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ScotGovGroundwork for break-up? - First Minister Alex Salmond has launched a Programme for Government with a pledge to ‘pursue economic growth and reformed public services to deliver better outcomes for all of Scotland's people’.  He announced a new pledge to provide every 16-to-19-year-old with a learning or training opportunity as part of the Government focus on job creation and economic recovery.

He also confirmed that legislation to create a single police & single fire service for Scotland is among 15 new Bills to be introduced this coming year - in addition to the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill, introduced in June, which will continue to proceed through Parliament.
Press release & links ~ Renewing Scotland: The Government’s Programme for Scotland 2011-2012 ~ Read the First Minister’s Parliamentary statement ~ Programme for Government Bill summary notes ~ ScotGov: Constitutional reform ~ National Conversation ~ Your Scotland Your Voice ~ ScotGov: First 100 days in government ~ ScotGov: Corporation Tax ~ Devolved governments shared agenda ~ Internationalism key to the future

TUCIt appears that some people can well afford to ‘eat cake’ - Directors of the UK's top companies have amassed pension pots worth an average of £3.9m (providing an annual pension of £224,121) according to the TUC's ninth annual PensionsWatch survey.  

It shows that the average director's pension is 23 times the average occupational pension (£9,568), and 34 times bigger than the average public sector pension (£6,497).  The biggest pension pot in this year's survey is worth £21.5m.

PensionsWatch also shows that directors are also able to build up their pension pots far quicker than other staff.  The most common accrual rate - the proportion of pay that a person receives as pension for each year they have been in the scheme - is 1/30th for directors.  The most typical accrual rates for ordinary scheme members are 1/60th to 1/80th.
Press release & links ~ What are we paying for? Exploring executive pay and performance ~ Directors’ Pensions: in it for themselves? ~ INSIGHT-CEOs warned: mind the pay gap ~ Fall in pension contributions will hit living standards in retirement, warns TUC ~ DWP: Perceptions of Income Requirements in Retirement ~ Middle Britain family faces £4,600 living standards gap by 2013 ~ IFS:  The better off can cut back on expensive luxuries, but for the poor that is often not an option ~ Withdraw pension plans that even Lansley opposes - says PCS ~ HMT:  To be asked to ‘pay more for less’ is always upsetting, especially when the extra payments seem un-necessary to fund the pension ~ Two-thirds of people unhappy with pay gap in their workplace

NICE:  Basic economics; more outlets means easier access & lower prices - A study from the charity Alcohol Concern says that alcohol availability, more than any other external factor, is the main cause of alcohol-specific hospital admissions in a tenth of cases of young people under the age of 18.  The findings back up calls from NICE to reduce the number of outlets selling alcohol in a given area, and the days and hours when it can be sold.

In June 2010, NICE produced public health guidance on preventing the development of hazardous & harmful drinking, which set out these recommendations on alcohol availability.  It says international evidence suggests that an effective way of reducing alcohol-related harm is by making it less easy to buy alcohol.

NICE adds that one action that could be taken is for licensing departments to take into account the links between the availability of alcohol and alcohol-related harm when considering licence application.  The research by Alcohol Concern also found that on average, for every 2 off-licences per 100,000 population, there was 1 young person under-18 who was admitted to hospital because of drinking.

NICE recently published a commissioning guide on services for the identification & treatment of hazardous drinking, harmful drinking and alcohol dependence in children, young people and adults.  It sets out a comprehensive approach to commissioning alcohol services and identifies certain essential components of a high-quality alcohol service.  These include commissioning services for children & young people who are vulnerable to alcohol related harm.
Press release ~ Study: One on every Corner ~ Public health guidance ~ Commissioning guide ~ NICE Pathway on alcohol disorders ~ JRF:  They may not ‘listen’ to your advice, but they often copy your bad habits (scroll down to third item) ~ Scottish Youth Information ~ Message in a Bottle: A Joint Inspection of Youth Alcohol Misuse and Offending ~ DfE: Youth Alcohol Action Plan 2008

DCMSMake your opinion known - The National Lottery Awards has launched the final phase of its annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.  People can now vote to decide which of the finalists will win the title in each of the 7 categories, which reflect the main areas of Lottery funding: arts, sport, heritage, voluntary/charity, environment, health and education. Voting opened last week and will end at midday at 26 September 2011.
Press release & links

TDASomething more substantial than just apples for teachers - The Training & Development Agency for Schools (TDA) is seeking applications from existing teachers for the new national scholarship fund for teachers before the 30 September 2011 deadline.  

The scholarship fund will support scholarly professional development, programmes & activities that strengthen subject or special educational needs (SEN) knowledge & skills, giving teachers the opportunity to renew their passion for teaching and enhance their own career opportunities.
Press release & links

DUKAre you blind to the risks? - More than 500m people with diabetes in England are at increased risk of blindness because they have not received retinal screening, an essential annual check which tests for eye disease (diabetic retinopathy).  

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the country’s working-age population and is just one complication that people with diabetes could be at risk of because they are missing out on a wide range of health checks and specialist services.

Retinal screening is one of a checklist of 15 measures, to help people with diabetes understand what services they should get to help them manage their condition.  Recent figures show that people with diabetes are also not receiving other essential annual checks.
Press release ~ Diabetic retinopathy ~ Complete the online survey ~ More on Diabetes Watch and the 15 measures ~ Further information on the care you should expect from the NHS

White Paper - Evolving Threats Require New Cybersecurity Strategies - In a recent report, The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee was critical of the UK Government and public sector’s preparedness for dealing with emergencies such as cyber attacks, saying it is simply not good enough that scientific advice is often only sought after events have struck.

Cyberwar is changing how your organisation needs to handle security because the traditional fortress approach is no longer enough. Sophisticated criminals, state-sponsored espionage and persistent, patient attacks easily slip past firewalls, intrusion detection systems and other defenses. A real-time, continuous awareness of the infrastructure is needed to understand and mitigate the new risks.

Click here for your free copy of 'Cybercrime: New Security Strategies For Government'.


Forthcoming event - HSE appeal to tackle asbestos death toll - A poignant target of 4,000 hours of free asbestos awareness training has been set in a new initiative to help tradesmen across Britain protect themselves from the deadly dust. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in partnership with the training industry, is calling for those who run training course to pledge free hours during September to hit a target of 4,000 - the approximate number of deaths each year from asbestos-related diseases.

It is hoped that 4000 face-to-face training hours and an additional 4,000 hours of online training will be offered up by various providers. The free training will be available throughout October & November and is aimed at tradesmen such as joiners, electricians & plumbers who are most likely to disturb the fibres as they go about their work - around 20 a week lose their lives to asbestos-related diseases.
The above worthy cause is being supported and promoted by our colleagues Encompassed, a valued Wired-GOV subscriber organisation and regular providers of asbestos training to the public sector throughout the UK.


Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
White Paper - Beyond Tick-Box Compliance: UK Public Sector Data Security....click here image.
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