In the News
CLG: Cost effective co-operation could deliver big savings - Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, has set out his plans to ‘shake up local services as part of the Government's efforts to turn around the lives of 120,000 most troubled families’. These families make up less than 1% of the population, yet they are costing the economy over £8bn.
Up to 20 local agencies can be involved with the same family, overlapping & sometimes pulling in different directions, with families pushed from pillar to post. The Government wants to see more local areas joining up their local services efforts, as evidence shows this can help turn the lives of families around.
This Community Budget approach is being rolled out countrywide and will play a vital role alongside other measures to help problem families. Instead of the traditional single agency silo approach costing local services up to £330,000 per family a year ministers want to see one co-ordinated & integrated intervention at an average of £14,000 per family used. This creates a better service and yearly costs plummet by £70,000.
A Community Budgets prospectus published last week sets out the details for how pilots will be selected by the end of 2011. Each area will get dedicated support to ‘break through Whitehall's bureaucracy’ so proposals could be up and running by April 2013.
ScotGov: Not helped by economic depression - The Scottish Drugs Strategy Delivery Commission has published its first report on the Scottish Government's progress in the delivery of the national drugs strategy, the Road to Recovery. The report contains 23 recommendations to ScotGov, which aim to increase the impact of the many initiatives to address Scotland's drug problem.
Recommendations made focus on 3 key areas:
* Children Affected by Parental Substance Misuse
* Care, Treatment & Recovery
* Governance & Accountability of the Delivery Systems
BIS: Not just Global Warming , but also competition for food, water & other resources - A new international report, published by Foresight, reveals that the ‘major challenges associated with migration & environmental change have been underestimated’. By focusing solely on those that might leave vulnerable areas, we risk neglecting those that will be ‘trapped’ and those that will actually move towards danger.
It also shows that migration can have a transformative role in helping communities adapt to hazardous conditions. This is a critical finding for policy makers working to avert costly humanitarian disasters in the future.
The ‘Migration and Global Environmental Change’ project examines how profound changes in environmental conditions such as flooding, drought & rising sea levels will influence & interact with patterns of global human migration over the next 50 years. The findings have implications for a broad range of policy areas well beyond the migration & environmental spheres, including sustainable development, climate change adaptation, urban planning and humanitarian assistance.
DfE: A more rational alternative to ‘bringing back the birch’ - A simple checklist (‘Getting the simple things right’) of what schools can do to instil good behaviour in the classroom has been developed & published by Charlie Taylor - the headteacher of a special school with some of the toughest behaviour issues and the Government’s Expert Adviser on behaviour.
CLG: You did the clock(s), but you could still be ‘late for your own funeral’ - A new advertising campaign urged people to make a potentially life-saving move when they changed their clocks on the weekend of 29/30 October - by taking a moment to test their smoke alarm too. While timekeeping is a vital part of our lives and we all keep our clocks working to stay on track, it's shocking to know that many people forget to ensure the safety of themselves & their loved ones by keeping their smoke alarm in the same working order.
You're more than 4 times as likely to die in a fire if your smoke alarm is not working. So it's clear that the simple act of testing your alarm is a vital part of any household routine. In 2010-11, there were over 36,000 accidental fires in the home, resulting in 246 fatalities and more than 7,000 casualties.
If you want an extra nudge to test your smoke alarm regularly, try setting an automatic reminder. Safelincs (in partnership with the Fire Kills), reminds you, by email or text when it's time to test your smoke alarm, change the battery or renew the unit. The service is completely free and can be cancelled at any time
Ofsted: Be your own Ofsted Inspector - Ofsted has launched Parent View, a new online questionnaire that will allow parents & carers to give their views on their child’s school at any time of the year. Covering over 22,000 schools across England, the 12-question survey will help other parents as they make important choices about their child’s education and provide Ofsted with information about schools that will help inform priorities for inspection.
Parent View has been produced with the assistance of a panel of parents who contributed to shaping the questions and the way the site functions. The questionnaire covers a range of topics, including quality of teaching, bullying, behaviour and levels of homework, allowing parents to give a view about their child’s school on each issue, with a final question as to whether or not they would recommend the school to other parents. The questionnaire does not allow free text comments but invites responses to a series of closed questions.
DUK: Researching a healthier future - Diabetes UK is calling on children & teenagers with Type 1 diabetes to help researchers prevent diabetes-related heart & kidney disease. They are looking for those who live near Birmingham, Cambridge, Oxford, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Bolton, Northampton, Norwich, Stockport and Wigan.
DUK are asking parents of 10 to 16-year-olds with diabetes from these areas to register their children with a local research centre and supply urine samples to be used in research. Using the collection of samples, new studies will look at ways of improving prevention of heart and kidney problems among people with diabetes.
Press release & links White Paper: Aligning Your IT Capabilities with Organisational Needs - Today, agility in a public sector organisation's underlying IT infrastructure is imperative to successful and cost-efficient delivery of service. Yet traditional IT infrastructures and processes simply are not agile. It is no surprise, then, that CIOs routinely express frustration with the time and effort required to align IT functions to ever-changing organisational needs.
A recent paper argues that a new approach to infrastructure design must emerge - one that enables the public sector to add, remove, grow, and shrink IT services on demand, regardless of location. This new infrastructure must dynamically optimise the interaction between users and resources in the face of rapidly changing conditions. It must allow the IT enterprise to adapt quickly to changing organisational demands for security, data protection, ease of access, low cost, and high performance.
This paper outlines a vision for such an approach, explores its benefits, defines the architecture for delivery and outlines a roadmap for implementation.
Click here to download the paper.
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