Please note that the WGPlus newsletter is taking its summer break and the next scheduled publication date will be on Monday 5 September 2011

RUSIAs the summer flooding season starts - A new Lloyd's report in co-operation with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) examines how insurers & key stakeholders can work together to improve flood resilience, response & recovery

Flooding occupies a prominent position on the UK's National Risk Register and, as such, the impact it has on the UK is of interest to the resilience, climate security & emergency management research programmes undertaken by RUSI.

Recent work with insurance company Lloyds's has explored the impact of flooding on the insurance industry and to provide guidance to insurers on flood risk management. 

This work has resulted in the report Flood Resilience, Response and Recovery produced by Lloyd's in co-operation with RUSI, following a workshop in May 2011. The report examines how insurers & key stakeholders can work together to improve flood resilience, response and recovery.
Press release & link to report ~ RUSI: Emergency Management ~ National Risk Register ~ UK Floods: Changing Attitudes ~ Turning the Tide ~ Learning lessons from the 2007 floods: the final recommendations of the Pitt Review ~ ICE report: Flood Risk Management - a local issue of national importance ~ Pickering Flood Group ~ Ryedale Flood Research Group ~ The Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009: Delivering Sustainable Flood Risk Management ~ SEPA consultation - Flooding in Scotland ~ SEPA: Flooding ~ EA: List of schemes going ahead in 2011/12 ~ Defra: Flooding and Coastal change ~ Exercise Watermark ~ EA: information on flooding ~ Report: Future flood and water management legislation ~ Guidance and standards for drying flood damaged buildings. Signposting current guidance: BD 2760 ~ National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy ~ Inland flood rescue association ~ UK Resilience ~ Disaster and Emergency Management on the Internet ~ National Flood Emergency Framework ~ Flood risk management role for local authorities ~ Flood & Coastal Erosion Risk Management: Development of a National Strategy for Wales ~ WAG:  Water and flooding ~ Property Level Flood Protection Grant Scheme ~ HR Wallingford ~ EA: How can I be prepared? ~ National Flood Forum - BSI: PAS 1188 ~ NFF: Blue Pages

BISIt’s a downloadable future - The Government has announced plans to support economic growth by modernising UK intellectual property laws.  Ministers have accepted the recommendations made in an independent review which estimate a potential benefit to the UK economy of up to £7.9bn.

The recommendations were made in May 2011 by Professor Ian Hargreaves in his report, - ‘Digital Opportunity: A review of intellectual property and growth’.  Modernising intellectual property law is a key action from the Government’s Plan for Growth, published in March 2011 alongside the Budget, which will ‘help create the right conditions for businesses to invest, grow and create jobs’.

Alongside the Government response, a new intellectual property crime strategy and international strategy for intellectual property have been published.  The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) has also laid out the next steps for implementing the mass notification system in the Digital Economy Act.  This involves letters being sent to internet account holders when their internet connection has been identified as linked to unlawfully shared copyright material.

A report by Ofcom, which is also published, identifies a risk of the system being overwhelmed by vexatious appeals from people determined to disrupt the system.  Government expects that a £20 fee should deter appeals without deterring genuine appeals.
Press release & links ~ DCMS press release ~ Government's response to Professor Hargreaves’ independent review, plus new intellectual property crime strategy and international strategy for intellectual property ~ Ofcom’s reports on the Digital Economy Act provisions on site-blocking and the appeals process ~ CBI comment

PC&PE:  It’s the old ‘songs’ that we keep hearing again & again - The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a report which, on the basis of evidence from the Department of Health and its contractors BT and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), examines the delivery of care records systems under the National Programme for IT in the NHS.  

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said:
"The Department of Health is not going to achieve its original aim of a fully integrated care records system across the NHS.  Trying to create a one-size-fits-all system in the NHS was a massive risk and has proven to be unworkable.

The Department has been unable to demonstrate what benefits have been delivered from the £2.7 billion spent on the project so far. It should now urgently review whether it is worth continuing with the remaining elements of the care records system.  The £4.3 billion which the Department expects to spend might be better used to buy systems that are proven to work, that are good value for money and which deliver demonstrable benefits to the NHS”.
Press release & links ~ Previous related press release ~ National Programme for IT ~ Statement on the National Programme for IT ~ PC&PE:  It is harder to name one government ICT success than 10 expensive failures (scroll down)

PC&PEThe problem is that there could be no one left to say ‘Can Do’ - The Defence Committee is not convinced that, given the current financial climate and the drawdown of capabilities arising from the Strategic Defence and Security Review, UK Armed Forces will be able do what is asked of them after 2015.

The report notes mounting concern that ‘UK Armed Forces may be falling below the minimum utility required to deliver the commitments that they are currently being tasked to carry out let alone the tasks they are likely to face between 2015 to 2020 when it is acknowledged that there will be capability gaps’.  The committee is concerned that UK Armed Forces will be continually operating at the maximum level envisaged by the Defence Planning Assumptions
Press release & links ~ MoD response ~ MoD:  Re-sizing our military forces is only acceptable if it is balanced by a reduction in political requirements for ‘world policing’

CRCStill looking after rural interests - The first issue of the newsletter from the Commission for Rural Communities has been published.  It continues to operate their 3 statutory functions of advice, advocacy & watchdog, providing Ministers with an independent view of issues facing rural communities.  Their business plan for 2011-12 includes a number of exciting projects, and their Chairman & Commissioners are continuing to make a difference to Government thinking over matters such as upland communities, housing and planning, and the rural economy.

If you’re involved in a voluntary organisation delivering services for older people, they would be interested to know how you are meeting the challenge of organisational & financial changes, by taking part in their survey.
Press release ~ Business Plan ~ Survey ~ Experiences of young people ~ 2010 Rural Advocate report ~ Social isolation experienced by older people in rural areas ~ High ground, high potential – a future for England’s upland communities ~ The Rural Big Society briefing paper

Directgov:  Could this be a way to get an EU referendum? - A new website that lets you petition the government online has gone live.  Any petition that gets more than 100,000 signatures will be eligible for debate in Parliament.  It is hoped the e-petitions site will make petitions a useful democratic tool, and encourage more people to get involved in politics.

Once you have submitted your e-petition, it will be checked by the relevant government department.  The petition will be open for up to 1 year, which allows members of the public to sign & support your petition.
Press release & links

SocitmWhat does it need to run an effective website? - Socitm Insight is supporting an initiative by Aberdeen City's e-government manager to investigate the size, shape and governance of local authority web teams across the UK.  If you would like to share information on these issues please complete the questionnaire by 12 August 2011.  Results will be shared in the Web Improvement and Usage Community.
Press release & links

Latest Case Studies: - Local Authorities Improve Customer Contact Whilst Reducing Operating Costs - In today's challenging times local authorities are striving to broaden citizen access to council services and yet also deliver significant efficiency gains in the way they provide these services.

Improvements are being driven by key council process transformation goals and also in support of central government initiatives such as NI14 and Tell Us Once.

Numerous Councils have recently implemented a Customer Contact Platform to achieve:

  • Significantly lower operating costs
  • Increased customer self-service and satisfaction
  • Compliance with legislation & best practise
  • Efficient delivery of end-to-end services

Click here to find out more and receive the latest local authority case studies.

Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive

Local Authority Case Studies on Customer Contact Made Easier......Click here to receive image.
Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest: