HMIC:  Bad administration or a ‘lazy’ solution for certain police forces? - There is a need for a new approach, with greater consistency & transparency in the use of out-of-court disposals, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate found in their report, ‘Exercising Discretion: The Gateway to Justice’ published last week.

The number of crimes that are dealt with outside the formal criminal justice system has risen dramatically in a 5 year period by 135%.  The most commonly used out-of-court disposals – warnings, cautions and penalty notices for disorder – now account for around one third of the 1.29m offences brought to justice (and this does not include restorative justice outcomes).

When out of court disposals are used effectively, particularly restorative justice where offenders are encouraged to repair the harm they have done, they found high levels of victim satisfaction, promising signs of a reduction in re-offending, and minimal bureaucracy when the offender was dealt with quickly.

However, the inspection found significant variations in the use of out-of-court disposals around the country ranging from 26% of offences brought to justice in one criminal justice area to 49% in another.  In a small sample of 190 out-of-court disposals, the inspection found that about a third were administered inappropriately.  In most of these cases, an out-of-court disposal was inappropriate as the offending was too frequent or serious.
Press release ~ Exercising Discretion: The Gateway to Justice ~ CPS: out-of-court disposals ~ Law Gazette: Out of court disposals warning ~ Do not widen out-of-court penalties, magistrates tell Jack Straw ~ BBC: Police cautions 'to be reviewed' (2009) ~ HO: Informal tools and out-of-court disposals ~ Simple cautioning of adult offenders ~ The Final Warning scheme ~ Reducing Bureaucracy in Policing ~ Office of Criminal Justice Reform ~ YJB: Courts and Orders ~ Locking up or giving up - is custody for children always the right answer? ~ Community sentencing: Public Perceptions and Attitudes - Summary Research Report ~ Alternatives to Custody ~  Community Sentencing - Reducing Re-offending, Changing Lives ~ Justice Seen Justice Done ~ Publicising Individual Sentencing Outcomes to the Community ~ Publicising Criminal Convictions: The Importance of Telling the Public ~ You Be The Judge ~ National Centre for Citizenship and the Law ~ Locking up or giving up? Why custody thresholds for teenagers aged 12, 13 and 14 ~ Restorative Practice Scotland ~  Scottish Association for study of Offending ~ MoJ – Community Sentences ~ Restorative justice council ~ YJB: Restorative Justice

TKFYet another situation where the elderly get a ‘raw deal from the NHS - A comprehensive review of international evidence has concluded that performance in key areas of cancer care is worse in England than in other countries, resulting in comparatively poor survival rates for people with some of the most common forms of cancer.

The study examined why cancer survival rates in England lag behind other countries.  It found strong evidence of later diagnosis, delays in accessing treatment and age bias, with older patients being under-treated.  It also concluded that the availability of drugs is unlikely to be a significant factor in England’s comparatively poor performance.

Survival rates are worse among older people and deprived social groups, who also have a higher incidence of cancer.  Even though survival rates among all social groups are improving, this persistent disparity is growing wider.
Press release & links ~ Comprehensive review of international evidence ~ International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership ~ Cancer Research UK ~ Government Cancer outcomes strategy ~ DH: Cancer ~ NHS Outcomes Framework ~ Related press release ~ Equality Act 2010: Ending age discrimination in services, public functions and associations - A consultation ~ Age Review in health and social care 2009 ~ Age equality resource pack ~ EHRC response ~ Cancer survival statistics by age ~ Britain's cancer shame as 15,000 elderly patients could be saved every year ~ National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN)

Newswire – TUC:  It isn’t just school leavers who need guidance on opportunities for degree-level studies - A new website, Higher Learning at Work has been launched to help learners discover the opportunities available to get better qualifications

There are diagnostic tools to see if you are ready for degree-level studies: traditional entry requirements may not be necessary, your life & work experience will count.  There are courses which have bite-sized modules so that you can combine learning with your work and family commitments and bring your knowledge up to date.

Unionlearn is now one of the leading organisations providing information to working people, who are looking for advice on getting access to higher-level studies, since the funding for Foundation Degree Forward (fdf), Aim Higher and the Lifelong Learning Network has come to an end.

It is also useful to all working adults, including apprentices, who are interested in moving on to higher-level learning.  If you are a workplace mentor, tutor or assessor or a human resources professional or training officer you will find a range of resources to help you to advise learners.  

A range of resources created by unionlearn, the Open University, fdf, the Lifelong Learning Networks, Aim Higher and the Sector Skills Councils will help you to find out more about the different routes & pathways you can take through higher learning.

The site gives access to information about funding available to make your learning more affordable and if you are a union member there may be special discounts and bursaries arranged through your union or unionlearn.
Press release ~ www.higherlearningatwork.org ~ Going higher: encouraging learning to degree level and beyond in the workplace ~ Unionlearn: Higher learning ~ Leitch Review of Skills ~ Open University ~ fdf ~ Lifelong Learning Networks ~ Aim Higher ~ Sector Skills Councils

Newswire - ICONot just laptops and USB sticks - North Lanarkshire Council breached the Data Protection Act after the theft of a home support worker’s bag containing papers which included sensitive personal information, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said last week.

The council alerted the ICO to the data breach shortly after the theft in October 2010.  The bag - which was not locked - contained the worker’s visiting schedule for the next two days.  The schedule included information relating to the mental or physical health of six vulnerable adults who were being supported by the council’s Housing and Social Work Services department.

The ICO’s enquiries found that the guidance provided by the council to its home support workers on the storage and disposal of personal information outside of the office, was inadequate.  

Gavin Whitefield, Chief Executive of North Lanarkshire Council, has now signed an undertaking to ensure that the council has adequate policies and procedures on the storage, use and disposal of hard copy personal information in place.
Press release & links

Tackling Fraud in Local Government
- The National Fraud Authority estimates there is £2.1bn of fraud in local government. This fraud reduces your ability to deliver essential services to those that need it most. Do you know the scale of the problem in your authority, or how to combat it?

With current clients/partners in the public sector including the DWP, COI, NS&I, DVLA and the Electoral Commission, Callcredit are committed to tackling fraud the UK public sector.

Click here to find out how to uncover the scale of fraud in your authority, and also to see where else we are providing insight and support across the public sector.

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