DTI: Foresight could eliminate the need for mass animal culling - 'Infectious Diseases: preparing for the future', the latest report from Foresight, outlines new measures to combat infectious diseases, which could drastically cut mortality, save billions of pounds and eliminate the need for mass animal culling.
The project looked at the evolving risk and the changing requirements for detection, identification & monitoring of infectious diseases in plants, animals & humans. It concludes that current & new infectious diseases will continue to have profound human, economic & social impacts and that unless new ways of sharing research & technological advances are implemented at all levels, the poorest people in the world will continue to suffer disproportionately.
There will be a conference on 3 May, at the Royal Society, at which the lead project experts will present some of the key findings of the project.
Press release ~ 'Infectious Diseases: preparing for the future' ~ Conference ~ SARS outbreak ~ Defra – Disease surveillance ~ HPA centre for infections ~ DH – Green Book ~ Association of medical microbiologists
CEOP: Co-ordinated action on on-line child abuse -Tackling child sex abuse has recently taken a significant step forward with the launch of the new Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, which is headed up by Jim Gamble, former Deputy Director General of the National Crime Squad.
The organisation will bring together law enforcement officers, specialists from children's charities & industry to work in unison under one roof, which will provide a unique holistic approach to the growing problem of child abuse.
The Centre has a mandate to use national resources to focus on high risk, high impact offenders and will deliver:
· A dedicated 24/7 online resource for reporting instances of online child sex abuse
· Systems to track sex offenders and to disseminate intelligence globally
· Specialist operational capability to boost domestic & international raids
· Dedicated operators to track & seize assets from those who trade in child abuse images
· Online awareness tools and offline education materials to encourage children to use the internet safely
· Specialist training services to help personnel in law enforcement, education, prisons, probationary services and child protection agencies.
Press release ~ The CEOP Centre ~ Home Office's Internet Task Force for child protection ~ Internet Watch Foundation ~ IWF's 2005 Annual Report ~ Monthly IWF e-newsletter ~ Internet Crime Forum ~ Unicef: Child protection against trafficking and sexual exploitation ~ Convention on the Rights of the Child ~ 'Think You Know' ~ Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT)
Defra: Making food needs resources just like other industries - A Food Industry Sustainability Strategy to tackle the impact of the food industry on precious resources, such as energy & water and its contribution to climate change, has been published by Defra. It aims to improve the industry's environmental, social & economic performance, by developing a strong partnership between government and industry. It claims to address all sectors of the food industry, beyond the farm gate to the consumer's plate.
The strategy's ambitions are for the industry as a whole to:
· reduce its carbon emissions by 20% by 2010 against a 1990 baseline
· reduce water use by 10-15% by 2010 and by 20-25% in the South East of England
· significantly reduce the environmental and social costs of its domestic food transportation by 2012
· the food manufacturing sector to reduce its food waste by 15-20% by 2010.
Press release ~ The Food Industry Sustainability Strategy ~ Waste Resources Action Programme ~ Carbon Trust ~ Envirowise ~ Business Resource Efficiency Waste (BREW) programme ~ FSA's 2005-2010 Strategic Plan ~ 2004 Public Health White Paper ~ UK Sustainable Development Strategy - Securing the Future (scroll down)
Cabinet Office: Information on who will lead - Jim Murphy, Cabinet Office Minister, has announced the appointment of John Suffolk as the Government Chief Information Officer (CIO). John (who will take up this post in early June) will lead the work of the CIO Council in delivering the Government's strategy for the transformation of public services, enabled by technology. He will report to Ian Watmore, the Head of the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit and former Government CIO.
John Suffolk’s role will be to:
· provide leadership to the IT Profession across the wider public sector
· enable public service transformation through the strategic deployment of technology
· drive the development of shared services and
· act as the 'face' of UK Government IT both home & abroad
The CIO Council brings together CIOs from across all parts of the public sector to address common issues.
DH: Banking on reducing clinical staff costs - Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt has highlighted recommendations from an NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement's report, showing that £78m could be saved by the NHS by driving down agency spend & improving staff productivity.
The Institute will shortly be publishing a document - Delivering Quality and Value - Focus on Productivity and Improvement – which will identify where to focus activity for the greatest potential productivity & efficiency gains.
The creation of an in-house 'bank' of staff at North Bristol NHS Trust in 2004 has achieved a reduction from an average 5,300 agency shifts per month in 2003 to under 500 by the end of 2005.
NHS Trusts are encouraged to use the NHS's own bank staffing organisation, NHS Professionals, or ensure their high standards of NHS employment practice are rigorously adhered to for in-house bank staff recruitment.
Where the NHS uses agency staff, NHS Trusts are encouraged to only use Agencies which have signed up to the Purchasing and Supply Agency (PaSA) Agency Framework Agreements.
The National Agency Staffing Project, led by South West London SHA which was launched by Lord Warner in May 2005 has highlighted a number of NHS Trust best practice initiatives which demonstrate ways to achieve value for money and improve quality of services to patients through consistent & continuous care.
Press release ~ NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement's ~ NHS Professionals ~ Purchasing and Supply Agency (PaSA) Agency ~ PaSA Framework Agreements ~ National Agency Staffing Project ~ Delivering Quality and Value Focus on document (NB Focus on Productivity and Improvement is still awaiting publication)
FCO: It’s no secret, we want you - The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, also known as MI6) has begun open advertising for the first time in its 97 year history, as a means of expanding the Service to meet 21st Century challenges such as terrorism and to broaden & diversify SIS's recruitment base.
From now on there will be regular general advertising campaigns for careers in SIS, as well as campaigns aimed at attracting staff into particular career streams. The first campaign will be advertising for generalists.
The advertisements will direct everyone interested to the revised careers section of the main SIS website through a new careers internet address - www.siscareers.gov.uk. There, they will find not only new details about career possibilities, but also the added option of applying online.
Industry News: It’s not what you have, but what you do with it that’s important - An I&DeA Beacon initiative is highlighting how asset management is increasingly becoming an important management tool. One example highlighted by I&DeA is in Hertfordshire where a middle school in Borehamwood became surplus to the needs of the education system, following an education review with objectives to raise standards and remove surplus capacity. Rather than just consider the possible options for its ‘disposal’ within the Education department in isolation, the County Council broadened the scope of review to include not only its other co-located assets, but those of its service delivery partners, including the voluntary sector. The result was a project that: · enhanced delivery of all local service to clients by the co-location of PCT and HCC children’s services · met an identified need for space for local community groups · enabled the Council to comply with a government initiative to deliver a children’s centre · reduced revenue costs · delivered environmental benefits through better use of public buildings and · delivered a capital receipt of some £7.5m Services and the resources used to deliver them (people, buildings, equipment and delivery channels) evolve over time, which means that it is often the case that it is not just how much of a resource there is, but rather what there is and how it is used. What was appropriate even a year ago may not be appropriate today! Whether it be buildings, vehicles, ICT infrastructure & equipment, or even something as mundane as office supplies, asset management increasingly plays a critical part in (& keeping track of) those resources and identifying possible areas of duplication & inefficiency, especially when service delivery partnerships are being formed. A much abused phrase in the past has been ‘Our staff are our most important asset’. Well, increasing asset management, especially when relating to people, is not just about ‘having too many’, but identifying ‘rare & critical’ skills, so that service delivery can not only be maintained, but also that critical new projects can be implemented. Proactive asset management in the 21st century is an essential function of good management within public sector bodies, rather than a historical activity undertaken as part of arcane legal & financial regulations. Not the least for the reason that you cannot manage something efficiently if you don’t know that you have it and what part it plays in overall service delivery. Full article ~ I&DeA Asset management Beacon Theme Guide 2005 / 06 ~ I&DeA AM case studies ~ Borehamwood Community Partnership (BCP) ~ Estate Management Benchmarking ~ Occupiers Property Databank ~ Professional skills for government ~ NAO – The wider Markets initiative ~ Premises Management Guide ~ OGC – Look after your assets ~ DTI – Performance Measurement For all other Industry News items please click HERE For information on forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
Industry News: It’s not what you have, but what you do with it that’s important - An I&DeA Beacon initiative is highlighting how asset management is increasingly becoming an important management tool. One example highlighted by I&DeA is in Hertfordshire where a middle school in Borehamwood became surplus to the needs of the education system, following an education review with objectives to raise standards and remove surplus capacity.
Rather than just consider the possible options for its ‘disposal’ within the Education department in isolation, the County Council broadened the scope of review to include not only its other co-located assets, but those of its service delivery partners, including the voluntary sector.
The result was a project that:
· enhanced delivery of all local service to clients by the co-location of PCT and HCC children’s services
· met an identified need for space for local community groups
· enabled the Council to comply with a government initiative to deliver a children’s centre
· reduced revenue costs
· delivered environmental benefits through better use of public buildings and
· delivered a capital receipt of some £7.5m
Services and the resources used to deliver them (people, buildings, equipment and delivery channels) evolve over time, which means that it is often the case that it is not just how much of a resource there is, but rather what there is and how it is used. What was appropriate even a year ago may not be appropriate today!
Whether it be buildings, vehicles, ICT infrastructure & equipment, or even something as mundane as office supplies, asset management increasingly plays a critical part in (& keeping track of) those resources and identifying possible areas of duplication & inefficiency, especially when service delivery partnerships are being formed.
A much abused phrase in the past has been ‘Our staff are our most important asset’. Well, increasing asset management, especially when relating to people, is not just about ‘having too many’, but identifying ‘rare & critical’ skills, so that service delivery can not only be maintained, but also that critical new projects can be implemented.
Proactive asset management in the 21st century is an essential function of good management within public sector bodies, rather than a historical activity undertaken as part of arcane legal & financial regulations. Not the least for the reason that you cannot manage something efficiently if you don’t know that you have it and what part it plays in overall service delivery.
Full article ~ I&DeA Asset management Beacon Theme Guide 2005 / 06 ~ I&DeA AM case studies ~ Borehamwood Community Partnership (BCP) ~ Estate Management Benchmarking ~ Occupiers Property Databank ~ Professional skills for government ~ NAO – The wider Markets initiative ~ Premises Management Guide ~ OGC – Look after your assets ~ DTI – Performance Measurement
For all other Industry News items please click HERE
For information on forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
FSCS: The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is stepping in to protect nearly 300 members of South Airdrie Credit Union Limited, who may have lost money after the credit union became insolvent, leaving claims against the union of approximately £82,000.
FSCS declared South Airdrie Credit Union Limited in
OGC-BS: OGCbuying.solutions, trading arm of the
Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has announced improvements to the terms of
its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with enterprise software company
Oracle. The new agreement came
into effect on
In extending the agreement, Oracle has agreed to include:
· Additional pricing arrangements for technology, applications & support
· Volume pricing based on aggregated public sector spend
· Consultancy services
· A reduction in the minimum number of users required for an Enterprise License Agreement
OGC: The Office of Government Commerce (OGC), working in collaboration with other government organisations, is putting in place a Pan Government Collaborative Print Services Framework Agreement which can be used by all public sector UK Contracting Authorities, their Agencies and their Non Departmental Public Bodies. The Department for Transport will be the Contracting Authority, working in partnership with OGC and other government organisations.
The collaboration seeks to bring together the demand for printing and related services across central & local government and to use this combined spending power (an estimated £650m per annum) to reduce the cost (by an estimated £23m) of buying such services.
Meet The Buyer 2006 will match
Cabinet Office: The MessageLabs Anti-Virus Service has become the first managed service to be awarded the CSIA Claims Tested (CCT) Mark - a government quality mark initiative for information security products and services. The award was announced by the Head of the Central Sponsor for Information Assurance (CSIA), Steve Marsh, speaking at the recent Infosecurity Europe event.
The purpose of the CCT Mark Scheme is to provide accredited independent testing on off-the-shelf products and services and thus give the wider public sector a basic level of assurance for the information security products and services they use.
The meters being installed under the NEA DEMIA (Domestic Environmental Management in Action) project will provide a means of generating accurate bills without estimating and provide customers & EDF Energy with information about how energy can be saved in the home; estimates have suggested consumers would be able to cut their bills by between 3% - 10 %.
The smart meters will be monitored electronically (remote access), with display units located in the home for customers.
Press release ~ National Energy Action (NEA) ~ Demia Energy Club ~EDF Energy ~ Ofgem: Towards effective energy information – Improving consumer feedback on energy consumption ~ Helpco ~ Greater London Energy Efficiency Network (GLEEN) ~ Severn Wye Energy Agency ~ Get Smart: Bringing meters into the 21st Century ~ UK Climate Change 2006
CILT(UK): The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK’s [CILT(UK)] report - 'Frustratingly slow: a report on road congestion and the Government's plans to deal with it' - welcomes the Government's commitment to road pricing as the only effective way to tackle congestion and its decision to ask seven areas to develop demand management schemes. However, it says the timescale for tackling what it calls the "serious & growing problem" of road congestion is "frustratingly slow".
CILT (UK) considers road pricing a 'must have' to support future economic growth. Studies suggest that an effective regime would cut congestion by two-fifths and yield time savings and other economic benefits worth £10-£12bn per year.
HC: The Healthcare
Commission and the Society for
Cardiothoracic Surgery have joined forces to launch a website which gives
rates of survival from operations at 30 out of 33 heart units in
The figures have been adjusted to take account of the risks involved in the surgery, using what is known as the EuroSCORE model. This model covers 17 risk factors and is an internationally established method for predicting survival from cardiac surgery taking into account other factors affecting the health of the patient.
the whole of
Press release ~ Heart Surgery in Great Britain website ~ Healthcare Commission ~ Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons ~ British Heart Foundation ~ Learning from Bristol: the report of the public inquiry into children's heart surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary 1984 -1995 ~ EuroSCORE model
Minister Jim Knight says that too many people are missing out on the benefits of getting active in
Mr Knight was talking about the Forestry
Commission's Active Woods
campaign, a national drive to promote the range of health & fitness
opportunities offered by
Research indicates that exercising in woods & green spaces reduces stress levels, boosts mental well-being, and can speed recovery from illness.
Press release ~ Active Woods ~ Wild About Britain: Get Active ~ Ramblers – walking for health ~ Walking is the perfect way to exercise and get healthy ~ Countryside Access ~ Walking – The way to health ~
Defra: The Government has published an action plan to unlock the potential for renewable energy in biomass, which accepts that energy from crops, trees & waste can make a strong contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sets out 12 key ways to make this happen.
The plan, launched by Ministers from Defra and the
DTI, forms the Government's response to a Biomass Task Force October 2005 report that made 42
recommendations. Biomass currently
accounts for 84% of
The action plan is primarily for
Press release ~ DTI Biomass website ~ Taskforce report and government response ~ Bio-energy Infrastructure Scheme ~ Climate Change Programme Review ~ Rural Development Programme for England ~ Forestry Commission's new Biomass Energy Centre ~ Renewables Obligation ~ EU Biomass Action Plan ~ What is bioenergy ~ National Non-food crops centre
DH: Getting off the bus a stop earlier, walking up the stairs instead of taking the lift or eating an extra piece of fruit or vegetable a day could add years to a person's life, according to a major new public health initiative launched by the Prime Minister.
Small Change BIG DIFFERENCE is a new initiative which shows people how they can improve their future health & wellbeing by making small, easily achievable changes to their lifestyles. Research by Professor Kay-tee Khaw, Cambridge University School of Clinical Medicine at Addenbrooke's Hospital shows the impact dietary changes and increased physical activity can have on major causes of death and ill health like cancer and cardio vascular disease.
Press release ~ Small Change BIG DIFFERENCE ~ Choosing Health ~ Our Care, Our Health, Our Say ~ NAO: Tackling Childhood Obesity – First Steps (VLF1.4Mb) ~ NAO: Tacking Obesity in England ~ DH Healthy Living website ~ National Obesity Forum ~ Association for the Study of obesity ~ Avoiding childhood obesity ~ NICE – Obesity care pathway
HSE: The Health and Safety Executive has issued a Consultative
The Consultative Document suggests that there are three pillars to the strategy to increase workers' participation in managing health & safety: legislation, guidance and encouragement
It sets out the current position & options to strengthen each of the pillars, including possible amendments to the law on consultation with employees. To encourage as many people as possible to participate in the consultation, HSE is also publishing a summary document to introduce the issues involved, as well as organising a number of regional meetings to encourage people to share & discuss their views.
Press release ~ Consultative Document: Improving worker involvement - Improving health and safety (CD207), the summary document and feedback form (Also includes dates of regional meetings) ~ A strategy for workplace health and safety in Great Britain to 2010 and beyond ~ Collective Declaration on Worker Involvement ~ HSE worker involvement website ~ HSE Risk Management website
DTI: Chairman of the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), Graham Spittle is urging the
business community to put forward their views (closing date for input is
strategies build on the Call to
Action document published in November last year and highlight the key
technology priorities to enable the development of the
· Advanced Materials
· Bioscience and Healthcare
· Design Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing
· Electronics and Photonics
· Information and Communication Technologies
· Sustainable Production and Consumption
FSA: The Financial Services Authority is consulting (closes
HRs are a type of equity release product, involving sale & lease arrangements. The FSA already regulates the other main type of equity release product, Lifetime Mortgages. Equity release products are generally aimed at older homeowners and are designed to enable them to benefit from the value of their homes without having to move out of them.
HPPs, also involving sale & lease arrangements, are one of the two methods of financing home purchase that are acceptable under Islamic law. The other is the Murabaha, which is already regulated under the FSA’s mortgage regime.
Home Office: The Home Office has published a booklet setting out how vulnerable adults and those with learning disabilities can protect themselves from crime, using language tailored to suit the needs of people with learning disabilities, in accordance with Mencap's guidelines to accessible writing.
The 'Keep Safe' booklet contains advice on how to keep safe when at home & when outside alone, including tips on using public transport and cash machines. It also deals with bullying, attacks & mugging, which often go unreported to the police. There is also advice on where to go for help and how to report incidents to the police.
Findings from 'Health and Social Care Information Centre NHS (2005) National Survey of Adults with Learning Difficulties 2003/04' show that one in three people with learning difficulties did not feel safe in their homes, local areas or using public transport.
Press release – 'Keep Safe' booklet ~ 'Health and Social Care Information Centre NHS (2005) National Survey of Adults with Learning Difficulties 2003/04' ~ < FONT color=#800080>Protecting you from sexual abuse: booklet about sexual abuse and the law for people with learning disabilities ~ Code of Practice for Victims of Crime ~ Mencap ~ Voice UK ~ People First ~ National Forum for People with Learning Disabilities ~ People In Partnership (Hertfordshire) ~ Disability Rights Commission ~ Suzy Lamplugh Trust ~ Victim Support
Acas: Acas has launched new guidance to help employers and individuals understand how imminent age discrimination legislation will affect them, which comes with the stark warning – that employers need to act now to beat the deadline.
Acas has published two free guidance publications:
· for employers: Age and the workplace: Putting the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 into practice (EEL03); and
· for individuals: Age and the workplace (AL10).
Press release ~ < I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Age and the workplace: Putting the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 into practice (EEL03) ~ Age and the workplace for individuals (AL10) ~ Acas Age discrimination web page ~ Age Positive ~ DTI Age Discrimination web page
DH: The Department of Health and Monitor have published - Applying for NHS Foundation Trust Status - Guide for Mental Health NHS Trusts, which is a guide for NHS mental health trusts seeking to become NHS foundation trusts.
It covers how trusts can start the process of preparing for foundation status and addresses both opportunities & potential areas of risk. It sets out particular issues that MH trusts face as NHS foundation trusts such as financial stability & contracting with commissioners, governance arrangements and partnership agreements
It also gives details of a model contract developed by the Department to support a more transparent & clearer commissioning relationship between mental health trusts & Primary Care Trusts and is intended to ensure that mental health NHS foundation trusts are properly accountable for their service commitments.
The Department, Monitor and Strategic Health Authorities are now looking into developing a diagnostic programme specifically for mental health trusts based on the Whole Health Community Diagnostic Project currently underway and assessing the state of readiness for foundation status of all acute trusts that have yet to apply.
Press release ~ DH – Foundation Trusts website ~ Applying for NHS Foundation Trust Status - Guide for Mental Health NHS Trusts ~ Monitor ~ Whole Health Community Diagnostic Project ~ DH Mental Health website
Defra: Almost exactly one year on from the launch of Securing the Future - the UK Sustainable Development Strategy, the government have launched Securing the Regions' Futures. This report sets out the ways in which the Government will try to strengthen the delivery of sustainable development in the English regions.
Securing the Regions' Futures responds to the Sustainable Development Commission's review of sustainable development in the English regions and its sixteen recommendations. It sets out 20 recommendations to increase the regions' contribution to delivering sustainable development.
DCMS: An independent report into the future funding needs of the BBC has been published by the Department for Culture Media and Sport. DCMS commissioned PKF to carry out a financial analysis of the BBC's value for money plans, its bid for the next licence fee settlement and its commercial services.
The work is part of a wider review to determine the level of the licence fee from April 2007, which also includes a public seminar (Friday 5 May) with industry representation & willingness to pay research, which will provide information on the public's views.
ESRC: New research
shows how radical activists have triggered innovations that are helping move
The study, which examined three radical niches - wind energy, organic food and eco-housing – was carried out at the University of Sussex and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). It clearly shows the value of “green niche” initiatives in influencing mainstream activities.
Press release ~ ESRC Society Today - Supporting and Harnessing Diversity? Experiments In Alternative Technology ~ Sussex University ~ Defra Organic food & farming ~ Small Scale wind power ~ DTI renewables website ~ British Wind Energy Association ~ Sustainable Housing ~ Centre for Alternative Technology ~ The Validity of Food Miles as an Indicator of Sustainable Development
NAO: The National Audit Office has reported that sick leave in the National Probation Service is running at an average of 12.3 days a year for each member of staff, directly costing £31.6 million. The cost between what is being achieved and the Service’s target of nine days amounts to £13 million a year.
Insufficient management information hinders the Service’s ability to diagnose the reasons for high levels of sickness absence and take appropriate management action. This is partly due to the fact that a circulated model national policy, including guidance for managers on action to be taken & procedures, is not applied consistently.
Press release ~ The Management of Staff Sickness Absence in the National Probation Service (1mb) ~ Summary Version ~ National Probation Service ~ HSE - Managing sickness absence & return to work ~ Acas – Absence management ~ < FONT color=#800080>CIPD Factsheet
Aid: Christian Aid’s Wish you were here…? show garden at the July 2006 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, on
4-9 July 2006, will focus on the importance of education in the
fight against the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. Created by award-winning garden designer Claire Whitehouse, the garden
is inspired by Christian Aid funded HIV/AIDS projects in
Behind the glossy brochure
HIV/AIDS claimed an
estimated 24,000 lives across the region last year; it is the leading cause of
death among 15 - 44 year olds.
There are 300,000 people living with HIV in the
Press release ~ Hampton Court Flower show ~ Christian Aid HIV & Aids website ~ God's children are dying of AIDS: Interfaith dialogue and HIV ~ Asian Muslim Action Network ~ Still No Excuses ~ No excuses ~ Drugs alone are not enough
Pensions Regulator: The Pensions Regulator has published its medium term strategy setting out its strategic priorities for the next three years and defining its key strategic challenges for the next three years as:
· strengthening the funding of defined benefit schemes
· improving the governance of work-based pension schemes and
· reducing the risks to members of defined contribution pension schemes
The Regulator is currently focusing on helping trustees to improve their knowledge & understanding, with the emphasis is on education & support through codes of practice & guidance, e-learning and the trustee knowledge & understanding scope guidance.
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