - street car parking provided by local authorities

Press release ~ Business Briefs 2006 (it sometimes takes time to appear here)

Industry News

Forthcoming Event

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