Caveat Data User

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has set out how big data can – and must – operate within data protection law.  However, the report outlines that operating within the law should not be seen as a barrier to innovation.  The ICO’s report sets out how the law applies when big data uses personal information.  It details which aspects of the law organisations need to particularly consider, and highlights that organisations can stay the right side of the law & still innovate.

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2 Free Workshops..London, Birmingham....find out more

We are excited to announce that the programme for The Unusual Suspects Festival is now live and registration is open.

Between 2 – 5 September, we have more than 25 different events, all over London, and more than 50 organisations collaborating with the festival. Places are limited so please register ASAP!

From the Design Council, to Lankelly Chase and Civic Systems Lab, to Microsoft, to Hackney CVS and Maslaha, organisations big and small, global and local from across boundaries will be coming together to examine why collaboration is so important and how we can all do more of it better!

With more events being scheduled every day, including great sessions from MEAM ( Making Every Adult Matter), the Point People and Systems Changers project, sessions on collaborative movement building and other events across the UK including high tea with Sunderland City Council, this is not to be missed!

Expect something unusual - we have walks, talks, films, forum theatre, signing and more so book you place here now!

The Russian Bear has stopped hibernating & is ‘hungry’

The Defence Committee, in its latest report, argues that recent events in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine should be a wake-up call for NATO and the UK.  It argues that NATO is not well prepared to face the new threat posed by Russia.  NATO has serious deficiencies in its command & control structures, in its ability to predict & give adequate warning of potential attack, and in the readiness of its forces.  NATO may not have the collective political will to take concerted action to deter attack.

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Mutual support & information sharing is good, but it does not obviate ‘individual’ responsibilities

A government review of procedures to identify children & vulnerable adults at risk of abuse has been published.  Several high-profile cases, including the death of 4-year-old Daniel Pelka, have highlighted the tragic consequences which can result when information indicating risk is held by one agency and not appropriately shared with others.

Many areas have established Multi Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASHs) to mitigate the risk of anyone slipping through the safeguarding net, and they & others have requested guidance on best practice.  The review found MASHs support professionals to ‘join the dots’ and understand threats so they can take action to prevent them.  However it also concludes multi agency approaches do not supersede a single agency’s duty to identify, protect and support a child or vulnerable person.

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Dying for justice

A new Justice Committee report concludes that the Government’s review of mesothelioma claims under section 48 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) was not prepared in a thorough and even-handed manner, and it calls on the Government to undertake a fresh consultation.

On other matters to do with the mesothelioma claims process, the Committee:

  • urges expedition of the primary legislation needed to bring into effect the Third Party (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010, which will enable a claim to be issued against an insurer without a judgment first having had to be obtained against an insolvent insured party
  • calls for the Ministry of Justice to work in tandem with the Department of Health to reduce delays in the production of medical records of mesothelioma victims
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A chance to double your fund raising

The Government has called on charities to come forward with proposals to tackle FGM & child marriage and promised the very best would benefit from match funding from the UK government.  A minimum of £1m has been set aside for projects and charities will need to present their proposals to DIFD by 12 September 2014, ahead of 6 month appeals which will start in February 2015.

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Decisions based on ‘faulty’ science could ‘bee catastrophic’

The Government’s draft National Pollinator Strategy envisages further research on the impact of pesticides on pollinators, but it needs to be transparent & subject to independent controls or it will not command public confidence, the Environmental Audit Committee warn.  Some of this research will be paid for by pesticide manufacturers.

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You have to sign-up to be in it

Socitm have announced the tasks that Socitm Insight has selected as the main topics for next year’s survey of the state of council websites.  The Better connected team is now piloting these tasks and they expect that most will be confirmed for the final survey that starts on Sunday 26 October. The survey ends on Saturday 6 December 2014 and the report will be published as normally on Monday 2 March 2015.

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Those that have survived D-Day & ‘Father Time’ are to be honoured

The French government is to recognise D-Day veterans by awarding them with the Legion d’Honneur.  This recognition extends beyond the troops who actually landed on & fought their way up the beaches 70 years ago, and will include Royal Navy & Royal Air Force personnel who operated in support of the landings.  See press release for application form.

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Ignorance will not ‘get you off’

Although driving regulations vary from country to country, new research issued by the FCO and Carrentals.co.uk reveals that nearly half of British nationals who have driven abroad didn’t research local road laws before travelling.

Nearly a quarter of British nationals surveyed found driving abroad stressful, while over 25% said they were unsure of drink driving regulations in the country they were travelling to, with 20% admitting to not knowing what equipment they should carry in their car.  A significant 40% reveal they are unsure what to do if they are involved in a road traffic accident.  The FCO have released a video to raise awareness of the main differences in driving regulations & conditions.

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Home & Dry overnight

Coed Cymru, the Welsh woodland management charity, has given a modern twist to the Welsh folk tradition of erecting a house on vacant land overnight and claiming it as a home.  With funding from the Technology Strategy Board it led the Ty Unnos (‘house in one night’) project to develop a radical new method of using locally sourced Sitka spruce timber to manufacture building components.  These can be used to construct affordable, highly energy-efficient & sustainable buildings.

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Applicants have been credited with more time to renew

HMRC appreciates that customers may have found it more difficult to get through to the tax credits renewal phone line as a result of recent industrial action.  While customers who can are encouraged to use the new online renewal service, those that need to speak to an operator now have until Wednesday 6 August to renew, or they will lose their tax credits. This year, customers can renew their tax credits online for the first time at www.gov.uk/renewtaxcredits.

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All working from the same plan

A new online mapping service has been launched as part of the Cabinet Office Resilience Direct multi-agency tool.  Resilience Direct was initially launched in April 2014, providing a secure platform for multi-agency partnerships to share information in both emergency response and in planning.  The service enables real-time sharing of accurate data & information, allowing all agencies to maintain shared situational awareness and supporting effective decision-making at the tactical & strategic levels.

The new interactive mapping service allows responders to quickly & easily build bespoke incident maps to support a shared information picture.  The service can digest a variety of data formats, enabling users to add their own layers to maps, reflecting accurate local detail.  For example, cordons can be added & highlighted, utilities & pipelines can be shown and points of interest can be overlaid to the mapping. The service is designed to enable strategic & tactical commanders to visualise their area of interest in a flexible, dynamic way.

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In the ‘ether’ perhaps, but certainly not ‘in the post’ in future

From 1 October 2014, the paper tax disc will no longer need to be displayed on a vehicle windscreen.  Customers with a Northern Ireland address will still need to display their MoT disc.  To drive or keep a vehicle on the road you will still need to get vehicle tax and DVLA will still send you a renewal reminder when your vehicle tax is due to expire.  This applies to all types of vehicles including those that are exempt from payment of vehicle tax.

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HO disclose new DBS form ‘arrangements’

Information for registered organisations about a change to the DBS disclosure application form.  You won’t need to order new application forms because the Home Office are arranging this for you through a stock replacement exercise.  They will also send more information via post & email.

All applications should be submitted on the new, revised disclosure application form once you receive them. This form can easily be identified as the form reference number at the top right-hand side begins with F01. The form reference number on the old forms begins with F00.  In the meantime, please use your current stock of application forms until the new forms arrive.

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Read about important rulings

The National Ombudsman’s new newsletter, A Case in Point, has been launched.  The bulletin, which is aimed at general complaints handlers in local government, offers an insight into the work of the LGO and the broad range of subject matters that they cover.  The newsletter will be issued 3 times a year and can be sent directly to inboxes if people sign up.

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More contributions to the Referendum debate
Scotland Flag More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;
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