SocitmPerhaps central government should also take note - The Society of IT Management (Socitm) has worked closely with the Local Government Association/ Welsh Local Government Association and central government on a new publication - Local Government Data Handling Guidelines - that shows councils the steps they need to be taking to keep safe & secure data collected from residents, businesses and other parties.

The guidelines set out fundamental steps that every council should take to lessen risks of personal information being lost or data protection systems failing and include Socitm’s top 10 tips for data handling.  Richard Thomas, Information Commissioner, said: “I welcome these guidelines as a significant step towards ensuring the consistent, proportionate and secure use of personal information by government at all levels”.

Socitm will also be working with the LGA/WLGA and IDeA to provide advice & guidance to local authorities in achieving compliance with the Data Handling Guidelines and the Government Connect Code of Connection
Press release ~ Data handling guidelines for local government ~ Socitm – Information Assurance ~ Local Government Association ~ Welsh Local Government Association ~ Data Handling Procedures in Government ~ Recent speech by ICO ~ Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ~ ICO Briefing - Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 ~ A Surveillance Society, Home Affairs Select Committee (scroll down to 5th report) ~ Data sharing, Thomas/Walport ~ Criminality information, Sir Ian Magee ~ Guidance on data security breach management ~ ICO Privacy Impact Assessments Handbook ~ National Audit Office guidance, Managing Information Risk ~ Protecting Government Information ~ Directors’ Guides to Managing Information Risk, IAAC, ISAF, BT ~ Data Handling in Government ~ Information Assurance Advisory Council ~ BSI: ISO/IEC 27000 Information Security ~ Government Connect Code of Connection

CLGAs we prepare to celebrate the birthday of another ‘rough sleeper’ - A new drive to end rough sleeping by 2012 has been announced by the Government.  Ministers said that it is not acceptable for people still to be sleeping rough and announced a new action plan (backed by an allocation of £200m) to prevent rough sleeping and to support those already there to rebuild their lives away from the streets.
CLG Press release ~ HL Press Release ~  No One Left Out – Communities ending rough sleeping ~ Guidance on Evaluating the Extent of Rough Sleeping ~ CLG – Rough sleeping ~ Thames Reach ~ National Rough Sleeping Estimate ~ Sustainable Communities: settled homes; changing lives - A strategy for tackling homelessness ~ Helping rough sleepers off the streets ~ Homeless Link: Action Plan to End Homelessness ~ HL: Unlocking Solutions - Developing Move On Plans ~ National Alliance to End Homelessness

CLG:  Decentralisation or Divide & Rule by central government? - Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has outlined plans to encourage new town & parish councils to be set up so that more decision-making powers are devolved to local people, particularly in urban areas.  Recently passed legislation means that parish councils can now be established in London for the first time in 45 years.

Over £750,000 will be allocated to the National Association of Local Councils, which will work with organisations including the Local Government Association, the Society of Local Council Clerks and the Participatory Budgeting Unit, to:
* develop new good practice guidance on devolving decision-making
* develop a revitalised National Training Strategy for town & parish councillors
* help for councillors to encourage greater community involvement

New & existing councils that successfully meet approved standards will be recognised through NALC's Quality Parish and Town Council Scheme - it is hoped that the number of Quality Councils could rise from around 650 to as many as 2,500 by April 2011.
Press release ~ National Association of Local Councils ~ Communities in Control: real power, real people ~ New powers to create new parish and town councils ~ 'Strengthening the role of local councillors' ~ CRC findings and recommendations ~ Quality Parish Councils ~ Councillors Commission ~ Local Government Association ~ Society of Local Council Clerks ~ Participatory Budgeting Unit

NAOThe ROI doesn’t add up - A National Audit Office report finds that meeting the 2011 progress target – that 84.5% of pupils make at least two National Curriculum levels of progress in mathematics – will be a considerable challenge.  In 2007, pupils in their final year of primary school achieved the best set of results so far recorded in the national mathematics tests, yet almost a quarter of pupils are still not reaching the expected standard. 

Attainment in mathematics increased significantly between 1998 & 2000, but improvements in results since then have been small, despite spending by primary schools increasing in real terms by more than 30%.
Press release ~ Mathematics performance in primary schools: Getting the best results ~ Executive Summary ~ Ipsos MORI survey of 11-13 year olds on their attitudes to their primary mathematics teaching & learning ~ Ofsted: Mathematics: Understanding the score ~ National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics ~ Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) ~ STEMnet ~ Review of Mathematics Teaching in Early Years Settings and Primary Schools ~ Developing assessment for learning in mathematics – classroom practice in action ~ STEM Mapping Review ~ What is important in teaching Maths ~ Centre for Innovation in Mathematics teaching ~ National Challenge documents and case studies ~ 'Making Great Progress' ~ Keeping up - pupils who fall behind in Key Stage 2 ~ Making Good Progress: How can we help every pupil to make good progress at school?

OfstedFailure, Failure Failure? - Ofsted’s Annual report for 2007/08 paints a picture of too many children & young people receiving services that are ‘patently inadequate’ – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds – despite broad improvements across schools, children’s services and further education. 

The report covers the first full year of Ofsted’s wider remit - inspecting & regulating education, childcare, social care, children’s services, adult learning and the skills sector – and highlights that:
* 8% of social care providers are inadequate
* 20% of 11 year olds transfer to secondary school without reaching the expected level in English & maths
* more than half of all pupils leave schools without five good GCSEs - A*s to Cs, including English & maths

The report warns that poor quality services exist ‘at every stage of the education and care sectors’ for children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, despite positive contributions by initiatives such as children’s centres, Teach First and London Challenge.
Press release ~ Annual Report ~ Annual Report site ~ Teach First ~ London Challenge ~ Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) ~ Parents on Council Care ~ Children on care standards ~ Children's messages on care ~ Office of the Children’s Rights Director ~ Care Matters implementation plan ~ Ofsted: Looked after children: good practice in schools ~ Care Matters: Time for Change (White Paper) ~ Care Matters - Transforming the Lives of Children and Young People in Care ~ Your Voice, Your Choice ~ Parental Separation: Children’s Needs and Parents’ Responsibilities ~ Family Mediation website

Forthcoming EventLearn ‘How to’ in 60 minutes rather than a whole day – It’s a common problem for many managers – how to learn about the benefits of new ideas & techniques without having to spend most of a whole day out of the office.

SGS United Kingdom Ltd. provide one solution – their FREE 60 minute webinars - the next of which runs on 10 December 2008 at 10am GMT and explores the background to the Government's new (March 2008) Customer Service Excellence standard, as well as the standard’s key requirements on the drivers of customer satisfaction, namely; delivery, timeliness, staff, professionalism & attitude and information & access. It will also give you the opportunity to ask their experts any questions you may have regarding the standard.

Future webinars will be based on topics directly related to the CSE standard, such as Segmentation & Customer Grouping, Customer Journey mapping and the Key drivers of Customer Satisfaction.

In addition SGS have developed a FREE guide to Customer Service Excellence, which covers the entire path from deciding to go for the standard - right through to the application & certification process.  It also contains a full copy of the standard, as well as guidance on the type of evidence required.  You can also learn more from organisations that have already achieved recognition to the CSE Standard and gain an insight into their experience and what this achievement means to them. 

Click HERE to:
* Register for event
* Request free guide
* See case studies
Transition for existing Charter Mark holders to CSE ~ Government's new Customer Service Excellence standard

For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar

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