OfstedTry before you train gives best results - A best practice report on apprenticeships for young people by Ofsted has found that ‘those who had completed work experience, course tasters or vocational study were more likely to make good progress in their apprenticeship than those starting straight from school without it’

Work experience in the area that interested the young person was seen as a positive force in equipping young people with an appropriate work ethic & basic employment skills.

Despite the benefits of work experience, the employers in the survey said that the number of students they could accommodate on placements was restricted.  This was because too many local schools tended to ask for placements during the same short period at the end of the academic year.

The best practice report also found that good relationships between employers & trainers were crucially important in capturing evidence of apprentices’ skills.  As seen in this report, it is important for employers & teachers to work together and understand how the apprenticeship is delivered so learners can show evidence and be readily assessed on both their practical & theoretical skills.
Press release ~ Ofsted: Apprenticeships for young people ~ Directgov: Work experience in Years 10 and 11 ~ DfE: Related documents (scroll down) ~ Apprenticeship Success Rates ~ Good practice resource - Employer-designed and delivered apprenticeship training: Finning (UK) Ltd ~ Good practice resource – Building productive and successful links with employers ~ National Apprenticeship Week 2012 – celebrating success ~ Learning from the best: examples of best practice from providers of apprenticeships in underperforming vocational areas ~ The impact of programme-led apprenticeships ~ Ofsted and the Armed Forces ~ Good practice resource - Using a life coach to support apprentices: Inter Training Services ~ Companies and learners gain real benefits from work-related training ~ Equipping people with the skills for work - Ofsted highlights the ingredients of work-based learning success ~ Ofsted - Raising expectations for adult learners ~ www.apprenticeships.org.uk/ ~ New minimum 12 month duration for all apprenticeships ~ New route into workforce for young Scots ~ Prime Minister: We’ll make apprenticeships a gold standard option for ambitious young people ~ NAO: Adult Apprenticeships ~ Directgov: Apprenticeships ~ BIS comment ~ SFA comment ~ CIPD: Apprenticeships that Work ~ Higher Apprenticeship Fund 

DefraCommon sense prevails at last after celebrity chef cooks up high profile campaign - Fishermen have radically cut the amount of fish they discard following the success of the Government’s ‘Catch Quota’ trials.

Last year’s CQ trial was introduced to reduce discards of North Sea cod & for sole in the Western Channel and results show that those participating in the trail have been successful in reducing discards of both stocks to just 0.2%In 2010, the average discard rates were 38% for North Sea cod trawlers and 28% for Western Channel sole beam trawlers.

The UK is testing Catch Quota management which counts what is caught rather than what is landed at port.   It is a key tool in reducing the wasteful practice of discards while maintaining a profitable fishing industry. Participating fishermen have also drastically reduced discards of undersized fish of all species.
Press release ~ Final results of the catch quota trials for 2011 ~ Hugh’s Fish Fight (website) ~ Hugh's Fish Fight: The Battle Continues - Channel 4 ~ Marine Management Organisation ~ Fish discards video ~ Defra’s work to end fish discards ~ nef: We should be supporting the method which gives the best net gains (5th item)

CLGStriving for high standards in local public life without petty & vexatious complaints - The Standards Board Regime has now been abolished for good - freeing up councils to put in place locally drawn up codes of conduct for their elected members.  Ministers hope these new codes will ‘enable local authorities to ensure the highest standards of conduct are maintained, while avoiding them becoming a vehicle for malicious complaints that dragged down the reputation of local government in recent years’.

Recently Mr Neill published an illustrative text that councils can, if they choose, use as a basis for their new local code of conduct.  He has also written to council leaders to remind them of this new opportunity to raise the bar on local standards.

To ensure that corruption in local life is prevented, the Government is bringing in new legislation that makes serious misconduct for personal gain a criminal offence, dealt with by the courts.  Councillors will also have to register certain personal interests on a publicly available register.
Press release ~ Related PR ~ Illustrative text for local code of conduct ~ Plain English guide to the Localism Act ~ Archived Standards for England website ~ Conduct for local authority members in a post-Standards Board world ~ LGA article: Setting Standards

DCMSScheme sees interns graduate to permanent jobs - 90% of the arts graduates on a scheme giving them paid placements have secured jobs in the cultural & creative industries.  The DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme was launched in 2010 to kick start the careers of talented new graduates who could not afford to take unpaid internships – a common entry point to jobs in the arts.

At a reception celebrating the scheme’s success as the pilot phase draws to a close, it was revealed 38 out of the 42 recipients have already found new positions, with many being offered permanent roles with the organisations that had hosted them for the bursary scheme.

New work placements were created with a cross-section of the best cultural institutions across England, from Tate St Ives in Cornwall to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and from The Sage Gateshead to Brighton Dome & Festival.  Each placement was a new role designed by the host organisation, a quarter of which have now become embedded as permanent roles.
Press release & links ~ Internships in the arts - a guide for arts organisations ~ Students from under-represented backgrounds continue to benefit from Whitehall internships ~ National minimum wage - work experience - internships - and the NMW ~ NMW - work experience & NMW - examples ~ TUC comment ~ Common Best Practice Code for High-Quality Internships ~ Internships that work: A guide for employers ~ CIPD:  Forget the political opportunism, some organisations are trying to help NEETs (3rd item) ~ HEFCE: Internship schemes boost students' job prospects ~ ippr: Why Interns Need a Fair Wage ~ ippr: Britain’s elites must learn how the other half lives (click on ‘Read on’) ~ Unpaid internships that cripple social mobility ~ Graduate Talent Pool ~ Using unpaid interns is wrong – there must be a better way ~ Cash for internships: Tory backers pay party £2,000 a time to buy their children work experience at top City banks and hedge funds ~ Demos comment

ICO‘Publish & be Dammed’ can have unfortunate consequences for innocent individualsInformation Commissioner’s Office statement on Operation Motorman ‘leak’: “We strongly condemn the irresponsible publication of material from the Motorman files.  Putting these into the public domain in this way is a serious violation of many people’s privacy and raises more questions than it answers.

People who are concerned that their personal data may have been included in the Motorman files are able to contact the ICO via our website to make a ‘fast-tracked’ Subject Access Request (SAR) under the Data Protection Act (DPA). ……………… The ICO will now consider what further steps it should take in the face of this apparent breach of the DPA.”
Press release & links ~ Related Guardian news item

DWPAn end to ‘More than my jobs worth’ H&S tyranny - A new myth busting challenge panel has been launched to ‘curb the worst examples health & safety misuse’.  The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) will run the panel, which will provide quick advice to people who are subject to ridiculous or disproportionate health & safety decisions.

It will separate legitimate decisions to protect people from real risks from those not required in H&S law.  This will allow decisions by insurance companies, local authorities & employers among others to be contested. HSE has also published its top 10 worst H&S myths – exactly the sort of decisions the panel would challenge.

A separate Independent Regulatory Challenge Panel was launched in January 2012 to look into complaints regarding advice given by HSE or LA inspectors about H&S, which a complainant believes is incorrect or goes beyond what is required to control the risk adequately.
Press release & links ~ Myth busting challenge panel ~ Independent Regulatory Challenge Panel ~ National Trust: 50 Things to do before you are 11¾

Socitm:  Leaders required for Transformation Change in the Public Sector - Socitm are extending the application deadline of their new ‘Top Talent’ leadership initiative until 25 April 2012.

On the same day, the SOCITM Spring Conference 2012 promises to be an invaluable networking opportunity attended by senior business leaders and colleagues from the public and third sectors.

The theme of the conference is Transforming Local Services: The Power of ICT. Plenaries and round table discussions will focus around key ICT topics emanating from both Socitm Insight's IT Trends 2012 report and Planting the Flag: a strategy for ICT-enabled local public services reform, which Socitm is developing on behalf of the Local CIO Council with the support of the Government CIO and the Cabinet Office.
Press release & links ~ SOCITM Spring Conference

EHDo you know a Heritage Angel? - The search is on to find winners for this year's English Heritage Angel Awards. The annual competition was founded last year by Andrew Lloyd Webber to reward the efforts of local people in saving their heritage. The deadline for applications is Friday 15 June 2012 - (To see BBC 2's Culture Show films of last year's shortlist & award winners visit the multimedia library).
Press release & links

Latest Whitepaper Protecting Your Organisation Against the Bribery Act - A former Ministry of Defence (MoD) purchaser has recently admitted accepting payments worth £66,500 to favour a supplier bidding for CCTV contracts.

The Bribery Act 2010 (the ‘Act’) came into force on 1 July 2011. It introduces changes in the law which could impact upon the conduct of public sector organisations by creating a new strict liability offence: failing to prevent bribery. An organisation will only have a defence to this offence if it can show that it had ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent it. It is therefore essential that organisations put in place an anti-bribery policy to minimise the risk of committing an offence under the Act.

Against this backdrop it’s not surprising to learn that public bodies are increasingly turning to eSourcing and Contract Management Solutions, enabling full audit and visibility of the procurement process at all levels of spend and budgetary responsibility, whilst significantly reducing the exposure allegations relating to bribery in the future.

Click here to receive the free paper ‘What can you do to protect against the impact of the Bribery Act' along with the latest guide to public sector e-Sourcing.

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