HM Treasury: But will they improve public transport capacity before charging for road use? - Sir Rod Eddington has published the findings of his study: Transport's role in sustaining UK's Productivity and Competitiveness: The Case for Action, which highlights the vital role that transport plays in supporting the economic success of the UK.
To quote extracts from the Summary report – the government should:
….adopt a sophisticated policy mix to meet both economic and environmental goals. Policy should get the prices right (especially congestion pricing on the roads and environmental pricing across all modes) and make best use of existing networks:
• In line with the Stern Review, prices across all modes should reflect the true cost to society, including congestion, overcrowding & environmental impacts – through appropriate fiscal, regulatory, pricing or trading instruments.
• Use road pricing as the most appropriate way to tackle congestion: introduce widespread, congestion-targeted road pricing to deliver the potential benefits cost-effectively; setting out the key decisions needed to unlock the vast potential of road pricing.
• Explore the potential for high value for money better use measures that encourage changes in travel choices or exploit the opportunities provided by new technologies.
...reflecting the high returns available from some transport investment, based on full appraisal of environmental and social costs and benefits, the Government, together with the private sector, should deliver sustained and targeted infrastructure investment in those schemes which demonstrate high returns, including smaller schemes tackling pinch points:
· After considering the potential for pricing and better use, deliver sustained infrastructure investment where it offers strong returns in the three strategic economic priority areas.
· Do not be seduced by ‘grand projects’ with speculative returns.
· Implement proposals for additional runway capacity where the case is robust, having accounted for the environmental costs of emissions.
Press release ~ Eddington Review website & study ~ 'Frustratingly slow: a report on road congestion and the Government's plans to deal with it’ ~ DfT Road Pricing feasibility study ~ DfT Road pricing website ~ Select Committee 2005 report ~ Congestion on the strategic road network ~ HOT lanes ~ FOE: Road pricing: magic wand or red herring? ~ German road pricing loses its way ~ RAE presentation on road charging
DCLG: ‘Mr Bumble the Beadle’ serves up LAs ‘gruel’ and dares them to ask for more - Local Government Minister Phil Woolas has published Government grant figures for 2007/08, which is claimed to include a ‘£3.1 billion funding boost’ for local authorities in England to ensure that ‘there is no excuse for excessive council tax increases next year’.
Local authorities in
Mr. Woolas warned that ‘there was no excuse for excessive council tax increases’ and he expected the average council tax increase to be below 5% and that the Government was prepared to take ‘capping’ action if necessary, saying: "Local government should be under no illusions; if there are excessive increases, we will take capping action - as we have done over the last three years
Press release ~ Tables showing increases in formula grant ~ DCLG – Local Government Finance ~ Lyons Inquiry into Local Government ~ Previous consultation on Formula Grant Distribution for Local Government ~ Local Government Association view
Home Office: ‘Timing is everything’ and this report is very timely considering the recent disturbances - Anne Owers, Chief Inspector of Prisons, has described a report on Harmondsworth immigration removal centre (IRC), as the poorest ever issued on an IRC. Inspectors found serious concerns, including:
· the centre was not performing satisfactorily against any of its tests of a healthy custodial environment
· poor relationships between custody officers & detainees, worse than had been seen at any other centre
· over 60% of detainees said they had felt unsafe with the main fear being of bullying by staff
· systems to support detainees were underdeveloped
Anne Owers said: "This is not primarily the fault of staff, some of whom were trying, without adequate support, to do a good job. It is essentially a problem of management, and it is of some concern that this had not been fully identified and resolved earlier by the contractor and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate."
Press release ~ HM Inspectorate of Prisons ~ Harmondsworth Report 2006 ~ Harmondsworth 2005 Report ~ Breaking BBC news item ~ Report on disturbances at Harmondsworth (2004) ~ BBC article – Life Inside ~ BBC - Q and A: Immigration detention
DfES: Has the government done enough to reassure teachers escorting field trips? - Education and Skills Secretary Alan Johnson claims that the government will put learning outside the classroom at the heart of the curriculum and young people's personal development. Launching the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto Mr Johnson urged schools to use the wealth of educational opportunities on their doorsteps and further afield, to inspire & motivate every pupil.
The Manifesto is a growing coalition of over 100 education providers & local authorities who support schools in providing a wide range of experiences ranging from lessons in school grounds to visits to museums, city farms, parks, field study centres, nature reserves, residential activity centres and places of worship.
A new independent council will provide a single voice for all organisations involved in out-of-classroom to implement the manifesto and Schools will be encouraged to report on its provision through Ofsted schools' self evaluation form introduced next year, to encourage headteachers to evaluate & develop their provision.
Press release ~ Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto ~ Employer Risk Management Guidance – consultation ~ Education Outside the Classroom: An Assessment of Activity and Practice in Schools and Local Authorities (2.4Mb) ~ Education Outside the Classroom: An assessment of activity and practice in schools and local authorities Appendix of Questionnaires (1.5mb) ~ Education Outside the Classroom: Research to Identify What Training is Offered by Initial Teacher Training Institutions (7.4Mb) ~ Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) ~ Association of Heads of Outdoor Education ~ Outward Bound Trust ~ Letter to parents ~ RSPB ~ The Real World Learning Partnership ~ Ofsted - Outdoor Education, Aspects of Good Practice ~ Institute for Outdoor Learning ~ European Institute of Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning
DH: Will anyone ‘dare’ to criticise their GP? 5 million patients are to get the chance to have their say on how easy it is for people to see their GP as part of a survey on NHS services. An average practice will have the chance to earn over £8,000 in incentives if they are responsive to patients' views on access.
Posters & leaflets informing NHS patients & staff about the new survey will be placed in GP surgeries over the next couple of weeks, with a postal survey being sent to around 5 million patients in January. The questionnaire will ask about patient’s experiences of flexible booking, telephone access and opening hours.
Taking part in the survey is completely voluntary for patients, who will be randomly selected. Advice/help-lines will be provided for those individuals needing additional support (e.g. translation, support for the visually impaired and other special needs groups).
Survey results will be made available by late May 2007, with a view to PCTs making payments to practices in the first quarter of the 2007/08 financial year. More information & regular updates will be placed on the 'Primary Medical Care Contracting' part of the Department of Health website.
Press release ~ 'Your Doctor, Your Experience, Your Say' ~ Directed Enhanced Service (DES) ~ Frequently asked questions about the GP Patient Survey ~ Ipsos MORI ~ GPC ~ DH: 'Primary Medical Care Contracting ~ National GP Contract ~ GMS Contract
DCLG: Build more bigger homes and build them on brownfield sites - Housing Minister Yvette Cooper has set out reforms to the planning system which are intended to help local authorities deliver more & better homes - including more affordable & family homes. Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (PPS3) is designed to tackle obstacles in the current planning system which means that not enough suitable sites are available to deliver the homes families & local people need.
Specifically, councils will need to ensure there are enough family homes and ensure that the housing needs of children are being met, with an emphasis being placed on family-friendly developments, including access to gardens, play areas and parks.
New developments will have to take account of the need to cut carbon emissions and to move towards zero carbon development, with higher standards for housing & planning to be set out shortly in the new Planning Policy Statement on Climate Change and the revised Code for Sustainable Homes.
The new English Partnership National Brownfield Strategy, which has also just been published for consultation, will hopefully help local councils to bring forward more brownfield land for development.
PPS3 follows the recommendations of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission, stating that local authorities and regional planning bodies will have to take greater account of affordability pressures in rural areas and the need to sustain village life by providing additional housing that is sensitive to the area & the environment.
Press release ~ Yvette Cooper's Written Ministerial Statement ~ Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (PPS3) ~ Closed consultation on PPS3 ~ Summary of responses and key issues ~ English Partnership’s Brownfield Strategy Policy consultation workshop ~ English Partnerships' National Brownfield Strategy 2003 discussion paper ~ Planning Policy Guidance 3: Housing (March 2000) ~ Affordable Rural Housing Commission ~ Code for Sustainable Homes ~ Planning Portal - PPS1 Sus. Dev. ~ Planning Portal - PPS7 Rural Areas ~ Planning Portal - PPG25 Flood Risk ~ Affordable Rural Housing website ~ Environment Agency - Brownfield Land Redevelopment: Position Statement ~ DCLG - Bringing brownfield sites back into use ~ DCLG – Other brownfield publications ~ Land Restoration Trust ~ Priority Sites ~ JRF: Obstacles to the release of brownfield sites for redevelopment ~ CPRE Position statement ~ CABERNET (Concerted Action on Brownfield and Economic Regeneration Network) ~ Land Remediation Year Book 2006
DfES: Government finally gives it backing to the Baccalaureate - The Prime Minister and Education Secretary have announced that schools and colleges will offer more choices to young people over what they study post-16, by providing greater access to the International Baccalaureate for those who want it.
Students taking the IB programme will take 6 subjects including their own language, a second language, an arts and a science subject along with the compulsory elements: an extended project; Theory of Knowledge; and community service.
At present 46 maintained schools & colleges across 32 local authorities teach the IB. There are currently 87 authorities outside
Alan Johnson also said that the Government was proposing a number of measures to make the A-level more stretching, the main details of which are:
· making questions more open-ended & less prescriptive, requiring greater thought & more detailed answers
· the introduction of an A* grade, to encourage the students to demonstrate the upper limits of their ability
· from 2008, all students will be required to produce an extended, dissertation-like, project requiring independent research, thought & planning
They also set out an ‘acceleration in the Government's flagship education policies’ to ‘give schools greater freedoms to deliver even higher standards’. Building on the 50 schools already driving towards Trust status, they announced that a further 50 should be on-stream by the Spring.
Press release ~ Mr Johnson's speech ~ International Baccalaureate Organisation ~ QCA: Comparing A Levels with the IB examinations ~ QCA: Specialised Diplomas ~ DfES Specialised diploma gateway ~ local '14-19 partnerships' ~ Specialist Schools and Academies Trust ~ Youth Sport Trust ~ Welsh Bac website ~ FAQs ~ Final Report of the External Evaluation of the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification (WBQ) Pilot ~ VTC for Welsh Bac ~ Standards of Public Examinations in England and Wales
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Defra: Defra and the Environment Agency are
reminding farmers in Nitrate Vulnerable
Zones (NVZs), that the whole farm organic manure loading limit, for any
areas of their farm not in grass, will drop from 210 kg N/ha/yr to 170 kg
Farmers with land ‘not in grass’ will need to
calculate whether they have enough land available for spreading all their
manure, to ensure they remain compliant with this lower limit. Guidance to help with this calculation
can be found in the Defra booklet 'Manure Planning in NVZs -
Press release ~
DfT: The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) has issued a policy statement setting out the case for Shopmobility schemes, which loan equipment (such as manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs & powered scooters) out to anyone with limited mobility for use within a town centre or shopping mall.
Grahame Lawson, Chair of DPTAC Personal Mobility and Local Authority Working Group called for Shopmobility to become an integral part of Local Transport Plan strategies & LA funding to help more disabled & older people to retain their mobility and bridge an existing gap by providing a more integrated & accessible transport system.
Press release ~ Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) ~ Attitudes of Disabled People to Public Transport ~ DPTAC position statement on Shopmobility ~ National Federation of Shopmobility UK ~ Justmobility.co.uk
FSA: A 6-week market wide business
continuity exercise led by the Financial
Services Authority on behalf of the Tripartite Authorities (Bank of England, HM Treasury and FSA) has
made a significant contribution to enhancing the resilience of the
This year's annual exercise assessed how prepared the Tripartite Authorities and the financial services sector would be in the event of a flu pandemic and, over the six weeks of the exercise, the scenario simulated the first five months of such a crisis.
Early indications are that despite the extensive disruption and rising levels of absenteeism that would result from a pandemic, the financial sector would be able to sustain its core financial services. The Tripartite Authorities will publish a summary of the main findings before the end of the year.
Press release ~ Tripartite Authorities ~ Tripartite Initiatives ~ FSA: The Business Continuity Management Practice Guide ~ FSA ~ Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 ~ The Discussion Paper, Resilience Benchmarking Project ~ UK Financial Sector Continuity ~ London Prepared - London Resilience ~ Information needed on firms in a financial crisis: ‘Factbooks’ FONT> ~ Crisis Solutions Limited
Cabinet Office: A review of the penalties for regulatory non-compliance lead by Professor Richard Macrory has published its final report - 'Regulatory Justice: Making Sanctions Effective' - which found that reliance on criminal prosecution failed to give regulators adequate means to effectively deal with many cases in a proportionate & risk based way.
It also found that the use of criminal prosecutions can be a disproportionate response in many instances of regulatory non compliance and that penalties handed down by the courts often failed to act as a sufficient deterrent or reflect the economic benefit gained.
The review proposes a broad 'toolkit' of administrative penalties for regulators to promote & enforce regulatory compliance and it recommends that the Government pilot schemes involving restorative justice whereby those most effected by a regulatory wrongdoing can come together to address the harm and prevent a recurrence.
Regulators will only get access to the new toolkit when they have demonstrated to the Panel on Regulatory Accountability that they are compliant with the Hampton & Macrory principles of risk based enforcement, which were set out in Philip Hampton's report Reducing administrative burdens: effective inspection and enforcement.
Defra: The Government is to carry out a review of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP), Environment Minister Ian Pearson has announced in a Written Ministerial Statement released to Parliament.
The review will evaluate the performance of the Royal Commission since its last review in 1999, in order to make recommendation on its future development and will focus on the quality & impact of the Commission's studies, its working methods, resources & how they are managed.
Once the review has reported (expected in spring 2007), Defra will examine its recommendations and see how they should be implemented, in particular, by reviewing the agreement setting out the framework within which the relationship between the two bodies operates.
DfES: Among findings of a review into outreach activities by Higher Education institutions, which was carried out by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), were that 89% of the institutions surveyed rated their progress in Widening Participation in the past four years as strong or very strong, with universities engaged in a number of outreach activities to attract students from all backgrounds such as looked after children, white working class boys, the disabled, and first generation entrants to higher education.
Also launched was a booklet comprising a range of measures which the DfES will take to further improve participation in Higher Education (HE).
Press release ~ Review ~ HEFC – Widening Participation ~ DfES Booklet ~ Aimhigher ~ DfES Gateway to Higher Education ~ Widening participation in higher education (2003) ~ Higher Education Academy ~ Gateways Development Fund
Cabinet Office: The Government has announced the appointment of Peter Rogers, Chief Executive of Westminster City Council, to lead an independent review of legislation enforced by local authorities to identify 5 key priorities.
The review will include over 60 policy areas with the aim to produce a more joined up approach to regulatory inspection & enforcement. The review will aim to report by Budget 2007 and it will work with local authorities, central government, independent regulators and businesses.
The Terms of reference are to:
· FONT> Define policy areas (& their enforcement mechanisms) that come under the remit of LA regulatory services
· FONT> Collect & collate the evidence on the relative priority of these policy areas for central government, local citizens and business, and
· FONT> Make recommendations on around five policy areas that are central government priorities for local authorities, based on their level of risk, political priority and the perceptions of citizens and business
Defra: How food is produced, sourced & impacts on our health & the environment will form the basis of a Year of Food and Farming in education, which start in September 2007 and aims to involve all schools in England. It will link with a whole range of other initiatives, such as the Healthy Schools Standard, Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto and Strategy for Sustainable Food and Farming.
The Year is intended to help to reconnect young people with their food and it aims to achieve:
· FONT> Improved understanding of the food chain and the role played by farming
· FONT> Increased links between schools, farmers and food producers
· FONT> Development of healthier lifestyles and good nutrition
· FONT> An increased interest in careers in the food & farming industries
· FONT> A greater appreciation of the importance of the countryside and environmental issues
Press release ~ Healthy Schools Programme ~ Defra: Year of Food and Farming in education ~ Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto ~ Government's Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative (PSFPI) ~ Food and Farming - Reconnecting a new generation ~ Royal Agricultural Society for England (RASE) ~ Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) ~ Healthy Schools Standard ~ Strategy for Sustainable Food and Farming ~ TeacherNet - Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme (CEVAS) ~ Sustainable Farming & Food delivery group ~ Business in the Community
Cabinet Office: The Better Regulation Executive in the Cabinet Office will deliver a number of actions, which are hoped to have a significant impact on how local authorities enforce regulation (80% of inspections are carried out by LAs):
· FONT> The timetable for establishing a new Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) has been brought forward from 2009 to 2007.
· FONT> The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Macrory review of regulatory penalties, which will allow LAs to be lenient with minor accidental infringements and more severe with persistent offenders.
· FONT> Establishing the Regulators' Compliance Code the Autumn to come into force in April 2008
· FONT> The Retail Enforcement Initiative pilot will be extended to 70 more local authorities.
Press release ~ Better Regulation Executive ~ Macrory Penalties Review ~ Hampton Review ~ Rogers Review ~ Regulators' Compliance Code ~ Retail Enforcement Initiative pilot ~ Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO)
HC: The Healthcare Commission has welcomed the government’s consultation document (closes 28 February 2007) on the regulation of health & adult social care and its Chairman, Sir Ian Kennedy, said: We welcome the recognition that modern regulation needs to be designed so that it can use information and intelligence – including the views of patients and those who care for them – to target limited resources to areas of greatest risk.
The proposals also allow the regulator to promote improvement by gradually raising the bar that providers must clear in meeting the standards expected of them. This is critical in a world where public expectations will never remain static.
The paper includes an overdue plan for a single regime of registration covering the NHS and the independent sector. This would involve a single legislative framework and a single set of national standards applying to all providers, instead of having two separate systems as at present.
Executive Chairman of Monitor, Bill Moyes, said: "The consultation document confirms that the Government values Monitor's work and wants us to continue as the Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts. We are also pleased that the consultation document has adopted the arrangements we published recently for managing clinical or service delivery failure in foundation trusts. The proposals for registration are novel and still to be elaborated in detail.
HC press release ~ Monitor press release ~ The future regulation of health and adult social care in England ~ Our health, our care, our say: Making it happen ~ DH – Social care ~ Healthcare Commission ~ Monitor ~ NHS Foundation Trusts: Clinical Quality and Service Performance ~ NHS Foundation Trusts: Plan for 2006-07 and Report for Period 1 April to 30 June 2006
Defra: A strategy for improving animal welfare
It suggests innovative ways of doing this, such as improving the labelling of food with information about the welfare conditions of the animals from which it was produced, allowing consumers to make informed choices about what they buy. Other proposals include building agreement on global animal welfare standards, which can be embedded in future international laws and treaties.
Press release ~
DfT: New proposals for permit schemes which give local highway authorities in England the power to control when & where their roads are dug up and keep traffic moving has been put to public consultation (closes on 26 February 2007).
Under the scheme, anyone digging up the road would have to seek permission from a local highway authority to begin works. The authority would then issue a permit specifying the duration and in some instances the day & time that the work should take place.
The proposed maximum fee for a permit will be £240, with fees being broadly based on the scale of the works and the predicted disruption. All fees revenue will be used by an Authority to run the permit scheme. Regulations arising from the consultation are expected to come into force in the latter part of 2007.
The review aims to cut waste crime, such as fly tipping and remove the blight this can have on affected communities. The government also want to make the legislation easier for the enforcing authorities to use, along with the introduction of more flexible penalties for waste offences.
Further details of which proposals the Government intends to take forward for a second period of consultation will be published following an analysis of responses to the first consultation.
Press release ~
Consultation on the controls on the handling, transfer and
transport of waste ~ Controlled Waste (Registration of Carriers and Seizure of
Vehicles) Regulations 1991 ~ SEPA ~ Environment Agency - Waste Brokers and
Dealers ~ Environmental Protection (Duty of Care)
Regulations 1991 as amended ~ Waste Management Licensing ~ Local environmental quality ~
Defra: The Government has issued a
consultation document (closes
It is intended to give effect to the "polluter pays" principle for environmental damage which significantly adversely affects EU-protected biodiversity & water and land contamination that creates a significant risk of human health being adversely affected. Operators of certain activities regulated by EU legislation which threaten or give rise to environmental damage will be held liable for prevention or remediation of the damage at their own expense.
Because it is aimed at the most significant
cases, it is estimated that fewer than 1% of the approximately 30,000 cases of
environmental damage reported to enforcement authorities in the
OFT: The OFT has issued for consultation
In return for confessing to cartel involvement and helping the OFT to break cartels and punish other participants, the OFT can offer companies immunity from, or a reduction of, civil fines and to individuals it can offer 'no-action' (i.e. immunity from criminal sanction).
Gambling Commission: The Gambling Commission has launched its
new conditions & codes, which all operators in the gambling industry must
follow if they want to run a gambling business in
Set up in October 2005, the Commission's remit is to regulate the gambling industry in the public interest. It has powers to prosecute operators who fail to maintain standards and can impose unlimited fines on operators that breach their licence conditions.
Press release ~
Gambling Commission ~ Conditions and Codes
DCA: Legal Services Minister Bridget Prentice has launched a Step-by-step guide to choosing a legal adviser that will help consumers get the right advice for them.
The leaflet highlights the key questions that consumers should think about when shopping for legal services to enable them to handle what can be a daunting experience with confidence. It explains what to expect when seeking legal advice and how to get value for money.
DH: The government have launched new guidance on practice based commissioning (PBC), which sets out guidance for Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to ensure that more practices are able to take forward PBC with maximum support & minimum bureaucracy. It outlines:
· FONT> reduced bureaucracy around business cases & tendering
· FONT> more financial freedom and
· FONT> strengthened local incentive schemes
Press release ~ Practice Based Commissioning: achieving universal coverage ~ Practice based commissioning: practical implementation: What does this mean for practices? ~ Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) ~ DH - PBC ~ DH – Primary Care ~ NHS Alliance ~ National Association of Primary Care ~ Improvement Foundation ~ NHS Primary Care Contracting Team
DfES: New Sure Start guidance, published for local authorities and their partners, brings together evidence & best practice in reaching the families most in need. It provides advice about developing services which are accessible to every family especially the most disadvantaged, underlines the importance of effective partnership working in delivering integrated early years services and illustrates how children's centres can best work with the range of families that make up our diverse society.
Also published by the DfES is a new framework for planning & management of children's centres that makes clear the need to ensure they are using evidence based practice to improve outcomes for children and provide high quality support to all families.
The guidance is informed by two reports from the National Evaluation of Sure Start, which ‘look at how Sure Start Local Programmes have empowered parents &local communities and draw together evidence of what works in delivering effective outreach and home visiting services to the most socially excluded families’ I>.
Press release ~
Defra: A report highlighting just how far
climate change has already impacted the
The report card strongly suggests that marine climate change will have important consequences for all elements of our marine environment, with significant impacts on the biological diversity, cleanliness & safety and commercial productivity of our seas.
Press release ~ Report Card ~ Charting Progress: An Integrated Assessment of the State of UK Seas ~ Defra Climate Change ~ Defra Marine Environment ~ Stern Report ~ Are we putting our fish in hot water? (1Mb)
Scottish Executive: Scottish courts are making increasing use of new laws that tackle religious hatred as an aggravated offence, according to a report - Religiously Aggravated Reported Crime: An 18 Month Review. The number of offences reported by the police with a religious aggravation increased by 55% when comparing June- December 2003 and June - December 2004
Section 74 of the Criminal Justice
· FONT> at the time of committing the offence or immediately before or after doing so, the offender evinces towards the victim of the offence malice and ill-will based on the victim's membership (or presumed membership) of a religious group, or of a social or cultural group with a perceived religious affiliation
· FONT> or, the offence is motivated (wholly or partly) by malice and ill-will towards members of a religious group, or of a social or cultural group with a perceived religious affiliation, based on their membership of that group
The Act states that, when sentencing, the court must take the aggravation into account and must state the extent of, and the reasons for, the aggravation making a difference to the sentence which would otherwise have been imposed if the offence did not feature such an aggravation.
Press release ~ Religiously Aggravated Reported Crime: An 18 Month Review ~ Action Plan for Tackling Sectarianism ~ 2002 Consultation on tackling RH ~ Final Working Group Report ~ Scottish Civic Forum Briefing
HSE: The Health & Safety Commission (HSC) has published a performance report detailing the wide range of work that it has overseen during the past year to reduce work-related fatalities, injuries and illness.
Measuring Up... Performance Report 2006 gives a summary of the
activities, initiatives & campaigns carried out by the Health and Safety
Executive (HSE) and Local Authorities that have contributed to
As well as offering examples of the various initiatives, campaigns & strategies that have been implemented in recent years to improve health and safety at work, the document also features information on HSE's work on regulating major hazards. In particular, it covers the on-going work into the Buncefield incident and HSE's contribution to the energy review.
HM Treasury: The Chancellor has announced the
publication of a report on long-term opportunities & challenges facing the
Since, the first CSR in 1998 and, with the start of the next spending round coming a decade on from the first CSR, there are new challenges that Britain needs to address, including demographic & socio-economic change, the intensification of cross-border economic competition, the rapid pace of innovation & technological diffusion, continued global uncertainty with ongoing threats of international terrorism & conflict and increasing pressures on our natural resources & global climate
Press release ~ Long-term challenges and opportunities for the UK: analysis for the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review ~ Releasing the resources to meet the challenges ahead: value for money in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review ~ 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review ~ Leitch Review of Skills ~ Eddington Transport Study ~ Barker Review of Land Use Planning ~ Lyons Inquiry into the funding, role and function of local government ~ Future role of the third sector in social and economic regeneration ~ Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change ~ Energy Review
Defra: The National Fallen Stock Company (NFSCo) has distributed over £11million of Government funding to farmers, with 700,000 collections of fallen stock carried out by the 140 collectors, since the beginning of the scheme in November 2004.
NFSCo was set up by Defra and the Devolved Administrations to run a voluntary scheme to assist farmers with the cost & practicalities of complying with the EU Animal By-Products Regulation, following the ban on on-farm burial or burning. The scheme also ensures confidence that fallen stock will be collected & disposed of according to strict biosecurity guidelines.
Members of the scheme get 35% of the cost of fallen stock collection & disposal paid for by government grant. New members can still join the scheme to benefit from this support that will last for the next two years.
Defra: Local authorities are at the forefront
The statistics assign emissions to end users. For example, the emissions created by a power plant are assigned to the users of the electricity rather than to the plant itself, show that:
· Nationally: 44% of emissions were attributed to 'industrial, commercial and public sector' sources, 29% to the domestic sector and 28% to road transport
· In about a third of local authorities, the emissions from the domestic sector were higher than from the industrial, commercial and public sectors with about 48% of domestic emissions due to gas use, 41% to electricity and 10% attributable to the use of other fuels
Press release ~
FONT color=#0000ff size=2>Emissions of carbon dioxide for local authority
areas ~ The Nottingham Declaration Action
Pack ~ The Energy Saving Trust's advice for local
authorities ~ Green
DCLG: The Government has published the Greater London Assembly Greater London
Authority (GLA) Bill proposing an enhanced package of powers for the GLA -
the Mayor of
The Bill proposes more strategic powers for the Mayor in key areas:
· FONT> new lead roles on housing & tackling climate change
· FONT> a strengthened role in planning & waste, and
· FONT> enhanced powers in health & culture
The Bill also sets out the new powers for the
Mayor of London to amend
Press release ~ DCLG – GLA Bill website ~ Further Education and Training Bill ~ Housing Corporation ~ Sponsorship of Museum of London ~ Letter to Ken Livingstone regarding skills in London ~ Mayor’s View
TfL: Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has set
out a 20-year transport programme aimed at ensuring
Press release ~ T2025: Reports & related documents ~ Walkit.com ~ Legible London ~ Walkit.com ~ Legible London ~ The Walking Plan ~ Walking in London ~ Intelligent Transport Systems: Traffic Advisory Leaflets ~ DfT Powering future vehicles strategy
NAO: The National Audit Office has reported that Jobcentre Plus personal advisers provide an effective & highly valued service in helping people looking for work. There are over 9,000 personal advisers who conducted 10.8 million interviews last year with people looking for work and the feedback from those they help is positive and suggests they are an effective method of support in helping people find employment and preparing them for work.
However, the National Audit Office also found the effectiveness of personal advisers is reduced by the burden of paperwork, by interruptions and by people failing to keep appointments. As a result advisers spent only around 52% of their time interviewing people, a proportion that could be improved by changes to paperwork, improved administrative support and ensuring customers turn up to their appointments on time.
The NAO has also reported that Jobcentre Plus needs better data management as it currently operates with incomplete information on various aspects of its work, from how many personal advisers it employs to the exact cost of paperwork or late appointments.
MCA: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has published the report of research
on Seafarers' Fatigue conducted
on behalf of the Agency and the Health and Safety Executive by Professor Andy
Smith, Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology,
The research findings add to the view that fatigue at sea is a significant safety issue and that many seafarers are working hours in excess of the working time limits and under-recording hours of work. The report also recognizes that it is the combined effect of several factors that are associated with fatigue.
Press release ~
Seafarer Health and
Safety Branch ~ Report ~ International Maritime
HC: New findings in a Healthcare Commission report highlight
that people who are older, from an ethnic minority group or disabled, report
different experiences of the NHS than the rest of the population. The study covers responses of over
280,000 people and the services of 535 NHS organisations in
Patients who said they had a long-standing disability that affected their day-to-day activities were more likely to report less negative experiences than those without a disability. Those declaring ‘poor health’ status at the time of completing the survey also responded more negatively than those self-reporting ‘good health’ status.
Patients & mental health service users from BME groups were more likely than white service users to report negative experiences for some questions. Asian patients generally responded more negatively than white patients, but there were exceptions – for example they responded more positively in the mental health survey when asked about how they were treated by the psychiatrist.
Press release ~ Variations in the experiences of patients using the NHS services in England ~ HC Patient Survey programme ~ Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health (2005) ~ DH Black and Minority Ethnic Mental Health programme website
NAO: The results of a survey of
The assistance provided was seen as good in parts, but there were clearly also lessons to be learned and the government has committed itself to preparing an action plan in response to the findings to improve efforts at assistance in any future crisis.
Responding to the NAO's report for the
FCO, Lord Triesman said: "The sheer scale of the 2004 tsunami meant
that no organisation was able to respond as it wanted. As a result, some
of the work recommended in the report is already underway, including
establishing support networks in the
NAO press release ~ FCO press release ~ Full report (1.2Mb) ~ BBC Timeline to event ~ Oxfam’s Cool Planet for Teachers ~ British Red Cross ~ Tsunami Support Network ~ Disasters Emergency Committee ~ FCO Key Events and actions ~ Tsunami Support UK
DCA: The DCA and the Legal Services Commission (LSC) has jointly published ‘Legal Aid Reform: The Way Ahead’, which sets out how reforms will be made to legal aid.
It follows from consultation on Lord Carter's report over the summer, which provided a blueprint for moving legal aid to a market-based system involving best value tendering after a transitional phase where hourly rates are replaced by fixed and graduated fees.
Press release ~ Legal Aid Reform: The Way Ahead ~ Legal Aid: a sustainable future ~ Lord carter’s review: Legal Aid: A market-based approach to reform ~ A Fairer Deal for Legal Aid ~ Legal Services Commission (LSC)
The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) sees this as a key weapon in the fight to end worker exploitation and Mike Wilson Chief Executive of the GLA said: "It takes two to exploit labour - the provider and the user….
By using unlicensed labour providers, labour users become complicit in this exploitation.
Defra has published guidance that sets out the steps that a labour user can take to ensure a labour provider is licensed. By taking these steps a labour user can establish a defence in court to show they took all reasonable steps to check that the labour provider was licensed.
The GLA has launched a public consultation on the GLA licence fee &
additional charges for the financial year 2007/2008 (closing date of
DWP: The Pensions Bill has been published and it is intended to:
· FONT> make the state pension more generous by linking the Basic State Pension to earnings
· FONT> make the system fairer for women and carers and
· FONT> provide a solid foundation for saving
· FONT> raise the State Pension Age gradually to 68 by 2046
· FONT> Reducing the number of years needed for a full Basic State Pension
· FONT> introduce weekly credits to recognise & reward caring in the same way as working
The Bill also allows for the creation of a Delivery Authority to bring on board the expertise needed to design a successful personal accounts system which would provide people with a low-cost simple way to save. Detailed proposals for personal accounts will be published in a White Paper in December.
DH: With the implementation of the smokefree elements of the Health Act 2006, from 6am on the 1st July 2007, virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces will become smokefree environments.
This will include offices, factories, shops, pubs, bars, restaurants, membership clubs, public transport and work vehicles that are used by more than one person. The law will also mean that indoor smoking rooms, still common in workplaces, will no longer be allowed, so anyone wishing to smoke will have to go outside instead.
The Health Secretary also launched a
Press release ~ Government's proposals for regulations ~ Reducing Exposure to secondhand smoke ~ Dangers of secondhand smoke being ignored ~ Smokefree England website ~ Sudden infant death syndrome "SIDS" in children
Cabinet Office: Lord Davidson QC has published his
final report on the implementation of
European legislation in the
The review, commissioned by the Government as
part of its better regulation agenda, concluded that over-implementation may
not be as widespread in the
Press release ~ Davidson Review of the Implementation of EU Legislation ~ Principles for Departments on reviewing over-implementation of EU legislation ~ Call for evidence ~ Summary of Responses to Call for Evidence ~ EU Consultation on better implementation of EU legislation
CC: The Charity Commission Direct has extended its opening hours, so that trustees, charity advisers and members of the public who aren't able to contact them during normal working hours can now call them when it suits them best.
Experienced Commission staff will be taking calls from to during the week and on Saturdays, compared to the previous Monday to Friday service. Callers can get quick and effective advice & guidance at a time convenient to them.
HMRC: HM Revenue & Customs has launched plans to help small businesses settle their tax affairs more quickly & simply with a new - 'Delivering a new relationship with business' – which details a package of reforms designed to transform its relationship with business, including measures to:
· FONT> allow businesses to settle their tax affairs sooner
· FONT> reduce the burden of forms & inspections, and
· FONT> develop a single customer record
The report also details a series of initiatives HMRC has implemented over the past 18 month, including:
· a shortened four-page tax return for the smallest businesses
· removing from 300,000 employers the responsibility for paying tax credits to their employees
· reducing the number of forms to fill in, and
· better tax code information
Competition Commission: The Competition Commission (CC) is to introduce measures to increase competition in the home credit market and lower prices for customers. The measures are detailed in the CC's final report into the home credit market and include a requirement for home credit companies to share data on their existing customers' payment records to open up the market to greater competition from other lenders and make it easier for these customers to access other forms of credit.
Other measures will require companies to provide clearer information on the cost of loans, making it easier for customers to shop around and compare offers and to change the early settlement rebate so that customers who settle loans early receive a better deal.
It is expected that these remedies will be in operation by the end of next year, with the exception of the statement remedy which will come into force in April 2008 in line with the expected legislative timetable for the Consumer Credit Act.
The report states that over the last five years home credit providers have been making profits of over £75 million a year in excess of that which could be expected in a more competitive market.
Press release ~ Final report ~ Consumer Credit Act ~ CAB ~ Community Legal Services Direct – Dealing with debt ~ DTI – Over-indebtedness ~ OFT – Be choosy about credit ~ What’s the best way to borrow? ~ JRF - Affordable credit: The way forward ~ Social Fund ~ At a credit crossroads? ~ Consumer Credit Counselling Service ~ Consumer education – Strategy & Framework ~ 'moneylaidbare' website ~ DCA- A choice of paths ~ Financial inclusion fund
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