This newsletter covers the period of press releases since the publication of the last newsletter in mid-December 2011

NAOHistorically too big, lengthy, risky & complex - The National Audit Office has commended the early progress being made by the Government in implementing its ICT Strategy, but has identified areas where progress has not kept pace with the Government’s ambitions.

Launched in March 2011, the Strategy is intended to tackle systemic problems in government ICT projects which in the past have tended to be too big, lengthy, risky and complex.  

Departments have independently developed systems which have often not communicated easily with one another.  The broad aim of the Strategy is to reduce waste & project failure, create a common ICT infrastructure for government and use ICT to change how public services are delivered.
Press release & links ~ NAO: Implementing the Government ICT Strategy: six-month review of progress (see also other related links)  ~ Government to save millions on ICT ~ UK Government ICT Strategy resources ~ Socitm publishes briefing on the Government ICT Strategy ~ PX: System Error - Fixing the Flaws in Government IT

DefraToo little can be as bad as too much - Energy companies’ plans to protect the UK power supply from the impacts of climate change have been published by Defra.  Flooding of sub stations, difficulties in keeping power stations cool in hotter summers and damage to overhead wires & underground cables in periods of drought were amongst the key threats that energy firms found climate change could pose to their business.

The reports will help Government assess the UK’s readiness for climate change and the actions needed to adapt.  In January 2012, Defra will publish the Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA), a report that will give the UK the most comprehensive overview of any nation of the challenges climate change will present.
Press release & links ~ Defra: Drought to be 'commonplace' by 2050s ~ Defra: Advice for infrastructure companies ~ National Infrastructure Plan 2011 ~ Infrastructure UK (IUK) ~ Changing climate, changing infrastructure ~ Impact & summary reports ~ UK Climate Impacts Programme ~ CO: Infrastructure and Corporate Resilience ~ EFRAC report: Future flood and water management legislation ~ National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy ~ Defra: Flood Rescue National Enhancement ~ Exercise Watermark ~ National Flood Emergency Framework for England ~ Flood risk management role for local authorities ~ Flood Warnings for Infrastructure (FWFI) service ~ EA: Flood preparation guide for your business ~ ScotGov: Delivering Sustainable Flood Risk Management - An Analysis of Consultation Responses ~ WAG:  Water and flooding ~ Environment Agency - launches UK’s largest flood product test centre ~ HR Wallingford ~ BSI: PAS 1188 ~ UK Flood Barriers ~ NFF: Blue Pages ~ Sir Michael Pitt’s review of the 2007 floods

HMICPolice leadership failed to protect communities - In a recent report (The rules of engagement: A review of the August 2011 disorders) the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) ‘found police need to be better prepared, trained & ready to protect the public if they are to improve upon their response to public disorder’.

The police response in future should still be comprised of police officers who are normally engaged in other, day-to-day duties, but they must be fully trained & able to switch from roles that require largely individual action & initiative, to ‘disciplined & co-ordinated collective, public order actions’.

Police commanders must be equipped to respond with extraordinary measures.  These measures are set out in manuals but 'police are not currently equipped or trained to deliver them in practice'.  There also needs to be a public debate as to where & when police tactics involving protected vehicles, water cannon and AEPs are acceptable.
Press release ~ The rules of engagement: A review of August 2011 disorders

HMTStill overpaid & unaccountable - The Government has published its response to the report by the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB), which sets out plans to fundamentally reform the structure of banking in the UK.  

This response agrees with the ICB’s recommendations and outlines how the Government will legislate to create a stable banking sector that supports lending to businesses and families, and removes the implicit taxpayer guarantee in the event of a bank failure.

The Government will implement the ICB’s advice in stages with the full package of reforms completed by 2019.  All necessary legislation will therefore be put in place by the end of this Parliament.

The Government will publish a White Paper in spring 2012 setting out further detail on how the recommendations will be implemented; in advance of that, the Government is open to views on how to implement these plans.
Press release & links ~ nef: How do they get away with it?  ~ Tame the Vampire Squid ~ nef's response to the Independent Commission on Banking ~ Rolling Stone: Matt Taibbi's Takedown of ‘Vampire Squid’ Goldman Sachs ~ OFT review of barriers to entry, exit and expansion in retail banking ~ OFT Review page
MoDHaving fought 24/7, some need locally-based advice, support & care 24/7 - A regional network of support groups to help military veterans access local services has been launched. 13 groups have been created across the UK (staffed by former Service personnel) to give advice to veterans about the range of services available to them.  This could be anything from helping a veteran get specialist medical care to assistance for a widow to claim a pension.

The groups, called Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committees (VAPCs), support the Government's pledge to enshrine the Armed Forces Covenant in law and ensure Service personnel & veterans are not disadvantaged.
Press release & links ~ First class medical care must continue when the Afghanistan operation becomes history, says Defence Committee ~ Government commits to progress on rebuilding Military Covenant ~ DH:  For some the real problems start after the ‘safe’ return home (first item) ~ Wounded officer speaks on behalf of injured troops

LCFairer shares for immediate ‘family’ - The Law Commission has made recommendations to bring inheritance law into line with the needs & expectations of modern families, and simplify the law to help the bereaved deal with the property of a deceased family member.

Every year tens of thousands of people die without a will and the property they leave behind is distributed according to legal rules that date back to 1925.  More recent legislation allows certain family members & dependants who were not adequately provided for to go to court to claim ‘family provision’, whether or not there is a will.
Press release & links ~ LC: Cohabitation

DFIDThere are still other types of disasters besides financial - Some of the world’s richest countries are failing to help prepare for large-scale disasters, such as earthquakes, floods & wars, despite clear evidence that the number of catastrophes is likely to increase in the years ahead, International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell has warned.

Despite a year of unprecedented disasters – including famine in the Horn of Africa, the Japan tsunami, New Zealand earthquake, floods in Pakistan and most recently the Philippines – the United Nations’ international disaster response funding system is expected to be left severely underfunded.  The system – set up following the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami – is designed to bring different countries funding into one single pot that makes the international response faster & more effective.
Press release & links ~ CERF ~ Commission proposes to improve European disaster response ~ Galileo: Secure satellite navigation for emergency and security services ~ Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) ~ DEC ~ UK Higher Education Disaster Relief Project ~ TimeBank Disaster Relief

Recent Report: – Exploring the Top 10 Risks and Opportunities for Government and Public Sector - Based on interviews with government and public sector commentators and on a global survey across 15 countries, Ernst & Young has compiled rankings of the top 10 risks and opportunities for government and public sector organisations in 2011 and obtained forecasts on whether these challenges would be more or less important in 2013.

Risk continues to dominate the agenda: fiscal policy, recession, sustainability, security — all have contributed to a drive toward transformation — and with that drive comes opportunity.

The report highlights:

  • Strengthening new forms of global governance, such as G20, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, ranked as the number one opportunity for government and public sector.
  • Triggering a double-dip recession through fiscal consolidation ranked as the number one risk for government and public sector.

This report is part of a wider piece of research that explores the top 10 business risks and opportunities globally across seven sector groups including government, power and utilities, banking, retail, oil and gas, healthcare and life sciences.

Click here to download your free copy of the full report.

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