DECCKeeping the lights burning - Energy & Climate Secretary, Ed Miliband, claimed that ‘faster & fairer planning decisions on new energy infrastructure were a step closer’ last week when he laid before Parliament draft texts setting out the national need for a low carbon secure energy mix.  He also set out a new policy for the transition to clean coal.  The draft National Policy Statements (NPSs) will be the basis on which individual planning decisions are made from March 2010 by the new Infrastructure Planning Commission.

To meet our low carbon energy challenge (and due to the intermittency of wind) we will need significantly more generating capacity in the longer term.  One third of that larger future generating capacity must be consented & built over the next 15 years to 2025.
While there are already proposals to build more energy infrastructure, more is needed to bring about the shift to a low carbon future.  The NPSs include clear direction towards a massive expansion in renewables, a new nuclear programme based around 10 sites assessed as potentially suitable for new build and a programme to demonstrate clean coal technology.

Six NPSs are published - one overarching and one for each of the following areas: fossil fuels, nuclear, renewables, transmission networks and oil & gas pipelines - alongside the Government's final Framework for the Development of Clean Coal. The consultations close on 22 February 2010.

A consultation (closes on 22 February 2010) on the Secretary of State's proposed decision that two nuclear power station designs are ‘Justified under the Justification of Practices Involving Ionising Radiation Regulations 2004’ has also been launched.  It seeks views on the proposed decision and the evidence on which it is based.
Press release ~ Consultation on draft National Policy Statements for Energy Infrastructure ~ A framework for the development of clean coal ~ Electricity development consents ~ Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC)Consultation on proposed Regulatory Justification decisions on new nuclear power stations (AP1000 and EPR) ~ Consultation on draft supplementary guidance for Section 36 Applications: New Coal Power Stations (closes on 1 February 2010) ~ Consultation on the proposed offshore carbon dioxide storage licensing regime (closes on 30 December 2009)

DH:  A cheap & simple campaign that works - The Department of Health’s Act F.A.S.T. campaign has led to an increase of 55.5% in stroke calls to 999.  New research also shows that 84% of the public remember the campaign and its graphic depiction of stroke spreading like fire in the brain.  A new online test has also been launched by the NHS to help people to recognise all the signs of stroke and prompt 999 calls when necessary.

The campaign was launched in February 2009 with hard-hitting imagery to highlight the visible signs of stroke and encourage people to call 999 as soon as possible.  The ongoing campaign is designed to inform the public about FAST – Face, Arm, Speech, Time to call 999.  FAST is a simple test to help people to recognise the signs of stroke and understand the importance of emergency treatment.  The faster a stroke patient receives treatment, the better their chances are of surviving and reducing long-term disability.
Press release ~ Stroke – A.C.T FAST (scroll down for online test) ~ National Stroke Strategy ~ The Stroke Association ~ Online test - Know the signs ~ DH - StrokesStroke: Act F.A.S.T. awareness campaign materials

MoJ:  Usually forgotten - Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Justice Minister Claire Ward joined Victims' Champion Sara Payne at the launch of her victims report at a community project in Cheshire.  The Compass Victim and Witness Support Service provides independent & confidential support to residents experiencing antisocial behaviour.
Press release ~ Redefining justice: addressing the individual needs of victims and witnesses ~ Victims and witnesses ~ Victim Support ~ Victim Support's Witness Service ~ The Witness and Victim Experience Study ~ Practice Guide on Victim Participation in Parole Board Hearings ~ Victim personal statements

Newswire – CABE:  Greening generates financial benefits as well as looking better - CABE’s Grey to Green campagn, launched last week in the run up to the UN conference in Copenhagen, argues that a switch is needed in public spending from grey projects, like road building & heavy engineering projects, to green schemes, like street trees, parks, green roofs and waterways.

Figures produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers show how a shift in spending from grey to green of just 0.5% could increase investment in urban green space by 141%.  The elements of green infrastructure are all around us, but they don’t yet work together as a functioning system.  The campaign report - Grey to Green: how we shift funding and skills to green our cities - argues for more people, with the right skills, to manage the living landscape of our towns & cities.

There is no official system for mapping green infrastructure, so to mark the launch of the campaign CABE has mapped Gloucester, Liverpool and the London boroughs of Hackney and Islington, picking out the green from aerial photographs. They challenge normal perceptions: normal maps show places as made of concrete & tarmac, with some green punctuation.

An argument for investment in green infrastructure at a time of austerity is that unlike most grey infrastructure, green infrastructure is multi-functional.  At present, for instance, flood protection requires supersized stormwater pipes.  But a combination of living roofs, large trees & soft landscaping can absorb heavy rainfall, store & recycle it for summer irrigation; save energy through insulation; provide shade for offices to cut the need for air conditioning; and make cities more beautiful, so encouraging exercise & improving public health.
Press release ~ Grey to Green campaign ~ Grey to Green: how we shift funding and skills to green our cities ~ Green Flag Award ~ CLG: Green Spaces, Better Places ~ Cleaner, safer, greener communities ~ Roots and Shoots ~ Greenspace ~ Doorstep Greens ~ The Grass Roof Company ~ Neighbourhoods Green ~ Pictorial Meadows (seed providers) ~ NAO: Enhancing Urban Green Spaces ~ Parklands Vision of the Gateway ~ Providing Accessible Natural Greenspace In Towns
Newswire – ACNot all is doom & gloom with NHS Spending - The NHS is treating more patients at lower cost, says a new briefing from the Audit Commission.  The Commission's new briefing, 'More for less', suggests NHS trusts are increasing productivity & reducing unit costs.  But overall, there is no sign yet that PCTs have been successful in moving care from hospitals closer to patients’ homes, which is one way to save more money.

'More for less' is an analytical briefing that looks at how NHS money has been spent, whether PCTs have been successful in keeping more patients out of hospital and whether hospitals have become more efficient.  Overall, the good news seems to be that NHS acute & specialist trusts are driving down unit costs.  This is partly helped by a significant increase in the number of less complex cases treated.
Press release ~ More for less - Are productivity and efficiency improving in the NHS? ~ Payment by Results ~ Oneplace: the CAA reporting website ~ Comprehensive Area Assessment ~ NHS Confederation: The future of NHS funding ~ BMA – NHS Funding ~ NHS Indicators ~ Focus on: productivity and efficiency

DWPCheap Child Care or much more? - Grandparents & their representative organisations last week attended a cross-Government summit to explore the changing role of grandparents in society and talk to Ministers about how the Government can support them.

Topics for discussion included how families & childcare services can adapt to better meet the needs of grandparents, the impact of combining employment with care of their grandchildren and ways to provide more information to grandparents more effectively.

The findings from the summit will inform the forthcoming Families and Relationships Green Paper, which will look at how government can better support all family members (including grandparents) and how services can cater for their differing needs.
Press release ~ Families Information Services ~ Older people at the heart of families ~ Full of Life government campaign ~  The Generation Factor ~ Don't Stop Me Now: Preparing for an ageing population ~ Empowering Engagement: A stronger voice for older people  - The Government response to John Elbourne’s review ~ Independent Review of Older People’s Engagement with Government  ~ Age Positive ~ Intergenerational Demonstrator Programme: Generations together ~ LinkAge Plus

MoJA bigger stick for the Information Commissioner? - The government has launched a consultation seeking views on implementing a maximum penalty of £500k for serious breaches of the data protection principles

The consultation (closes on 21 December 2009) - Civil Monetary Penalties: Setting the maximum penalty - asks whether new fines of up to £500k will provide the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) with a proportionate sanction to impose on those seriously contravening the data protection principles.
Press release ~ 'Civil Monetary Penalties: Setting the maximum penalty' ~ Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) ~ Personal data guardianship code ~ Information Security Awareness Forum (ISAF) ~ BCS Video Debate: Data security and public confidence ~ Why ISO 27001 is not enough ~ BCS - Security ~ ISSA-UK ~ Data Handling Procedures in Government report ~ Amberhawk Training articles ~ DP cartoons ~ WiredGov Special report: Information Assurance - the Keystone of an eWorld

Industry News: CRM Solution set to save RBK council over £5M by 2012 - The council of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames (RBK), in London handles everything from housing and adult education to taxation and recycling for its 160,000 residents.

In the past, citizens frequently found it difficult to obtain information because they did not know where to direct their specific inquiries and requests. Likewise, council employees faced problems with tracking interactions with citizens.

Each department used a different method for both managing the information and fulfilling a given request. In turn, this involved an array of custom-developed and proprietary tools, all of which took up considerable time, effort and resource.

In order to centralise interactions with the public and improve services, RBK worked with CIBER to implement a contact centre solution which easily interoperated with back-office systems.

The investment “paid for itself within 12 months and we’re expecting to save more than £5 million by 2012,” said Robin Noble, IT Manager for RBK.

Kingston has transformed how it delivers services to the public and has become a more efficient organisation. “Citizens have one clear source for information, and employees have the ready resources and workflow processes to handle issues quickly and effectively,” said Anne Marie Micallef, E-Services Project Officer for RBK.

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