In the News
Newswire – RACFdn: Time is money - A full-scale review of the amount of time roads are closed after serious accidents is urgently needed. Delay in reopening roads costs the economy billions of pounds each year, and the congestion it causes can also lead to further accidents.
The RAC Foundation believes it is vital police properly investigate crashes where people are killed or seriously injured, but this need has to be set against the requirement to keep traffic moving. Improvements in the way accidents are investigated could benefit both road users and victims’ families. It is estimated road closures caused by accidents account for a quarter of all congestion and cost the country more than £5bn a year.
Roads are often still closed long after an accident has taken place because of police investigations, but very little data is collected to show how many of these investigations translate into successful prosecutions.
In his report - Delays Due to Serious Road Accidents (published by the RAC Foundation) - Irving Yass makes a number of observations & recommendations, including:
* There are currently no national statistics on how many detailed accident investigations take place, nor how many prosecutions result from them
* Police authorities should maintain 24-hour cover by specialist accident investigation teams
* Accidents should be investigated by the nearest team, even if it is from a neighbouring force
* Thought should be given to creating a national unit
* Recovery vehicles should be called in ASAP, so they are on site when needed
Newswire – KF: A different type of NHS is required to provide value for money - The NHS has addressed many of the challenges it faced in 1997, but needs to change rapidly if it is to meet the big challenges it faces in the future, according to a major review of the ‘NHS in England since 1997’, published by The King’s Fund.
The review provides a comprehensive, independent assessment of the progress made by the NHS between 1997 & 2010. It identifies its main successes, the most significant failure and other key areas where further progress is needed.
Professor Chris Ham, the new Chief Executive of The King’s Fund said: …. “The next government faces a huge challenge in nursing the NHS to full health at a time when funding will grow very slowly, if at all. Doing more of the same is no longer an option. ….. The NHS must now transform itself from a service that not only diagnoses & treats sickness, but also predicts & prevents it.
If the same energy and innovation that went into reducing waiting times & hospital infections could be put into prevention & chronic care, the NHS could become truly world class. This will not be easy and it is vital that politicians engage in an honest dialogue with the public about the changes needed”.
DFID: Searching for a less explosive future - It’s only 9am, but already it’s over 30 degrees in the ‘Vanni’, the rice-bowl region of northern Sri Lanka. Yet Saila Jan, a 29 year-old mother of two, has already been at work for a couple of hours and is now taking a well earned break from the paddy field she’s been toiling away in.
So far, so ordinary; it’s a scene that could be anywhere in south Asia. Except that Saila isn’t harvesting rice - she’s collecting a crop of a very different, very ‘deadly’ kind. She’s on the hunt for land mines. Saila is one of a growing number of women in Sri Lanka that have been recruited & trained by the UK de-mining charity HALO Trust. Working 7 hours a day in the baking heat, manual de-mining is slow, painstaking work.
HALO have already made safe more than 16,000 mines in the first two months of this year alone. For Saila, it means a steady income for a few months. She earns the equivalent of about £130 a month as a newly trained de-miner. It supplements the basic resettlement grant that she’s received (25,000 rupees - £150, also funded by UKaid, working in co-operation with UNHCR and the government of Sri Lanka).
Newswire – BRC: Still lacking basic sanitation - 3 months on from Haiti’s devastating earthquake, basic sanitation is still an urgent need and, with the rainy season on its way, the situation could deteriorate further.
Mike Goodhand, head of international logistics at the British Red Cross, commented; In an ideal situation, we would have 1 latrine for every 20 people, but the challenges within Auto-Meca and La Piste camps, where the British Red Cross is working, mean that the reality is closer to 1 for every 200 people. Although our plans are on target for 1 for 100 people by the end of April, in other areas, that figure is far worse'.
The British Red Cross sent an emergency sanitation team, supported by GlaxoSmithKline, into Port-au-Prince immediately after the quake hit. So far the Red Cross has provided more than 1,300 latrines in camps across Port-Au-Prince and Leogane, which was at the epicentre of the quake, about 18 miles west of the capital.
The torrential downpours Haitians cope with annually – with as much as 230mm expected in May – can last as long as five days straight and this year pose an even deadlier threat. The country faces a grave humanitarian emergency, with hundreds of thousands of people crammed into 433 improvised camps.
PCR - NIAC: Government spends £200m on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, while truth for Omagh victims is kept secret - The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has expressed deep dissatisfaction with, & disappointment at, the quality of the Government's response to the Committee's report; The Omagh bombing: some remaining questions.
A 500lb car bomb exploded in Market Street, Omagh, on 15 August 1998, killing 29 people & 2 unborn children and injuring hundreds more. The bombing occurred 4 months after the Belfast Agreement was signed on 10 April (Good Friday) 1998 and the Real IRA claimed responsibility for the attack.
he NIAC inquiry focused largely on Sir Peter Gibson's review into the use of intelligence intercept information. Sir Peter, the Intelligence Services Commissioner, reported to the Prime Minister at Christmas 2008, but only a summary version of his report is publicly available. The full, classified report has not been made available to the Committee, in spite of repeated requests to the Prime Minister for the Chairman to see it.
Sir Peter's review followed a BBC Panorama programme that claimed GCHQ was monitoring mobile telephones used by the bombers on the day of the bombing.
PCR – CS&FC: There is no easy and NEET solution to the problem - Radical change is needed if the Government's latest initiative to increase young people's participation in education, employment or training is to be more successful than past interventions, concludes the Children, Schools and Families Committee in a report published recently.
Whilst some progress has been made towards developing a strategy for 16-24 year olds, the Committee urges the Government to move more quickly to establish a seamless, overarching strategy for this age group.
Young people make progress at different rates and many require tailored provision well beyond the age of 18. The Committee recommends extending current policies to a wider range of young people. In the Netherlands, the equivalent of the Jobseeker's Allowance is dependent on compulsory participation in education, employment or training. This may be the way forward for the UK.
The Committee was deeply impressed by the work done by some local authorities to increase participation rates among 16-18 year olds. However, existing rewards & incentives offered by the Government are not sufficient to drive widespread improvement.
Press release ~ Young people not in education, employment or training Vol. 1 ~ Young people not in education, employment or training Vol. 2 ~ Ofsted: Tackling the NEET problem – how local authorities are getting young people back into education, employment & training ~ Every Child matters: NEET ~ IDeA: Rise of the NEETs ~ Teachers TV: Teenage Dropouts - NEETs ~ Top mandarin: 15% of Neets die within 10 years
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