WIREDGOV NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE

Local direction by local leaders to boost local economies & services

At least £60bn of central government spending should be devolved to local areas over the next 5 years, council leaders urge.  The Local Government Association said cities & county areas across the country are set to meet the preliminary devolution deadline and submit deals to the Chancellor.  Local areas are calling for greater local powers & funding for skills, housing, transport and health & social care.

It argues that taking decisions closer to where people live can achieve ‘up to £20bn in potential public sector savings as well as creating at least £80 billion in economic growth and 700,000 new jobs’.  The LGA's fully-costed White Paper 'English Devolution: Local solutions for a successful nation' outlines the benefits of devolution across all parts of England

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Free Event for Public Sector Attendees:
Digital Transformation In The Public Sector

Thursday 24th September | 9:00AM – 12:00PM BST | MediaCityUK M50 2ST 

Over the last five years or so, there has been rapid evolution in the number of technologies that promise to disrupt established ways and mean that all organisations driving new initiatives should take a Digital First approach. Over this time frame the public sector has had to improve and expand services in the face of tighter budgets.

This event will provide insight into The Digital Imperative; why it is vital for public sector organisations to embrace the digital revolution; along with an in-depth look at User Centred Design. Including best practice hints and tips to ensure that your digital transformation projects are accepted and understood by your users.

Places are limited so click here to register for your FREE delegate pass and download the supporting paper Putting The User First

 
Better behaviour costs less

New research from two leading local government think tanks has found that, whilst 93% of local councils are reporting cuts to street scene & public realm budgets, there is still an urgent need for councils to adopt different approaches to cope with the budget cuts.

In ‘Park Life, Street Life: Managing demand in the public realm’ researchers from APSE and NLGN argue that councils could save money by ‘reducing demand on services like litter-picking, by using behaviour change tools and techniques’.

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Stopping the ‘boomerang’ effect in our prison system
Announcement of a review of education in adult prisons.   We have more than 80,000 adults in custody and one of the most important things we can do once they are inside the prison walls is to make sure that they get the literacy & numeracy skills they need to make them employable & positive contributors to society once released.  For those serving longer sentences, education and training is a key part of their rehabilitation.
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Why?
Latest figures from the 2015 Women in IT Scorecard research (published by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and the Tech Partnership) show that just 1 in 10 IT Directors are women.  The Scorecard also reveals that only 17% of the 1.18m IT specialists working in the UK in 2014 are women. This compares with a figure of 47% for the workforce as a whole.  The research also found that with gross weekly earnings of £650 per week, female IT specialists were found to be earning only 84% of the rate for males working in such positions during 2014 (£770 per week). The difference in female & male pay rates appears to be greatest amongst ‘professional’ level IT positions.
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A chance to be recognised
The 6th annual 2016 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards in association with techUK are now open for entry.  Celebrating the vital skills, innovation & leadership women bring to the IT industry; these awards showcase the breadth & diversity of the talent women contribute to IT across all industry sectors.  Entries are open from 1 September until 27 October and full details are available online.
techUK:  2016 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards
 
Claim it or lose it!

The Welsh Government is asking people who believe their care should have been funded by the NHS to register their intent to make a claim.  Continuing healthcare is a package of care provided by the NHS for those people with complex & primarily health-based needs. This can be provided in a care home or an individual’s own home.

Under new arrangements for making retrospective claims for continuing healthcare, potential claimants have until 1 October 2015 to register their intent to make a claim for continuing healthcare costs which were incurred between August 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014.  All claims will be reviewed within 12 months of submission.  A publicity campaign to promote the cut-off date, together with information about where people can get further advice is also being launched.

WAG:  New deadline for people to claim for their care being funded by the Welsh NHS
 
Supplier Locator: September update…

Many of WiredGov’s stakeholder departments within Central Government (including HM Treasury, Cabinet Office, Home Office, BIS and DCLG) have been working hard to deliver on the Government’s pledge that 25% of all direct and indirect central government spend should be with SMEs by 2015 but there is still a great deal more work to be done. 

Against this backdrop, our Supplier Locator service has been developed specifically to embrace the SME Agenda and provide the ideal platform for SME’s to promote their services, solutions, accreditation and success stories directly to our ever increasing audience across all government and public sector verticals and Tier 1 suppliers.

The most recent arrivals to the Supplier Locator include:

Café Design Develop Global
Duvall Associates HighCo MRM
 
It would cost a lot more in a hospital!
The Department of Health is to review the rate paid by the NHS to private care providers (nursing homes) for nursing services.  Registered nursing care for residents, who are assessed to be eligible, in nursing homes is funded by the NHS.  The rate payable for this financial year is currently £112.00 a week per resident.

DH:   Government to review NHS funding of nursing in care homes

When it’s your own care it gets very personal

 
What about the risk to life & limb for cyclists & motorcyclists?
The LGA responds to a survey released by British automotive services company RAC on the state of the nation's roads:  "While councils share the frustration of motorists at the state of our roads, it is impossible to compare repairing potholes with keeping children safe and caring for our elderly.  With demand on these life and death services continuing to rise and funding from central government continuing to reduce, councils have little choice but to squeeze budgets for other services, such as maintaining our roads”.
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Surely there must be some element of commuting time?
Excluding journeys made by workers without fixed or habitual place for first & last customer of the day from working time would be contrary to the objective of protecting the safety & health of workers pursued by EU law.  The Working Time Directive defines working time as any period during which the worker is working, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his activity or duties, in accordance with national laws and/or practice.
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They miss out on a whole year of schooling
Schools Minister Nick Gibb has announced the government’s intention to give summer-born children the right to start in reception at the age of 5.  The minister said admissions rules must be changed so children born between April 1 and August 31 cannot be forced to go straight into year 1 if they wait to start school until they turn 5.  He has written an open letter to encourage schools and local authorities to take immediate action, in advance of the proposed changes, and allow summer-born children to start in reception aged 5 if that is what parents want.

Summer-born children 'to get the right to start school later'

Month of birth matters for children's well-being as well as for test scores 

 
Powering the public sector of the future

Renewable Energy Solutions is a new framework that gives public sector bodies in the UK a procurement regulation compliant way to purchase the supply & installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and/or consultancy & project management for all types of renewable energy solutions.

ESPO framework number 2838, Renewable Energy Solutions (Microgeneration), launched on 11 August 2015 and is available to use nationally.  The end date is 09 August 2017 with an extension option to 09 August 2019.  Further information & full documentation can be found on the ESPO website.  ESPO is a public sector owned professional buying organisation, offering a catalogue of products, over 150 framework agreements, bespoke procurement projects & free advice. 

ESPO announce the launch of Renewable Energy Solutions framework (2838)
 
What will the ‘Living Wage’ deliver?
IFS briefing note, prepared for the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, documents the estimated distributional impact of the tax & benefit changes that have been announced for implementation in the current parliament.  It then considers the extent to which households might expect the net losses from these changes to be offset through increased wages as a result of the large increase in the minimum wage for those aged 25 and over that was announced in the July 2015 Budget.
IFS:  An assessment of the potential compensation provided by the new ‘National Living Wage’ for the personal tax & benefit measures announced for implementation in the current parliament
 
Can you help?
The Greater London Authority (GLA) invites applications from organisations with the appropriate skills & experience for the provision of the following rough sleeping services.
Homeless Link:  The Greater London Authority rough sleeping services tender notice
 
Giving vital experience to future athletic stars
Loughborough University has been confirmed as the host for the 2016 School Games National Finals, following the conclusion of this year’s event in Manchester.  The event brings together 1,600 of the UK’s best young athletes for 4 days of sporting competition and will take place 1 - 4 September 2016.
Sport England:  School Games finds next home for 2016
 
Editorial comment;
Points to ponder on the Syrian migration crisis

The first point to make clear, having seen the conditions they have ‘existed in’ for years (it cannot be described as ‘lived in’) in Syria & surrounding countries, it would make anyone risk even death to get a better life.

Looking beyond the daily coverage and political arguments about their journeys, there are however some basic points / questions many of would like examined/answered by EU and national politicians:

*As Germany has said it can take 800,000 migrants this year (and actually needs them to ‘balance its population’, why is the emphasis by Mr Junker on ‘forcibly’ dispersing 160,000 around EU: - BBC:  Why Germany needs migrants more than UK

*When it comes to the UK ‘doing its bit’, we have already donated more than the rest of Europe put together on aid to the affected area (£900m) and last week promised another £100m, so why doesn’t Mr Junker insist other EU countries donate the same proportion of their GDP to the region and the ‘transit countries’ such as Greece, Italy, Hungary, etc. to facilitate more humane treatment to those in transit? - Factsheet: The UK's humanitarian aid response to the Syria crisis

In March 2015, MPs found that £6.3bn of Britain's aid budget had been handed to major agencies to help hit the target of spending 0.7pc of nation's income on foreign aid (including the EU which then ‘claimed it as their own ‘aid’ one presumes).  So why doesn’t the UK reinforce its policy of ‘in situ’ aid by committing to donate £2bn a year of this ‘surplus’ to feed & care for these Syrians; - UK's foreign aid goes to EU in rush to hit targets, say MPs ... ~ Civil Servants spent extra £bn in 8 weeks to hit aid ...  ~ George Osborne to use foreign aid to help Syrian refugees in UK  ~ Independent Commission for Aid Impact

Another point one would like clarity on is why the Foreign Aid budget can only provide support to local councils for 1 year, when the 20,000 we will be taking in will be here on a ‘5-year protection visa’ and therefore not UK residents.  After all if they were still in the Lebanon the money could presumably be spent on them and it will cost LAs £50,000 to look after each unaccompanied child!:  - Kent CC to re-open Swattenden Centre in Cranbrook for young asylum seekers as numbers grow ~ LB of Hillingdon - Asylum seekers

One last point; Presumably Mr Junker’s ‘dispersed’ migrants/refugees will be able to travel  to / live  in any EU country the like when they gain their citizenship, which rather defeats the point of the dispersal and they might all still end up in Germany and Sweden! 

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David Cameron's pledge to accept 20,000 refugees over the next five years has received a lot of criticism. This figure puts the UK on the sidelines of European action, and well behind the German response. One of the problems is finding councils willing to host them, though that is beginning to change. Here, we sum up the UK local government response to the refugee crisis so far.

Also on the network
Slash police budgets – it will stop officers doing other people's jobs

Slash police budgets – it will stop officers doing other people's jobs
It's not for police officers to worry that their work won’t get picked up by other struggling public services

BBC plans to help local journalism will not be local enough

BBC plans to help local journalism will not be local enough
I welcome the BBC offer to share staff with local news outlets, but how local can 100 journalists get?

People love renewable energy, so why don't politicians get it?

People love renewable energy, so why don't politicians get it?
From Robin Hood Energy to solar mosques, community schemes are hotting up – but so is fracking

News in brief
• LGA chief warned of costs of accepting too many refugees
• UK councils called for extra cash to support refugees
• Former civil servants could be rehired on zero-hours contracts
• Tories dropped their pledge to restore weekly bin collections
• Northern Ireland's redundancy plan could chop 20,000 civil service jobs
• Government and councils have 'hidden' art collection worth £3.5bn