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Wired - GOV Plus welcomes back its readers from the summer break.  This ‘bumper edition’ newsletter, in addition to covering the last week ‘in full’ as normal, also includes our editor’s pick of items published during the break period – especially consultations, the announcement of which you may have missed. Other items can be accessed by going to the ‘Home’ page and clicking on ‘Search for Press releases’ using ‘August’ as ‘Date From’ and selecting a specific department, or ‘Any’.

BIS:  Recruiting ex-service personnel to teach in poorly performing schools may not be such a ‘wild’ idea after all - Prisoners will receive a boost to their chances of finding employment after their release, with intensive ‘military style’ Maths & English classes, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced recently.  The pilot will be carried out in 6 prisons in the North West, and will be based on the successful approach used for training new recruits in the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

An example of an Army intensive programme consists of 35 hours of lessons in a 1 week block, but with additional training for those who need it.  The teaching makes literacy & numeracy relevant to the recruits’ day-to-day work and has been shown to boost their confidence and career progression, including those who had poor experiences of learning at school.

The programme will show offenders how important basic skills are when trying to get a job and stay in work.  It will be taught at the start of their sentences so their studies are less likely to be disrupted. The pilot is part of the Government’s drive to cut re-offending, which costs the public purse £9.5bn - £13bn a year. 
Press release & links ~ Armed Forces praised for literacy & numeracy training ~ Armed Forces basic skills longitudinal study: executive summary ~ Results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR) survey ~ British Army - Reading and Writing ~ Army Education Officers teach Gurkhas in Helmand ~ Meeting needs? The Offenders’ Learning and Skills Service ~ Offenders’ Learning and Skills Service ~ £1.8m in BIG funding to keep ex-offenders on ‘straight and narrow’ ~ Civitas:  We need a policy that delivers something between the 2 extremes of ‘giving them the key’ and ‘throwing it away’ (2nd item) ~ Army Basic Skills Provision Whole Organisation Approach (A2139) - Lessons learnt ~ Defence Dynamics ~ NAO: The youth justice system in England & Wales: Reducing offending by young people ~ Other related NAO documents

ICO:  A caveat that, as the Third Sector takes on the provision of many more services, they also take on legal duties - Charities & third sector organisations stand to benefit most from a data protection ‘check up’, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) confirmed recently as the ICO published its top 5 areas for improvement for SMEs.

With charities often handling sensitive information, such as individuals’ medical details, they are potentially more susceptible to encountering a serious data breach.  This could result in the ICO serving the organisation with a monetary penalty of up to £500,000.  However by using the top 5 tips and signing up for a FREE one day advisory visit, the ICO is highlighting the support available to help them keep their personal information secure.

The ICO’s top 5 areas for improvement are:
* Tell people what you are doing with their data
* Make sure your staff are adequately trained
* Use strong passwords
* Encrypt all portable devices
* Only keep people’s information for as long as necessary

The ICO has produced a guide to ICO advisory visits for organisations considering an advisory visit and organisations that would like to be considered for an advisory visit are invited to register their interest by sending an email.  The ICO publish summary reports of the advisory visits already carried out and has also produced guidance for the charity sector.
ICOExpected better exam results? - The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has reminded students of their information rights regarding this year’s A-Level results.  Under the Data Protection Act students can see information held about them, such as a breakdown of their marks, by making a subject access request to the examination body.

The ICO’s guidance, ‘Individuals’ rights of access to examination records, outlines how people can access more general information about  college or university policies or procedures.  The ICO has also produced guidance for schools and universities, explaining their responsibilities under the DPA, including what actions they should take when receiving a subject access request.
PC&PEAs the song goes: ‘Why are we waiting’ - The Scottish Affairs Committee has published the 4th report in its series of reports about the referendum on separation for Scotland.  It follows on from a report last week on the legal competence of the Scottish Parliament to hold a referendum on separation.

Report Summary: ….. The Scottish Government does not have a mandate to hold a referendum on greater devolution.  What it promised was a referendum on separation, and we agree they should be enabled to hold that. …….  It is perfectly clear that there are, at present, no developed plans for further devolution. In particular, the idea of "devolution max" is no more than a phrase in search of content.  No plans exist, and none are in prospect which could properly be put forward to the voters in any referendum.
Press release & links ~ Press release regarding legal competence report & links ~ No, 10: Family break-ups are never easy or straight-forward (3rd item) ~ CO:  The impact of Scottish independence will be far wider than just having 2 PMs for these islands ~ (1st item) ~ ScotGov:  Will the Scots pay back the rest of the UK for rescuing their banks? (1st item) ~ DfT:  Would an independent Scotland pay all the costs to extend HS2 beyond Leeds & Manchester? (2nd item) ~ IPPR: 79% of English voters want Scottish MPs barred from votes on English only laws ~ Welsh First Minister sets out his vision of a ‘new’ United Kingdom ~ Consultation launched on new Scottish borrowing powers ~ Scotland will stand on her own two feet ~ Consultation response shows strong support for a single question referendum sooner rather than later ~ Scottish Affairs Committee publishes report on the Crown Estate in Scotland ~ Commission on the consequences of devolution for the House of Commons established

DHWill this avoid the quality issues & failures of recent times? - The National Quality Board (NQB) has published a report setting out how the new health system will work together to maintain and improve quality & safety, ensuring patients receive the best care possible.  The focus of the NQB report – “Quality in the new health system – maintaining and improving quality from April 2013” – is how the new health system will work together to identify, respond to & prevent serious failures in quality.
Ofsted:  Double vulnerability through age & disability - Disabled children are at risk of slipping through the child protection net, according to a recent Ofsted report.  The study found that many children and their families receive good multi-agency early support but too many children had child protection needs which went unidentified.

Protecting disabled children: thematic inspection report looks at the effectiveness of child protection work for disabled children in 12 local authorities, examining 173 cases and tracing the child’s journey through the system to understand how well disabled children are protected from harm.
VSO:  Helping them to help themselves - International development charity VSO is seeking experienced teachers to volunteer in Ethiopia and help improve the quality of education for children across the country, where 2.7m children are out of school.

VSO is currently recruiting primary teachers, English language teachers, head teachers and education managers to work at all levels in Ethiopia’s education system.  Volunteers will be improving the language skills of teachers, delivering training programmes and lecturing in universities. 

Since 2003 VSO has been working with the government to set up & deliver Ethiopia’s Higher Diploma Programme, a 1-year mandatory qualification, which has exceeded its targets & trained more than 6,000 lecturers.
CLGAn end to ‘Behind closed doors’? - New law changes to introduce greater openness & transparency in executive councils meetings will mean all decisions including those affecting budgets & local services will have to be taken in an open & public forum, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has announced.
Ministers have put new regulations before Parliament that would come into force in September 2012 to extend the rights of people to attend all meetings of a council's executive, its committees and subcommittees.  Individual councillors will also have stronger rights to scrutinise the actions of their council.

Latest Paper: Is your organization in denial about Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks? - Cyber attacks are now a common news item, with high-profile organisations regularly having their Internet services taken offline by DDoS attacks. These attacks target the availability of networks, services and applications – disrupting access for genuine users, and potentially impacting business continuity. The Home Office, the European Parliament and the Australian Government are just some of the most recent victims.

As a business continuity threat, DDoS needs be considered alongside other risks such as fire, flood etc, and risk management processes put in place accordingly.  An organisation can protect its online services from DDoS attacks, but only if the right defence mechanisms are put in place.  If we protect our online services from the DDoS threat then we can ensure that our customers, partner-organisations and employees can always make best use of the online resources our organisations provide. 

Click here to download the latest DDoS best practice guide find out more about how to defend your organisation’s online services against DDoS attacks.

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Click here to view the agenda and register today.

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