This is our last newsletter of 2008, so early Festive Greetings to all WGPlus subcribers and every success for 2009! We will be back with the 1st newsletter of 2009 in Mid-January.
WAG: Committed to providing care for Carers - New plans to increase support for people who provide care for frail & disabled relatives has been outlined by the Welsh Assembly Government. Deputy Minister for Social Services Gwenda Thomas has unveiled a Legislative Competence Order which will seek to give WAG powers to introduce legislation on carers, which is a One Wales commitment.
Wales already has the highest proportion of people in the UK with a limiting long-term illness – almost one in four of the population – and the highest rate in the UK of permanent sickness & disability in the economically inactive population at 9%. Unpaid carers provide around 70% of care in the community and forecasts suggest that the pool of potential carers relative to numbers needing care is likely to decrease over the next few years.
Wales already has more than 340,000 carers, with almost 12% of the population having some form of responsibility for care of a relative – a higher proportion than anywhere else in the UK. If the Legislative Competence Order is approved, the Assembly Government will introduce Assembly Measures to support carers and promote their well-being, with royal approval for the Order likely to be received in summer 2009.
BERR: Ensuring speedier payments to smaller companies - Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, has launched a new Code of Practice to help increase the speed of payments to smaller companies. The code, developed with the Institute of Credit Management (ICM) and supported by major business organisations, aims to establish a clear & consistent policy in the payment of business to business bills.
The ICM will host the code on its website and it will include a facility for suppliers to raise concerns about late payers (The (www.promptpaymentcode.org.uk) mini-website will go live in early New Year, but in the meantime, readers are recommended to access the 'Managing Cashflow' guides on the ICM’s website.
BMIIB: Never again? - The Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board has published its final report and announced the conclusion of its work. This announcement was on the third anniversary of the incident, which occurred at the Buncefield Oil Depot in Hemel Hempstead on 11 December 2005, dramatically affecting surrounding local residents and businesses.
Lord Newton of Braintree, the Chair of the BMIIB, said: "This final report captures all of our important work over nearly three years in a single publication for the public record. It provides an authoritative summary of the incident and of the Board's role and work, and brings together for the first time our 78 recommendations into one place.
This includes some new elements, for example information on economic impact and the mechanism that produced such a severe explosion at Buncefield. We trust it will prove an invaluable reference document about this major and very serious event."
P&HSO: Saying 'Sorry' is a basic principle of good service - The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, has published her report - Improving public service: a matter of principle. This is her second report on how government bodies & the NHS handle complaints and forms part of an ongoing series of complaint digests. Her first report - Remedy in the NHS - was published in June 2008.
This latest report includes real cases from a range of public bodies and illustrates good & bad practice in dealing with complaints. Ms Abraham shares the lessons her Office has learnt from recent investigations and urges public bodies to improve public administration and complaint handling practices.
The cases highlighted illustrate how the Ombudsman's previous publications Principles of Good Administration and Principles for Remedy can be used to improve the outcome of complaints.
LDA: Saving London if not the whole world - The London Development Agency is giving top priority to keeping London working - given the current economic downturn – and has announced plans for an additional £23m package of public sector support for small businesses in the capital. This will be in addition to the £150m the LDA invests in London’s jobs, skills and business support this year.
The new programme includes a series of LDA-sponsored business recovery seminars run by KPMG & Deloitte and coincides with an LDA market awareness campaign, with pamphlets in local borough papers setting out where to get advice on jobs and training, as well as supplying contact details for support & guidance.
The LDA is reminding people of the support available through Business Link in London, JobCentre Plus and the specific LDA-funded schemes in London. These include Relay London Jobs - a network of job brokerage services that aims to match individuals to jobs across the capital.
Another programme - Personal Best - aims to get people closer to the job market through volunteering and providing the basic skills needed to get a job. The LDA is also working within the framework set by the London Skills Employment Board to get a co-ordinated and business focussed approach from the agencies working on skills & employment in London.
DfT: Who would be a commuter? - Plans to help athletes, officials and media move efficiently during the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, whilst minimising impact on the normal running of London, have taken a step forward with the launch of a consultation (closes 19 March 2008) on which roads could be included in the Olympic Route Network (ORN).
The ORN is intended to ensure that the 55,000 athletes, officials, media and sponsors on each of the 16 days of the Olympic Games and 16,500 on each of the 12 days of the Paralympics Games can move safely, quickly & reliably between the competition venues, their accommodation and other key locations.
London, like previous Host Cities, will use a network of existing roads to link all competition and key non-competition venues to create the ORN. This consultation will be followed next year by further consultation, led by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), about the specific measures to be used on each of these roads.
The ORN, and the ODA's related traffic management powers are time limited. The ORN will cease to exist once the Games are finished and the roads will revert back to normal operation.
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