TKFFirst it was pensions & now the government needs to act on planning for a financially sustainable NHS - The public remain firmly wedded to the fundamental principles underpinning the NHS, but under certain circumstances could support the introduction of charges for some treatments & services, suggests a new report (How should we pay for health care in future?) published by The King's Fund and Ipsos MORI.

The report is based on 2 day-long events with members of the public to explore their views about how to pay for health care in the future.  It follows recent research from TKF into the funding challenge facing the NHS, which showed that, on current trends, health & social care could consume half of all government spending in 50 years’ time.

Participants were reluctant to consider fundamental changes to the current funding model, even when confronted with the scale of the funding challenge facing the NHS.  In discussions about how the funding challenge should be addressed, there was some support for introducing payments for some NHS services and for charging patients in certain circumstances.
Press release & links ~ How should we pay for health care in future? ~ Spending on health and social care over the next 50 years ~ TKF:  Time for a new model NHS? (6th item) ~ 2.3m fewer overnight hospital stays needed if all areas perform as well as top 25% ~ NAO:  Symptomatic of the general level of efficiency in the NHS? (2nd item) ~ PC&PE:  If 80% is avoidable, wouldn’t it pay to avoid most of it? (2nd item) ~ DH:  Being flexible could keep the costs down (4th item) ~ Monitor:  Good Practice must be spread to all NHS Hospital Trusts (4th item)

WAG:  It’s much cheaper to sustain their well-being at home than in a care home or hospital - A new document has been published by the Welsh Government to ‘improve the well-being of people who need care & support and carers who need support’.  The ‘Well-being Statement’ sets out a range of factors that contribute to the well-being of a person, and which people in need of care & support can expect in their daily lives.  

These encompass areas such as participation in society and the right to have a voice in decisions that affect them.  It will also make clear to organisations what differences their services are expected to make. 

The Statement is the first step in the production of a National Outcomes Framework, which is a commitment within Sustainable Social Services, the Welsh Government’s 10-year plan to meet changing needs & expectations of service users, as well as the Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Bill

The statement is accompanied by a 3-year improvement plan which will be the basis for a shift in the way social services are planned & delivered in Wales, supporting more control for individuals over the services they receive. 
Press release & links ~ Measuring well-being ~ 3 -year plan for social services improvement: 2013/14 – 2015/16 ~ Improving end of life care in Wales ~ Sustainable Social Services ~ Social Services & Well-Being (Wales) Bill ~ ONS: National well-being ~ The King's Fund response to the Health Select Committee's report on public expenditure on health & social care services ~ TKF responds to the publication of the House of Lords Public Service & Demographic Change Committee’s report – Ready for Ageing? ~ BIG:  Money (or at least charitable funding) can help you to become happier! (4th item) ~ Monitor:  Integrated care is the only way we will be even barely able to afford future care demands (6th item) ~ RCP:  Time to move on from primarily treating people in hospital? (4th item) ~ DH:  Balancing the cost of preventive action against the need for health costs to fall ~ CQC:  Ensuring that they are ‘Cared for’ (4th item) ~ ScotGov:  Your care in your hands (5th item) ~ NHS Confed: Yet more evidence changes to NHS are necessary (6th item) ~ DH: Reform of the NHS is only part of the problem facing the government, they also have to combine it with cost effective social care (2nd item)
COWhile the Civil Service is usually judged to be ‘impartial’, it is not always been thought of as ‘efficient’ - The Cabinet Office has published its Capabilities Plan - a new strategy for improving skills & performance across the Civil Service.  The plan is a key part of the government’s overall Reform Plan, which aims to transform the Civil Service into a high-skilled, high-performance organisation that’s less bureaucratic and more focused on delivering results.

The plan identified 4 priority areas:
* leading & managing change
* commercial skills & behaviours
* programme & project management
* digital skills
Press release & links ~ Capabilities Plan ~ Reform Plan ~ What it means to members of the Civil Service ~ FDA questions whether possible benefits from Civil Service Capability Plan launch will ever see the light of day ~ Institute for Government responds to new capabilities plan ~ RCUK SSC Ltd and GPS join forces to deliver savings & improve procurement ~ New initiative to drive down costs in government back offices ~ Government publishes costs of transactional services for the first time ~ Government raises £1bn for public purse by exiting unused assets ~ £3.5bn growth stimulus for London from Government vacating property ~ New world leading evidence centres to drive better decisions across £200bn of public services ~ First Independent Shared Service Centre to deliver government back office savings ~ Staff survey shows civil service engagement scores are holding up ~ NAO: The beginning of the end for wasteful governmental ICT systems ~ IfG:  Will change in the Civil Service be even harder to achieve than in the NHS? ~ PC&PE:  Time for Sir Humphrey to be replaced? (2nd item) ~ PC&PE:  It is harder to name one government ICT success than 10 expensive failures (3rd item)
DWPProviding credit in a responsible way & at an affordable cost to those in need - The Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) is the successful bidder to deliver the DWP’s £38m Credit Union Expansion Project to help meet the growing demand for modern banking products for people on low incomes.

A recent feasibility study showed that modernising the industry and helping it become financially self-sustainable would enable credit unions to help up to 1m more people, giving them access to banking products, debt advice and affordable loans.

Currently around 7m people fall into the trap of high-cost credit, with some being charged more than 6,000% in interest on short-term loans.  The expansion project will save consumers up to £1bn in loan interest repayments by March 2019.
Press release & links ~ Government consults on new rules to help credit unions grow & succeed ~ Freud announces further investment to secure future of credit unions ~ More than half of employees face financial struggles & three quarters report lack of advice in the workplace ~ Minister Hits Out at Pay Day Loan Companies ~ Growing Awareness of Credit Unions helps tackle poverty ~ Round the Clock Banking for North Wales Credit Union members

CONot all top civil servants need to have been to Oxbridge! - A new Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme for the UK Civil Service has opened for applications, giving talented & ambitious young people the opportunity to work at the heart of government.  The scheme is part of the Civil Service Reform Plan and will harness the talent & energy of 18-to-21-year-olds who have chosen not to go to university, but who have the skills & potential that the Civil Service needs to deliver exceptional public services.

Apprentices will have a structured training programme for at least 2 years as they work towards a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Business & Professional Administration.  Applications will be dealt with on a first come first serve basis and the application process will close prior to the published closing date (26 April 2013) if a significant number are received.  
Press release & links ~ Civil Service apprentice: Alexander Yates ~ From school hall to Whitehall – Civil Service open to Britain’s best school-leavers

BIGA chance to make a difference to your community - There is less than a month left to enter The People’s Millions TV contest and secure the funds to help make a difference to the lives of people in their communities. The deadline for completed entries is noon 13 May 2013.
Press release & links

EU NewsWill the rest of the EU be ‘constructive’ about negotiating the UK’s requests for change? - EU member states have agreed on the setting up of a new EU single supervisor for banks.  The agreement was accompanied by a political declaration ‘noting that a proposal for Treaty Change will be considered constructively, to ring-fence & strengthen the governance and accountability of the separate supervisory function of the ECB’ – See ‘EU News’ for more information.
Press release & links ~ EU News:  The countdown to a UK referendum has begun as EC outlines timetable for proposed Treaty Changes

HMRCPutting off ‘dreaded’ tasks can be very expensive - If you haven’t sent in your 2011/12 tax return online, be warned – you’ll be hit with more penalties from next month if you still haven’t filed.  

From 1 May, HMRC will charge a £10 daily penalty for each day your online return is late, up to a maximum of 90 days. This is in addition to the initial £100 late-filing penalty for missing the 31 January filing deadline. 

For paper returns, daily penalties started on 1 February, as they were due by the earlier deadline of 31 October, so don’t send a paper return now.
Press release

Latest Public Sector Case Studies: Optimising Revenues from Surplus Assets in the Age of Austerity - The Public Sector austerity agenda has significantly increased the need for a sustainable approach to disposals whilst achieving a financial return from surplus assets, buildings and redundant materials that many Public Sector bodies might view as 'waste'.

This latest paper brings together a selection of public sector case studies including Suffolk Police, the Driving Standards Agency and more recently the Olympic Delivery Authority with assets being disposed of ranging from office furniture to vehicles, white goods, admin support peripherals, uniforms etc through to one-off temporary items.

Secure, compliant and fully audited in each case, the entire disposal process is geared to obtaining best value for money for any assets sold, returning much needed funds back into the public purse.

Click here to receive your free copy.

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