Tackling the ‘Dark Side’ of social media in schools

10,000 fewer pupils are being bullied every day than 10 years ago, a major new study of secondary school pupils has revealed.  Speaking before the start of Anti-Bullying Week, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan praised teachers, charities & parents for their efforts. She also urged them to continue their ‘moral mission’ to further reduce bullying, recognising that many parents consider it their number one concern about what happens at school.

A recent Stonewall report published over the summer also showed that homophobic bullying has fallen, with the number of secondary school teachers who say their pupils are often or very often the victim of homophobic bullying has almost halved since 2009.  To further tackle this, the government announced last month a £2m fund for projects to address homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools.

Researched Links:

Case Study: From Vision to False Start to Reality

By the end of 2013 Barak Obama’s vision for affordable healthcare (ObamaCare) was heading much the way as the UK’s own ill-fated £12Billion NHS IT Programme.

One year on and now serving the needs of over 8 million citizens, this brief case study details how Healthcare.gov successfully met 5 key challenges that are common to all large public sector IT projects:

  • Strict time constraints
  • Stringent security requirements
  • Multiple data sources
  • An unknown data specification
  • Scalability

Click here to download your free copy now.

Teachers are vulnerable too

New teacher-backed advice outlining how school staff can guard themselves against cyberbullying has been announced.  It sends a clear message that school staff deserve protection from online bullying in the same way that their pupils do.  Reports suggest around 1 in 5 teachers have reported having derogatory comments posted about them on social media sites - including from both parents & children.

Announced as part of Anti-Bullying Week, it encourages heads to get tough on bullying and support their staff facing abuse, as well as outlining a number of steps teachers can take to protect themselves online.  The advice warns teachers of the risks of being identified online.  It suggests they should all search for their own names to scan for any negative comments and advises against accepting friend requests from current or former pupils.  It also suggests teachers should be wary of being tagged in inappropriate photographs or videos on social media.

Researched Links:
Somehow the term ‘The Great & the Good’ no longer seems to be appropriate for our ‘Civic Leaders’

The Jay Report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham reveals systemic failures in local council scrutiny, governance, and leadership that has lessons for local government in England.  The Report also highlights serious flaws in the Ofsted inspection regime, says the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee in their new report.

In the report, the CLG Committee calls for an investigation into missing papers at Rotherham and announces its intention to call Ofsted in to face questions over its role in failing to protect children in Rotherham. Given the concern over local authority scrutiny and governance, the Committee will also invite Louise Casey to give evidence after she has reported on the compliance inspection of Rotherham Council.

Researched Links:
Will it be enough to restore public trust in police standards?

Theresa May has launched a 6-week public consultation on measures intended to ensure that the systems & processes that deal with misconduct by police officers are robust, independent & transparent to the public.

In July, the Minister commissioned Major-General Chip Chapman to review the police disciplinary system.  His report has been completed and she will consult on his recommendations for wide-ranging reform shortly.  That consultation will also include proposals to fundamentally reform the police complaints system and further protections for police whistleblowers.

Researched Links:
The Highs that bring your life low!

Around 2 years ago Homeless Link began to notice a distinct change in the behaviour of the people accessing their service.  From chatting with clients it started to emerge that this pronounced change was down to the use of ‘legal highs’.  This became even more of an issue when those who had traditionally used Class A substances and/or alcohol began to combine legal & illegal substances.

In partnership with Sifa Fireside, Homeless Link are running a new course in Legal Highs Awareness from January to March 2015.  Improve your understanding of the substances, impact and therapeutically informed interventions that could improve the support you provide.

Researched Links:
Way forward for the NHS in the community

Recently, CQC were pleased to rate the first two general practices as Outstanding following their in-depth and expert-led inspections last month.  Salford Health Matters in Eccles and Irlam Medical Practice in Salford have both been awarded the highest rating possible by the Chief Inspector of General Practice, Professor Steve Field.  Within the next two years, CQC hopes to have inspected and rated all 8,000 general practices across England.

Researched Links:
They want answers / ‘The Truth’

The Parliamentary and Heath Service Ombudsman is failing families, leaving them distressed and totally worn down, state the Patients Association who have seen worrying trends through their National Helpline.  The PA raise concern that the PHSO which should be a catalyst for change is failing to challenge poor practice and bring about change in the NHS.

The work of the PHSO is unaccountable and wholly ineffective according to families who have raised concerns about the system, say the PA charity.  The PA & the families are calling on the Public Administration Select Committee to address the failings of the PHSO and establish a truly independent, transparent and peoples Ombudsman.

Researched Links:
They may be ‘healthier, but there are still risks attached

The government has launched a number of measures to boost the safety of e-cigarettes in response to increasing concerns over the number of fires caused by their use.  In addition the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has commissioned a number of Trading Standards departments to investigate whether current e-cigarette safety information is sufficient & widely available enough to consumers.

Researched Links:
Cars protect from rain, NOT floodwater

The Environment Agency and the AA warn that more than 60% of drivers are still taking unnecessary risks by driving through floodwater.

Researched Links:
A slightly happier Christmas at the ‘Town Hall’

An agreement has been reached between local government employers and trade unions on a pay increase for just over 1m local government employees in England, Wales & Northern Ireland.  The agreement, which covers the period 1 January 2015 to 31 March 2016, means staff will receive a pay increase of 2.2% from January.  Those on salaries of £14,013 & under will see a slightly bigger pay rise.

Researched Links:
Without a solution to this issue we will be, medically speaking, ‘In deep s**t’

The £10m Longitude Prize challenge, co-funded by Innovate UK, is now open for entries.  The theme, antibiotic resistance, was chosen by the public from a shortlist of 6 possible challenges and revealed on the BBC’s The One Show earlier this year.  The World Health Organization has already warned of a ‘post-antibiotic era’ where people will die from previously treatable infections if key drugs no longer work.

Entries are being sought for a test to ‘detect & understand infections, and ensure the right antibiotics are used at the right time’.  Competitors now have 5 years to find a solution to the problem of antibiotic resistance.

Researched Links:
All (& more) of the ‘fat’ has been trimmed

Local authorities have coped well with reductions in government funding, but some groups of authorities are showing clear signs of financial stress.  The Department for Communities and Local Government has a limited understanding of authorities’ financial sustainability and the impacts of funding cuts on services, according to the National Audit Office.

Researched Links:

 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the

Newsletter Archive

Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:
24th November 2014

This week is social media week on the Guardian Public Leaders Network. As well as lots of tips throughout the week on how to get started and get ahead, we'll also be hosting a livechat about social media in the public sector on Wednesday 26 November 12-2pm.
Do you have a question about using social media? Send it to
and we will put it to our expert panel.

How to use social media at work in the public sector

How to use social media at work in the public sector
Join our livechat on Wednesday 26 November from 12-2pm to talk about how to thrive on social media

Top Content
Impermanent secretaries: the gaps that endanger government stability | Jill Rutter

Impermanent secretaries: the gaps that endanger government stability | Jill Rutter
Despite their name, permanent secretaries often have a shorter Westminster shelf life than ministers

How the government's flagship mutual let down former civil servants | Jane Dudman

How the government's flagship mutual let down former civil servants | Jane Dudman
What exactly went wrong at MyCSP – the organisation now in charge of 1.5m civil service pensions?

Scotland's answer to economic woe: public procurement | Colin Cram Dudman

Scotland's answer to economic woe: public procurement | Colin Cram
With red lights flashing on the global economy, England must look to how Scotland buys goods and services

Joining the public sector? Leave your vested interests at the door | Lord Bew
Controversies over John Manzoni and Fiona Woolf show government needs stronger rules on conflicts of interest

News in Brief