DHPaying for your own care is one thing, but subsidising non-payers is just not fair - The ‘most radical reform of the social care system in 64 years’ has been announced.  The draft Care & Support Bill consolidates a mess of different laws to create a single modern statute for adult care & support.

The Care & Support White Paper, together with the draft Care & Support Bill set out ‘how the social care system will be transformed from a service that reacts to crises to one that focuses on prevention and is built around the needs and goals of people’.
Press release ~ White Paper & related documents ~ Draft Care & Support Bill ~ Caring for our future progress report on funding reform ~ Government response to the Law Commission report on adult social care ~ Consultation on a new adult safeguarding power (closes on 12 October 2012) ~ NHS Confed: Social care funding crisis impacting on NHS patients now ~ NHS Confederation reaction & briefing ~ LGA: Statement ahead of the Social Care White Paper ~ iea: Government should not increase taxpayer funding of elderly care ~ TKF:   Financial vacuum at heart of social care proposals undermines ambitious vision for reformed system ~ JRF response to the publication of the Social Care White Paper ~ IFS:  Whatever we are going to do to raise the care funding, we need to start doing it soon (3rd item) ~ AGE UK: Care in Crisis: Causes & Solutions ~ Care home residents who pay subsidising the rest, owners admit ~ OBR Fiscal Sustainability report July 2012 & related documents ~ LC: Reforming the law for Adult Social Care ~ Social care delay means extra worries for families, says TUC ~ Patient Association comment

CCC:  Another ‘worthy competitor’ for government funds when considering how to afford the Dilnot proposals - 4 times as many households & businesses in England could be at risk of flooding in the next 20 years if further steps are not taken to prepare for climate change, says a new report published recently by the Government’s advisers on climate change adaptation.

The report, prepared by the Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) of the Committee on Climate Change, finds that in spite of the worsening effects of floods:
* Development in the flood plain increased by 12% over the past 10 years
* Funding for flood defences from both public & private sources is decreasing
* Take-up of measures to protect individual properties from flooding is 20 – 35 times lower than the rate required to safeguard all properties that could benefit.
* The proportion of gardens that have been paved over increased from just over 25% of total garden area in 2001 to nearly half in 2011.

The report advises that increasing investment and ensuring more careful planning of new housing in the floodplain can reduce the risk of flooding by almost 4 times what it would have been in 2035 without action

The report also indicates that water scarcity is likely to become more common in some parts of the country in the future due to the combined effects of climate change & population growth.  This is likely to be exacerbated by levels of household water consumption that are among the highest in north-west Europe.
Press release & links ~ More than 8,000 properties benefit from flood defence scheme ~ Councils to get 100% help to clear up after floods ~ Bellwin scheme ~ SEPA: Flooding ~ ScotGov: Flood Risk Management Act 2009 ~ RUSI:  As the summer flooding season starts ~ Defra: Progress on affordable flood insurance ~ WWF - Megacities in water crisis ~ EA: Water resources strategy - water for people and the environment ~ Riverside tales ~ Water Scarcity & Droughts in the European Union ~ Lords warns of urgent need to plan for an uncertain future for water resources ~ Governments & businesses under-prepared for high-impact low-probability events ~ Action is needed to address the UK’s increasing vulnerability to climate change, as key sectors near their limit ~ JRF: Socially just adaption to climate change

CABReform may be necessary but many may ‘fall through the cracks’ - Tens of thousands of disabled adults & children will be much worse off as a result of welfare reform changes due to come into force next year, a new report warned last week.  Baroness Grey-Thompson has launched an inquiry into support available for disabled people under Universal Credit in order to find out more about how disabled people will be affected by the changes.  

She will be taking evidence in person from families who understand from their own personal experience of living with a disability the likely practical impact of the changes.  She is also urging all disabled people, parents of disabled children, and carers to complete the online questionnaire.  The inquiry findings & recommendations are expected to be published in October 2012.
Press release & links ~ Disability and Universal Credit ~ Read about the changes & the groups most likely to be affected ~ Take the survey for Tanni’s review ~ Respond to the Government’s consultation on the Universal Credit regulations ~ Demos: New report reveals how cuts and confusion push disabled people into poverty ~ Welfare changes will make people poorer and finding work even harder, warns TUC

WWFPerhaps the UK should start growing rice in flooded paddy fields! - Responding to the publication of the conclusions of Defra’s Green Food Project, WWF said that, whilst the project was an encouraging first step, the Government urgently needed to show much more leadership to fix the ‘broken’ food system.

WWF said that the need for action on the food system was undeniable.  The group said that the Government’s own Foresight report gave a compelling account of the urgent need to redesign the food system, and pointed out that the current system is not only a major cause of the destruction of our natural world but is also causing health problems like obesity & heart disease, costing the NHS £bns.

WWF also said that simply trying to ramp up food production was a ‘fool’s errand’, arguing that ‘the question was not how much food the UK should produce – it is not the UK’s role to feed the world - but how we address the underlying problems of our food system such as waste, access and diets’.
Press release ~ Green Food Project – Conclusions ~ Related Defra Press release ~ Defra: Food & the environment ~ The Foresight Report, The Future of Food & Farming ~ WWF’s Livewell Report with the Rowett Institute of Nutrition ~ WWF - À la carte approach to CAP reform won’t work ~ Environmental Audit Committee publishes report on sustainable food ~ iea: EU should abolish agricultural subsidies to hold down the price of food – new research shows ~ DFID:  Access to & control of resources is what has been at the basis of conflicts for millennium (2nd item) ~ EU News:  What would those living on $2 a day make of this issue? (3rd item) ~ WAG: CMO calls for action on the causes of obesity

JRF It rather reinforces the government’s attempts to limit benefits to around £26k (net) - Working families with children are being dealt a damaging triple financial blow in the recession, according to a new report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). 

Since 2008, JRF's Minimum Income Standard for the UK (MIS) has tracked what members of the public think people need to have a socially acceptable standard of living, and how much money this means different households (working age people with & without children and pensioners) need to reach this standard.

Soaring childcare & transport costs have combined with cuts to tax credits to hit families hardest.  The minimum that a couple with two children now needs to earn for an acceptable standard of living is £36,800 (gross) – this figure has risen by nearly a third since 2008, twice the rate of inflation.
Press release ~ JRF’s Minimum Income Standard for the UK in 2012 (MIS) ~ IFS:  The better off can cut back on expensive luxuries, but for the poor that is often not an option

DHStill some way to go to achieve £20bn! - The NHS has saved £1.5bn since last year by cutting the number of managers, and reducing expenditure on wasteful IT projects.  Spending on frontline NHS services has increased by £3.4bn (or 3.5%) in cash terms compared to last year.

Primary Care Trusts & Strategic Health Authorities have reported a surplus of £1.6bn, which will be carried forward & made available in 2012/13 (This represents a 3% increase in funding available to the NHS relative to last year.
Press release & links

IPCCThe public must believe that individual policemen are not ‘above the law’ - The Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has called for additional powers & resources to further strengthen the agency’s work, as its annual report for 2011/12 was laid in Parliament.  The report details a year in which a number of highly significant IPCC investigations of considerable public interest were launched.

Limitations highlighted in the report include the IPCC not being able to require information from third parties, not being able to investigate private contractors working in policing and not being able to compel police officers & staff to attend interviews in cases of death or serious injury.
Press release & links

CivitasDoing the Time cuts the Crime - Tough prison sentences contribute to reducing property crime, according to a new Civitas report.  It shows that prison is effective at reducing crime.  The report, Acquisitive Crime, shows that for some crime types, longer custodial sentences lead to consistent reductions in crime especially when targeted at serious & repeat offenders.
Press release & links ~ Ippr: Replacing prison sentences of six months or less with community sentences would save taxpayers £50 million a year ~ Civitas:  We need a policy that delivers something between the 2 extremes of ‘giving them the key’ and ‘throwing it away’ (2nd item) ~ Civitas: Coalition Government's 'rehabilitation revolution' fails to tackle repeat offenders

EU NewsNational & EC civil servants fight over who should cut the resources cake & how - The question as to why EU Member State officials proposed deep cuts in the growth & jobs headings of the EU's 2013 budget last week, even though their Heads of State & Government had called on 29 June 2012 for more EU funding for growth & jobs, was not settled by Monday's 3-way meeting of the Council's Cypriot Presidency, the European Commission and MEPs.
Press release & links ~ EU News: EU budget 2013 - chaos in the Council

ICOJust how clean is your local environment? - The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has recently published a new plain English Guide to the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) to help public authorities better understand how to apply them - See ‘Guidance Notes & Best Practice Guides’ for more information.

Case Study: Two Councils—Miles Apart—Provide Shared Services from the Same Platform - North Yorkshire County Council and Craven District Council have recently partnered to share a platform and to handle services for one another, despite geographical distance between contact centres, different CRM systems and distinct types of service.

Creating a partnership in which services were joined was not a straightforward matter. For one thing the district and county council contact centres are more than 50 miles apart and each had its own CRM system with separate providers.

Results to date include:

  • A single, shared CRM system facilitates joint services and lowers support overhead 
  • Both councils now have additional staff capacity without extra cost to assist at busy times
  • Secure and compliant access to each council’s systems
  • Streamlined and more personal customer service
  • ROI achieved within 18 months.

The approach taken by NYCC and Craven DC is a blueprint for how other councils can move forward. As the agenda is advanced beyond Craven within North Yorkshire County, the platform can be utilised to build out additional district councils’ CRM systems and services, and to facilitate sharing across multiple user groups.

Click here to download the full Case Study.

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