RUSIHas the MoD finally managed to combat the previously irresistable gravitational pull of its funding Black Hole? - The Ministry of Defence appears to have balanced the £74bn 10-year 'funding gap', but key equipment programmes, such as Trident renewal and Joint Strike Fighter, are still a major source of potential instability to defence budget, highlights a recent paper from the Royal United Services Institute.

Looking into the Black Hole: Is the UK Defence Budget Crisis Really Over? by Professor Malcolm Chalmers, outlines that while the MoD's books may be balanced on paper, the work needed to turn assumptions on how to close the funding gap into detailed plans has only started.

'While the government is now planning for a 1% annual real growth in the equipment budget after 2014/15, it cannot guarantee what its successor will decide in the 2015 Spending Review.  The drawdown from Afghanistan could weaken the MoD's bargaining position, especially if current efforts to reduce the nation's fiscal deficit have not yet fully succeeded.'
Press release ~ Looking into the Black Hole: Is the UK Defence Budget Crisis Really Over? ~ Related MoD press release & links ~ The Register:  Projects of Concern ~ Ministry of Defence Main Estimates 2011-12 ~ Previous MoD item:  Re-sizing our military forces is only acceptable if it is balanced by a reduction in political requirements for ‘world policing’ (First item) ~ Defence project managers' excellence recognised ~ MOD: The use of information to manage the logistics supply chain ~ MoD: The Major Projects Report 2010 ~ Management of the Typhoon Project ~ Strategic financial management of the defence budget

UniteWhat are the SHAs doing with the extra 3% instead of delivering on the government’s pledge? - Ministers were urged ‘to get a grip’ on health visitor recruitment, as one of the government’s key pledges – to recruit an extra 4,200 health visitors – falters. 

Unite, which embraces the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA), called for health visiting budgets to be ring-fenced, as 7 out of the 10 strategic health authorities (SHA) in England reported a decline in the number of health visitors in the last 12 months

The Health Visitor Implementation Plan, published in February 2011, promised to recruit an extra 4,200 health visitors to add to the 8,092 full time equivalents that were practicing in England, as of May 2010.  It set out a provisional target to have trained an extra 1,135 health visitors by the end of March 2012. This was broken down into regional targets for each strategic health authority (SHA) to achieve. 

Unite’s lead professional officer, Obi Amadi said: ‘In the morass of the government’s so-called NHS reforms, the pledge to recruit 4,200 extra health visitors by 2015 stood out.’…….. ‘The government needs to consider ring-fencing health visitor budgets to meets its pledge. The government gave the SHAs an extra 3% on top of baseline funding for health visitors, but it appears it hasn’t been used.  They need to take a good look at ring-fencing budgets, otherwise the money is not going to be spent on what it should be.’ 
Press release & links ~ Government’s Health Visitor Implementation Plan ’A Call to Action’ ~ Previous related press release ~ Previous related AC press release ~ Oct 2009: 8,000 more health visitors needed 'to avoid more Baby Ps’ ~ Giving children a healthy start - A review of health improvements in children from birth to five years ~ Maternity, Healthy Child Programme and Early Years ~ Momentum grows for more health visitors and school nurses to be employed ~ Health visitor crisis is 'a national scandal' - pm's nursing commission told ~ New updated Child Health Promotion Programme (CHPP) ~ The Contribution of the NHS to Reducing Health Inequalities: Written Evidence to the House of Commons Health Select Committee submitted by Unite (Amicus Section) ~ Family Nurse Partnerships

EU News:  No austerity for EU MPs despite Euro crisis and national budget cuts by member states - After two days of negotiations & voting, the Budgets Committee finalised its position on the EU budget for 2012.  In general, MEPs sought to restore the draft budget proposed by the Commission, after cuts by the Council in July 2011.
Press release & links

WAGWelsh government announces details of financial balancing act - The Welsh Government’s spending plans for the next 3 years were announced by Finance Minister Jane Hutt last week.
Press release & links

Directgov:  It doesn’t matter how clever one is, we can still be scammed - Students have reported getting emails that appear to be from Student Finance England asking them to verify their account details in order to get their next payment.  This kind of scam email is known as ‘phishing’ and is designed to get access to your Student Finance account.  No government department sends unsolicited emails.  Find out what to do if you get one of these scam emails.

If you get one of these scam emails, don’t click on any links contained in it.  Instead, send it to Student Finance England and delete it from your inbox.  Also consult the Phishing guide on their website.
Press release & links

RoSPASafe working practices recognised - The entry process is now open for the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards 2012.  Dating back to 1956, RoSPA’s awards scheme - the largest & longest-running occupational safety awards programme in the UK - recognises organisations’ commitment to accident & ill health prevention.  It is open to businesses & organisations of all types & sizes from across the UK & overseas.

The RoSPA Awards, which are sponsored by NEBOSH (the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health), look at entrants’ overarching health & safety management systems, recognising important practices such as strong leadership and workforce involvementAll entrants must register for the awards by 1 December 2011.
Press release & links

WAGLibraries still provide ‘access to the world’ & in this case a speedy one - The 2011 Wales Rally GB (10 – 13 November) will see competitors making their way through some of the most exhilarating scenery in the world and for your chance to get hold of two VIP hospitality places you simply need to join a library in Wales

This promotion is open to anyone over the age of 16 who lives, works or studies in Wales and joins a library in Wales during October 2011 – either in person or online.
Press release & links

NAYour National Archives need You - The National Archives will soon start to digitise the WO 95 record series, which consists of unit war diaries from the First World War.  The series is one of the most requested in our reading rooms in Kew, and digitising it means that we will be able to make these extremely fragile diaries more accessible by publishing them online. 

NA are looking for volunteers to help us ensure that the pages within the 5,500 pieces of WO 95 series are in the correct order before they scan them.  
Press release & links

BNTimely appeal with forecast for another freezing winter - Byte Night is an annual sleep-out in support of Action for Children, raising awareness & funds to help tackle the root causes of youth homelessness in the UK.  On Friday 7 October over 800 sleepers across the country braved the cold to sleep outside so others don't have to.

Please donate now! - In support of this event, an intrepid team from Trillium (valued Wired-GOV subscribers & sponsors) gave up their beds for one night to sleep rough in London.  Click here to sponsor them and donate to this worthy cause - any amount large or small will make a difference.
Press release & links

Research Paper: - New Research Reveals Link Between High-Speed Internet Access and Rural Economic Output - Lack of high-speed internet access could be a major barrier to UK rural regeneration, after new research revealed a strong link between internet access and economic output.

The research examined the links between regional economic output (GVA) and access to the internet across more than 800 wards and towns in some of the most rural regions of the UK.
The report, Entitled "Rural Digital Exclusion: The link between Internet Access and Economic Output" highlights the rural areas of the North East, including County Durham, Northumberland, Tees Valley and Tyne & Wear as the region with the lowest internet access per household at just 59% and also the lowest GVA at £40,369m. This compares to the South East (excluding London) with an internet access per household at 79% and a GVA of £176,500m.

Click here to receive a free copy of the report.

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New Research Research Reveals Link Between High-Speed Internet Access and Rural Economic Output.....Find out more image.
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