Swine Flu Update:  Please check out the following links for the latest advice & information:
* Symptom Checker
* NHS Choices
* World Health Organisation
* DirectgovEverything you need to know
* DHDepartment of Health statements and information ~ Pandemic Flu
* ScotGov: Mexican Swine Flu ~ Pandemic Flu Planning ~ 01-05-09 press release ~ Dedicated swine flu advice line NHS 24: 08454 24 24 24
* WAGSwine Flu
* US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

GEOPerhaps not the optimum timing for such legislation - The Government Equalities Office has published the Equality Bill which sets out new laws which are intended to:
* help narrow the gap between rich & poor
* require business to report on gender pay
* outlaw age discrimination
* significantly strengthen Britain's anti-discrimination legislation

The Bill tries to simplify the law which, over the last 4 decades, has become complex & difficult to navigate. Nine major pieces of legislation and around 100 other measures will be replaced by a single Act written in plain English intended to make it easier for individuals & employers to understand their legal rights & obligations.  The Bill is expected to come in to force from autumn 2010.

The Government is publishing a new ageing strategy later this year, which will look at creating an age friendly society, preparing for & living well in later life, as well as making sure stronger protection & support is available.
Press release ~ Equality Bill: Assessing the impact of a multiple discrimination provision - A discussion document (April 2009) (closing date for receipt of comments is 5 June, 2009) ~ Equality Bill - Background ~ Government Equalities Office ~ Equality and Human Rights Commission ~ National Equality Panel ~ Framework for a Fairer Future - The Equality Bill ~ Discrimination Law Review: A Framework for Fairness: Proposals for a Single Equality Bill for Great Britain ~ Consultation Responses ~ Preparing for our ageing society – developing a new Government strategy

MoDCutting edge forces or more to do with cutting budgets? - The Ministry of Defence has published its report on the Strategic Review of UK Reserve Forces.  The review was launched in April 2008 to ‘reflect the changing demands faced by our reservists in recent years’.  As well as preparing to defend the country in the event of a major conflict, they are now required to work as an integral part of the UK's military force on operations.

The review provides a basis for improving the training & organisation of the reserves to match this new role.  It also claims to strengthen the assistance provided to employers, who support reservists through deployments & training and accommodate the demands of reservist commitment.

The review - the first focussed specifically on UK Reserves - produced 7 central findings, including improving training, creating clearer command structures and increasing the use of individual reservists' skills.
Press release ~ Strategic Review of UK Reserve Forces ~ Support for Reservists and Employers (SABRE) ~ British Army Reserve Forces ~ TA100 ~ TA100 Events

DefraFree skin peel when you go swimming! - A five-year, £11m study into the effects of climate change on Britain's seas has been announced as scientists warn of more acidic seas affecting the food chain.  Ocean acidity, caused by increased amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the sea, has risen 30% in the last 200 years, faster than any time in the last 65m years, with serious implications for sealife and our climate, according to a new report.

The sea absorbs CO2 in the atmosphere but, over time as emissions have increased, it has become more acidic, which means not only will it absorb less CO2 in future, but that corals, plankton, shellfish and other vital links in the food chain will be under threat.

Now Defra is jointly funding a major research programme with the Natural Environment Research Councils (NERC).  It will concentrate on the North East Atlantic, Antarctic & Arctic oceans and study the effects of acidification on biodiversity, habitats, species and wider socio-economic implications.
Press release ~ Natural Environment Research Councils (NERC) - Ocean Acidification Programme ~ Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership report ~ Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership ~ Defra – Marine Biodiversity ~ Defra – Science and Monitoring ~ Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) report card 2007-08 ~ Scotland's Seas: Towards Understanding their State ~ Ocean in Google Earth ~ Protect Planet Ocean ~ BBC News: Map shows toll on world's oceans ~ WWF - Oceans

CLGRecycle rather than rebuild - Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has unveiled a series of measures intended to ‘back a people's revolution to recycle buildings by putting real power in the hands of locals to support communities during the downturn and beyond’.  A new Asset Transfer Unit will give local people the information they need to get through any planning, legal and financial barriers.

As part of the Government's empowerment agenda, Ms Blears has announced a new single advice line - 0845 345 4564 - and other Government support to make it easier for people to take control of community assets, from community centres to theatres.
Press release ~ Coin Street Community Builders ~ Goodwin Development Trust ~ Looking After Our Town Centres Guide ~ Asset Transfer Unit ~ Community Matters ~ BIG - Community Assets programme ~ Office of the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office ~ Review of Community Management and Ownership of Public Assets ~ ProHelp ~ Opening the Transfer Window: The Governments Response to the Quirk ReviewCLG – Community Empowerment ~ Community Call for Action ~ Public Request to Order Disposal (PROD) ~ Participatory Budgets ~ Business in the Community ~ Development Trust Association - Community Assets

DFIDSo that’s why our forces are there! - The Department for International Development's (DFID) Country Plan for Afghanistan has been launched by Secretary of State Douglas Alexander.  The Plan sets out the framework for Britain's aid to the country for the next 4 years with a pledge of over £127m a year in assistance between now and 2013, a total of £510m.  The UK is the second largest national provider of aid to Afghanistan.

That includes a commitment of £225m to provide direct support for the Government of Afghanistan's spending on basic services, including education & health and its plans for investment to create much-needed jobs.  The plan also includes £30m to help the Government provide new opportunities in farming & business for people in rural areas, who may otherwise rely on the opium trade to make a living.
Press release ~ DFID: Country Plan for Afghanistan ~ Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) ~ DFID's Pakistan Country Plan ~ NATO: Afghanistan Report 2009 ~ DG Communities – Afghanistan Reconstruction

Forthcoming EventBe prepared for massive reductions in public sector funding - Want to find the right balance between optimizing costs and improving performance by outsourcing your requirements? Attending the Gartner Outsourcing & IT Services Summit (15 – 16 June 2009) will ensure your ITO, BPO and Global Sourcing initiatives help you cope with a future of shrinking resources – check out the Suggested Timetable for Government and Public Sector Professionals.

The Summit has 4 tracks, plus 2 virtual tracks, which cover:
* Track 1: Reassessing Sourcing Strategies for Challenging Times
* Track 2: Marketplace and Providers: Accelerating Your Choices, Minimizing Your Risks
* Track 3: Negotiating for Cost, Flexibility and Risk Mitigation
* Track 4: Managing Sourcing and Vendors
* Virtual Track 1: Leveraging Offshore and Global Delivery
* Virtual Track: Executing an Effective BPO Strategy
Full agenda details

In addition, the hands-on workshops are specifically designed to be highly interactive, facilitating peer to peer exchange - combined with the expert advice of Gartner's analysts & consultants.

Just a few of the Key Issues addressed include:
* Identifying the common sourcing cost cutting traps
* Balancing risk & speed in vendor selection and contracting
* Understanding the key multisourcing competencies and why they are critical
* Structuring SLA's & OLAs, Penalties and Incentives
* Critical success factors in making a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) relationship work
Further information and Registration

Forthcoming EventA lean time ahead for public sector funding - The Government’s Operational Efficiency Programme tasks public sector managers with driving efficiency savings and delivering service excellence at better value for money. The Manufacturing Institute has already been helping prove that efficiency savings, driven by lean principles, offer a proven path for dramatically improving the quality of services and significantly reducing costs in the Health Service

This has been achieved by using ‘systems thinking’ to prioritise the improvement activities required and developing a sequenced implementation plan which encompasses ‘best practice implementation’ such as: Lean, Six Sigma, Supply chain, Leadership and Culture change.

Learn more about a lean philosophy & approach at The Manufacturing Institute’s UK/US Shingo Summit, Hilton Manchester (10 – 12 June 2009).

Presentations on Day 2 (Thursday 11 June) of the Summit include:
* Zoe Radnor, Associate Professor, Warwick Business School, who will draw on case study examples to explain how public sector organisations are responding to government efficiency targets by going lean
* Martyn Craske, Lean Programme Manager, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), who will explore the challenges of rolling out the DWP Lean Approach in one of Whitehall’s largest departments
*Case studies from the NHS

You can also benefit from an exclusive Breakfast Seminar on Thursday 11 June which will look at lean principles in a public sector context and address the particular challenges faced by the sector.
For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar

For Industry News please click HERE
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