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HMT:  The light at the end of the tunnel just got further away - The Chancellor has delivered his Autumn Statement to Parliament, alongside the publication of the Office for Budget Responsibility's updated forecasts for growth & borrowing.

He announced ‘permanent reductions in spending to ensure that the UK meets its fiscal targets, using some of those savings in the short term to fund infrastructure investment to generate long-term growth’.   Alongside this, he announced measures to ‘help households & businesses cope with higher inflation and to ensure that deficit reduction is implemented fairly’.

Other documents published alongside the Autumn Statement document included:
* Autumn Statement policy costings
* Autumn Statement distributional analysis
* The National Infrastructure Plan 2011
* Audited Whole Government Accounts for 2009-10
Press release & links ~  TUC 10-point plan to boost economy ~ Autumn Statement Transcript ~ HMT Growth comment ~ DCMS press release & links ~ Comment from NIESR ~ Open Data measures in the Autumn Statement ~ Comment from WAG ~ Further WAG comment ~ ScotGov comment ~ CBI comment ~ TUC comment ~ HO: Metal Theft taskforce ~ WWF comment ~ CIPD comment ~ DWP Youth contract ~ TUC: £65bn growth gap ~ ScotGov: State of the economy ~ FDA comment ~ Wales Office comment ~ Civitas: Why economic growth is faltering and what we can do about it ~ The Devil in the Detail: Designing the right incentives for local economic growth ~ Rethinking apprenticeships ~ Economic 'Plan MacB'

:  Integrated Care means 2+2 can equal 5 - An Audit Commission briefing has found significant differences in the types of care received by people aged 65 and over across the country.  It shows that despite the strong focus for many years on improving joint working across the NHS and social care, progress remains patchy.

Integrated working offers the potential both for efficiency savings & improved care.  NHS & social care partners need to be clearer about the outcomes they are trying to achieve and how they will know they are making progress towards them.
Press release ~ Joining up health & social care - Improving value for money across the interface ~ AC: Integrated services for older people ~ Means to an end ~ Improving value for money in adult social care ~ Reducing low clinical value treatments could free up £500m a year to be spent on better care for patients ~ NHS Future Forum: Provisional advice on integrated care ~ Think tanks work together to support integrated care for patients ~ Lansley missing cost savings that could also benefit care quality ~ General practice must embrace change to improve quality of patient care ~ NHS Confederation response ~ NHS at Home: Community Children’s Nursing Services ~ Re-think needed on health and social care outcomes, says The King's Fund

COThere are other dangers to the UK apart from the eurozone collapsing - The Government recently published its new Cyber Security Strategy, setting out how the UK will 'support economic prosperity, protect national security and safeguard the public’s way of life by building a more trusted & resilient digital environment'.
Press release ~ CO: Cyber Security ~ HO comments ~ Chatham House: Cyber Security ~ Cyber Attacks - How Can Public Sector Mitigate Risk?RUSI: Cyber Space and Cyber Security ~ Digital Agenda: EU & US conduct readiness tests for cyber attacks ~ Dr Fox tells business we must work together to combat cyber attacks ~ Armed Forces Minister - Responding to Cyber War ~ Threat of Cyber Attacks on CNI Requires an Urgent Response  ~ 2010 Information Security Breaches Survey (ISBS) ~ BIS: Cyber Security ~ Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance (OCSIA) ~ Information Security Awareness Forum ~ GetSafeOnline ~ Information Assurance Advisory Council (IAAC) ~ Jericho Forum ~ Information Security Forum (ISF) ~ Socitm – Information Assurance ~ Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) ~ Cyber Security Forum 2011 ~ ICSPA

DefraWhere is St Swithin when you need him? - Water companies & the public need to plan now for a summer drought to minimise the impacts of a potentially dry winter, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said last week.  The drought that has affected central & eastern England this year could continue until next summer and the south east will be at risk of drought if sustained rainfall does not replenish water levels that were depleted during one of the driest springs on record.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: “It may have surprised people that we’ve granted Anglian Water a drought permit in November, but it is a warning of the need to take action now after the country has seen the driest twelve months since records began”.

A recent report published by the Environment Agency makes further recommendations to water companies & other water users, such as farmers, on measures they can take to minimise the impacts of a longer term drought.
Press release ~ EA: Drought Prospects for winter 2011/2012 ~ St Swithin ~ Water companies must plan for a drier climate ~ New climate change advice to help businesses boost growth ~ Environment: Water scarcity and droughts a growing challenge to Member States ~ 'Water poverty' the new 'fuel poverty' for vulnerable households ~ How business is threatened by water scarcity ~ The EA - Temperature rise could spell disaster for British wildlife

CLGBringing young life back to the country - Communities Minister Andrew Stunell has called on farmers & rural councils to 'think outside the box' to deliver more affordable housing.  The average house price in rural areas is £250,000, yet the average salary is only £21,000 a year, meaning many local people struggle to get on the housing ladder.  Mr Stunell wants to see farmers identify disused farm buildings that could be converted into new affordable homes for local people, and wants councils to look favourably on their planning applications.

Mr Stunell highlighted a scheme run by Harrogate Borough Council that requires developers to make provision on the site for affordable housing, resulting in 34 extra affordable homes across 19 sites. Harrogate's approach is in the spirit of the 'Home on the Farm' idea, championed by Mr Stunell, which promotes conversion of disused farm buildings into new homes.
Press release ~ HCA: Rural Housing ~ Rural Housing Association ~ Defra: Rural Housing links ~ Defra: Rural & Countryside ~ JRF:  Often beautiful, but usually a long walk (little public transport) to anywhere or any service (4th item) ~ CRC:  One suspects that public sector cuts will make rural life even tougher (4th item – please note: some links may no longer work due to ‘closure’ of CRC & other changes since May 2010) ~ New CRC website ~ CLG: Home on the farm

EU News:  Crisis, what crisis; Who cares if you have less to spend on your young, sick, poor & elderly! - The European Commission has proposed to finance the GMES programme (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) for Earth observation for the period 2014-2020 outside the EU financial framework, for which an estimated budget of €5.8bn is deemed necessary.

The Commission proposes to set up a specific GMES fund similar to the model chosen for the European Development Fund, with financial contributions from all 27 EU Member States based on their gross national income (GNI).  This will require an intergovernmental agreement between the EU Member States meeting within the Council. 
Press release & links ~ GMES programme

DWPGood idea: A government listens then decides on policy - Disabled people living in residential care will continue to have their additional mobility needs met through Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller announced last week.  

When DLA is replaced with PIP in 2013, disabled people in residential care will continue to receive any mobility component of PIP they are entitled to.
Press release

RoSPAH&S does matter - Trade associations and the firms they help with health & safety still have time to put forward nominations for the 2012 RoSPA SME Assistance Trophy, sponsored by BHSF.  Nominations for the trophy are invited from trade associations and similar bodies themselves, as well as from the firms they help. The closing date for nominations is 14 January 2012.
Press release & links

Latest Whitepaper: - GPG13 Compliance: How to Improve Protective Monitoring and Reduce Costs - All UK central government departments, agencies and police are subject to GPG 13 compliance and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can now levy fines of up to £500,000 for organisations that suffer a breach.

Because of GPG13, many government bodies now understand the need to configure an appropriate level of logging and processing of log files. However, the requirements for change detection still remain and this cannot be achieved through logging alone.

In a forthcoming Webinar, Ed Hamilton, CLAS Consultant at Analysys Mason explains the importance of change detection and how it can improve the effectiveness of your organisation’s protective monitoring. In addition, a related white paper looks at how to reduce GPG 13 compliance costs, and improve security as a natural byproduct.

Click here to find out more and receive your free copy of the paper.

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