One ‘Traditional British Value’ that the government MUST enforce

Forcing someone to marry against their will is now a criminal offence.  New legislation is designed to help people in England & Wales.  It also applies to UK nationals overseas who are at risk of becoming the victim of a forced marriage.  Forced marriage (especially for children) can involve physical, psychological, emotional, financial & sexual abuse including being held unlawfully captive, assaulted and raped.

Law enforcement agencies will also be able to pursue perpetrators in other countries where a UK national is involved under new powers defined in legislation.  The maximum penalty for the new offence of forced marriage is 7 years imprisonment.  In 2013, the government’s Forced Marriage Unit gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage to more than 1,300 people.

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Is your organisation a digital dinosaur?

Are you living in the digital Stone Age?

The EU is working on a new Data Protection Regulation that will transform the way data is handled in every sector, including government departments and the NHS. It could be in place within two years, so now is the time to act.

There will be new rules, new rights for individuals and new challenges for anyone who handles data, especially in responding to citizens who want their information corrected or deleted.

Crown Records Management’s latest white paper analyses what the regulation will mean and, most importantly, provides tips on how to prepare for a new digital era.

Click here to download your free copy now.

Couldn’t the same be said about a minority of bad tenants who ‘wreck’ properties, and / or squat illegally?

The Local Government Association (LGA) – which represents almost 400 councils in England & Wales – says that while most landlords are reputable, a criminal minority view fines as ‘operating costs', to be offset against their profits from exploiting tenants by renting sub-standard properties.

The LGA says councils are doing everything they can to tackle rogue operators, but they are being hamstrung by a system "not fit for the 21st century".  It is calling for a streamlined system, which is fairer, faster, simpler, and awards proportionate fines to criminal landlords and the full costs of bringing the prosecutions to councils.

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More contributions to the Referendum debate

More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;

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The shameful denial of the chance to mourn

The Scottish Government has published the report from the Infant Cremation Commission, chaired by Lord Bonomy, into policies & practices surrounding infant cremation in Scotland.  The report makes 64 recommendations.

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The clue is in the word ‘The’ government; Councils are independent, democratically accountable bodies

The idea of creating a single LOCALGOV.UK site that brings together information & services for all local government users in the way that GOV.UK does for central government, is ill-conceived and should not be attempted.  The idea, which has being receiving attention in social media recently may sound attractive says Socitm, but on closer inspection the single local government website concept is deeply flawed.

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Whereas this is a more reasonable prospect for centralisation

Land Registry is making it easier to register a property in England & Wales.  It is to become the sole registering authority for Local Land Charges (LLC) in England & Wales, leading to a standardised national fee for the first time and an end to the existing ‘postcode lottery’.  The changes will also lead to an improved, standardised & digital service and will result in better access to property information and a more streamlined conveyancing process.  Work will begin on a phased migration of the LLC service to Land Registry from April 2015.

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Something some parents need as well

New guidance published by the government will help teachers better identify underlying mental health problems in young people – meaning fewer pupils will wrongly be labelled trouble-makers.  At the same time, it will enable teachers to be more confident in spotting those children who are simply behaving badly, and do not have a mental health issue.

The guidance outlines to schools that they could use pupil questionnaires, teacher training toolkits and mental health factsheets to help identify potential issues.  This means problems can be tackled before they become more serious, as well as helping schools know when to refer pupils to mental health experts, such as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

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Summer dredging and other flood maintenance may not be exciting TV, but it is much better for at-risk residents and the economy

The Government must not neglect maintenance of flood defences & watercourses if homes, businesses & farmland are to gain better protection against future flooding risk, warn MPs in a report of an inquiry triggered by the recent winter floods.

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It’s a bit like handing your wallet / purse over to a complete stranger

Tax credits claimants are being warned about scam or ‘phishing’ emails sent out by fraudsters in the run-up to the 31 July renewal deadline. Although HMRC worked with other agencies to shut down 611 scam websites during the tax credits renewal period last year, others continue to be created.  Phishing emails often promise money back and, if the recipient clicks on a link, they are taken to a fake replica of the HMRC website.  They are then asked to provide credit or debit card details or other sensitive information such as passwords. The fraudsters then try to take money from their account.

They often ask for the recipient’s name, address, date of birth, bank account number, sort code, credit card details, national insurance number, passwords & mother’s maiden name.  In addition to money being stolen from victims’ bank accounts, their personal details can be sold to criminal gangs, leading to possible identify theft.

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Recognition for the men & women who provide care in the ‘Golden Hour’ and after

The 2014 Military and Civilian Health Partnership Awards are looking for exceptional examples of people or teams who have made a difference to the health and well-being of service personnel, their families and veterans.  The deadline for nominations is Sunday 27 July 2014.

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High Street puts ‘convenience’ back into ‘click-shopping’

A national competition, the Great British High Street Awards, has been launched by High Streets Minister Brandon Lewis, as a new report reveals increasing optimism among shoppers and the growing popularity of ‘click-and-collect’ services. There are 6 separate categories in recognition of the diversity of Britain’s high streets.

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Can you be ‘economical with the truth’ in the interests of your country if necessary?

On Tuesday 24 June, during his visit to Aberdeen University, Permanent Under Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service, Sir Simon Fraser will be answering questions about international careers in the Civil Service live on Twitter from 2pm to 2.45pm (BST).  Questions can be submitted in advance if you cannot make the session.

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