WIREDGOV NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE

Who you know, rather than What you know!
The Treasury Committee has published its 'Scrutiny of Appointments' report in the same week that Members of the Committee table an amendment to the Bank of England and Financial Services Bill. The amendment would give the Committee a veto over the appointment and dismissal of the Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority.
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BCS Computing Conference Offers Help to Disabled Students

London, 7th April, 10am-4pm

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT is holding a conference to highlight the need for accessible online teaching resources for students with disabilities - to help ensure they can reach their full potential.

The day-long event will focus on the issues faced by students who are often unable to utilise their IT skills because they’re either not able to use ‘conventional’ classroom facilities or because the online learning tools haven’t been designed or implemented correctly.

Click here to find out more and to register.

 
Will the lights go out?
Following a detailed review, a package of reforms to the Capacity Market has been unveiled. They will improve the system used to secure reliable sources of electricity capacity, tackle decades of underinvestment and safeguard the future security of our energy supply for generations to come.
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Because it’s personal we don’t talk about it much

Commissioning adult social care services through personal budgets & direct payments is an important way of giving care users more choice & control over their services.  When implemented well they improve users’ quality of life. The Department of Health, however, requires a deeper understanding of the best ways to implement personalised commissioning, according to the National Audit Office.

It found that some authorities have transformed their care & support processes to ration their resources fairly, share information about a broad range of local services, and monitor & manage spending on personal budgets efficiently, while others are finding personalising commissioning a challenge as they seek to save money, and are constrained in how they can personalise care by the need to reduce overall spending.

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Is the NHS just too big to improve?
Some people who complain to the NHS are not getting the answers they desperately need meaning they are forced to bring their complaints to the Ombudsman service to get answers.  The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's latest snapshot of cases it has investigated includes cases about grieving parents and partners not being given answers as to why their loved ones died and mistakes not being admitted, which means that much needed service improvements are being delayed.
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SME Supplier Locator update...

UK Government and public sector spend with SME’s is continually on the increase and by 2020, it is the stated intent of Cabinet Office that £1 of every £3 spent on government contracts goes to SME’s. The past 5 years have seen government make a priority of getting money through its supply chain into the hands of SMEs, by both setting targets and introducing new procurement mechanisms.

Against this backdrop, the WiredGov 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.

Click here to find out more and view this week’s new arrivals to the SME Supplier Locator service. 

 
The birth of better services?
Maternity services have been invited to bid for money from a new Challenge Fund aimed at finding innovative ways to use patient feedback to improve services.  Emails with full details have gone out to chief executives of all trusts inviting them to put in their bids to be among the 2 to 4 projects that will get funding for their initiative from the £195,000 available.  The #MatExp Challenge Fund aims to explore innovative ways to make better use of patient insight to deliver improved services.  It is not about further collections of data but about finding new ways to use the feedback that trusts are already collecting to generate change and add value for patients.

NHS England:  New initiative aims to improve maternity services through patient feedback

Another financial pressure on NHS

 
Will MPs be given the freedom to change things?
The Burns Commission, set up to look at the Freedom of Information Act, has published its findings.  The Commission makes 21 specific recommendations.  It notes that whilst some of its recommendations require legislation, other improvements can be made without legislative change.

ICO:  Statement in response to Burns Commission report

 
Life is already difficult enough for them
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT is holding a conference to highlight the need for accessible online teaching resources for students with disabilities - to help ensure they can reach their full potential.  The day-long event will focus on the issues faced by students who are often unable to utilise their IT skills because they’re either not able to use ‘conventional’ classroom facilities or because the online learning tools haven’t been designed or implemented correctly.
BCS Computing Conference Offers Help to Disabled Students ~ Please register by Monday 7 March, 2016
 
Will we end up chipping UK residents to control access to government services & benefits?
Scotland’s top vet has urged dog owners not to leave it to the last minute to get their animal microchipped, ahead of new laws coming into force next month.  From 6 April 2016, it will be compulsory for all dogs in Scotland to have a chip with their owners’ details registered and kept up to date in a database complying with certain conditions.
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Will this help the government integrate migrants?
A place-of-residence condition may be imposed on beneficiaries of subsidiary protection if they face greater integration difficulties than other non-EU citizens who are legally resident in the Member State that has granted such protection.

CJEU: Relationship between the freedom of movement of beneficiaries of international protection and measures intended to facilitate their integration

 
A taxing problem for thousands of people
The Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee recently published its report on the Draft Finance Bill 2016, and says forthcoming changes to the taxation of savings & dividends are complex, confusing and poorly communicated.

PC&PE:  Most taxpayers unaware of important changes to the tax system

 
And it will be the English taxpayer who has to pay for setting it up & funding those ‘flexibilities’

As set out in the Programme for Government, Scottish Ministers have already committed to the introduction of a Social Security Bill in the 2016-17 parliamentary session – that bill will establish a new Scottish social security agency to oversee the administration of devolved benefits worth £2.7bn.

Through the Scotland Bill the Scottish Government will receive powers over 11 existing disability & caring benefits including Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Carers Allowance as well as control over funeral payments,  Sure Start Maternity grants and cold weather & winter fuel payments.  It will also receive the power to top-up & create new benefits through the Scotland Bill and will have several flexibilities to alter the way in which Universal Credit is paid by Department for Work and Pensions.

ScotGov: New benefits agency for Scotland

Put aside speculation on Transition costs; Use ‘hindsight’ to foresee the ‘real’ issues ~ See also Editorial Commentary below

 
Editorial Commentary:
Is the SNP threat of another Referendum realistic?

The SNP at Holyrood & Westminster have been (and still are) ‘making noises’ about Brexit leading to another Independence referendum (well within our ‘lifetime’), but one wonders if RUK (remember that terminology) should get very worked up about their announcements…….

Read more...
 

 More contributions to the EU Referendum

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

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ScotGov:  First Minister makes keynote speech on Europe

The best of both worlds: the UK’s special status in a reformed European Union

EU referendum: guidance for the Civil Service and special advisers

FDA welcomes clear guidance from Cabinet Office on EU referendum

The process for withdrawing from the European Union

FCO:  Alternatives to EU Membership

BIS:  A positive case for Britain’s future in a reformed EU

 

 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

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ScotGov:  VAT cut for tourism industry

 

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:

No country has left the EU: there is no template to follow. If Britain were to vote to leave, the Foreign Office, Cabinet Office and UK permanent representation in Brussels would be left to thrash out the details. But do they really have the resources, capacity, headcount and expertise to do this, while simultaneously managing the ongoing business of government? Nicholas Wright, a teaching fellow at University College London, pondered this key question on the network last week.

Also on the network
Iain Duncan Smith: the latest MP to pretend council cuts are not his fault

Iain Duncan Smith: the latest MP to pretend council cuts are not his fault
It’s bad enough he used his position to hammer Enfield council on efficiency, but let’s not forget welfare reform

Sir Jeremy Heywood's evasive notion of accountability in public service

Sir Jeremy Heywood's evasive notion of accountability in public service
UK’s top civil servant kept to a narrow focus when asked about the rules on helping Brexit ministers

I may be taken for granted, but there's nothing like being a special constable

I may be taken for granted, but there's nothing like being a special constable
I’ve been a volunteer cop for more than 20 years, and I get a real kick out of making a difference

Lambeth council's campaign to hammer home the reality of cuts

Lambeth council's campaign to hammer home the reality of cuts
The London borough’s chief executive has tough choices to make and wants to get residents on side

News in brief
• MPs question Jeremy Heywood over papers ban for Brexit ministers
• Iain Duncan Smith asks civil servants to ignore block on EU papers
• EU referendum row could affect functioning of Whitehall, says FDA
• Most councils would not class starter homes as affordable, survey finds
• Councils are criminalising the homeless, FoI requests reveal
• Michael Gove says he can reform prisons without cutting inmate numbers