DWP: Office of Disability Issues - David Blunkett has announced that a new Office for Disability Issues will be established later this year. The government claims that this will ‘give real choice to people with disabilities over how services are delivered, ensuring they are suited to their needs and helping them achieve independence’.
Quite how this will mesh with the proposed new ‘super quango’ one-stop shop offered by the proposed Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) remains to be seen.
According to government estimates, there are around 10 million adults (22%) and 700,000 (5%) children in Great Britain likely to be covered by the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which defines disability as ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.
The Government is also publishing a Green Paper on welfare reform in the autumn.
Defra: Fly Away Carbon - British Airways has launched a new scheme, backed by the government, where its customers can volunteer to help to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from their flight by making a contribution to an organisation called Climate Care to invest in sustainable energy projects that tackle global warming by reducing carbon dioxide levels. It would be nice to think that the ‘government backing’ included participation in the scheme for all Ministerial air travel.
Air travellers can choose to make a donation via a link from the airline’s website for the cost of the emissions created by their journey. For example, the donation on a return flight from London Heathrow to
The money raised will be used by an organisation called Climate Care to invest in sustainable energy projects, in countries such as
The airline believes that emissions trading is the best long term mechanism for limiting aviation carbon dioxide emissions and supports aviation’s inclusion in the European Union emissions trading scheme from 2008.
Press release ~ BA Carbon Emissions web page ~ Defra Climate Change website ~ Climate Care ~ Sustainable Aviation website ~ A strategy towards sustainable development ~ Sustainable Travel International website ~ Aviation and the environment: Using economic instruments ~ Aircraft Emissions and their Impacts on the Atmosphere ~ GreenSkies website ~ CAA Environment web page ~ Skan-UK website
DfES: The Great Vegetable Challenge- As excitement builds for the 14 October cinema release of The Curse of the Were-rabbit, the first big screen adventure for triple Oscar winner Nick Park’s Wallace & Gromit characters, the DfES’ ’Growing Schools’ programme has teamed up with Aardman Animations to encourage more primary schools to create an ’outdoor classroom’ to help their pupils learn about diet, nutrition and the natural environment.
The ’Great Vegetable Challenge’ competition will invite every primary school in the country to design its own growing area for a chance to win £2,500 to have their garden built, with four runners-up prizes of £500 to help them develop their playgrounds into a growing area.
This item provides the perfect excuse for readers to preview Wallace & Gromit in their latest outing, in which they have formed their own humane pest control company, ’Anti-pesto’ and are defending village allotments from the clutches of the Were-rabbit on the eve of the annual Giant Vegetable Competition.
Defra: Defra is funding the first 2 years of setting up costs for a new professional body – The Association of Commons Registration Officers - for people involved in the registration of common land and town & village greens.
Press release ~
undertaking nursing and midwifery diplomas in
CC: The Competition Commission (CC) has provisionally concluded
that consumers have allegedly been ‘overcharged’ in the region of £80 million
to £100 million a year, for the supply of consumer credit through store cards
and associated insurance in the UK.
The CC is required to publish its final report by
WaterVoice: WaterVoice Central will meet Severn
Trent Water and South Staffordshire Water in
Defra: The government has published a strategy for plant health, which is intended to bring together existing policy on preventing, containing and eradicating plant pests and diseases across Defra and look to the future.
Press release ~ Plant Health Strategy for England ~ NAO report - Protecting England and Wales from plant pests and diseases ~ Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food: Facing the Future, ~ Legislation and International procedures ~ Defra main Plant health website ~ Horticultural Code of Practice ~ Invasive non-native species ~ Review of Non-native Species Policy ~ England biodiversity strategy - Annual stock take 2003-2004
Defra: Advice from
the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that
Defra’s proposed new BSE
testing system for older cattle should replace the Over Thirty Months (OTM) rule, has been
accepted by the Government. The
OTM rule currently imposes an automatic ban on all older cattle from entering
the human food chain, while the new system will allow
Press release ~ Food Standards Agency (FSA) BSE website ~ FSA - Over Thirty Months (OTM) rule ~ Defra’s BSE website ~ National CJD surveillance unit ~ Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee ~ DH CJD website
DfES: Skills Minister Phil Hope has welcomed the start of the new college year with the launch of new teaching materials and techniques aimed at making Further Education more stimulating. Providers are invited to nominate Subject Learning Coaches who will get free professional training and membership of regional subject networks so that they can coach colleagues in their own organisations.
DH: A team from University College London and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne have been chosen to lead a £20 million initiative to speed up the development of new medical treatments for dementia and neurodegenerative diseases such as Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntingdon’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.
Press release ~ Dementias and Neurodegenerative Disease Research Network ~ Alzheimer’s Society ~ Parkinson’s Disease Society (PDS) ~ UK Clinical Research Network (UKCRN) ~ Scoping report for Wales Dementias & Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network
MOD: All Armed Forces personnel and their families have been urged to register to vote by Defence Secretary, John Reid, as he launched MOD’s annual voter registration campaign. Distribution of 400,000 copies of ’Register to Vote’, a combined leaflet and registration form, to all members of the Armed Forces is underway and coincides with a publicity campaign across Service media.
Government has announced ‘reforms’ which it claims will dramatically streamline
the way sport is organised, clarify the responsibilities of sporting bodies and
greatly improve the chances of
Press release ~ DCMS Sport
website ~ Carter Report on Sport ~ Carter Report Supporting
Evidence ~ UK
Sport ~ Sport England ~ Talented Athlete Scholarship
Scheme (TASS) ~ TASS 2012 Scholarships ~
Defra: People who have an interest in, and are involved in managing heather and
grasslands, are being consulted (closes
OFT: A new advice leaflet for consumers considering entering into Hire Purchase (HP) agreements has been published by the OFT after three major car finance lenders made improvements to their consumer agreements to provide fairer and more transparent contract terms.
MOD: New public safety measures have been announced following a wide-ranging Ministry of Defence (MOD) review into helicopter low flying training, initiated in response to recommendations from the Louth and Spilsby Coroner. From 3 October, more accurate information on planned helicopter flying will be available to the general public through the MOD freephone helpline.
DTI: A new publicity campaign to tell people what they need to know about civil partnerships has been launched by the government. The guidance gives people information about how they can register their civil partnership and what their new rights and responsibilities are in areas like tax, pensions and benefits.
Couples will be able to give notice at a Register
Office that they want to register a civil partnership and will be able to
register after 15 days, from
DCA: The Crown and County Courts in England and Wales Annual Reports covering April 2004 to March 2005 have been published.
Healthcare Commission: The results of a major national survey show users of mental health services are satisfied with the care they get. However, the mental health patient survey, published by the Healthcare Commission, also highlights a number of areas where care could be improved, including better emergency support and better information on the side effects of medication.
release ~ Survey of users of
mental health services 2005 ~
Count Me In, the
National Mental Health Ethnicity Census ~ Mental Health and
Social Exclusion ~ DH
– Choosing Talking
therapies ~ User Led research on
talking therapies ~ DH
Mental health website ~ National Service Framework (NSF) for Mental
Health – modern standards and service models ~ Care programme approach
(CPA) ~ Effective care co-ordination in mental health services: modernising the
care programme approach - A policy booklet ~
audit pack for monitoring the care programme
Minister Gerry Sutcliffe has launched a DTI-commissioned report into the characteristics of a High Performance Workplace, based on a
comprehensive survey of almost 3,000
DWP: Estimates of the levels of fraud & error occurring in claims for Pension Credit over the period October 2003 to September 2004 have been published on the Dept. for Work and Pensions website. The estimated overpayment was 4.9% of the benefit paid over the year, which is equivalent to an estimated overpayment of £280 million.
Press release ~ Working with the grain of nature: a biodiversity strategy for England (see latest news for indicators) ~ Defra SSSI website ~ English Nature SSSI website
Acas: Acas has welcomed the publication of the final in a series of reports on part-time & flexible working by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).
Press release ~ Britain’s Hidden Brain Drain ~ The EOC’s investigation into flexible and part-time working website (see ‘related documents’ for previous reports) ~ Acas FW website ~ DTI FW website
ODPM: The ODPM and DEFRA claim that new measures to make buildings more energy efficient will save one million tonnes of carbon per year by 2010, equivalent to emissions from more than one million semi-detached homes.
The changes to Parts F and L (ventilation and fuel conservation) of the Building
Regulations two years ahead of schedule from April 2006 and the
implementation of the Energy Performance
of Buildings Directive are hoped to result in making a major contribution
Press release ~ Energy Efficiency in Buildings Directive (Parts L&F): Interim publications 2005 ~ ODPM Building Regulations website ~ Energy Performance of Buildings Directive ~ Air pressure leakage testing of buildings ~ Decent Homes programme ~ Low or Zero Carbon Energy Sources – Strategic Guide (Interim Publication) ~ Energy Smart Project~ Building a future for Wales: a strategy for sustainable housing ~ Energy Efficiency: The Government’s Plan for Action
FSCS: Consumers may be entitled to compensation of up to £48,000 if they have lost money as a result of their dealings with any one of 43 firms recently declared in default by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Consumers who believe they may have a claim should contact the Scheme on 020 7892 7300. The service is free.
OFT: The OFT has launched a market study into the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), which is the method by which the UK Departments of Health seeks to control the price of the branded medicines for prescription in the hospital and community sector.
Press release ~ Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme: Eighth Report to Parliament, Department of Health, March 2005. ~ DH PPRS website ~ Assessing the impact of public sector procurement on competition
CC: The Charity Commission has changed its main contact number and the new number - 0845 3000 218 - will charge customers at local rate, rather than national rate. Minicom users can contact the Commission on 0845 3000 219. Calls to the former number will be automatically redirected.
Pensions Regulator: A five-point plan
to help employers and trustees meet the challenge of pensions tax
simplification has been prepared by the Pensions Regulator. The briefing highlights the need for
action in respect of the changes from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and
provides guidance to help employers and trustees prepare for
Defra: The Agricultural Wages Board for England and
Wales met on
HMRC: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has launched a project to measure the administrative burden on small business of complying with the tax system. Businesses and other groups that are contacted as part of the exercise are strongly urged to participate to ensure that their views are included.
HMRC would like to hear from any organisations wishing to participate and can be contacted on email@example.com or 020 7147 0492.
Press release ~ Better Regulation Executive – HMRC – Supporting Enterprise & Productivity ~ Hampton Review - Reducing administrative burdens: effective inspection and enforcement ~ Better Regulation Task Force (BRTF) report - Regulation: Less is More
HMRC: VAT Business Brief 18/05
VAT: A review of the scope of the VAT exemption
for medical services - announcement of consultation (closes
· New Civil Investigation of Fraud Procedures
For further information on the events listed below (and subsequent events) please click HERE
Date: 3 - 5 October 2005
Organiser: Neil Stewart Associates - Reinventing Accountability for the 21st Century
A two-day international event and training day which will explore innovative approaches to building accountable leadership and organisations in the 21st century.
Organiser: Homeless Link - Making the link: opening up research into homelessness
Homeless Link supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, provide an opportunity for people both within and outside the homelessness sector to talk us about the wider issues affecting homeless people.
Date: 5 - 6 October 2005
Venue: Victoria Park Plaza
Organiser: Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply – Premier Conference
The central themes of this year’s Premier Conference examine the contribution that purchasing and supply management can make to the management of risk, whilst ensuring security of supply, and how procurement can drive innovation, both within organisations and with external suppliers.
Organiser: Local Government Chronicle – Improving policy design
A timely conference that will analyse the recent initiatives aimed at improving communication between central, regional and local government.
Venue: Cumberland Hotel, Marble
Feedback on a project involving a consortium of nine public sector organisations including government Departments and Agencies, and local authorities, who wanted to improve HR performance. All participants will receive a complimentary copy of the project report - ‘Fit for Business’. I>
Organiser: Royal British
Venue: Inmarsat Conference centre, London EC1
Organiser: Neil Stewart Associates – Modernising Mental health services: Developing Leadership, Recruitment, Retention and training
An opportunity to discuss how best to develop a more diverse and coherent NHS Mental Health workforce, with structured career development programmes and a drive to recruit more service users as part of the workforce.
Venue: Chepstow race course
Organiser: Royal British Legion - Chepstow Raceday
Venue: Fairfield Halls, Croydon.
Organiser: Royal British Legion - Biennial gathering of the Massed Bands of the Royal British Legion Concert
Date: 26 – 28 October 2005
Equipping people to work at a level to provide top-quality support to their managers and developing their potential to be the leaders of tomorrow. Designed for administrative officers and their equivalent, on completion you should understand the basis of effective management
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Organiser: Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply – CIPS Supply Management Awards 2005
The awards are run jointly
by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) and its
fortnightly magazine, Supply Management. For the CIPS Supply Management Awards
2005, the 10 team and two individual categories will be presented at a
black-tie gala dinner at the London Hilton on
Date: Up to 15 December
Organiser: Citizenship Foundation - Take a hands-on approach to politics, journalism and the legal system
Now in it’s 15th year, The National Youth Parliament Competition helps 11-18 year olds understand the democratic process and gives them the opportunity to video their own parliamentary debate.
The National Political Journalism competition, challenges young people (11-18 year olds) to experience first-hand the relationship between politics and the media. They are asked to tackle a local, national and international political issue of their choice, by taking on the roles of media professionals and create real news pieces in print, TV or radio.
In the Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial competition students take on the roles of court staff, lawyers & witnesses and present the prosecution and defence of a specially written criminal case.
For further information on the above (and subsequent) events please click HERE
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