WGPlus Notice:    Welcome back our readers from the summer break and we would like to remind them that they can catch up on any ‘missed’ press releases by using our search facilities.  Readers should also check the consultation section for items published during August. 

Pregnancy is too often a significant ‘bump’ in a woman’s career path
The Women and Equalities Committee has called for UK women to have protections similar to those in Germany after a 'shocking' increase in workplace pregnancy discrimination over the past decade.  MPs demand urgent action, calling on the Government to publish ‘an ambitious, detailed plan within the next two years or risk a further rise in pregnant women and mothers being forced out of their work’.  Recommendations include changes to health & safety practices, preventing discriminatory redundancies and an increase in protection for casual, agency & zero-hours workers.
Researched Links...

Automation Set to Become Fundamental to Public Sector Transformation.

In a recent survey of 134 public sector decision makers, conducted by iGov in collaboration with Arvato, 53 per cent of respondents said their departments had explored the use of automation technology over the last 12 months.

Given the cost and time reductions that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can deliver when processing labour-intensive back-office tasks, there’s little surprise the technology holds particular appeal for local authorities, which have been hit by the twin pressures of budget cuts and complex welfare reforms.

Click here to find out more about how RPA could benefit your organisation.

How can 10 years of education not provide these skills?

5m adults are lacking basic reading, writing & numeracy skills essential to everyday life and being able to find & secure work, according to analysis for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).  It means they may struggle to carry a number of basic tasks, ranging from writing short messages, using a cash point to withdraw money, being able to understand price labels on food or pay household bills.

A further 12.6m adults lack basic digital skills – meaning they struggle to carry out tasks such as send emails or fill out online job application forms.  JRF’s research shows the internet is considered essential by the public in an era when access public services and good deals for essentials are increasingly found online.

Proactive healthcare in the community is cheaper than surgery
New analysis by Diabetes UK has revealed that the number of diabetes-related amputations in England has now reached an all-time high of 20 a day.  The figures, calculated using new Public Health England data, show that the annual number of diabetes-related amputations in England is now 7,370 a year, compared to the previous figure of 7,042.  Yet, with good diabetes healthcare & support, experts estimate that 4 out of 5 amputations could be prevented as 80% begin as foot ulcers, which are largely avoidable and far more treatable if found early.
Researched Links...
‘Never’ is often a ‘flexible’ time period
The Information Commissioner has responded to changes WhatsApp and Facebook are making to how they handle customers’ personal data.  Elizabeth Denham said:  “The changes WhatsApp and Facebook are making will affect a lot of people. Some might consider it’ll give them a better service, others may be concerned by the lack of control”.

ICO:  Statement on changes to WhatsApp & Facebook’s handling of personal data

Independent:  WhatsApp data sharing with Facebook: The official blog post that shows why people are so angry at messaging app

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. 

Amazon and Google next in line?
The EC has concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13bn to Apple.  This is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses.  Ireland must now recover the illegal aid.

State aid: Ireland gave illegal tax benefits to Apple worth up to €13bn

Apple tax: Irish cabinet to appeal against EU ruling

The SNP’s version of ‘Democracy’?
MSPs who act as Parliamentary Liaison Officers (PLOs) for Scottish Government ministers will no longer be able to serve on the principal committee which scrutinises the portfolio to which they are attached.  The requirement is being introduced as part of an updated Ministerial Code, FM Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

ScotGov:  New guidelines on ministerial aides

Telegraph:  Nicola Sturgeon backs down in Holyrood 'power grab' row

Sturgeon stuffs Holyrood committees with MSP 'spies' for her ministers

Editorial Commentary:  Brexit may prove beneficial, but it's more complicated than you think

Ministers have been told to ‘Get on with Brexit’ so, in about 2019, we will be able to start re-creating our Fishing industry!  We will just reclaim our 200 mile maritime zone and fishermen from the Shetlands to Land’s End will be able to revitalise the industry as Ministers implement plans to Brexit.


 More contributions following EU Referendum

Still a ‘hot topic’, with widely spread views, for those who put fingers to keyboard in order to ‘share their views’:

Researched Links:

DIT:  UK remains number one investment destination in Europe

PC&PE:  'Scrutinising Brexit: the role of Parliament' follow-up inquiry launched

Wales Office:  Brexit means Brexit - and we're going to make a success of it


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The civil service fast stream opens for applications this month; it's one of the most popular graduate schemes in the country and is hugely competitive. With that in mind, we'd like to hear from those of you who've applied in previous years - what’s the best piece of advice you have for this year’s applicants to the scheme? And if you were ultimately unsuccessful, or decided that, on reflection, the civil service wasn't for you, we'd like to hear from you too.
Meanwhile, 6,000 miles away, Tokyo is already preparing for the 2020 Olympic Games and is putting measures in place to protect the city against cyber-attacks and earthquakes. Could policy makers here learn a thing or two from Japan's approach? “There is a long tradition of community organisations, non-profits, local governments and neighbourhood associations closely collaborating,” says Christian Dimmer, an assistant professor in the urban studies department at Tokyo University. Our feature on Tokyo's Olympic task is the first in a new series looking at innovative partnerships throughout the world - look out for more in the coming weeks.

Also on the network

Olympic task: Tokyo is already in crisis management mode for 2020 Games

Olympic task: Tokyo is already in crisis management mode for 2020 Games
With four years to go, Tokyo wants to ensure its Olympic Games will be protected against both cyber-attacks and earthquakes

The railways are no longer just a man's domain: meet the female train drivers

The railways are no longer just a man's domain: meet the female train drivers
Some depots don’t have female toilets, and children still stare when they see a woman in the driver’s seat, but more is being done to bring gender balance to the railways

The very people I became a councillor to help often have no idea I'm here

The very people I became a councillor to help often have no idea I'm here
I’ve been called disconnected, disgusting, and a disgrace but I want to overhaul a broken system that should better support our most in need

News in brief
• New Freedom of Information watchdog hints at tougher rules for slow departments
• Councils call for devolution of national work programme
• Prison officer numbers still falling despite MoJ recruitment push
• Dorset consultation ‘undemocratic’ and ‘biased’, PCC says
• Eight out of ten people happy with policing, watchdog finds