Home Office: Surviving Forced Marriages - The Government's Forced Marriage Unit deals with around 5,000 inquiries and helps rescue up to 300 women, children & men who are trapped in abusive, forced marriages every year. 15% of cases involve men and 30% of cases involve minors.

A new handbook offers practical help & information to help survivors take control of their lives and a survivors' network in partnership with Karma Nirvana (a forced marriage NGO) will provide long term emotional support.

The Forced Marriages Bill, which was drafted as a Private Members Bill introduced to Parliament by Lord Lester, is being supported by the government, reached the Grand Committee stage last week. The Bill will enable the courts to order a range of measures to prevent or pre-empt forced marriages from occurring.
Press release ~ Government statement ~ Forced marriage unit ~ Survivor’s Handbook ~ Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Bill ~ Two Year Strategy ~ Scottish Executive – Forced marriages ~ Islam online ~ Guidelines for police ~ Karma Nirvana Refuge (and Survivors Network) – Tel: 01332 604098 (Mon-Fri 9.30am - 5.00pm) - Out of Hours emergency number: 07952 856869

DH: Still waiting after all these years and the best we can hope for is a ‘fudge’ - The NHS must do more to keep male & female patients separate is the message from a report by England's chief nursing officer, which highlights the actions trusts should take to improve provision of single sex accommodation.

It includes practical advice for trusts who are struggling to maintain this core standard of care, for instance:

  • the layout of hospital accommodation should be reviewed & improved to enhance segregation
  • trusts should set & publish local standards on single sex accommodation, and
  • publish local targets for improvement where necessary

To ensure this is a priority for trusts, the NHS chief executive has made the commitment to reduce mixed sex accommodation a core priority for the NHS for this coming year. Primary Care Trusts are now expected to ensure that the commitment to reduce mixed sex accommodation is implemented locally.

However the government claims that as long as men & women are sensitively cared for in separate bays or rooms, and have their own toilet facilities, then it can be appropriate for all patients with certain medical needs to be on the same ward, being cared for by the same team of doctors and nurses.
Press release ~ Privacy and dignity - A Report by the Chief Nursing Officer into Mixed Sex Accommodation in Hospitals ~ The NHS in England: operating framework for 2007-08 ~ Kings Fund - Operating Framework for the NHS ~ DH - Elimination of mixed-sex hospital accommodation (2005) ~ End In Sight For Mixed Sex Accommodation In Hospitals - Dignity And Privacy Most Important - Baroness Jay (1998)

Home Office / MoJ: Doctor delivers twins - A slimmer Home Office and a new Ministry of Justice have been launched this week implementing Home Secretary, Dr Reid's, recommendation.

New Minister of Justice, Lord Falconer stated that the key themes of the Ministry of Justice would be; ‘protecting the public, reducing re-offending and sense in sentencing’ and that improvement would be measured by:

  • fewer offenders re-offending
  • public confidence the punishment fits the crime
  • connection to the communities it serves
  • victims feeling the system looks after them
  • confidence in the way justice operates, and
  • fair & accessible electoral arrangements

Meanwhile the Home Office will be working towards the following strategic objectives:

  • helping people feel safer in their homes & local communities
  • protecting the public from terrorist attack
  • cutting crime, especially violent, drug & alcohol related crime
  • supporting visible, responsive & accountable policing
  • strengthening our borders, fast-tracking asylum decisions, ensuring & enforcing compliance with our immigration laws and boosting Britain's economy
  • safeguarding people's identity & the privileges of citizenship
  • working with its partners to build an efficient, effective and proportionate criminal justice system.

Policy areas for which the Home Office is responsible are:

  • Counter Terrorism and National Security
  • Crime reduction and crime prevention (including domestic violence, youth crime, sexual crime, crimes against children and the child sex offender review)
  • Policing Policy
  • Reducing the harms caused by anti-social behaviour, illegal drugs and alcohol
  • Respect
  • Borders and Immigration
  • Identity Management

Home office press release ~ MoJ press release ~ Ministry of Justice ~ Reforming the Home Office ~ New Home Office ~ Home Office - Security

DWP / ODI: Home care is not only better for you, it costs the taxpayer less - Savings to health care and social care budgets could be made by investing in housing adaptations and investment in independent living according to research published by the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) in two new reports commissioned as part of the ODI’s Independent Living Review to identify imaginative & practical solutions to support independent living for disabled people.

'Better outcomes, lower costs' summarises existing evidence relating to savings to health & social care budgets as a result of investment in housing adaptations and housing improvements. Its Key findings include:

  • providing adaptations & equipment can speed hospital discharge or prevent hospital admission by preventing accident & illness. Estimated savings from the Welsh Care & Repair Agencies' Rapid Response programme are between £4 million and £40 million
  • good housing adaptations can enable seriously disabled people to move out of residential care, with estimated potential savings of £10 million a year on residential care costs in England
  • home modifications can prevent or delay residential care for disabled older people. One year's delay will save £26,000 per person, less the cost of the adaptation (average £6,000)

'The costs and benefits of independent living' summarises existing evidence about investment in independent living and its key findings are:
  • there is some evidence that enabling independent living costs less to deliver. A change in delivery model would require additional resources, but over time these would be recouped in savings
  • there is evidence of significant costs for the Exchequer in not addressing barriers faced by disabled people

Press release ~ Office for Disability Issues (ODI) ~ 'Be tter outcomes, lower costs' ~ Summary version ~ 'The costs and benefits of independent living' ~ Summary version ~ Independent Living Review ~ National Care Forum ~ Welsh Care and Repair Agency ~ Supporting People Programme

DfES: If developing talent is so critical to the UK’s economic future, why isn’t it free to everyone - Schools Minister Andrew Adonis has claimed that gifted & talented secondary children will benefit from a wide range of out of school hours learning through leading universities. Run by higher education institutions, the nine 'excellence hubs' are a partnership of universities, schools and other education providers.

From this summer, they will offer up to 3,000 places on residential & non-residential events and online courses. During the next academic year there will be more than 22,000 places available during term time, weekends and holidays.

Each hub will make 10% of places available free of charge to those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as some subsidised places. The excellence hubs will work alongside a new Academy for young gifted and talented learners opening in September 2007.
Press release ~ Excellence hubs ~ CfBT Education Trust ~ Standards Site - Gifted and Talented ~ National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY) ~ National Programme for Gifted and Talented Education Learner Academy Website

Work Wise: National Work from Home Day - Be part of National Work from Home Day and work from home on Friday May 18, when organisations & employees across the UK, both public & private, are being invited to take part in the national day to demonstrate the benefits of home working.

Many people can easily do their jobs from home. Even just working from home for one day a week will have a profound impact upon traffic congestion and public transport overcrowding – just look what happens during the school holidays!

Working from home also significantly improves productivity, enabling businesses to be more competitive, and enhances work-life balance for staff, with added health & leisure benefits.
Press release ~ Work Wise UK ~ Work Wise Week and National Work from Home day ~ InterForum ~ The Telework Association ~ CIPD - Teleworking ~ FAQ: What are the benefits of Telework - Telecommuting? ~ TUC - Work-Life Balance ~ Other Useful links

DH: Reforming the ‘Cinderella’ of health services - Professor Louis Appleby, the National Clinical Director for Mental Health explains why improvements in community care must continue and sets out a new phase of reform in mental health services in a new report.

Breaking down barriers - the clinical case for change, is the latest in a series of reports from National Clinical Directors & National Advisers focusing on clinical reasons for making changes to the ways that services are delivered.

He calls for the breaking down of barriers that can prevent people from rebuilding their lives and looks at how the expansion in talking therapy services, along with the move to greater community care, will help to continue a process that requires all mental health professions to re-define their role in a modern service.
Press release ~ Breaking down barriers - the clinical case for change ~ DH – Mental HealthSainsbury Centre for Mental Health ~ 'Ten Years On: Progress on Mental Health Care Reform' ~ Anxiety guidance ~ Depression Guidance ~ NICE: Computerised cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety - Review of Technology Appraisal 51 ~ Rethink ~ Useful Links

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