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In the News

IfG:  Will change in the Civil Service be even harder to achieve than in the NHS? - The Institute for Government’s experts have been working for 3 years to help improve the effectiveness of the Civil Service & government.  Last week they published their verdict on the Civil Service Reform Plan. They used their 7 tests, to ‘assess whether the plan has the potential measure up to the challenges the Civil Service faces’.

The Institute will be watching to see how this plan is implemented – for now they give an overview of the reform plan & their thoughts so far and rate the reforms using a traffic light ranking system, akin to the one used in the civil service capability plans, to show their view.

This is a promising plan that has most of the right ingredients for success - the plan has some bold ideas and addresses many of the key issues civil servants & ministers want to see sorted out, but it is early days and there are plenty of questions that will need answering before we can hail this as a success.
Press release ~ IfG: Civil service reform ~ IfG publishes 7 tests for successful civil service reform plan ~ CBI comments on Civil Service Reform ~ FDA comments on Civil Service Reform ~ CBI comments ahead of Government's statement on Civil Service reform ~ Reform plan fails to address civil servants’ reward anger ~ FDA responds to Telegraph’s claim that civil service staff ‘are allowed to get away with poor performance’ ~ Government reforms will fail without effective Whitehall reform, say MPs ~ Committee hands out 'end of term' reports to Whitehall Departments ~ Civil service reform – lessons from the Netherlands ~ NAO: The effectiveness of internal audit in central government ~ Central government's communication & engagement with local government ~ Managing early departures in central government ~ Efficiency and reform in government corporate functions through shared service centres ~ Improving the efficiency of central government office property ~ Government anticipates £5 billion in cash savings this year ~ Re-organising central government bodies ~ CIPD: Public sector employers are struggling to recruit & retain senior staff as cuts bite ~ PC&PE:  Time for Sir Humphrey to be replaced? (2nd item)

BISCompanies should be run for the benefit of their owners & all workers, not just a few privileged managers - The Business Secretary, Vince Cable has announced a reform of the framework for directors’ remuneration. This package of measures will ‘address failures in corporate governance by empowering shareholders to engage effectively with companies on pay’.

The Government’s reforms are intended to provide shareholders with new powers to hold companies to account, while making it easier to understand what directors are earning and how it links to company performance.   The Government intends all these reforms to be enacted by October 2013.
TCS:  Is it possible to provide a ‘place of safety’ without also providing a legal way to ‘ground’ children in care? - Children who go missing from care are being systematically failed & placed in great danger by the very professionals who are there to protect them, according to a parliamentary inquiry report published last week. 

The report, by two influential All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), calls for an independent investigation into children's homes in England and asserts that the system of residential care is 'not fit for purpose' for children who go missing.

The findings come in the wake of horrific cases of sexual exploitation, trafficking & other child abuse exposed in Rochdale and other parts of the country.  The leader of Rochdale council has said that ‘children should no longer be sent to care homes in his borough because their safety is not being guaranteed’.

The report by the APPG for Runaway and Missing Children & Adults and the APPG for Looked After Children & Care Leavers, reveals that children in care are 3 times more likely to run away than children who live at home, often placing themselves in great danger of being physically or sexually abused or exploited.
Press release & links ~ DfE response ~ LGA responds to inquiry into missing from care children ~ Missing People ~ Statutory guidance on children who run away and go missing from home or care ~ Homelessness and running away ~ ScotGov: Report of the Working Group on Young Runaways and Children Abused through Prostitution ~ SPRU: Runaways and children on the edge of care research projects ~ SCIE Social Care Online: runaways ~ Young Runaways ~ Ofsted:  Too busy speaking to listen (4th item) ~ Children in care raise concern about the family justice system ~ New guidance seeks to give children in care a better life ~ 12 children’s homes help to change the lives of children for the better ~ More support may have prevented children coming into care ~ Raising the bar for child protection ~ Half of children given hardly any notice before being moved

NOCan dignity in care ever be provided universally? - Health Service Ombudsman, Dame Julie Mellor, has welcomed the final report, ‘Delivering Dignity’, from the Commission on Dignity in Care for Older People to improve NHS care. The Commission, a joint initiative of the NHS Confederation, Age UK and the Local Government Association, was set up in direct response to the Ombudsman’s 2011 Care and Compassion? report.  

The report highlighted the experiences of 10 NHS patients aged over 65 or their family members, who brought their complaints to the Ombudsman because they were unhappy with their NHS treatment and the handling of their complaints.  The Ombudsman’s investigations into the complaints found shocking NHS failings to meet even the most basic standards of care.
PXBit of a problem if one is expected to work longer before getting a pension - People aged 50 or above who lose their jobs are more likely to remain out of work for longer periods of time than all other age groups.   Research produced by leading think tank Policy Exchange also found that older workers are still being discriminated against on the grounds of their age.

The report – Too Much to Lose: Understanding and Supporting Britain’s Older Workers – found that there are currently 8.3m people aged between 50 & 65 in employment.  Making up over a quarter of the entire UK workforce, the valuable contribution that older workers make is often ignored. 
DfE:  How best to help nurture our ‘future’ - Equipping staff with the right skills is the key to ensuring better quality early years education – this is the finding of Professor Cathy Nutbrown’s independent Review of Early Education and Childcare Qualifications, which was published last week.  In her independent report, ‘Foundations for Quality’, Professor Nutbrown sets out 19 recommendations to improve the skills & knowledge of those who work with young children.
EHA smart way to tackle the problem - In Memoriam 2014 is a partnership between War Memorials Trust and the SmartWater Foundation to provide greater protection to war memorials across the UK.  Each sculpture & plaque on the memorial will be forensically marked with SmartWater, assigning them a ‘forensic signature’ that can only be seen under UV light. Once applied SmartWater is virtually impossible to remove and can withstand burning, sand blasting and long term exposure to UV.
MonitorSomething the NHS will have to place close attention to - Monitor has published an independent report, Strategic Options for Costing, which it commissioned from PwC.  The focus of this report is on the costing information that underpins the current Payment by Results (PbR) system.
NEA chance to achieve immortal fame (well in the bug world at least)! - The third annual Name a species competition was launched last week, with the aim of finding a common name for 10 amazing but little-known British species.  The Name a species competition - run by Natural England, The Guardian and Buglife - aims to shine the spotlight on some of Britain’s unnamed species.
TNAFancy learning how to preserve our history? - The National Archives is offering two bursaries to support candidates in gaining a qualification to help them enter the archives sector.  The bursary will provide financial support & help to address the socio-economic barriers to entry that may exist for some candidates.  They would particularly welcome applications from black & minority ethnic and disabled applicants.
EU NewsLet’s start by capping the CAP & selling off the Strasbourg parliamentary offices - Member states should act ‘responsibly’ and not make any false budget cuts or cause unnecessary deadlocks by disagreeing over calculation methods during the 2013 budget negotiations, budget committee MEPs said last Wednesday.

If they do want to make genuine cuts, they must ‘clearly and publicly identify & justify which of the EU programmes or projects should be delayed or dropped altogether’, say MEPs in the mandate they adopted on Wednesday for Parliament's team of negotiators for the budget talks on 9 July 2012.
Press release & links ~ Strasbourg carbon cost condemned ~ European Union must show financial restraint to reflect age of austerity according to Lords EU Committee ~ EU should abolish agricultural subsidies to hold down the price of food – new research shows ~ EU News: Forget budget increase demands, EU finds €82bn down back of the sofa (5th item) ~ Meanwhile back in the ‘real world’ – Country by Country austerity measures

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