OGC: Desirable, necessary and should have been done years ago, but will they deliver? - Whitehall departments accounting for over 90% of the Government's office estate have an action plan to deliver Government's High Performing Property initiative, which is a major change programme which seeks to deliver:
  • a rationalised & fit for purpose Government estate that is aligned to deliver a more efficient service
  • annual savings of between £1bn & £1.5bn by 2013 from an estate that costs £6 billion a year to run
  • accommodation solutions that provide greater flexibility & adaptability
The action plan includes:
  • collaboration & data sharing on the way that Government occupied buildings are managed & used
  • collection & maintenance of data on a building by building basis
  • a focus on improving space utilisation as a key source of significant efficiency gains
The use of the Office of Government Commerce's cross Government property database (e-PIMS) as the primary platform for information on individual holdings on the estate and for performance measurement & benchmarking. Use of the OGC's Property Benchmarking Service has now been mandated to all departments, agencies and sponsored bodies.
Press release ~ High Performing Property Implementation Plan (3.5Mb) ~ OGC - High Performing Property ~ Lyons: Towards Better Management of Public Sector Assets ~ OGC - Electronic Property Information Mapping Service (e-PIMS) ~ High Performing Property: Routemap to asset management excellence ~ OGC - Better Asset Management ~ Building for the future: Sustainable construction and refurbishment on the government estate ~ OGC Common Minimum Standards for the procurement of built environments in the public sector ~ Occupiers Property Databank ~ Better Measurement, Better Management: Effective management of the Government estate

DH: Why should simplification lead to a 28% cut in funding for many? - Care Services Minister, Ivan Lewis is claiming that thousands of people in England are likely to receive more help towards their care costs from October this year.

The new National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare is intended to create consistent access to fully funded care with clear national policies for deciding eligibility.

If individuals are not eligible for continuing care, they may be eligible for NHS registered nursing care provided in a nursing home. The framework has also abolished the different nursing bands for free nursing care - The current nursing band rates are, are £40, £87 and £139, while the new single rate is projected to be only £101.
Press release ~ National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare ~ DH - Continuing Care ~ White paper: Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services ~ NHS funding for long term care - Health Service Ombudsman for England ~ Retrospective continuing care funding and redress ~ Continuing care – Background papers (click on Continuing Care) ~ Single assessment process ~ National Care Forum ~ JRF: Fi nancial care models in Scotland and the UK

DfES: ‘Its tough being young’ (some things never change) - Young people in England are increasingly feeling let down by and isolated from the older generation - this was one of the messages from the nation's youth, delivered by Young People's Minister, Parmjit Dhanda, at the first annual Youth Summit.

He also unveiled a new Department for Education and Skills' engagement strategy, with an action plan for involving the third sector, claiming thatthey will put the third sector at the heart of DfES business.

The Youth Summit, organised by the National Youth Agency (NYA), involved around 300 key players in the youth sector, including Tom Wylie, chief executive of the NYA and Justice minister Bridget Prentice.

The DfES also commissioned the NYA to undertake 3 dialogue events across the country which enabled groups of up to 30 young people to discuss with Parmjit Dhanda the issues around the activities that they undertake. A report on the events will be published in August 2007.
Press release ~ Youth Summit ~ National Youth Agency (NYA) ~ DfES Third Sector Strategy and Action Plan ~ The Third Sector Forum - Every Child Matters ~ Youth Opportunity and Youth Capital Funds ~ Youth Matters – Next Steps ~ Things to do, places to go - Every Child Matters ~ National Council for Voluntary Youth Services

Home Office: Keeping child immigrants safe - Immigration Minister Liam Byrne has announced an overhaul of the Border and Immigration Agency's policies concerning children. A new amendment to the UK Borders Bill will place a legal obligation on the BIA to keep children safe from harm.

The Agency will have a duty to have regard to a new statutory Code of Practice when dealing with children as it carries out its immigration functions.

The amendment came as part of a package of measures including a pilot to explore alternatives to detention of children result of a review of section 4 and the use of section 9, a review of family removals, and the launch of the Agency's framework of principles to keep children safe from harm.
Press release ~ Border and Immigration Agency ~ UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking ~ BIA: 'Child Safety Strategy' ~ Family removals review ~ Annex b - summary of recommendations ~ Annex c progess to date ~ Family asylum policy: the section 9 implementation project

DBRR (DTI): Stub out that cigarette and save the environment with WEEE - New legal obligations on the electrical industry will, from Sunday 1 July, start to see more waste products recycled and not consigned to the scrap heap. Last year 2 million tonnes of electrical waste was generated in the UK alone, enough to fill the new Wembley Stadium six times over.

From this Sunday, business & household consumers buying electrical products, from toasters & computers, through to mobile phones & televisions, will be offered free take-back of old products, either in store, through collection or at a local amenity site thanks to the introduction of these regulations.

The Directive does not place any obligations on householders, and they will be not be prohibited from throwing WEEE away with general domestic rubbish.

The Government claims to have worked closely with industry to set up the various components of a flexible & viable national electrical waste system, which includes:
  • A Distributor Takeback Scheme (operated by Valpak)
  • A network of 1,450 designated collection facilities (DCFs)
  • The approval of 37 producer compliance schemes
  • The appointment of enforcement bodies
  • Approval of 142 approved authorised treatment facilities (AATFs)
Press release ~ EC Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) - DTI ~ Environment Agency - WEEE ~ Def ra – WEEE Producer Responsibility ~ Guidance on Best Available Treatment Recovery & Recycling Techniques (BATRRT) and treatment of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) ~ Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations ~ Valpak WEEE Services ~ Vehicle Certification Agency

NE: We cannot save the planet on our own - Natural England, the Government's adviser on the natural environment in England, is calling for a Europe-wide partnership on adaptation. The call comes with the launch of the new European Commission Green Paper ‘Adapting to Climate Change’.

It is calling for European-wide partnership on climate change adaptation amongst all the environment agencies to work with the European Union to:
  • Climate proof the Common Agricultural Policy
  • Maximise the role of sustainable land management for both adaptation and mitigation incentives
  • Provide strong biofuel accreditation schemes to provide consumer confidence in biofuels
  • Ensure the Natura 2000 network of international wildlife sites is resilient against climate change
Press release ~ Natural England ~ European Commission Green Paper ‘Adapting to Climate Change’ – press release ~ Green Paper: Adapting to climate change ~ EU - Living with climate change in Europe ~ Launch of public debate on options for EU Action, 3rd July 2007 ~ Branch Project (Biodiversity Requires Adaption in Northwest Europe under a CHanging climate) ~ New Strategy for England Trees, Woods and Forests ~ Environment Agency - Preparing for climate change

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