CEOP: The risks are real and parents must do their bit - Child sex offenders are switching between the internet and the offline world with increasing frequency & severity in order to target and (in some cases) abduct young victims and parents could & should do more, claims the UK national policing centre for child protection – the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre.
Publishing its 2008/09 Strategic Overview - designed to inform the wider policing & child protection communities of the emerging trends & patterns of offender behaviour - CEOP urged parents to also take note and have published a public version via podcasts & downloads so that they too can understand how the threat manifests itself.
Almost 5,500 reports were received by the Centre during the past 12 months of which 2,500 came from members of the public using the organisation’s unique online ‘CEOP Report’ button. Anyone providing an online environment where children go can apply to embed the ‘CEOP Report’ button by visiting www.ceop.police.uk/digitallibrary. 1,373 of those reports were from young children themselves of which 89% related specifically to instances of grooming.
ScotGov: Talking their way to Independence - Scotland's National Conversation has taken on an international dimension with the publication of the Scottish Government's paper on Europe and Foreign Affairs. Minister for External Affairs and the Constitution Michael Russell said: "This paper on Europe and Foreign Affairs sets out options for the people of Scotland if they choose to seek further responsibilities for their Parliament and Government. These options range from maintaining the current arrangements, through to greater devolution or full independence……..
Ten years on from the creation of the Scottish Parliament, it is clear that change is needed in Scotland and in how we are represented on the world stage. I now look forward to a full and open debate on this vital issue of Europe and Foreign Affairs before inviting the people of Scotland to make an informed decision about their future in a referendum on independence."
Newswire – AC: Central policy may provide a good sound bite, but not the best value - Councils are focused on building new homes, but should give more attention to making the most of existing houses & flats in their area. This is one of the findings in a new national report by the Audit Commission, which says that 1 in 3 councils struggles to understand the housing market on its own doorstep.
'Building better lives' finds that councils feel pressured into focusing on building brand new housing – 94% of areas have prioritised new and/or affordable housing targets in their local area agreements, but fewer than a third prioritised targets relating to their existing housing stock, despite the financial savings, environmental improvements and social benefits of doing so.
The report finds that if all councils thought of housing more broadly they could do more to combat poverty, ill-health, educational under-achievement and help strengthen their local communities. The report also shows that taking a strategic view of an area's housing is not only critical to its economy, education, public health & community cohesion, but across all public service areas it can be a major cost saver:
* £1 spent on housing support for a vulnerable person saves nearly £2 in health services, tenancy failure, crime and residential care
*Spending as little as £2,000 on adaptations to help an elderly person stay in their own home can save £6,000 a year on care
* If only 5% of empty homes could be brought back into use, councils could cut their annual homelessness costs by £½bn
Newswire – TUC: Would reducing Tax Relief on pension contributions be a better option than a 50% tax rate? - Taxpayers are paying £2.50 for subsidising the pensions of the richest 1% of the population for every pound spent on paying pensions to retired public servants such as nurses, teachers and civil servants, according to new research published by the TUC.
The cost of providing tax relief on pensions in 2007/8 was £37.6bn according to HMRC figures – nearly 10 times the net cost of unfunded public sector pension schemes that are not backed by an investment fund. Tax relief is heavily skewed towards the better off. Treasury figures reveal that 60% of tax relief goes to higher rate taxpayers, including 25% - nearly £10bn a year - going to the top 1% of earners, on more than £150,000 a year.
The findings are revealed in a new campaign pamphlet Decent Pensions for all that says the real pension problem in the UK is not the affordable cost of public sector pensions, but the growth in the number of private sector employees with no pension. 62.6% of the private sector workforce get no employer backed pension.
Newswire – IDeA: Hopefully this means that the government cares - England’s 5m unpaid carers of people provide up to £87bn worth of care to family & friends with long term conditions or support needs. 1m people in England care for 50 or more hours per week. In the UK, there is a turnover of 2m people moving in & out of caring, which means that the task of identifying & supporting local carers is never complete, with many carers attempting to provide unsustainable levels of care in isolation.
A new blueprint for councils who are buying services to help carers who are looking after people in their homes comes in a new Guide ‘Commissioning for Carers’. It has been launched by the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) and 4 carers’ organisations working alongside health & local government agencies, with support from the Department of Health.
The guide aims to help local areas to meet new NHS and social care inspection expectations on carers and demonstrate competencies. It also highlights the carer-relevant aspects of key government health & social care strategies. The guide introduces a new model of comprehensive carer support, which is a working consensus drawn up in consultation with providers & commissioners outlining the range of carer interventions needed in any area in order to achieve the 5 outcomes for carers as outlined in the vision of the ‘National Carers Strategy’.
This can be used by leaders to generate a strategic overview of current provision and unmet need. The guide is accompanied by a shorter Action Guide for Decision-Makers aimed at directors of adult services, Primary Care Trust (PCT) chief executives and elected members.
Industry News: It’s the little things that often cause the most trouble - Sometimes, big threats come in small packages - like a tiny USB stick that steals identity information, or launches malware into the heart of your local authority (Computer weekly – Virus attacks Ealing Council) - making compliance with the Government Connect Code of Connection potentially difficult, complex and costly.
Now, as Bracknell Forest Council has discovered, Novell can help: "Like most Local Authorities, Bracknell Forest council has found it a challenge to comply with the Government Connect Code of Connection (CoCo) requirements. The deployment of Novell solutions has significantly helped the Council to address a number of these requirements, by providing robust and flexible security control of workstations,laptops and portable storage devices." Ian Slee, CIO, Bracknell Forest Council.
In addition to ‘locking down’ hardware according to centrally managed security policies, the Novell solution provides full reporting on activity at the boundaries of the network. CoCo status will be reviewed by central government on an annual basis and the ability to run network audits using Novell ZENworks Endpoint Security Management should make it easy & cost-effective for the Council to demonstrate compliance.
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