In the News
DH: For some the real problems start after the ‘safe’ return home - Government Ministers have pledged to further improve mental health services for the Armed Forces through a programme of joint working. The Ministry of Defence and Department for Health have announced that, along with Armed Forces charity Combat Stress, they would continue to work together to move forward recommendations from the Fighting Fit report into military mental health.
The MoD operates a range of measures to tackle mental health issues among the Armed Forces. In Afghanistan, Community Psychiatric Nurses are on hand to provide any care & treatment needed; they are supported by visiting consultant psychiatrists. In addition, two UK-based teams of psychiatrists & mental health nurses are available to deploy to Afghanistan at short notice, if required.
There are 15 military Departments of Community Mental Health across the UK, which provide out-patient mental healthcare. These teams are made up of psychiatrists & mental health nurses, with support from clinical psychologists & mental health social workers.
nef: Will all Be Well again in the future? - A week on from the news that David Cameron will ask the Office of National Statistics to start measuring the UK’s wellbeing, a new report says that local authorities should take a proactive role in improving the wellbeing of residents.
The report, The Role of Local Government in Promoting Wellbeing, is being published by Local Government Improvement and Development (LGID) & the National Mental Health Development Unit (NMHDU) and is written by nef (the new economics foundation).
It argues that focusing on wellbeing can help local government respond to significant reductions in its finances, by preventing long-term problems and ensuring that positive outcomes are achieved efficiently. This will make the most of the unprecedented ‘opportunity’ councils are experiencing to reshape their role. It highlights numerous examples of councils who are doing pioneering work in this area, from all parts of the UK.
CLG: Aid to living or only useful for pub quizzes? - Recently South Ribble Borough Council became the 100th local authority to put its spending data over £500 online for armchair auditors to scrutinise. The milestone comes on the day Whitehall met its own promise to publish the first of its spending data above £25,000 online. CLG has already started publishing all its spending over £500.
Greater transparency is ‘at the heart’ of the Government's shared commitment to enable the public to not only hold politicians and public bodies to account, but allow Web developers & app designers to transform Government data into ingenious mobile phone or home computer applications, to help people move house, choose a school or care home or even find their nearest postbox - making everyday local life that little bit easier. See links below for some of the best sites & apps out there for budding Armchair Auditors.
JRF: Often beautiful, but usually a long walk (little public transport) to anywhere or any service - New research released last week shows people living in rural areas typically need to spend 10-20% more than people in urban areas to reach a 'minimum acceptable living standard'. These higher costs mean a single person living in a village needs to earn at least 50% above the minimum wage (£5.93 per hour) to make ends meet, but the higher costs of living in rural areas contrast with widespread low rural pay so many rural workers fall well short of being able to afford their essential needs.
The findings illustrate that the more remote the area, the greater the extra expense. To afford a minimum standard of living, a single person needs to earn at least:
* £15,600 a year in a rural town
* £17,900 a year in a village
*£18,600 in a hamlet or the remote countryside
In comparison, urban dwellers need £14,400, to meet the specified minimum.
An online calculator allows individuals to work out their minimum earnings requirement adjusted for the number & ages of people in their household and whether they live in a city, town, village or hamlet.
Newswire – CSJ: Often ‘out of site & rarely protesting’ and therefore ‘out of the political mind’ - The new coalition Government has been urged to tackle shocking levels of poverty & social exclusion in older age in a new report from the independent Centre for Social Justice (CSJ). Its landmark 250-page interim review - The Forgotten Age - outlines how loneliness, isolation & social breakdown have fuelled poverty in later life for millions of Britain's pensioners for too long.
Although the report celebrates the fact people are living longer and that many older citizens are ‘the heartbeat of volunteering and civic participation’ in communities, it also exposes how too many face extreme challenges in terms of money, health, lifestyle, communities, housing and care. As a result it says there is an unacceptably large group of older people that has been left behind, and is in danger of being forgotten, by the rest of society.
DfE: ‘Education, Education, Education’, replaced by ‘Back to locally based basics’? - A reform programme that ‘puts teachers at the heart of school improvement and frees schools from central government direction’ was published last week by Education Secretary Michael Gove. The schools White Paper - The Importance of Teaching - explains that ‘schools will be freed from centralised bureaucracy and endless government interference, in return for greater accountability to parents and local communities’.
It commits Government to cutting away unnecessary duties, processes, guidance & requirements and sets out:
* powers for teachers to improve discipline in the classroom
* a vision for a transformed school curriculum
* the reform of school performance tables
* a pupil premium to channel more money to the most deprived children, and
* plans to develop a fairer & more transparent funding system.
Press release ~ Schools White Paper ~ See what teachers, parents and children are saying about education ~ Education Secretary Michael Gove talking about the White Paper ~ CSJR response PR ~ Related ippr PR ~ CBI response PR ~ DfE PR with other organisation’s responsesIndustry News
: Performance Improvement Implementation Delivers Multi-Million Pound Savings and 30% Plus Increase in Productivity - Government organisations including HMRC, CLG and NICO have recently achieved exceptional levels of operational performance through the effective engagement of their employees.
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