HMTEveryone has an opinion on the budget - The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has announced his Budget which ‘maintains the Government’s strategy to reduce the deficit, announces far-reaching tax reforms, and support for growth and to reward work. It sets out the actions the Government will take in three areas - creating a stable economy, a fairer, more efficient and simpler tax system, and further reforms to support growth’.
Press release & links ~ Chancellor’s 2012 Budget statement ~ Manufacturers predict strong rise in production, but inflationary pressures pick up – CBI survey ~ Funding for university research facilities ~ TUC - Regional pay could take £1.7bn away from local economies ~  Related HMRC PR ~ Ten Super-Connected Cities announced ~ NIESR: Budget 2012 and the OBR’s forecasts ~ New Economics Foundation comment ~ Pensioners 'paying a heavy price for a pro-rich Budget', says TUC ~ IFS: Public finance bulletin: March 2012 ~ WWF Budget 2012 reaction ~ CBI full reaction to the budget ~ Citizens Advice initial reaction to raising the personal tax threshold ~ CSJ: A missed chance to tackle family breakdown ~ Institute of Economic Affairs ~ Local pay for public sector workers won't create private sector jobs, says TUC ~ CAB - Only £33 a year gets to the pockets of the poorest working families from tax threshold changes  ~  PCS comment ~ 'Budget for the rich by the rich', says TUC ~ Budget fails growth and fairness testComment from Wales Office ~ A disappointing Budget for Wales - Jane Hutt ~ Age UK’s response ~ English Heritage’s response ~ CIPD comment

CQC:  There is no 'life’ for the young without ‘mobility’ - Disabled children, young people and their families say they are waiting too long for mobility aids such as wheelchairs, in a Care Quality Commission review of health care services for this group. The national average wait for powered wheelchairs is 3 months, but this ranges to over a year in some areas, according to information supplied by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).

A national report & 151 local area reports explore how long disabled children & young people wait for wheelchairs as well as other critical services such as speech & language therapy (SALT) and physiotherapy. Families felt access to & involvement in services was a challenge and that they waited too long for access to services and for initial diagnosis, the review finds.
Contributors to this review also felt services were not joined up and that different services did not work well together.  Many disabled children and their families also reported they had not been consulted on how their care had been provided.
Press release ~ Review of support for families with disabled children ~ Whizz-Kidz ~ Aiming High for Disabled Children ~ SpeakOut Network ~ Living made easy for children ~ The Low Review ~ TCS: We need to support disabled children’s mobility ~ Early Mobility means Easier Integration! ~ Disability Grants - Your Guide to Grants for the Disabled ~ Ableize: Disability Directory of Disabled – Information Aids and Mobility Services ~ BBC: MP urges change in powered wheelchair law ~ BBC-CBeebies: Mobility help for a disabled child ~ Kids get going ~ ESRC: Disabled children do matter ~ NHS at Home: Community Children’s Nursing Services ~ ScotGov: National Review of Services for Disabled Children ~ Disability Equality in English Primary Schools Project ~ CWDC: Working with children and young people with disabilities

DHWhat a surprise; Good teamwork provides the best outcomes - If tailored to local circumstances, well-led & well-managed integration can improve the quality of care for patients, a major study has found. More joined up health services & social care was also well liked by staff and reduced hospital costs.

The 2-year study, commissioned by the Department of Health, looked at 16 sites across England which formed the Integrated Care Pilot programme.  The sites piloted different ways of integrating care, such as between general practices, community nurses, hospitals & social services.

The research considered the impact of better integrated care on elderly people at risk of emergency hospital admissions and the treatment of conditions including dementia & mental health problems.  It analysed staff & patient views on the work of the pilots as well as the impact on hospital admissions & lengths of stay in hospital.
Press release ~ National evaluation of DH's integrated care pilots ~ NHS Future Forum calls on healthcare professionals to lead way on patient-centred care ~ NHS Future Forum sends interim recommendations to Secretary of State  ~ List of pilot sites ~ Telehealth & Telecare could save NHS £1.2bn ~ DH:  Balancing the cost of preventive action against the need for health costs to fall ~ Previous NHS Confed PR ~ Integrated care for patients and populations: Improving outcomes by working together ~ Think tanks work together to support integrated care for patients ~ Re-think needed on health and social care outcomes, says The King's Fund ~ More from King’s Fund ~ General practice must embrace change to improve quality of patient care ~  NHS Confederation response ~ Centre for Integrated Healthcare Research (CIHR) ~ The search for low-cost integrated healthcare ~ Additional NHS Confed resources

NO:  Elderly care can be investigated independently - A care home failed to have a suitable room ready for a frail & unwell man, a council wrongly kept a daughter from visiting her mother in a care home, and a severely disabled man was discharged from hospital without any care services in place – these are examples of cases resolved this year by the Local Government Ombudsmen (LGO).  The Ombudsmen want people to know they can use the LGO service if they have an unresolved complaint about adult social care.

The Ombudsmen have teams of specialist investigators to handle these complaints.  Details of the LGO’s role are published in a new leaflet, which explains what to do if someone has a complaint about ASC services.
Press release & links

NO:  Even more powers for the LGO - There has been a change in the Local Government Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to cover school admissions and permanent exclusions complaints against academies that have converted from maintained schools.  The Ombudsman can investigate complaints about school admissions appeals if a parent thinks the appeal was handled incorrectly.  

Previously, whilst able to investigate complaints about maintained school admissions appeals, if such a school converted to academy status, depending upon the stage reached in the investigation, the LGO could not always continue to be involved.
Press release & links

LPC:  Only consolation for youths is that they won’t be paying income tax - The Low Pay Commission has welcomed the Government's acceptance of its recommendations on rates for the National Minimum WageFrom 1 October 2012, the adult minimum wage rate will increase from £6.08 to £6.19 an hour, the Youth Development Rate will remain at £4.98 an hour and the 16-17 Year Old Rate will remain at £3.68 an hour.  The Apprentice Rate will increase from £2.60 to £2.65 an hour.
Press release & links ~ BIS comment ~ CBI comment ~ Wales Office comment

CLG30 seconds can safeguard a lifetime - The Fire Kills campaign urged people to make a potentially life-saving move when they changed their clocks on Sunday 25 March - by taking a moment to test their smoke alarm too.  Just half of all householders who own a smoke alarm say that they test it to make sure it's working on a regular basis.  You're 4 times more likely to die in a fire if your smoke alarm is not working.

If you want an extra nudge to test your smoke alarm regularly, try setting an automatic reminder.  Safelincs, in partnership with Fire Kills, has created a FREE service that reminds you, by email or text, when it's time to test your smoke alarm, change the battery or renew the unit.  The service is completely free and can be cancelled at any time.
Press release & links

STFC:  Comments please - The Science and Technology Facilities Council are currently in the process of redeveloping their website and would welcome your feedback & comments to help them to improve the quality of their service.
Press release & links

BP:  Not one ‘Kaleidoscope’ in the programme - On Tuesday 5 June 2012, the Diamond Jubilee weekend will culminate with a day of celebrations in central London, including a service at St Paul’s Cathedral followed by 2 receptions, a lunch at Westminster Hall, a Carriage Procession to Buckingham Palace and finally a Balcony appearance & Flypast.

The Jubilee Weekend features an extra Bank Holiday for the Diamond Jubilee, with the late May Bank Holiday moved one week later, thereby making a 4-day long weekend.
Press release & links ~ Armed Forces' role in the Diamond Jubilee weekend

Latest Case Study: North Ayrshire Council Empowers Citizens and Improves Service Delivery with ‘Report it’ Mobile App - Public Sector organisations are becoming increasingly keen to explore how to best harness smartphone technology in order to better understand and respond to citizens’ needs and run their service operations more effectively whilst reducing costs.

Find out how to:

  • Empower citizens to report and track issues, from abandoned vehicles, to fly tipping, to graffiti, while on the move.
  • Ensure the right people receive reports at the right time with intelligent routing, based on levels of authority and service delivery targets.
  • Improve citizen satisfaction and engagement whilst reducing the cost to serve.
  • Brand, launch and control your own free mobile app for issue reporting.

North Ayrshire Council has recently launched their own app to enable its residents to report and track issues and faults via their smartphones.

Click here to find out more and receive the North Ayshire Council case study.

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