BIG:  Physically surviving a tour is just the start of a ‘mental battle’ for some -  As the country marked Armed Forces Day, the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) called upon charities & forces organisations to step forward to run a £35m trust providing support for former UK military personnel and their families. 

BIG is setting up  the 20-year, independent, Forces in Mind Trust to provide long-term support & advocacy for former forces personnel to make a successful transition to civilian life, including those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan  and the Gulf War.

BIG wants the Trust to focus on addressing a range of problems that some veterans and their families can experience back in civilian life, which can include poor mental health, social exclusion, family breakdown and alcohol problems.

BIG has a long-standing legacy of supporting veterans across the UK.  Since 2004 the Fund has given more than £50m to veterans or projects that involve learning about & commemorating their experiences.  This includes the Heroes Return programme that has allowed Second World War veterans to visit the places where they saw active service.
Press release ~ Forces in Mind Trust ~ Heroes Return programme ~ Combat Stress: Service-related mental ill health - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ~ Service Personnel Command Paper ~ Access to health services for military veterans: priority treatment ~ Health and social outcomes and health service experiences of UK military veterans: a summary of the evidence, November 2009 ~ For those who served: Meeting the healthcare needs of veterans in England ~ Meeting the healthcare needs of Armed Forces personnel, their families and veterans ~ Housing for Heroes in Scotland ~ Howard League for Penal Reform – Veterans Inquiry ~ ~ Closed consultation: The Nation’s Commitment to the Armed Forces Community: Consistent and Enduring Support ~ 2008 SPCP: The Nations Commitment: Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans ~ The Royal British Legion ~ Providing for our People website ~ Related press release ~ A nation’s commitment to the Armed Forces community: First annual report on progress ~ Royal British Legion - Honour the Covenant ~ Armed Forces Compensation Scheme ~ The Confederation of British Service and Ex-Service Organisations (COBSEO) ~ The military and mental health

CLG:  Will this be the first government to actually substantially reduce the number of quangos? - A new democratic, fast track system for decision making on major infrastructure projects to support the UK's return to economic growth, has been announced by Decentralisation Minister, Greg Clark.  Mr Clark confirmed that the Infrastructure Planning Commission - a quango with the power to approve major infrastructure projects - will be abolished in line with the Coalition Agreement.

It will be replaced with a new rapid & accountable system where Ministers, not unelected commissioners, will take the decisions on new infrastructure projects critical to the country's future economic growth.

A Major Infrastructure Planning Unit will be established in the Planning Inspectorate to continue fast-tracking major infrastructure projects like offshore windfarms & nuclear power stations.  Ministers will take decisions on applications within the same statutory fast-track timeframe as the current regime.

In addition, all National Policy Statements (NPS), the Government's future infrastructure blueprints, will now be subject to ratification by Parliament.  Ministers believe these critically important national documents must have the strongest possible democratic legitimacy.

New primary legislation will be brought forward to close the IPC.  Until it is in place the IPC will continue to consider & determine applications as National Policy Statements are designated to ensure there is no delay in handling applications.
Press release ~ IPC: National Policy Statements (NPS) ~ Planning Inspectorate ~ HMT: Strategy for national infrastructure ~ Defra: Adapting national infrastructure ~ National Planning Framework for Scotland ~ Infrastructure Investment Plan (2005) ~ ‘Disability: Accessibility of the Strategic Road Network’ ~ One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA) ~ CLG: Nationally significant infrastructure ~ Infrastructure planning - How will it work? How can I have my say? ~ British Chambers of Commerce ~ The Infrastructure Planning (National Policy Statement Consultation) Regulations 2009 ~ National Policy Statements ~ Scottish National Renewables Infrastructure Plan ~ WAG’s response to the consultation on Examination Procedures for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects

BISAlleviating the ‘cold turkey’ of regional public sector job cuts - Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, last week launched a £1bn Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to help areas & communities at risk of being particularly affected by public spending cuts.  

The fund, which will operate in 2011/2012 & 2012/2013 will help areas most dependent on public sector employment as the country makes the transition to private sector-led growth and prosperity.

Nick Clegg also set out plans for local enterprise partnerships that will bring together councils & business on an equal footing with one voice, replacing the current Regional Development Agencies (RDAs).  

Parties interested in forming local enterprise partnerships should submit outline proposals by 6 September 2010 to: Local Enterprise Partnerships, Economic Development Directorate, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 1 Victoria St, SW1H 0ET; or by emailing:
LocalEnterprisePartners hips@bis.gsi.gov.uk'.

Further details of the RGF, and the creation of LEPs, will be set out in the forthcoming White Paper on local & regional growth. Ministers have also announced plans for a Green Paper on business finance.
Press release ~ Letter to local authorities and business ~ Channel 4: Changing Britain ~ Centre for Cities: Not enough private sector jobs in some cities as public sector rolls back ~ Select Committee on Public Administration: The changing Climate of Public services ~ Spin outs will help region to rebalance job losses

Newswire – DemosBetter public services can ‘cost’ less than poor ones - Looked after children who have a poor quality of care – characterised by delay & instability – can cost children’s services up to £32,755 per child each year more than a positive care experience a report by Demos has found.

With the current care population in England & Wales close to 61,000 the potential emotional & financial savings that could be made if the care system was more proactive are considerable, shows the report In Loco Parentis (funded by children’s charity Barnardo’s).

Key factors that made a positive difference to a child’s life were:
* Early intervention where appropriate & steps to minimise delay between the decision to take a child into care and securing a long-term care placement
* Fewer, high quality, stable placements that are planned with a focus on stability
* Supported transition to adulthood for young people leaving the care system

It is the delays in removing the most vulnerable children from birth families at an earlier stage that show an association with poor mental health & behaviour.  This early damage to a child significantly reduces their chances of being adopted or securing a long-term foster placement.
Press release ~ Demos: In Loco Parentis ~ Ofsted: Children’s messages to the Minister report ~  Office of the Children’s Rights Director ~ Ofsted: Support for care leavers ~ Children leaving care - Every Child Matters ~  Care Matters: Time for Change ~ Educational achievement of looked-after children ~ Frank Buttle Trust Quality Mark ~ Carelaw : A guide for young people in care ~ Looked After Children and Young People: We Can and Must Do Better ~ Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) ~ Looked after Children 2009 ~ Children’s Commissioner ~ Childline information sheet ~ JRF: Barriers to change in the social care of children ~ JRF: Reuniting looked after children with their families ~ JRF: Children on the edge of care: Human rights and the Children Act ~ JRF: Resilience and young people leaving care ~ JRF: Mentoring for young people leaving care ~ Ofsted: Keeping in touch ~ Ofsted: Future rules ~ Ofsted: Parents on Council Care ~  Ofsted – Children’s Rights (scroll down) ~  ‘From Care2Work’ programme ~ Care Matters: Ministerial Stocktake Report 2009 ~ National Care Advisory Service (NCAS) ~ NCAS Briefing paper ~ Letter from Ed Balls to children in care ~ Ofsted: Care and prejudice ~ Ofsted: Looked after children: good practice in schools  ~ Leavingcare.org ~ Positive Futures programme ~ Fostering Network (TFN) Scotland ~ British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) Scotland ~ Adoption Policy Review Group report (2005) ~ Permanence Orders ~ These Are Our Bairns ~ The Experiences of Children with Lesbian and Gay Parents - An Initial Scoping Review of Evidence ~ Report analysing responses to the first consultation on Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2008

EU:  No plans to sell by ‘eggact’ weight - MEPs are neither trying to ban the sale of eggs by the dozen nor the sale or marketing of Nutella.  MEP Renate Sommer, who is steering legislation on food labelling through the European Parliament, said, "There will be no changes to selling foods by number.  Selling eggs by the dozen, for example, will not be banned."

Reports that claim the new rules will not allow both the weight and the quantity to be displayed are also wrong.  The new food labelling regulation does not affect existing EU rules on the size of eggs:  There are four official sizes of eggs: very large (73g and over), large (63g to 73g), medium (53g to 63g), and small (under 53g) - this will not change.
Press release ~ Please note that you can now update your profile for EU news’ as part of your personal selection. 

Industry News: - Give your slow computers the red card and boost efficiency whilst cutting costs - As we emerge from the worst global recession since the Second World War, the public sector is bracing itself for spending cuts designed to reduce the country’s major budget deficit. For many government departments this means finding true efficiencies now, to set themselves up for a lean few years. We hear reports of new purchases delayed, major projects suspended and recruitment and salary freezes in an effort to reduce expenditure.
However, to be able to absorb cutbacks on this unprecedented scale, will require blowing the whistle on many of the hidden expenses involved with running the civil service. The best way to do this is by ensuring your computers are match fit. One little-understood but very costly issue that is common to most organisations is caused by disk fragmentation. Diskeeper has the ability to resolve fragmentation across networks before it even happens. Find out more...

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