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EU NewsThe countdown to a UK referendum has begun as EC outlines timetable for proposed Treaty Changes - The European Commission has adopted a Blueprint for a deep & genuine Economic & Monetary Union, which ‘provides a vision for a strong and stable architecture in the financial, fiscal, economic and political domains’.

The Blueprint sets out the ‘path to a deep & genuine EMU’, which involves incremental measures taken over the short, medium & longer term.  Part of the agenda can be delivered on the basis of the current Treaties, though part of it requires Treaty change.
Press release & links ~ Written Ministerial Statement and Call for Evidence on Balance of Competencies Review: Foreign Policy Report  (Call for Evidence closes on 28 February 2013) ~ Call for Evidence on Balance of Competencies Review: Taxation (Call for Evidence closes on 18 February 2013)

DCMSIf you don’t fancy paying £250 for a hard copy, but want to make up your own mind - The Leveson Inquiry has published its report into the culture, practices & ethics of the media.
Press release & links ~ Read the report ~ Leveson Inquiry website ~ Read David Cameron's statement in response to the publication of the report ~ FPA President warning over Leveson ~ Press Freedom Index 2011/2012 (UK only 28th) ~ Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom ~ Hacked Off ~ Independent Voices 5x15: Hacked off with free speech ~ BBC College of Journalism ~ TUC response to the Leveson Inquiry ~ NUJ hails conscience clause for journalists ~ NUJ: Leveson Inquiry ~ Liberty responds to Leveson report:  Would be unable to support the Report’s last-resort alternative of compulsory statutory regulation

LCConsultation on the ‘bit’ Leveson did not cover in detail in his report - In a new consultation opening the Law Commission is asking ‘whether the existing law on contempt of court continues to work effectively in light of the challenges posed by new media and the way these are used by the mainstream press and, increasingly, by citizen journalists’.  The law governing contempt and what can be published when proceedings are active was written long before the widespread use of the internet.  

A number of recent, well-publicised cases have highlighted serious shortcomings in the existing law.  In this consultation, the Commission raises questions about the law’s ability to protect the administration of justice by balancing the right to publish with the right of the defendant to a fair trial.   The consultation closes on 28 February 2013.
Press release & links

HOTurning the ‘hunters’ into the ‘hunted’ - 2 new laws came into force on the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  They are part of a package of new government support to prevent domestic & sexual violence. The new laws - that carry a maximum prison sentence of 5 years - will provide extra protection for victims and help bring more stalkers to justice.

The Crime Prevention Minister also announced a package of extra support to tackle violence against women & girls.  This includes:
* a £150,000 fund for Domestic Homicide Reviews to help prevent future domestic violence tragedies
* the launch of a new declaration against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
* an additional £50,000 funding to support frontline agencies tackling FGM
* the re-launch of the Teenage Rape Prevention Campaign aimed at changing attitudes
* 5 new short videos telling the moving stories of victims of violence against women
Press release & links ~ Violence against women and girls ~ Read about the new stalking offences ~ Helping stalking victims to stay safe online ~ National Stalking Helpline ~ Network for Surviving Stalking ~ Protection against stalking ~ Women’s Aid ~ WAG: Consultation on legislation to end violence against women, domestic abuse & sexual violence (Closes 22 February 2013) ~ New definition of domestic violence and abuse to include 16 &17 year olds ~ CSJ: Cruel mind games amount to domestic abuse and should be outlawed, says major new report ~ EU News:  Time for a ‘barbaric’ custom to be consigned to the ‘dustbin of history’ (3rd item)

ASIThe ‘bottle lines’ are being drawn up - With a consultation on minimum alcohol pricing imminent, the Adam Smith Institute has released a report showing that the evidence base for minimum alcohol pricing is, to all intents & purposes, non-existent

The report explains that most of the estimated health outcomes, used to justify calls for a minimum alcohol pricing of 40p or 50p per unit, have come from a ‘single, flawed computer model’.
Press release ~ The Minimal Evidence for Minimum Pricing: The fatal flaws in the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model ~ Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model ~ LGA: Minimum pricing needs to be part of a wider strategy ~ HO: Alcohol consultation launched (closes on 6 February 2013) ~ See also ‘NICE:  At least with over-eating much of the ‘damage’ is self-evident’ published in Newsletter Archive for 26/11/2012 (6th item)

DECC:  As usual it is the public who will pay for it - An Energy Bill to power low-carbon economic growth, to protect consumers, and to keep the lights on has been introduced to Parliament.  The Bill sets out reforms to the design of the electricity market that will ‘kick-start a renaissance in construction of low-carbon energy infrastructure and in low-carbon manufacturing supply-chains’.
Press release & links ~ CBI comments on publication of Energy Bill ~ Ofgem’s reaction to Bill ~ WWF - Time to get serious about renewables & efficiency ~ IPPR: Energy Bill should get smarter on energy intensive industries ~ TUC welcomes Energy Bill ~ Energy intensive industries to be exempt from new low carbon costs ~ Committee on Climate Change Committee responds to Governments announcement on draft Energy Bill

MoD:  Better for military to ‘Jaw, Jaw’ rather move straight to ‘War, War’ - Members of the Military Stabilisation Support Group (MSSG) have completed a 2-week exercise in Kenya to test a new concept in upstream conflict prevention.  Upstream conflict prevention seeks to understand & respond to the underlying causes of conflict & instability before they result in violence.
Press release & links ~ Military Stabilisation Support Group ~ Stabilisation personnel hone skills in Botswana ~ RAF engineer brings government message to local Afghans ~ MOD staff help Ugandans prepare for disaster relief ~ Co-operation bringing stable government to Helmand ~ RSI: Beyond the Wire ~ IfG: Foreign policy: soft power and national security ~ Use of ‘soft power’ in interests of UK ~ Chatham House: Soft Power ~ RUSI: Soft power ~ DFID: Conflict prevention ~ FCO: Conflict Pool ~ NAO: Review of Conflict Pool

ICOCalling time on marketers 'inspired' by a Monty Python song - The Information Commissioner’s Office has served monetary penalties totalling £440,000 on two owners of a marketing company, which has plagued the public with millions of unlawful spam texts over the past 3 years.

This is the first time that the ICO has used its power to issue a monetary penalty for a serious breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) since these powers were approved in January 2012.  

The ICO is also currently considering issuing penalties to 3 other companies believed to be acting in breach of the regulations as the office continues its crackdown on the illegal marketing industry.
Press release & links

DemosNew thoughts on measuring poverty and helping low income 'working families' - Think-tank Demos has launched a pioneering new model for measuring poverty.  A new report identifies 5 distinct ‘child poverty types’ based on analysis that illustrate the everyday experiences of poverty.

Analysis shows 1 in 3 low-income families are ‘grafters’, blighted by unemployment and low wages more than social problems.  Demos calls for government to adopt robust evidence-based approach in new poverty consultation and improve local data to help local authorities support families.
Press release & links ~ Poverty in Perspective ~ JRF: Low pay, no pay jobs market snares millions in poverty ~ Government launches consultation for better measurements of child poverty (closes 15 February 2013) ~ First Clusters of Welsh Government’s Tackling Poverty Programme Announced ~ BIS:  Just one step up from Slave Labour (2nd item) ~ CSJ:  With budget cuts we can only afford targeted funding that delivers value for money (2nd item) ~ IFS:  The better off can cut back on expensive luxuries, but for the poor that is often not an option

Thought Paper: Lean Data Governance in the Public Sector - In a series of reports, based on the outcomes of recent audits carried out across central government, local government and the NHS, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has once again expressed its key concerns over public sector Data Governance. Furthermore, during 2011/12 the ICO has regularly issued 6-figure penalties and fines to public bodies who have fallen foul of Data Protection, FOI and data compliance obligations.

A recent paper explores the principles behind Lean Data Governance and how it may be the right option for your organisation, helping to eliminate wasteful data governance activity, improve compliance and promote efficiencies.

Outlining the Lean Data Governance approach and demonstrating the considerations at each step of implementation, this paper provides essential guidance for:

  • Individual units responsible for data management
  • Managers with responsibility for data and information management processes
  • Organisations that are implementing or have already implemented traditional Lean at an enterprise level
  • Organisations that have no immediate intention of Lean implementation at an enterprise level but need to review their data governance programm

Click here to download your free copy of ‘Lean Data Governance Machine’.

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