DefraWhat makes people go green? - The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published a framework to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour among individuals and communities.  The report pulls together evidence on public understanding, attitudes & behaviours and draws conclusions on the potential for behaviour change among members of the public.

It identifies 12 headline behaviour goals based on a range of low/high impact and easy/hard behaviours which could potentially engage large numbers of people & others which would be more appropriate for targeting particular population groups.

By defining the different motivations and barriers to pro-environmental behaviour, the model will hopefully help policy makers understand how to support different groups of people to take action.

In recognition of the important role the voluntary sector plays in influencing pro-environmental behaviour, Joan Ruddock also announced that a new grant scheme will be set up to support voluntary organisations to encourage people to adopt a greener lifestyle.
Press release ~ Defra's Framework for Pro-environmental Behaviours ~ Survey of Public Attitudes and Behaviours toward the Environment: 2007 ~ Energy Saving Trust – Green Homes Service ~ Go Green in a Fortnight! ~ Green Guide online ~ Defra: A Shopper's Guide to Green Labels ~ O ther related guidance ~ Consumer Products and the Environment ~ Green Technology Initiative

CCOf what benefit are you? - Under the Charities Act 2006, all charities must demonstrate that they are established for public benefit.  The Act gives the Charity Commission responsibility for issuing guidance, raising awareness about the public benefit requirement and the task of judging whether a charity can demonstrate that its aims are charitable for the public benefit.

It has published new guidance (Charities and Public Benefit - the Charity Commission's general guidance on public benefit), which identifies & explains two key principles of public benefit:
* Principle 1 - There must be an identifiable benefit, or benefits
* Principle 2 - Benefit must be to the public, or a section of the public

The guidance:
* explains what charities should consider within these principles and that how a charity benefits the public must be clear & related to its aims
* explains how the Commission will assess the public benefit of individual charities and how charities are required to demonstrate and report on their public benefit
* also covers who must benefit and the effects of any restrictions on who can benefit and the need to ensure that people in poverty are not excluded from the opportunity to benefit

Charities will not be required to start reporting on the public benefit requirement until 31 March 2009.  The Commission will be issuing draft supplementary guidance for consultation on the public benefit of specific types of charity in February.
Press release ~ Charities and Public Benefit: the Charity Commission's general guidance on public benefit ~ Summary guidance ~ Analysis of the law underpinning Charities and Public Benefit ~ Charities Act 2006

DHIs it time for a change in attitude? - The Government has announced it will back the recommendations of the Organ Donation Taskforce, which could see a 50% increase in organ donation (not organ transplants) in the UK within five years - resulting in an additional 1,200 transplants a year and ‘saving thousands of lives’.

The Taskforce, set up to examine how organ donation and transplant rates can be improved, has just published its report 'Organs for Transplants', which has 14 recommendations in total, which including encouraging the NHS to make organ donation a usual rather than unusual event by developing local organ donation policies with identified clinical donor leads or donation committees.

Improving organ donation not only saves lives but also saves valuable resources. Over the next 10 years the government expect that there could be about an extra 5,400 kidney transplants, which could give NHS savings of over £500m.

Different ways of recognising the very special gift made by individual organ donors and their families will also be considered.  The issue of presumed consent is not included in the report. A separate report will follow in the summer.
Press release ~ 'Organs for Transplants' ~ NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) ~ UK Transplant ~ DH - Transplantation ~ Organ Donation Taskforce ~ BBC – What is the NHS Organ Donor Register?

LDAUse of Third Sector can bring problems - The London Development Agency (LDA) Chief Executive Manny Lewis and statutory Chief Finance Officer Andrew Travers have reported to the London Assembly that ‘its review of allegations made by the Evening Standard had found no evidence of fraud, corruption or collusion within the LDA’.

The LDA’s review was carried out by the LDA’s statutory Chief Finance Officer, who has legal responsibility for the proper administration of the agency’s financial affairs, with support from auditors from the external firm Deloitte and Touche.  This approach to the review was discussed with the District Auditor, to whom the report has now been referred.

The LDA’s review found that ‘12 of the 16 allegations made were unfounded. Where the review found that there was a need for further work, the LDA has referred the allegations concerned to the police, as it does not have the full powers necessary to formally interview and investigate external parties’.

The review also found that there was ‘no evidence of improper interference in projects by the Mayor’s adviser Lee Jasper’.  A fourth project is still being audited as matter of routine LDA procedure before any further decisions are made.  Separately another project, Green Badge Taxi School, which the LDA last funded in 2002, has already been referred to the police for investigation.
Press release ~ LDA Review ~ LDA press statement 11/01/08 ~ LDA - Response summary of the Board Special Meeting on the Evening Standard's Allegations : London Development Agency

Ofsted An essential pool of knowledge for saving the planet - At a time when geographical issues such as floods, rising sea levels, conflict resolution, famines and trade disputes constantly make the headlines, there is some evidence that the provision of geography is declining, says Geography in schools – changing practice, published by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted).

The report shows that in primary and secondary schools, although there are many good lessons, too much teaching & learning is mediocre and pupils’ achievement is weaker than in most other subjects.  Many children interviewed in Key Stage 3 said they found geography ‘boring & irrelevant’, and the number of children choosing to study the subject at Key Stage 4 (age 14-16) continues to fall.

Ofsted’s report describes good practice which, if adopted more widely, could help to reverse this trend.  It also highlights the way successful geography teachers are using outdoor fieldwork activities to boost understanding of the subject, raise standards, and motivate pupils.

Knowledge & understanding of the global dimension and fieldwork skills are identified in the report as important in helping to develop pupils’ understanding of local, national & world communities and their role as citizens. This ranges from issues such as local town planning, transport and the use of green space to international trade and their role as consumers.
Press release ~ Geography in schools – changing practice ~ Government&rsquo ;s Action Plan for Geography ~ Royal Geographical Society ~ Geographical Association - Action Plan for Geography ~ QCA - Innovating with geography - Key stage 3 - Leading geography ~ The Standards Site: Teaching geography at key stage 3 ~ BBC - GCSE Bitesize - Geography ~ OS Map zone ~ National Curriculum in Action - Geography ~ MAGIC

Shock, horror, government department uses plain English rather than ‘spin’ - The National School of Government has been named as a winner of the prestigious 'Inside Write’ awards for its new induction booklet 'Joining the Civil Service'.

Hosted by the Plain English Campaign, the awards recognise organisations & individuals who have made an effort to present themselves using clear and concise English.  In making the award, judges described the booklet as "extremely helpful and informative" and "a 'must have' for anyone considering a job working for government."
Joining the Civil Service' explains simply & clearly:
* what the Civil Service is
* what civil servants do, and
* how & why they do it
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