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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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
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