Cabinet Office: Feeling Marginalised and Undervalued - A consultation (closes on 30 September 2009) - Equality Bill: Making it work; ending age discrimination in services and public functions - sets out how the legislation will enable things that are beneficial to continue such as age-based holidays and discounts for pensioners. Banning age discrimination is particularly important as the population ages: by 2050, over half of the UK’s population will be over 50 years old.
Dame Joan Bakewell, Voice of Older People, said: “I receive a steady stream of letters from older people, providing clear evidence that they feel marginalised and undervalued”. The ban could mean that an older person is offered lifestyle advice after suffering a heart attack, which may currently only be offered to younger people, or that older people get better access to travel & car insurance.
The Government will bring the new law into force in phases, starting with those sectors which are most ready to comply. Hopefully it will be in force (in all sectors, with the exception of health & social care) in 2012. See also 'Legislation / Legal' for related item.
WAG: Shopping with to help others - Help for families with sick & disabled children in Wales is now available at the click of a mouse, Welsh Assembly Government Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas, claimed when she officially launched a new online scheme from the Family Fund Trust called Family Fund Extra, which gives disabled children’s families discounts at leading retailers.
More than a hundred companies are signed up to the scheme including Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Comet, and Haven Holidays. General shoppers can also buy through the website and raise money for the Family Fund Trust at the same time. The Trust receives commission on every purchase which can then be re-distributed as grants to help families. It provides financial support & information to families for a range of things including holidays, transport, household equipment and driving lessons.
Cabinet Office: What exactly will ‘switch spending priorities’ mean to the budgets it is switched from? - Public service entitlements will be guaranteed to parents, patients & communities and the government claims it will also introduce ‘new measures to drive economic growth and create jobs’. In a new policy document - Building Britain’s Future - it promised to switch spending priorities and target investment worth £1.5bn over the next 2 years to deliver 20,000 affordable homes, creating 45,000 jobs in the construction & related sectors.
They now plan to legislate in the 2009/10 session for further reform of the House of Lords, including completing the process of removing the hereditary principle, bringing forward a draft bill for a smaller & democratically constituted second chamber. Ministers will be holding town hall meetings to discuss the plan.
PCS: Anyone remember the Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) debacle? - The PCS union has called for a National Audit Office (NAO) inquiry and a halt to the outsourcing of the Flexible New Deal following reports on Channel 4 News of alleged fraud involving private companies contracted by the government to help people back to work. PCS expressed deep concern over the findings of the news report which highlighted allegations of how profits are being put before people and how the private sector is failing some of the most vulnerable in society.
The report highlighted allegations of fraud by private companies including Working Links, involving the fabrication of signatures & paperwork and A4e, which involved the placement of people into unsustainable jobs.
Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "The fraud uncovered is scandalous and is a stark example of what happens when profits rather than people are put at the heart of the welfare state..... Not only is the taxpayer being fleeced, but in some instances people’s lives are being toyed with”.
Ofsted: Funding transition care could reduce need for prison places - Flexible individual support, high aspirations and a commitment from social care staff are successfully helping young people leaving care make the transition into adulthood & independence, according to an Ofsted report - Support for care leavers - which highlights that leaving care is not a single event but a period of transition for each young person.
It shows that good authorities recognise that, like other young people, care leavers will make mistakes and change their minds about their future. This acknowledgement ensures continual support & guidance from social care staff, helping young people progress and become successful young adults.
However, preparations for young people leaving care from secure settings were less successful. The tensions between the task of managing behaviour & risk and helping care leavers gain independence skills had an impact on the number of opportunities for preparatory work made available to individual care leavers. Most young people in secure settings are not confident about leaving care.
The report recommends areas for improvements, which include the DCSF working in partnership with the Benefits Agency to review issues within the benefits system that have an adverse impact on foster carers and care leavers moving into independence. Local authorities should also increase housing options, including the provision of more suitable emergency accommodation for care leavers.
Forthcoming Events: Rise up from your departmental silos & work together to make 2+2=5 – The 2009 Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit (16-17 September 2009) will help senior managers and IT leaders to ‘Connect for Success’, by exploring how portals, content and collaboration tools & technologies are being used to connect people, markets, processes and information flows across organisations, geographies and communities.
Join leading-edge Gartner analysts, keynote presenters, industry panelists and your fellow practitioners to discuss the most effective ways to bring your enterprise together across all fronts - people, partners and information - and use workplace technology to deliver value services. Your summit takeaways will include strategies, tools, insights and peer experiences to inform sound decisions.
Follow the link and Register Now using priority code WGOV-PCC to obtain an Early Bird Discount with WiredGov - Save €500 on the standard delegate rate.
Industry News: Enterprise Search Technology: Balancing the Benefits, ROI and Hidden Costs - No public body can succeed if it fails to gain the maximum return on its physical assets and the same is true of information assets.
In a turbulent economy, with public sector budgets facing at best a ‘freeze’ - but possibly 20% cuts - investment in Search, Information Access and Discovery needs to deliver ‘from day one’ returns in terms of improved services, as well as meeting with the increased demands of FOI & DP compliance.
Amongst other considerations, the business case for your organisation’s search strategy needs to balance:
* the benefits a properly implemented system can generate
* with the challenges / costs of choosing, implementing and ensuring maximum ROI on your chosen solution
A recent briefing paper from ISYS entitled ‘Making the Business Case for Search in a turbulent economy’ offers invaluable ‘Before you Buy’ advice, highlights the value of effective enterprise search and how public sector organisations can get the best return on their information access investment.
Click HERE to receive your FREE copy of the briefing paper
For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
For more Industry News please click HERE