Rather over-shadowed by other events - Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his Autumn Statement to Parliament, setting out how the government will continue to secure the public finances, support families with their costs, help businesses to grow and equip young people with the skills they need to succeed.
Autumn Statement (AS) 2013: key announcements ~ Autumn Statement 2013: IFS analysis ~ Stability & funding to protect hardworking families, deliver more homes and local jobs ~ AS 2013: Scottish perspective ~ AS 2013: Delivering for hardworking people in Northern Ireland ~ Eric Pickles launches package of support for local shops ~ Simplified planning to speed up delivery of new homes & support local jobs ~ Nick Clegg announces funding details for free school meals ~ Government ends 'family tax penalty' for hardworking families ~ ScotGov: Chancellor embeds Westminster austerity ~ LGA response to the AS ~ LGA response to AS health & social care budgets announcement ~ LGA - Chancellor's multi-year settlement pledge is good news for local services ~ NHS Confederation - NHS budget protected but tough times remain for health service ~ TUC: Young people get a raw deal from the AS ~ AS 2013: CBI full reaction ~ JRF on the AS - Not enough help for 13m people living in poverty ~ Citizens Advice responds to AS ~ CEBR - Osborne strikes triumphant note, but the cost of living debate will drag on ~ CIPD - AS measures likely to increase labour supply & employment ~ IEA - Government must refocus its efforts to reduce the deficit ~ nef: The Chancellor’s long road to recovery ~ Before statement: JRF - AS – a fair return to growth ~ TWF: How the Chancellor should use the AS to address youth unemployment ~ New infrastructure plan published by government ~ CBI responds to Treasury infrastructure announcement ~ Call for Westminster to change flawed strategy

Just a ‘sticking plaster that doesn’t heal the wound’? - British households will benefit from proposals that will be worth £50 on average, thanks to government plans to reduce the impact of energy company price rises.
Government action to help hardworking people with energy bills ~ Record investments of £40bn in renewable electricity to bring green jobs & growth to the UK ~ Streamlining & improving the Green Deal ~ Government warned not to drop energy commitments to poor households ~ DECC:  Can the ‘poor’ afford the government’s green policies? (2nd item) ~ LGA - Allow councils to lead energy efficiency schemes, says LGA ~ CAB - Consumers need assurance energy bills will be tackled ~ CAB - Taking energy levies off bills will help poorer households ~ Npower publishes apology & promises to pay £1m to vulnerable consumers after Ofgem intervened on poor service ~ Nef: The real reason our energy bills are so high ~ CBI responds to government statement on energy ~ ScotGov: Changes to renewable energy subsidies)
Why not classify the underpayment as ‘theft’, send offending employers to prison and seize their ‘illegal profits’ - TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, has commented on a report published by the Centre for London and Trust for London), which finds that national minimum wage enforcement is not fit for purpose.
There must be no hiding place for employers who don’t pay minimum wage, says TUC ~ Settle for Nothing Less & related documents ~ TUC:  Part of a ‘It should always pay to be in work’ policy? (3rd item)
Sometimes a little help can make all the difference - A new suicide prevention strategy aims to continue Scotland’s downward trend in suicides over the last 10 years. Since 2002, Scotland has seen an 18% reduction in the suicide rate when most other countries have seen an increase.
This new strategy sets out the Scottish Government’s commitments on suicide prevention up to the end of 2016.  It focuses on practical actions that can be taken to prevent suicide and looks at key areas for future work.
Practical actions to tackle suicide ~ Almost half of children have been so stressed they can’t sleep ~ Councils’ use of B&B accommodation failing young people & families, says Ombudsman ~ Scottish suicide report ~ DH:  We should answer their calls for help
Far cheaper than ‘picking up the pieces of failed launches’ - All children in care will be able to stay with their foster families after they turn 18 following a £40m funding boost.  Children & Families Minister Edward Timpson also announced that he is placing a new legal duty on local authorities to provide financial support for every young person who wants to stay with their foster parents until their 21st birthday.
Edward Timpson, whose own family fostered nearly 90 children, said: “This will allow the 10,000 young people leaving stable and secure homes to make the transition from care to independence when they are ready, rather than when their council tells them to”.
Children to stay with foster families until 21 ~ New cross-government support strategy for care leavers  ~ Charter for care leavers ~ Lottery support to help young care leavers achieve their dreams ~ Care leavers receiving more support than ever before ~ £50m investment for young people leaving care and those with dementia & their carers ~ 50% say they have to leave care too early ~ Catch22 National Care Advisory Service ~ Care Leavers Foundation ~ Share Foundation ~ Setting Up Home Allowance ~ 100 days in care report ~ Related Ofsted documentsMoving forward, changing lives: New employment programme to help Wales’ hardest to reach young people
Could do even better - Two government programmes introduced to help families with multiple challenges, such as unemployment, antisocial behaviour and truancy, are already having an impact, according to the National Audit Office. However, key aspects of performance need to improve if the ambitious targets set by the two departments responsible for the programmes are to be met.
Make sure you don’t suffer an involuntary ‘starvation diet’ this Xmas! - This Christmas the Food Standards Agency is encouraging consumers to include the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) and the Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS) as one of the ingredients for a great meal out. Whether you’re planning a festive meal out with family or friends, or just grabbing a quick lunch while Christmas shopping, don’t just consider the menu – make sure you check the hygiene rating too.
Recipe for a great meal out this Christmas

Optimising Revenues from Surplus Public Sector 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'.

The Disposal Services Authority (DSA) has compiled a selection of public sector case studies including their most recent work for 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 further information and to find out more about how the DSA could work for you.
Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest: