DH: Are we being softened up for yet another rise in National Insurance? - Health Secretary Alan Johnson has launched a six month debate about the future shape of care & support services. A rapidly ageing population means that in 20 years' time a quarter of the entire adult population will be over 65 and the number of people over 85 will have doubled.

If current levels of service provision & patterns of care continue, public expenditure on Personal Social Services for adults is projected to rise from £12.7bn in 2007, to reach £40.9bn in 2041 at 2005 prices.

The public will be able to contribute to the debate through a series of events and by accessing a new national website. Over the next 6 months, the government will be asking the public & stakeholders at a series of regional events for their views about care & support to create a new system that:
* Promotes independence, choice and control for everyone who uses the care & support system
* Ensures everyone can receive the high quality care & support they need
* Is affordable for government, individuals and families in the long-term

This week also marks the beginning of the £31m Whole System Demonstrator Programme that will test the potential of innovative technologies like Telecare and Telehealth.
Press release ~ National Support, Care & Independence website ~ Future Demand for Social Care, 2005 to 2041: Projections of Demand for Social Care and Disability Benefits for Younger Adults in England ~ Future Demand for Social Care, 2005 To 2041: Projections of Demand for Social Care for Older People in England ~ Common core principles to support self care: a guide to support implementation ~ DH: Self care ~ Care closer to home project ~ DH - Building telecare in England ~ Telecare Alliance ~ Telecare LIN - Integrated Care Network ~ Telecare – JIT ~ National Framework Agreement ~ Audit Commission - Implementing telecare ~ SSIA - Telecare ~ 'Better outcomes, lower costs' ~ 'The costs and benefits of independent living' ~ Independent Living Strategy ~ Supporting People Programme

DIUS: Will SMEs be able to afford it? - The Government's new draft legislative programme will give employees the legal right to request time to train from their employers. The practical arrangements which employers would follow would be modelled on the existing right to request flexible working. The government claims that employees will be able to talk to employers about their training needs and employers will become more aware of the public funds available to support training.

Employers will be legally obliged to seriously consider requests for training they receive, but could refuse a request where there was a good business reason to do so. Employers will not be obliged to meet the salary or training costs to enable a request for time to train, but the government would expect many to choose to do so, recognising the opportunity to invest in their business.

The government hopes that a new National Apprenticeship Service will lead the drive for more high quality apprenticeships, backed up by a new legal definition of an apprenticeship and a new right for suitably qualified young people to get an apprenticeship.
Press release ~ Preparing Britain for the Future - the Draft Legislative Programme 2008-09 ~ Making Your Voice heard ~ See what is going on in your region ~ World Class Skills: Implementing the Leitch Review ~ UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) ~ Train to Gain ~ Lifelong Learning UK ~ < font color="#800080" size="2">Raising Expectations: enabling the system to deliver (Joint DCSF/DIUS consultation) (closing date 10 June 2008) ~ DIUS – Further education ~ Learning and Skills Council (LSC) ~ National Diplomas ~ Activity Agreements ~ White paper - Further Education: Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances ~ DfES 14 – 19 Gateway ~ Get set for life website ~ Apprenticeships review report ~ Command paper 'Ready to Work, Skilled for Work: Unlocking Britain's Talent' ~ Unlocking Talent leaflet ~ Leitch Review ~ LSC: Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives, Our statement of Priorities ~ Skills Investing in the first steps ~ Connexions services ~ Entry to Employment programmes ~ Care to Learn scheme

UK OC: Help is at hand - A survey from UK Online Centres found that while three quarters of parents knew their kids were regular internet users, 50% didn’t think their internet or IT skills were good enough to supervise or assist with surfing. Topping the list of concerns were internet predators, inappropriate images and fraudsters, but other worries included cyber-bullying and information sharing on social networking sites.

Now parents can learn more about all sorts of internet safety issues – at their nearest UK online centre. They’ve just launched a new myguide taster course – Using the internet safely – to give anyone worried about internet safety an introduction to some of the potential pitfalls and the best ways to avoid them. The course includes basic information on computer security, protecting personal data and helping children stay safe online.

Managing Director of UK OC, Helen Milner, explains: “Everything is made really simple and intuitive – it doesn’t matter if you’ve never even touched a computer before because with myguide you can start from the beginning – set up an email account, search for information and even learn how to use a keyboard & mouse”
Press release ~ Internet safety online course ~ Thinkuknow education initiative ~ CEOP ~ Hectors World ~ Research project ‘Privacy and Self-Disclosure Online’ ~ Information Commissioner's Office - ICO ~ ICO pages for young people ~ Trust Services - e-Government Strategy Framework Policy and Guidelines Version 3.0 ~ Data Sharing Toolkit

WAG: Just like money, you cannot take them with you! - A pioneering campaign aimed at increasing the number of organ donors in Wales has been launched. The Donate Wales – Tell a Loved One campaign, (funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and led by the Kidney Wales Foundation) sees 9 major charities come together for the first time in the UK to tackle the shortage of donors.

Around 470 people in Wales are currently waiting for an organ transplant, but with a shortage of donors many face the reality of having to wait years or even that they may even die while waiting. In the last 5 years, more than 750 lives have been transformed by a transplant and the generosity of a donor. Sadly, in that time 150 people have died while waiting for a suitable donor organ – the equivalent of one person every fortnight.

More than 780,000 in Wales have joined the Organ Donor Register, but that leaves three in four who haven’t. The campaign, which will run until September 2008, is set to get us talking about what we want to happen to our organs when we die and to encourage more of us in Wales to join the Organ Donor Register.
The campaign will also tackle some of the misconceptions surrounding organ donation, such as there being restrictions because of a person’s sexuality. All the major religions support the principles of organ donation.
Press release ~ Organ Donor Register ~ Donate Wales – Tell a Loved One campaign ~ WAG – Health and Social Care ~ Kidney Wales Foundation ~ WAG – Organ Donation ~ NHS Direct Wales – Organ Donation ~ 'Organs for Transplants' ~ UK Transplant ~ Organ Donation Taskforce

BGS: We can say it will but not when - Only last summer research published by earth scientists in the international journal Tectonics concluded that geological faults in the Sichuan Basin, China "are sufficiently long to sustain a strong ground-shaking earthquake, making them potentially serious sources of regional seismic hazard." An international team of scientists and colleagues from research institutes in Chengdu, carefully mapped & analysed a series of geologically young faults that cross Sichuan Province like recently healed scars.

The recent earthquake in Sichuan occurred under some of the steepest and most rugged mountains in the world, the Longmen Shan: the Dragon's Gate Mountains. This range, steeper than the Himalayas, is the upturned rim of the eastern edge of Tibet, a plateau that has risen to 5km in response to the slow but unstoppable collision of India with Asia that began about 55m years ago and which continues unabated today.
Press release ~ Peer-reviewed paper ~ British Geological Survey (BGS)

Industry News: Are you really sure you know what your clients need? – We all know it is not a question of how much money organisations ‘throw’ at a problem but rather how well it is targeted by those designing / commissioning service provision. One way for an organisation to give appropriate staff the skill sets to carry out the necessary research without disruption of day-to-day running of a service can be found with Napier University’s online part time study in Social Research at postgraduate level. The course modules are specifically designed & written for those in established careers seeking to upgrade their skills & qualifications.

Students are guided through the modules online, using a variety of learning objects such as a short piece of reading, a sample of data, a link to another website; a video lecture. The learning objects are the springboard for students’ learning and are accompanied by online & offline learning activities including in-depth readings; online discussions; critical thinking exercises; quizzes; group work. These activities enhance the students’ subject knowledge and develop their evaluative, analytical, problem solving and reasoning skills.

Unlike traditional distance learning, the online environment creates the opportunity for peer engagement and support and for direct contact with tutors. Students can undertake the entire MSc, or can take fewer modules to achieve a Post Graduate Certificate or Diploma.
Further information ~ Napier University ~ What is Social Research? ~ REA toolkit ~ National Centre for Social Research ~ Centre for Regional, Economic and Social Research (CRESR) ~ National Institute of Economic and Social Research ~ Demographic Review of the UK Social Sciences ~ Social Science Information Gateway ~ UK Data Archive ~ Office for National Statistics ~ Ethics in social research: the views of research participants ~ ESRC Festival of Social Science 2008 ~ Question Bank ~ The Social Research Association

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