HOA £bn here, a £bn there, it soon adds up to a useful sum - A new strategy was unveiled last week to ‘help councils hit back against fraudsters & prevent losses of over £2bn a year’.  ‘Fighting fraud locally’ provides a blueprint to better equip local authorities to fight a range of frauds including housing tenancy, council tax and blue badge parking fraud.

It draws on the best practices of councils already successfully tackling fraud, offers practical anti-fraud advice and is accompanied by a set of supporting online products that councils can use to aggressively tackle fraud.

The strategy is the result of an 8-month review led by the national fraud authority (NFA) and supported by the Department for Communities & Local Government, the Local Government Association, local government representative organisations and council chief executives.
Press release ~ Fighting fraud locally strategy ~ National Fraud Authority ~ Fighting Fraud Together ~ CO:  Public Fraud: Not just a Third World problem (4th item) ~ DWP:  Claimants tempted by the fact that 1+1 can be greater than 2 ~ CO:  It’s not what you say, but how you say it (2nd item) ~ Managing Deliberate Defaulters Programme ~ Up to two years behind bars proposed for tenancy cheats

WAGIf you cannot read, you will not be able to understand what your smartphone is telling you - A campaign encouraging children to read has been launched by the Welsh Government

Entitled ‘Make time to read’, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the benefits of reading.  It also encourages parents, carers & grandparents to read more with their children – the key message being that just 10 minutes a day reading with your child can make a huge difference.
Press release ~ WAG: Roll up, roll up for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge! ~ Language & Play ~ Letterbox ~ Bookstart Wales ~ Guidance on the teaching of higher-order reading skills ~WAG: Reading & Writing ~ Quick Reads ~ Read a Million Words ~ Real Men Read Posters ~ ScotGov: Parents urged to Play Talk Read ~ ‘Project X' reading scheme ~ DfE: Encouraging reading for pleasure ~ DfE: Thousands of schools sign up for phonics funding ~ Mumsnet: What are reading schemes ~ BDA: Reading schemes ~ Oxford Reading Tree ~ Reading Chest ~ Improving Boys’ Literacy ~ Ofsted: Removing barriers to literacy ~ Reading by six: how the best schools do it ~ Reading & literacy FAQs ~ 'Getting them reading early'

PC&PECrisis! What crisis? - The Treaty on Stability, Coordination & Governance is impossible to enforce, there are serious concerns over the rule of law and no concessions for UK, says the Commons European Scrutiny Committee in its recent report into the Treaty's impact on the eurozone and the rule of law.

The Treaty does little towards solving the eurozone crisis, other perhaps than providing some comfort to international markets. Moreover it is possible that the Treaty will prove to be politically impossible to enforce

As undesirable as it may be, some form of breakdown of the eurozone clearly remains possible.  The approach taken to proceed with the fiscal compact raises a fundamental question about the application of the rule of law within the EU.  The SCG Treaty would have been an EU treaty, but for the veto.

Although questions have been raised as to what the UK achieved by the use of its veto, the Committee concludes that the veto was justified because of the very real concerns about a breach of EU law, even if this was not the reason given exclusively for the use of the veto in the first place.  The Committee notes that there is an increasing tendency for the EU to propound the virtues of the rule of law, but not to apply it in practice.
Press release ~ Report: Treaty on Stability, Coordination & Governance: impact on the eurozone & the rule of law ~ ESC: Inquiry: Reinforcing the eurozone ~ EU Committee Report: The euro area crisis ~ EU News:  But how will it resolve the (richer) North / (poorer) South Split (4th item)

SOBut will the SNP take any notice of it? - The UK Government's referendum consultation has produced overwhelming support for the Scottish people being asked a single, clear question on whether Scotland should become independent.

The UK Government has published a 26 page document summarising the 2,857 responses to the consultation and setting out the level of support for the Government's proposals on how to facilitate a legal, fair & decisive referendum. 

It also sets out the UK Government's own response to the consultation and explains how the Government plans to proceed in light of the findings of the consultation.
Press release ~ Consultation response document ~ No, 10: Family break-ups are never easy or straight-forward (3rd item) ~ ScotGov:  Will the Scots pay back the rest of the UK for rescuing their banks? ~ ScotGov:  The spinning started last October (4th item)

WAG/ RoSPAPlaying towards a healthy life - The Welsh Government believes strongly in the importance of play in children’s lives and the benefits it gives to their health, happiness & well-being and is taking a global lead on legislating for play opportunities for children.

A consultation (closes on 25 June 2012) has begun on a Welsh measure that will place a duty on local authorities to ‘assess the provision of play and recreational opportunities for children in their areas’.  The consultation covers draft regulations and statutory guidance for play ‘sufficiency assessments’.
Press release ~ Consultation on statutory guidance on play opportunities ~ WAG: Children and young people ~ RoSPA: Safety Coalition urges MPs to confront concerns that stop kids getting out & about ~ Children's Play Information Service ~ Play England: Children’s play initiative ~ International Council for Children’s Play ~ Fair Play for Children ~ Charter for Children’s Play ~ Ofsted: Good practice resource - Improving outdoor play ~ Good practice resource - Making the most of the local natural environment to support all round development of young children ~ NICE: Letting children play ~ Promoting physical activity for children and young people (PH17) ~ Physical activity and the environment ~ Strategies to prevent unintentional injuries among under-15s (PH29) ~ Mind, Exercise, Nutrition... Do It! or MEND for short ~ Healthy and Active Lifestyles in Wales ~ Appetite for Life ~ Climbing Higher - creating an active Wales ~ Wales Active ~ 'Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives toolkit: A Toolkit for Developing Local Strategies' ~ NAO: Tackling Child Obesity - First Steps ~ NICE - Obesity: guidance on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children ~ Physical Activity and Nutrition Networks Wales ~ Play strategy (previous Government) ~ BIG: Children’s Play

CLGTravelling the road to fewer inequalities - Government commitments to tackle ingrained inequalities & promote fairness for Gypsy & Traveller communities were unveiled by Communities Minister, Andrew Stunell in a report published last week.

The progress report by the Ministerial working group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies & Travellers contains 28 measures from across Government that will ‘improve outcomes for Gypsies and Travellers across education, health, accommodation, employment and in the criminal justice system’.
Press release ~ Progress report by the ministerial working group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers ~ Travellers ~ CLG:  An end to Bank Holiday weekend invasions? (4th Link) ~ WAG: Minister launches Gypsy and Traveller Framework ~ ScotGov: Gypsies / Travellers

Forthcoming eventFree Seminar on Asset & Waste Management in the Public Sector,  Manchester, 24th May 2012  - ** FREE Enrolment for Public Sector delegates - Limited availabilty
  • Is an empty printer cartridge an asset or waste?
  • Is a meeting room table an asset or waste?
If items are not correctly identified as assets they are, by virtue, deemed as waste. Assets are often classed as waste due to space and time constraints within organisations. So, in practical terms, the selling (of an asset) often ends up as a cost, as most organisations buy the services of a contractor for its assets disposals

The MoD’s Disposal Services Authority (DSA) is the expert in maximising returns for the sale of assets, whilst ensuring a compliant, secure and audited process.

The DSA is the only government organisation offering a completely managed service for the re-use, recycling and ultimate disposal of surplus Government and Public Sector assets.

What's on the Agenda?
This free seminar programme will include:
  • Identifying assets from waste
  • Compliance and Security
  • Audit
  • Sustainability through procurement
Click here to find out more and to register.

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