DCA: Making sure decisions are for benefit of individuals rather than interested parties - A Code of Practice for people making decisions on behalf of individuals who lack mental capacity has been published. The Code applies immediately to those aspects of the Mental Capacity Act relating to Independent Mental Capacity Advocates and the new criminal offence of ill-treatment or neglect and for all other provisions from 1 October 2007 once they come into force.

The Code, which sets out best practice for professionals, family carers & other groups, will be an essential guide to help people make decisions that are in the best interests of some of the most vulnerable people in society, as it covers an extensive range of different decisions that might need to be taken.

Professionals and other paid carers are expected to have regard to the Code when working with someone who lacks capacity.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a statutory framework for people who lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions. It sets out who can take decisions, in which situations and how they should go about this, as well as enabling people to make provision for a time in the future when they may lack capacity to make some decisions.

Parts of the Act that came in to effect in April 2007 include the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate Service in England (IMCAs). Other parts of the Act including the Court of Protection, the Office of the Public Guardian, Lasting Powers of Attorney and the IMCA service for Wales will come into effect in October 2007.

Press release ~ Making decisions: The Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) Service ~ DCA - Other codes and related documents ~ DCA – Mental Capacity Act ~ Independent Mental Capacity Service ~ Public Guardianship Office ~ Offices of Court Funds, Official Solicitor and Public Trustee ~ Lasting Powers of Attorney (click on link) ~ WAG – Mental Capacity Act ~ Mental Capacity Act 2005 - Best Practice Tool ~ Government response to the Lasting Powers of Attorney - forms and guidance consultation ~ Protecting the vulnerable: the Bournewood consultation - summary of responses ~ Mind ~ DH – Social Care

Defra: Government preaches, but does not always listen to its own message - After last week's critical NAO report, a new campaign that aims to help individuals cut their personal CO2 emissions has been backed by the Prime Minister and Environment Secretary David Miliband. The Climate Group's We're In This Together Campaign is intended to bring businesses, Government & communities together and provides practical ideas for how individuals can reduce their CO2 footprint.

Steps the Government is taking to help individuals reduce their CO2 footprint include:

  • A new CO2 calculator - due to be launched later this spring
  • Assistance to help people in fuel poverty insulate their homes and install more energy efficient boilers
  • Phasing out inefficient light bulbs and removing inefficient white goods from the market
  • Introducing energy audits for homes & businesses
  • Engaging the public - an Act on CO2 campaign to help make individuals more ‘CO2 literate’
  • Introducing a code of best practice for offsetting

Press release ~ Act on CO2 campaign ~ We're In This Together Campaign ~ Current artwork designs for the Government's proposed CO2 calculator ~ Energy Saving Trust ~ Climate Change Bill ~ Climate Challenge website ~ Defra – Climate Change ~ NAO report on sustainable construction and refurbishment on the Government Estate ~ UK Power Sector Emissions - targets or reality? ~ Code of Best Practice for Offsetting ~ DfT - Act on CO2

DfES: Start with the basics, well-trained teachers - A plan to help improve the training & development available to school teachers and contribute to raising school standards in England has been published by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA).

The new national strategy for serving teachers' Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is intended to ensure that effective, high quality training is available in the areas that need it most. Schools will hopefully be able to make better, more informed decisions about the training in which they invest.

The strategy follows a review of gaps in current CPD provision and sets out three main national priorities for the years 2007-2010:

  • Pedagogy, including more support on behaviour management, updating subject knowledge & supporting changes in the curriculum
  • Personalisation, including greater awareness of equality & diversity issues and supporting pupils with special education needs (SEN) & disability, and
  • People, including working with support staff & frontline professionals in schools and more help for current & aspiring school leaders

The TDA will work closely with social partners on the Rewards and Incentives Group (RIG) to publish guidance to support new teacher professionalism, including measuring the impact of CPD. It will also pilot a database of CPD provision available.

Press release ~ Continuing Professional Development: A strategy for teachers ~ Rewards and Incentives Group (RIG) ~ Teachernet CPD ~ General Teaching Council for England - CPD ~ NUT on the Web - CPD ~ Teachers TV - CPD Support ~ Teaching the teachers: is CPD equipping our teachers for a technological world?

DH: A golden future or a sinkhole of future deprivation - Social Care Minister Ivan Lewis has announced a five-point plan to ‘put excellence at the heart of the government's vision for twenty first century social care’ following the publication of Dame Denise Platt’s report on the state of social care.

The centre piece of the package will be a skills academy 'SocialCare21' focussed on developing world class leadership & commissioning in the public, private and voluntary sectors, plus:

  • the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has been asked to create a new system for identifying & disseminating best practice in the sector
  • the Government is to open discussions with publishers to create a high prestige social care journal of a similar nature to the Lancet in health.
  • Academics, practitioners and service users/ their families will have a platform to stimulate debate, identifying future challenges and comment on the statue of social care
  • A new national social care board is to be established to directly advise ministers.

Press release ~ Platt review on Social care ~ Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) ~ Care Services Improvement Partnership ~ Health and Social Care Awards ~ Social care workforce review - Options for Excellence ~ DH – Social Care ~ Caring Choices Coalition: Who will pay for long-term care? ~ King's Fund - Wanless Social Care Review ~ Healthcare Commission - Review of dignity in care

IPO: Want to be the next Google or Microsoft? Then protect your IP - Small businesses risk missing out on valuable income from new technology or ideas because they’re not certain about their intellectual property rights, a new survey has found. The warning comes on World IP Day, with the UK Intellectual Property Office unveiling its first ever comprehensive survey of IP Awareness in UK business.

Every business uses aspects of intellectual property, the name it trades under, processes it uses, the products or services it provides, or protecting and deriving benefit from the creative or artistic works it generates.

As part of World IP Day, the UK Intellectual Property Office has published two new information booklets and an e-newsletter specifically for smaller firms and individuals to help protect their ideas.

The new IP Health Checks pilot scheme will help up to 50 small firms identify their intellectual property and access advice to protect and maximise its value.

Press release ~ World Intellectual Property (IP) Day ~ Survey of IP awareness(1.9Mb) ~Wallace & Gromit - Cracking Ideas ~ My IP (3.4Mb) ~ My Idea – is it a business? (3Mb) ~IP Health Checks ~ IP Insight ~ Innovation Support Strategy

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