AEA:  Elder abuse still widespread problem - Action on Elder Abuse has welcomed the week long broadcasts by Radio 2 to highlight the issue of elder abuse, which links with the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day scheduled for 15th June.  Across the UK and Ireland events are being organised by care providers, voluntary groups, regulators and local authorities, as well as in Canada, Australia and forty other countries throughout the World.


The results of a Poll conducted by Radio 2 (12-14 May, 2006), mirror previous polls conducted in 1992 – which suggested at least 500,000 older people in the UK face abuse every day. 


Action on Elder Abuse urges the Government and Assemblies to adequately fund awareness raising on this issue coupled to appropriate legislation & resources.

Press release ~ Action on Elder Abuse ~ Life2Live ~ World Elder Abuse Awareness Day ~ AEA partnerships ~ Comic Relief ~ Tool Kit to Raise Awareness on Elder Abuse - Taking Action: Step by Step ~ Older People's Champions ~ National Service Framework for Older People ~ A toolkit for older people's champions: A resource for non-executive directors, councillors and older people acting as older people's champions ~ Practical guide to Protection of Vulnerable adults scheme ~ DH – Vulnerable adults website


CSPL:  Putting the trust back in politics - The first public hearing for the Committee on Standards in Public Life's 11th Inquiry: Review of The Electoral Commission takes place on: Tuesday 13 June at 1 Birdcage Walk, Westminster, London SW1H 9JJ, 9.45am- 3.30pm.


The Inquiry is looking at key themes critical to public trust in our democratic system through a review of the mandate, governance & accountability of the Electoral Commission.  Key issues already raised in written evidence to the Committee include:

·         the integrity & application of the current political party funding arrangements and implications of any changes

·         electoral propriety including voter registration, electoral administration & electoral fraud and

·         the contribution these issues make to voter engagement with the political process


Witnesses have been invited to help the Committee examine the current responsibilities of The Electoral Commission, set up five years ago following the Fifth Report of the Committee in 1998.  Further hearings, which are all open to the public, will be on these DATES.

Press release ~ Evidence received for the Eleventh Inquiry ~ Electoral Commission ~ 11th Inquiry website


FCO:  Spies & secrets, the first fifty years - The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has announced that the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS - also known as "MI6") had, subject to contract, appointed Bloomsbury Publishing PLC to publish its official history.


The book, covering the period 1909-1949, will be written by Professor Keith Jeffery, of Queen's University, Belfast and will be published in 2010, as close as possible to the centenary of the Service in 2009.  The reason for this cut-off date is to protect information still considered to be especially sensitive.


The FCO claims that care will be taken to ensure that SIS's commitment to protect the identities of agents & staff is not compromised by the publication of this history.  The account will parallel the Official History of the Security Service, currently being written by Professor Christopher Andrew and scheduled for publication by Penguin in 2009.

Press release ~ FCO ~ SIS / MI6 History website ~ Bloomsbury Publishing PLC ~ National Archives


Defra:  Legal, but is it sustainable? - A review of five forest certification schemes will begin on 24 June to ensure that the schemes are providing adequate assurances that timber bought by the UK Government is legally & sustainably sourced, in line with UK Government policy on timber procurement.  Interested parties are invited to submit comments & evidence (via email to cpet@proforest.net) to the Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) before 24 June.


Supplying timber from legal sources is a standard condition of UK Government contracts, however supplying timber from sustainable sources is optional, but suppliers that offer it are given preference when bids are evaluated.  It is therefore important that claims made by bidders for the source of their timber supplies are assessed to determine their credibility before any bid is evaluated.


Some observers have expressed concerns with the absence of performance-related evidence when schemes are assessed.  The Government is not in a position to assess performance on the ground or the impacts of forestry on local communities - that is the role of independent verification - but can consider how a scheme registers and follows its system requirements.

Press release ~ CPET website ~ UK Government policy on timber procurement ~ Procurement guidance ~ Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) ~ Canadian Standards Association (CSA) ~ Forest Stewardship Counci ~ North American Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) ~ Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) ~ ProForest ~ Forests forever ~ Defra – illegal logging ~ Forest certification resource centre ~ ~ Defra illegal logging website ~ DFID illegal logging website ~ Partners in crime: The UK timber trade, Chinese sweatshops and Malaysian robber barons in Papua New Guinea’s rainforests ~ OGC guidance


DCLG:  A windmill on every house - A recently published Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) survey of local plans reveals many local authorities are now adopting new requirements in their plans for on site renewable energy in new developments.  The Government is now urging all local authorities to do the same and will include this request in the new planning policy guidance on climate change due out later this year.


The Government also wants to reduce planning restrictions on small-scale microgeneration equipment for people's homes.  A review of planning permission rules aims to make it even easier for people to do their bit to help the environment.


The Government's forthcoming draft planning policy statement on climate change is being put forward as an opportunity to consider further how the planning process can help combat climate change by extending the contribution of renewables from both on-site and off-site sources.

Press release ~ Review of PPS 22 ~ Town & Country Planning Assoc. ~ Renewable Energy Association ~ Microgeneration strategy and Low Carbons building programme ~ Microgeneration Strategy: Power from the people ~ Planning Policy Statement 22: Renewable Energy ~ Energy Efficiency: The Government’s Plan for Action ~ Energy Performance of Buildings Directive ~ Low or Zero Carbon Energy Sources - Strategic Guide (Interim Publication)


NAO:  Access comes at a price - The right to roam was successfully introduced two months ahead of target, according to a report by the National Audit Office.  Information on how to use this new right is generally good, although there are lessons to be learned on estimating and managing costs, with expenditure on the scheme almost double the original estimate.


Although it is too early meaningfully to measure the take-up of the new right, in 95% of the NAO’s visits to sites there was easy access to the land and it was possible to walk across land without obstruction in more than 90% of cases.  Obstacles which did exist appeared to predate the right to roam and in most cases changes were already planned.


The report notes that people from inner cities and those on low incomes may have difficulties making use of this new right as only 20% of sites visited were accessible by bus or train.  Details of access land are available on the countryside access website, but the site can be difficult to navigate and the maps were difficult to read.


The Countryside Agency’s initial estimate for implementing open access was £28 million, but it eventually spent £52.6 million on the programme as it underestimated the amount of work needed to map access land. Total government expenditure on the project was some £69 million to the end of March.

Press release ~ The right of access to open countryside ~ Executive Summary ~ Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 ~ Countryside Access website (for public) ~ Open Access website (for land managers) ~ Guidance Note for landowners on dedicating land for access ~ Ordnance Survey ~ Access to the English Coast project ~ MoD Access


Forthcoming Event:  Keeping the internet ‘clean & safe’ for children - Last April saw the launch of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), which is co-ordinating action against abusive material and providing a focus for all those who are working to protect children.


Now there is an opportunity to take the campaign another step forward with a Capita Conference which will bring together police, social services & industry to examine the best ways of taking the next steps with the aim of eradicating the threat to the UK’s children and helping children abroad who are mistreated for the ‘entertainment’ of paedophiles.


Benefits of attending

·         Understand how CEOP will make abuse & exploitation more difficult 

·         Discover the best procedures for information sharing & co-operation between agencies

·         Learn the do’s & don’ts of providing safety information to children and their parents 

·         Develop your understanding of how to work together to enable child-friendly use of new mobile technologies

Full details ~ Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) ~ Virtual Global Taskforce ~ Centre for Applied Childhood Studies - University of Huddersfield ~ NCH – Internet Safety ~ Internet Service Providers Association ~ Internet Watch Foundation ~ DfES Information Sharing practice ~ DCA Data Sharing website ~ Best Practice models on Internet ~ Search safely guidance ~ Internet Crime Forum


For information forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar


For further WGPlus Industry News items please click HERE

General News

MOD:  The Ministry of Defence and British Horse Society are giving away 400 sets of high visibility clothing to horse riders as part of a joint campaign to encourage riders to be seen by low flying helicopters.  The sets of rider tabards and horse exercise sheets will be distributed to the first riders to apply (applications should be made by emailing modviz@bhs.org.uk)


Horses can be spooked by low flying helicopters, particularly if unaccustomed to the noise, but an MOD trial in 2005, conducted using helicopter crews from RAF Benson, found that the largest single factor that offered an improvement to rider safety would be the increased use of high visibility clothing.

Press release ~ Low Flying Factsheet ~ Low flying today ~ British Horse Society ~ Guide for riders


DfT:  London's Waterloo and Victoria stations are to take part in a new trial to test vehicle access barriers at the main vehicle entrance to each station's concourse.  The purpose of the trial is to assess the impact that the barriers may have on the day-to-day operations of each station and gauge the opinions of passengers & businesses that use the stations.


The barriers, which will be installed in the next few days, are about a metre in height and will prevent access by vehicles but still allow passengers to walk past to and from the platforms. It is expected that both trials will last for around three months and studies during the trial will assess any effect on passenger movements at different times of the day.


These trials are the latest in a series of tests that began earlier this year to assess the effectiveness of different measures on the rail and tube environments.  No decisions will be taken until they have been fully assessed and all the data & feedback gained during the trials are merely to inform any future judgments.

Press release ~ Review of rail security - Written Statement to Parliament ~ Counter-Terrorist Checks FAQs ~ DfT Transport security website ~ Responsibilities of Transport Security's Land Transport Division


DTI:  The MoD is working with the DTI, the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) with support from National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), to see if they can resolve problems posed by wind turbines.


Wind farms, within the line of site of radar, have the potential to interfere with radar systems and navigational aids used for civil Air Traffic Control as well as military Air Traffic Control and Air Defence radar.  It has previously resulted in aviation community objections to a significant amount of onshore & offshore wind farm projects.


In this latest experiment, an MoD mobile Watchman radar has been located in an area of multiple wind farms and both the RAF and an independently appointed safety team are conducting calibrated trial flights.  If the technology is deemed fit for purpose it will free up a significant number of potential locations for wind farms across the UK that could contribute to the Government's renewable energy target if developed.

Press release ~ DTI renewables website ~ British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) ~ National Air Traffic Services (NATS) ~ Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ~ Bryn Titli wind farm ~ Impact in Scotland (scroll down) ~ COWRIE website


CIOB:  The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has signed up to construction’s Anti-Corruption Forum, led by Transparency International, which is an alliance of UK professional institutions, business associations and companies with interests in the domestic & international infrastructure, construction and engineering sectors.


According to Transparency International the construction industry ranks as the most corrupt industry worldwide on a league table that includes defence and pharmaceutical industries.  It is estimated that in the Great British construction industry alone corruption could cost anywhere up to £3 billion a year.

Press release ~ Chartered Institute of Building ~ Anti-Corruption Forum ~ The need for action ~ Transparency International

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DWP:  As part of the Respect programme, the Department of Work and Pensions has announced that the Government intends to pilot a scheme that ‘ensures that people who are evicted as a result of anti-social behaviour undertake rehabilitation’.


The new measure will sanction housing benefit where a person has been evicted for anti-social behaviour and refuses to address their behaviour using the support & help offered to them.  The government claims that the measure is not about changing the eviction process, but about getting people to change their behaviour and will only operate where the household has chosen not to co-operate.


Primary legislation is needed and the DWP intend to legislate for this as soon as is practicable, as well as writing to key stakeholders to seek their views on the implementation of pilots, which they intend to start in 2008, targeting around 10 local authorities.

Press release ~ Together website ~ Respect Action Plan ~ Respect website ~ Research on ABS ~ DCLG – ASB and Housing


DfT:  The government has announced the details of the night restrictions regime to apply from 29 October 2006 at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports.


Under the new regime, that will be in operation until October 2012, the government claims the number of movements permitted at all three airports will not increase above the levels permitted at present, whist the quota count will actually reduce, reflecting the scope for introduction of quieter aircraft during the next six years.


The new night restrictions regimes will continue to recognise both an eight hour 'night period' (2300-0700 hours), and a six and a half hour 'night quota period', (2330-0600 hours) during which the appropriate restrictions will apply.

Press release ~ DfT Night flying details documents ~ Night Exposure Contours ~ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) ~ White paper - The future of Air Transport


DfES:  Twenty one partnership areas across the country will pilot new work-focused programmes designed to motivate young people most at risk of dropping out of education.  The £10m funding will support approximately 5,000 14-16 year olds throughout England to stay on in education and gain the key skills they need.


Participants would continue with the Key Stage 4 statutory curriculum with an emphasis on key skills and the programme would include support in developing the general skills, attitudes & behaviours important to employment & progression in learning.

Press release ~ Teachernet E2E ~ Skills & Education network: E2E guide ~ Directgov – Choices at 14 to 19


DCMS:  The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a consultation (closes Friday 8 September 2006) on European Commission proposals to revise the European Union's Television Without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive.  In particular the Government is keen to gather stakeholders' thoughts on the proposal that TVWF should be extended in scope to become an 'Audio-visual Media Services Directive.'


TVWF would then cover all media services whose principal purpose is to provide moving images to the general public over electronic networks for purposes of information, entertainment, or education.  It would apply to services delivered over the Internet, mobile networks, telecoms networks, and terrestrial, cable and satellite broadcasting networks. Currently the Directive only covers television broadcasts.

Press release ~ Television Without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive Consultation documents ~ UK response to EU consultation ~ Other contributions ~ Other background documents ~ Commission’s Proposals


DfT:  The Department for Transport has launched 3 separate consultations (closing 7 August 2006) on the specifications for the new East Midlands, West Midlands and New Cross Country franchises, which seek views on proposals for the minimum levels of service that future operators must deliver.  The three new franchises will start operating on 11th November 2007.


Responses will inform the Invitation to Tender, which will be given to pre-qualified bidders in Autumn 2006.  The closing dates for receipt of bids is February 2007 and the winner announced in Summer 2007.

Press release ~ New Cross Country franchise consultation ~ East Midlands franchise consultation ~ West Midlands franchise consultation


DH:  The Department of Health is consulting (closes 01 September 2006) on new proposals to tackle violence and verbal abuse against NHS staff and encourage a culture of respect.  The move came as new official figures showed that 60,385 NHS staff were physically assaulted by patients and relatives last year - that is one assault for every 22 NHS staff.


Under the new plans developed by the NHS Security Management Service, those who are threatening or abusive to NHS staff could be ‘slapped’ with a £1,000 fine and NHS bosses will have the power to remove individuals from the premises.

Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ NHS Security Awareness Month ~ NHS Security Management Service ~ ‘Not Alone’: A Guide for the Better Protection of Lone Workers in the NHS ~ 2005 National Staff survey

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

Cabinet Office:  Civil Service Head Sir Gus O'Donnell has published the new Civil Service Code and outlined how the Code sets out the fundamental account of what is expected of all Civil Servants in the 21st Century.


Revisions to the Code include:

·         Provision for the Independent Civil Service Commissioners to consider a complaint direct from a civil servant

·         Making it clear that the Code forms part of the contractual relationship between a civil servant and their employer

Press release ~ Civil Service Commissioners ~ Civil Service Code ~ GO’s speech - Our 21st century Civil Service - Creating a culture of excellence

Annual Reports

General Reports and other publications

NAO:  The Ministry of Defence is at the forefront of best practice in some areas of contract negotiation but needs to achieve these high levels more consistently, the National Audit Office has reported.  The report to Parliament looks at the importance of good contract management and builds on the ‘gold standards’ model the NAO developed last year, which details criteria for best practice in project management.


As a way of assessing the MoD’s approach to contract management, the report also considers how commercial organisations such as Virgin, BAA, Toyota and Sainsbury’s operate in this area.  Although there may be some lessons the Department could learn from industry, in many aspects they lead the way.


All stakeholders consulted felt the MoD had strong legal, financial, commercial and negotiation skills.  However, there was scope for improvement in managing & sharing knowledge, which is particularly important in such a specialist area.

Press release ~ Using the contract to maximise the likelihood of successful project outcomes (1.1Mb) ~ Executive Summary ~ Contracting strategies tool ~ NAO – Defence value for money website ~ Driving the successful delivery of major defence projects: effective protect control is a key factor in successful projects ~ MoD Acquisition management System website


NAO:  The National Audit Office has published its first two Independent Performance Assessments of Regional Development Agencies, covering the North West Development Agency (NWDA) and the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) respectively.


In this first round of assessments, the NWDA scored 20 points out of a possible 24 which is equivalent to performing strongly, while the EEDA scored 15 which is equivalent to performing well.


These assessments are the first two in a series which the Government asked the NAO to carry out. Further assessments will cover all eight Regional Development Agencies outside London by March 2007

Press release ~ East of England Development Agency (EEDA) ~ North West Development Agency (NWDA)

Legislation / Legal

Home Office:  A summary of responses to the consultation on the criminalisation of forced marriage has been published by the Government's Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), as part of its ongoing programme of work to tackle the issue.


While there was no clear majority among respondents about whether or not a specific offence of forcing someone into marriage should be created, the majority felt that the disadvantages of creating new legislation would outweigh the advantages and potentially drive forced marriage underground.


Three recommendations for non-legislative activity will now be taken forward and the possibility of developing new legislation will only be considered once there has been delivery in all three areas:

·         increasing the level of training to professionals who work in this field and engaging more with affected communities

·         increasing the work done with statutory agencies in sharing best practice and implementing guidelines

·         ensuring that existing legislation is fully implemented including making better use of civil remedies and the family courts

Press release ~ Summary of responses to the 'Forced Marriage: A Wrong Not A Right' consultation (VLF 1.6Mb) ~ FCO Forced Marriage Website ~ Information for victims ~ Islam online ~ Guidelines for police ~ Guidance for education professionals ~ Forced Marriage Update 13/10/05 ~ A choice by right ~ Oxfordshire NHS FM website ~ Other material on Forced Marriage

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

Defra:  Defra has published research on the potential impact of CAP reform on tenant farmers.  The primary purpose of the Coventry University research project was to look at the potential impact of CAP reform on the diversified activities of tenant farmers and also the impact of the Single Payment on landlord/tenant relationships more generally.


The research has produced a baseline study, which will be followed up by a further study in the next few years, when the impact of CAP reform would be expected to have emerged more clearly.

Press release ~ Report ~ Defra’s diversification / ERDP website ~ Defra CAP reform website ~ Defra Agricultural Tenancy website ~ A Guide to Farm Diversification and Planning Permission in Scotland ~ Agrifor – Agricultural alternatives


See also Consultations section DCMS:  Consultation on European Commission proposals to revise the European Union's Television Without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

CC:  Could collaborative working be the way forward? - Guidance launched by the Charity Commission provides advice for charities thinking about doing just that.


The Commission's new guidance is aimed at small to medium sized charities and gives an introduction to the subject for those charities interested in exploring collaborative working.  It clearly sets out what is involved in various types of partnership and merger and includes real-life examples from charities.

Press release ~ CC34 - Collaborative Working and Mergers ~ Policy Statement on Mergers, Collaborative Working and Due Diligence ~ RS4 - Collaborative Working and Mergers ~ RS4 Collaborative Working and Mergers - Annex A, B, C & D


Survival Int.:  Survival International and other leading charities have launched a code of conduct for NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and are now inviting other international NGOs to sign up to the Charter.

Survival, Oxfam, Amnesty, Greenpeace, Civicus and six other charities have joined forces to launch the Accountability Charter, which sets new standards of openness & ethical behaviour in reporting, fundraising and campaigning.

Press release ~ Accountability Charter for international NGOs ~ Survival International

Business and other briefings

OGC:  The latest electronic auction, or eAuction, run by the Procurement Workstream team within the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) claims to have enabled a further £2.7m saving for the taxpayer.  Twelve organisations from across the public sector participated and 400 bids were received from 7 suppliers and the eAuction ran for 7 hours 10 minutes.


The eAuction, for IT hardware & related products, delivered a claimed 41% reduction in price against the starting figure of £6.5m and was the fifth in a series of collaborations between OGC and buyers from central government, local authorities and the NHS.


This is believed to be the first collaborative public sector eAuction to utilise "transformational" bidding, which factors in both a suppliers' qualitative evaluations and its pricing.

Press release ~ OGC eAuctions website ~ OGC: Electronic Reverse Auction Framework Guidance Notes ~ OGC Buying Solutions eAuctions website ~ Auction service providers, Achilles


HMRC:  VAT Business Brief 06/06


  • VAT: Hire of staff by employment bureaux: Invitation to contribute to HMRC review

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


ECGD: The Government has published the Concluding Response to the Export Credits Guarantee Department's public consultation on its new anti-bribery and corruption procedures.  During the consultation, which finished on 18 November, some exporters expressed concerns that disclosure of commercially confidential information could harm their business.


Consultees were invited to comment on ECGD's proposals for handling information about the identities of agents, information which will be required as part of every application, in order to minimise the risk of inadvertent disclosure of that information.  The results of the consultation are set out in the Concluding Response.


The procedures for handling agents' identities, known as the 'Special Handling Arrangements', will come into effect as part of ECGD's new anti-bribery and corruption procedures on 1 July 2006.

Press release ~ ECGD Business Principles ~ ECGD anti-bribery and corruption policy ~ Concluding and Final Responses to the public consultation

Industry News

Forthcoming Event

Editorial Content Statement

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