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Ofsted:  LAs must adopt speedier placements - Only local authorities that ensure all children identified for adoption are placed within 12 months will be able to achieve an ‘outstanding’ judgement from Ofsted under new adoption inspection arrangements published last week.

Age is the most significant indicator of a successful adoption; the younger a child is placed the better the outcomes.  Delays in adoption can have severe impact on children’s health, development & ability to make new meaningful attachments and can impair their chances of enjoying a successful adult life.  

Along with the new adoption inspection arrangements, Ofsted is also launching the new inspection framework for fostering and revisions to the children’s homes framework introduced a year ago.  The new frameworks will be implemented in April 2012.
ScotGovFairness in trading is what we need, not greed - As Fairtrade Fortnight began (Monday 27 February to Sunday 11 March 2012), Cabinet Secretary for Culture & External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop confirmed that Scotland is on track to achieve Fair Trade Nation status later this year

In line with the Fair Trade Nation criteria, there are now 61 towns that have either achieved Fairtrade status or have active Fair Trade Steering Groups and more towns are expected to progress & launch their steering groups during Fairtrade Fortnight.  Across Scotland, 65% of higher education institutions and 171 schools have reached Fairtrade status. 

Currently 14 local authorities have achieved full Fairtrade Zone status, only 4 more need to achieve it in order to meet the criteria and with all of Scotland’s 6 cities already recognised with Fairtrade status, Scotland is on the cusp of becoming one of the world’s first Fair Trade Nations.  Wales was the first country to become a Fair Trade Nation in 2008.
DFID‘Sticky Fingers’, the perennial problem with foreign aid - £ms stolen by a corrupt Nigerian politician will be returned to the country's poorest people, International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said last week. James Ibori, 49, admitted stealing from the very people he was elected to serve after a ground-breaking investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service's Proceeds of Corruption Unit (POCU).

Ibori, former governor of Nigeria, embezzled what the Met estimates to be approximately £157m of Nigerian public funds – equal to £38 from every person living in the state at the time of his crimes.   DFID will lead a process to arrange for the funds that have been recovered to be returned to those most in need in Nigeria. 

Ibori's guilty plea comes after a long-running investigation by the POCU, which investigates allegations of foreign corrupt politicians & officials laundering the proceeds of corruption through the UK.
COPublic Fraud: Not just a Third World problem - A recent report from the Cabinet Office, sets out an ambitious, but focused, delivery programme that seeks to reduce levels of fraud & error across Government.
ScotGovYour care in your hands - A new partnership is being formed to support efforts to give people who receive social care increased independence and the ability to direct their own care needs

The Scottish Government is committed to introducing a Self-Directed Support Bill to give people a bigger say in which services they think will best help them to live in their own homes & communities – giving people the chance to change their lives for the better.

A programme – supported by almost £6m of Scottish Government funding – will see almost 30 Scottish independent sector organisations working together with social care providers to help implement self directed support across Scotland.
NHS ConfedYet more evidence changes to NHS are necessary - The care of older people needs fundamental change so that ‘hospitals & care homes stamp out undignified care and ensure all patients and residents are treated with dignity and respect’

That is the message from the Commission on improving dignity in care for older people, an independent body set up by the NHS Confederation, Age UK and the
Local Government Association (LGA).

The Commission has published a draft report for consultation (closes on Tuesday 27 March 2012) that recommends ‘fundamental changes to culture, leadership, management, staff development, clinical practice and service delivery’.  The report aims to identify ways of ending the persistent failings across the health &social care system after years of reports exposing severe shortcomings.
CORecognising service to communities - Nominations were opened last week for a special award that will mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by recognising the work of voluntary organisations throughout the United Kingdom

The new Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012 will honour the efforts of charities & voluntary organisations that undertake projects at a national level this year, including groups which are supporting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The DJVA is an extension of the successful Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS), the highest recognition for volunteering, with an equivalent status to the UK MBE.  Members of the public are invited to submit nominations electronically for both awards (See press release for closure dates in September 2012).
FSASafer raw chicken - The Food Standards Agency is inviting tenders to investigate whether modified atmospheric packaging (MAP) can reduce campylobacter numbers on raw chicken.  Applications should be submitted online using the FSA electronic procurement system by 5pm on 30 March 2012.
MoDSoon there will be just one - The Government Digital Service formally launched GOV.UK (beta) recently, the first step towards a new single domain that will bring all government services and information together in one place.  The beta website includes a new 'INSIDE GOVERNMENT' section containing trial MOD corporate information.
Press release & links

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