‘Housing’ is not just about ‘home ownership’

3 people every minute are turning to Citizens Advice with a housing problem, new figures have revealed.  In its new report Dispatches from the front lines of the housing crisis the charity presents a snapshot of local housing challenges from across England & Wales.  It also argues that there needs to be a wider debate about the housing challenges facing the nation.

Last year CAB helped people with over 430,000 housing issues, up 4% on the previous year.  Debt issues due to private rental arrears were also up by 8%.  It is calling for a housing debate which looks beyond getting people onto the property ladder, involving everyone from local councils to builders, MPs and landlords.

Researched Links:

CAB:   Housing debate must look beyond challenge of home ownership

BIG:  UK’s First National Homeshare BIG:  Programme Promises Solutions to Social Issues for Young & Old Alike

Everyone needs a ‘home’

The rooms / buildings & gardens also need to be of a decent size

The Guardian:  Why Blackpool has asked the Treasury to slash residents' housing benefit

The basic issue is that they often find it hard to ‘cope with life’

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

Facilitating financial stability & normality

How better’ is often the unasked question when ‘tonight’s homeless’ is the immediate problem

What ‘training’ have they had in coping with running a home (that’s if they even get given accommodation)

Working together to address the problems of homelessness

The Government has reduced the NEET numbers, can they do the same for the homeless?

For some, Debt becomes a ‘Black Hole’ sucking in all income

Staying in: how can you make sure people keep the support they need?

Ombudsman seeing fewer homelessness complaints, but issue not gone away

Do you think you know how to solve housing issues?

WAG:  Funding of £438,000 announced for Rhyl debt advice centre


Local Government Going Google Round Tables - 14th & 16th July 2015

Members of local government organisations are invited to attend 2 select round table style gatherings:

  • 14th  July at Adur & Worthing Council, Portland House, 44 Richmond Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 1HS
  • 16th July at Warwickshire County Council, Shire Hall, Warwick, CV34 4RL  

The agenda for both round tables is as follows:

  • Introductions from Council senior executives of the Going Google project
  • What is Google? - CTS overview
  • Change Management - What the change looked like - Technical, training approach and communications
  • Innovation - how it has facilitated change and what next?

Please click here to find out more register your interest in attending these events

One never knows if a sudden crisis will impact on you or a family member

Recently the Care Quality Commission have published Right here, right now, a national report looking at people’s experiences of help, care & support during a mental health crisis.  The report is based on feedback from almost 1,800 people with experience of a mental health crisis, along with local area inspections looking at how services work together, surveys of service providers and a review of national data.

CQC found that the quality of care experienced by a person in crisis can vary greatly depending on where they are and what help they require.  Many people also experienced problems getting help when they needed it, and found that healthcare professionals sometimes lack compassion & warmth when caring for people who are having a crisis.

Researched Links:

CQC:  New report looking at people's experience of care during a mental health crisis

Public services must ‘wake up’ to gaps in mental health crisis care, warns CQC

Are we prepared to ‘re-slice the revenue cake’ to pay for it

When Mother & baby are at their most vulnerable

Monitor:  Mental health trust improves care for patients across south of England

The Guardian:  Mental health charities can help people where the NHS cannot

Not everyone is capable of asking for checks

A police cell is not a mental health ward

EHRC welcomes moves to keep people with mental health conditions out of police cells

Mental health staff working with police & courts now cover half of England

Hospitals must understand that they have a duty of care for Body AND Mind

De-Stressing the working environment can pay dividends

Drowning’ in problems

No instant solution, but this may help

Results of unannounced spot checks of older people’s mental health wards published

Mental health taskforce receives huge response

Lack of understanding amongst policy makers is leaving the most vulnerable at risk

NICE guidance on helping NHS staff to deal with violence & aggression from patients

ScotGov:  Mental Health waiting times

Mental health hospital admissions fall

Work Foundation:  Greater evidence-based help needed for depressed workers

London GP mental health scheme helps hundreds, skills up primary care staff and saves thousands

Thousands of women confront mental health issues in thriving community perinatal scheme

New guidance to treat people who have both a mental health and substance misuse problem in Wales

If you don’t ‘complain’ someone else may ‘suffer’  in a similar situation 

New research published recently shows that around 33% of people that are unhappy after using a public service actually make a complaint, despite an overwhelming number feeling that they should.  The data shows that people overwhelmingly support the right to complain and that 90% feel that if they are unhappy with a public service they should complain.

When it comes to actually making a complaint - to a hospital, GP or jobcentre, for example - the research reveals a gap between what people believe they should do and what they actually do.  According to the data, almost 2 in 3 people that are unhappy with a public service don't actually make a complaint and 29% of those say they believe that complaining will not make a difference.

Researched Links:

National Ombudsmen:  Only 1 in 3 people complain to a public service when they are unhappy, according to new research

People must be heard by public services say Citizens Advice

Ombudsman’s report highlights poor complaint handling & service failures across the NHS in England & UK government departments

NHS Confederation responds to the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman report on NHS complaints

NAO:  Public service markets: Putting things right when they go wrong

After decades of practice the NHS should be getting it right by now!

No wonder complainants are unhappy!

Should the attempted ‘silencing’ (especially in public sector organisations) of Whistle-blowers become a legal offence?

Sometimes the ‘illness’ is the least of one’s problems

Committee Bill set to strengthen your right of redress

Ombudsman report asks if children are being failed by complaints system

Vulnerable elderly woman suffers severe facial bruising in hospital that failed her

Ombudsman finds variation in quality of NHS investigations into complaints of avoidable death & avoidable harm

Ombudsman warns of the risk of determining capacity without proper assessment

Patient Association:  1 year on from the Clwyd-Hart report, NHS complaints system still not fit for purpose, despite numerous calls for reform

It is often not the ‘mistake’ that annoys people, but rather the ‘cover-up’ & the reluctance to at least say ‘sorry’

Tell it how it is!

CAB - A fifth of British households have energy complaints

We won’t be able to afford the NHS unless we ‘solve’ this problem
New figures from Age UK show an escalating social care crisis in England with 2.43m bed days lost to the NHS between June 2010 and March 2015 as people wait too long for vital social care.   Not only is this upsetting for the individuals & their families & detrimental to their health, but it also comes at a huge cost to the taxpayer.  A staggering £669m is spent keeping people in hospital while waiting for social care, and most of these being aged 65 and over.
Researched Links:

2.4m bed days lost in 5 years from social care delays

Joined-up care by law

But are the NHS & LAs flexible enough to make the necessary changes to service delivery?

Care at home is not only preferred, its more cost effective as well

Hospitals are too expensive for anything but specialist ‘non-mobile’ treatment

ScotGov:  Delays in leaving hospital reduce

Longer independent living is vital for the NHS funding ‘crisis

The way to an affordable & efficient NHS (4th item)

Only the highest standards are good enough
Nicky Morgan has ‘cemented’ the government’s commitment to social justice with a raft of new measures to ensure every child leaves school with world-class qualifications in crucial academic subjects.  The move marks the final stage of reform to GCSEs and follows reforms to the education system - with 1m+ more children now in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools, than in 2010.
Researched Links:

DfE:  New reforms to raise standards and improve behaviour

DfE:  Preparing children for a successful future through the Ebacc

Nicky Morgan hails inspection figures as a cause for celebration

Study into non-educational barriers to top jobs published

Most jobs DON’T & WON'T require a Degree, but they will be 'backed' by qualifications

Are there other & better alternatives than just ‘Bring back Grammar Schools’?

Legal paperwork delay
Civil legal aid providers, chambers & other CCMS users will not be required to use the Client & Cost Management System (CCMS) for all new casework until 1 February 2016.  A number of improvements have already been made to CCMS as a result of user feedback and there are more in the pipeline – visit the ‘Enhancing CCMS’ web page.
Researched Links:
LAA:  Civil news: CCMS users given more time to prepare for system
Support & use it, to ensure you don’t lose it
There is less than a month to go before nominations close for the Great British High Street Awards 2015.  The competition, now in its second year, celebrates the hard work of local groups up & down the country who are working together to support their local high streets and make them ever better places to shop & socialise.  Competition winners will not only gain the kudos of being best in category, but they will also share a £50,000 cash prize & gain access to a range of mentoring & training opportunities.  Deadline for applications is the 17 July 2015.
Researched Links:
CLG:  Great British High Street Awards 2015 - one month to go to enter
Not everyone in the NHS needs to be a ‘Brain Surgeon’ to facilitate a patient’s treatment
NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens has thrown down a challenge to the health service to open up suitable job opportunities to people with learning disabilities.  To mark Learning Disability Week, NHS Employers and NHS England have launched a new national network providing advice, ideas & impetus to all NHS organisations to remove barriers and take steps to accelerate employment of people with learning disabilities in the NHS.
Researched Links:

NHS Jobs pledge for people with learning disabilities

No one is without ‘economic stress’ in these austere days

Everyone deserves a chance

Without them the e-world would not function securely
Security teams are being encouraged to enter their IT projects into UK IT Industry Awards, run by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, together with Computing.  The annual Awards are renowned as the Oscars for the IT profession, providing a platform to showcase & celebrate best practice, innovation and excellence.  Deadline for entries; 10 July 2015.
Researched Links:

BCS:  Security teams urged to enter UK IT Industry Awards

BCS:  IT Apprentices urged to enter prestigious UK IT Awards

Paid to train, no student debt, good employment prospects for both women & men and vital for future UK economic success

Editorial Comment; The reality of administering the State Pension system

The following extract is from a letter sent recently, by the DWP, to someone approaching their State Retirement date:  State pension is always paid in arrears. Your first payment is for the sum of £ for the period from  to , both dates included.  This may include any arrears we owe you. This will be paid on  .  Your second payment is for the total sum of £. This will be paid on the .

On phoning the 0845 number listed, a ‘computer’ told him to phone an 03 number instead – after 8 minutes of waiting, he was told they couldn’t help him and that he would have to phone another number.  At which point he gave up!  This does not bode well for the new state pension system due in 2016.


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

Scotland Office:  Draft guidance on who pays Scottish Rate of Income Tax

ScotGov:  More powers for Scotland

ScotGov:  Scotland must have a role in EU negotiations

ScotGov:  More powers for Scotland – priority areas

ScotGov:  Crown Estate devolution


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:

Around 500,000 more public sector jobs have to go by 2020; in a rational world you would have a plan and a calculus for that. "Cutting x numbers of border force staff would correlate with y additional illegal migrants or z extra hours queuing at Heathrow," for example. Unfortunately, writes David Walker in last week's column, the government doesn't quite work like that. Find out here why he thinks the cuts are haphazard and a recipe for inefficiency.

It's also the second week of our campaign to get public servants to switch off and unwind after a stressful day. What helps you relax? Tell us on Twitter (@Guardianpublic) with #ClockOff and share your photos and stories with us here.

Most Popular
Tories don't know the impact of 500,000 more public sector job cuts

Tories don't know the impact of 500,000 more public sector job cuts
Without proper analysis more job losses in government and the police will be haphazard and inefficient

Without a strong business case, councils risk wasting money on internet of things

Without a strong business case, councils risk wasting money on internet of things
From social care to pollution, new technology could create big savings – if security is addressed early

Councils fear they are losing the battle against 'vicious' urban seagulls

Councils fear they are losing the battle against 'vicious' urban seagulls
Defra’s withdrawal of £250k for research leaves authorities spending millions on ineffective pest control

A day in the life of a prison governor: 'I never feel that I'm off duty'

A day in the life of a prison governor: 'I never feel that I'm off duty'
Dealing with assaults on officers is part of the job, but the biggest stress is the volume of work

Stress in public services: how do you unwind? Share your photos and stories

Stress in public services: how do you unwind? Share your photos and stories
From exotic Bake Off creations to a glass of wine, show us how you find a work-life balance

News in brief
• Wide range of candidates and policies in Labour's London mayor shortlist
• Greens' Caroline Lucas backs Siân Berry to stand again for London mayor
• John Biggs elected as Labour mayor of Tower Hamlets
• Foreign Secretary 'tells embassies not to fly rainbow flag for gay pride'
• Private sector will struggle to absorb axed public sector staff, warns IFS
• August deadline set for Northern Ireland civil service voluntary redundancy