HMTTo be asked to ‘pay more for less’ is always upsetting, especially when the extra payments seem un-necessary to fund the pension - The Cabinet Office, Department for Education and the NHS have published consultations on pension contribution increases for civil servants, teachers and NHS staff for the financial year 2012/13.

The proposed increases will deliver over £1bn of the £1.2bn savings in 2012/13, as set out in the Spending Review 2010.  The proposals represent 40% of the average 3.2 percentage point increase in public service pension contributions which the Government announced it would phase in from next year.

The consultations apply to the Civil Service in England, Scotland & Wales; the NHS in England & Wales and teachers in England & Wales and will affect approximately 2.5m public service workers.  Scheme specific talks will make proposals by the end of October 2011 on how savings of £2.3bn in 2013/14 and £2.8bn in 2014/15 are achieved.
Press release & links  ~ CO press release ~ DH Consultation PR ~ DfE Consultation PR ~ FDA comment ~ TUC comment ~ PCS union comment ~ Unite union comment ~ CIPD comment ~ Previously: FDA reacts with fury to Treasury statement on public sector pensions ~ TUC response ~ PCS comment ~ Click HERE and scroll down forPSPC:  Will this be ‘it’, or will they continue to ‘move the goalpost’ every couple of years? ~ Related DWP PR ~ Research exploring the effect of uprating by CPI on occupational pension schemes ~ Andrew Lansley attacks government's public sector pension reforms

TUC:  Converting to a low carbon economy is not going to happen of its own accord - UK companies producing steel, cement, ceramics, glass, aluminium and chemicals are vital to the UK economy, but face serious risks as a result of rising energy costs says a new study published by the TUC and the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG).

Technology Innovation for Energy Intensive Industry in the United Kingdom - prepared for the two organisations by the Centre for Low Carbon Futures - says that these energy intensive companies must innovate to survive, and calls on the government to make sure there is a place for them in its plans for the low carbon economy of the future.

These industries directly employ some 125,000 people in 2,800 individual businesses around the UK, and many more employees are to be found within their supply chains.  The annual turnover of the UK's energy intensive sector is approximately £23bn, which contributes around £5bn to the UK economy.

According to the report, much of the energy intensive sectors require 'transformative technologies' to cut their emissions significantly. Key priorities include carbon capture & storage for industries like steel & chemicals, process changes, and switching to biomass as an energy supply.
Press release ~ Technology Innovation for Energy Intensive Industry in the United Kingdom ~ Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) ~ Sacrificing jobs for no green benefit: Huhne's blinkered and dogmatic policies are self-contradictory ~ North Eastern industry to be decimated - and for what? ~ Mandatory reporting not the CRC will help make firms more energy efficient, says Policy Exchange ~ The Government risks failing to achieve emissions reduction targets despite its ambition, according to the CBI ~ Coalition carbon tax will not reduce carbon: New scheme could waste as much as £1bn ~ IPPR: Investing in Clean Energy: How can developed countries best help developing countries finance climate-friendly energy investments? ~ 6 innovative projects are eligible to compete for a share of Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund ~ Risky Business: Investing in the UK’s low-carbon infrastructure ~ Centre for Low Carbon Futures 

PC&PE:  It is harder to name one government ICT success than 10 expensive failures - The Government's over-reliance on large contractors for its IT needs combined with a lack of in-house skills is a ‘recipe for rip-offs’ according to a report by the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC).  The committee found that, as a result, IT procurement too often resulted in late, over budget IT systems that are not fit for purpose.

The report argues that the Government needs to do 4 things to break out of this relationship:
* Improve the information it holds on IT expenditure to help secure the best possible price for goods & services
* Publish more information about IT projects.
* Widen the supplier base by reducing the size of its contracts & greatly simplifying the procurement process to engage with innovative SMEs.
* Work in a more ‘agile’ manner.
Press release ~ Report: Government and IT - 'A recipe for rip-offs': Time for a new approach ~ MPs report on information and communications technology in government ~ ScotGov: Public sector ICT review ~ Planting the Flag: the Strategy for ICT-enabled local public services reform ~ e-Society: the full report (ONS) ~ Social media: why ICT management should lead their organisations to embrace ~ NAO criticises NHS computer care records scheme ~ CBI calls on the Government to harness the potential of information technology to transform public services ~ Institute for Government response to new Government ICT Strategy ~ Socitm’s Manifesto for an incoming Government: A Seven Point Plan for IT in Tomorrow’s Public Services ~ New ICT negotiating guide launched ~ Project Management and Full Design Team Services rates ~ Technical Assurance Services rates ~ NAO: Central government's use of consultants and interims ~ FiReControl: inadequately planned, poorly executed and badly managed ~ Click HERE & scroll down for Free Report: Vision, Action, Traction – Succeeding with Agile in Government ICT

WSL:  Opportunity to gain valuable media skills & experience - WorldSkills London 2011 is the biggest international Competition & event to take place in London before the 2012 London Olympics - and will be the biggest media operation in London this year.  So WorldSkills wants to ensure all visiting media - from the UK & overseas have a first-rate experience at the event.

A team from WorldSkills London, WorldSkills International, the Skills Funding Agency, National Apprenticeship Service working with agencies Band & Brown and Praise will operate a media centre, with audio-visual support from leading IT, film and photographic providers.

Organisers are looking for 100 media centre volunteers to work with them in w/c 3 October 2011 and to help to co-ordinate media attendance at the event, manage interview schedules for nations & competitors as well as be on hand to help any journalists.  Volunteers with a combination of PR & language skills will be especially welcome.

Full training will be given by the media centre team and volunteers will receive an official uniform, food & drinks while on duty, a Travelcard zones 1-4, valuable event training and a certificate as a memento of their WorldSkills London 2011 experience.
Press release & links

DH:  The difference between a fulfilled life in the community and institutional care - Plans to make it easier for people with disabilities to employ Personal Assistants to help them to live as full a life as possible have been revealed by Care Services Minister Paul Burstow. 

A Framework for Personal Assistants helps offer universal support for people with care needs as well as the PAs they employ.  It maintains the flexibility of the role, which makes them so vital in helping people with disabilities to live their lives & aims to increase the number of PAs available.

The publication is part of the personalisation agenda at the heart of the Government’s Vision for Adult Social Care to deliver services chosen by people to meet their individual needs.  By 2013, everyone eligible should be offered a personal budget to spend on the best care package for them.  

It is estimated that by 2025 this could create nearly 1.2m Personal Assistant jobs - there are currently less than 200,000 people working as Personal Assistants in England.
Press release & links ~ Framework for Personal Assistants ~ The Vision for Adult Social Care

MoDFor some the journey in the opposite direction will only be the start of a long ‘battle’ to attain a ‘normal’ life again - A team of military medical personnel have completed a 3,580 miles run & cycle - the equivalent distance from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK, to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan - raising money for charity.

The 20-strong elite team hope to raise at least £3,580, to be split between the military patients' fund within the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity, SSAFA Norton House, Troop Aid, and the Mickey Vaggs Trust at the Army Benevolent Fund

People who would like to donate money to the challenge can do so through
http://www.justgiving.com/bastion2brum.  You can also sponsor the team using your mobile phone, or alternatively, you can send a cheque (see press release for details).
Full article, photos & related links

UNICEFYet again the familiar haunting pictures fill our TV screens - In response to the UN declaration of famine in 2 regions of southern Somalia, UNICEF are calling for more funds to scale up their critical work in the region and encouraging the UK public to support them urgently to help save children’s lives.
Famine is declared when acute malnutrition rates among children exceed 30%; more than 2 people per 10,000 die per day; and people are not able to access food and other basic necessities.  In some regions of Somalia acute malnutrition is now exceeding 50% and UNICEF is recording at least 6 per 10,000 children dying daily. To donate to UNICEF’s East Africa Appeal please go to www.unicef.org.uk, call 0800 037 9797, or text FAMINE to 70099 to make a £10 donation.
Press release & links
White Paper: G-Cloud – Securing the New Frontier - The Government Cloud (G-Cloud) is at the very heart of the Cabinet Office’s drive to implement, design and develop innovative systems for better and more efficient use of information, communication and digital technologies.

But government organisations must also consider the impact of software security, as the complexity of software applications means the process of securing them is not as mature as with network and hardware infrastructure.

A newly produced White Paper explores how government organisations can release the inherent power that the G-Cloud offers, whilst giving due consideration to software security. ‘Securing the New Frontier’ addresses the key issues and how to ensure the cloud readiness of your critical applications and infrastructure.

Click here to receive a free copy.
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