NAO: Out of Stock, out of date and PhD required - Despite the billions spent by central & local government on e-enabling the delivery of their services and forms, documents, reports, etc., a National Audit Office report has found that the DWP is still heavily dependent on paper versions and, in fact, produces almost 250 separate leaflets, printing 24 million copies of these last year, at an estimated cost of £31 million.
In addition, the NAO found that the DWP does not have a complete, up-to-date list of all its leaflets and that, on testing the availability of a number of key leaflets at 100 departmental outlets and a further 100 other sites where customers might seek information, core leaflets were available at only half of the 100 Departmental sites visited and where leaflets were not available staff found it difficult to help customers obtain information.
Staff provided a range of responses, including giving out telephone numbers to call or alternative sites to visit, but there is currently no single number for the public to call to get leaflets.
Many of the leaflets examined as part of the review, in particular recent ones, displayed elements of widely-recognised good practice, but the layout & the language used in some made them difficult to understand. NAO research with a small group of customers using 11 key leaflets, asking them 16 simple questions (such as “how do you go about claiming Job Seekers Allowance?”), found that only 25% of the tasks could be completed satisfactorily.
The NAO also found that out of the 13 core leaflets tested, all of them required higher than average reading skills to fully understand the information.
Press release ~ Full Report (1.4Mb) ~ Executive Summary ~ DWP Services and Benefits ~ Directgov ~ CAB ~ Crystal Mark ~ Plain English campaign ~ Independent review service ~ Scottish Borders – Welfare Benefits service ~ Rightsnet
NHS: More change & central control for NHS - While the black hole of NHS finances gets bigger every day, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt tried to divert attention by outlining the next steps in ‘creating a patient-led NHS’ with the publication of The NHS in England: the operating framework for 2006/7, which also details new rules on financial management.
The publication sets out:
· the agenda to push forward reform – more choice for patients through new providers; more say for frontline staff like GPs in commissioning services and extension of payment by results
· six specific areas requiring a particular focus – including reducing health inequalities, cutting cancer waiting times and MRSA, and improving sexual health
· plans to ensure that the NHS recovers any overspend from 2005/06 and plans for a surplus in 2007/8, and,
· management arrangements to smooth the transition to the new PCTs and Strategic Health Authorities.
Press release ~ The NHS in England: the operating framework for 2006/7 ~ DH Practice Based Commissioning website (Click on PBC: Achieving universal coverage) ~ Commissioning – A patient led NHS
Stop Press – NHS White paper All very nice, but where is the funding coming from? - Patricia Hewitt has announced what she claims is a ‘fundamental shift in focus that will provide integrated health and social care services in local communities and closer to people's homes’.
The plans are outlined in Our Health, our care, our say: a new direction in community services - the Government's White Paper on improving community health and care services, which aims to provide people with more choice & say over the care they receive in the community, and much closer working & coordination between health & social care, including:
· improved access to GPs by increasing the choice of practices for everyone and extending opening hours
· more support for people with long term conditions
· local partnerships between Local Authorities and PCTs to produce joint teams and common assessments, and
· a new generation of community hospitals and health centres that provide health & care services in the heart of the community
Amicus, the health union with a 100,000 members working in the health sector, have commented that the new health and social care White Paper is ‘a curate’s egg’. They believe that the government’s commitment to frontline services will be severely undermined by the financial crisis facing primary care trusts (PCTs) and the continuing question marks over PCTs providing services after 2008.
Press release ~ White paper - Our Health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services ~ Executive summary ~ Results of the Your Health, Your Care, Your Sayconsultation ~ Your Health, Your Care, Your Say web page ~ Independence, Wellbeing and Choice consultation ~ Expert Patient Programme ~ CPHVA website ~ CPHVA briefing paper on cuts
DWP: A new deal or just a shuffled pack of benefits - For those readers who may have missed it – here is how the government perceives its reform of the welfare state in its welfare reform green paper - A new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work, which the government is claiming:
‘Seeks to end the legacy of benefit dependency and deprivation that can damage communities across
It sets out our proposals for achieving an 80% employment rate for people of working age, which will mean:
· Reducing the number of people on incapacity benefits by 1 million
· Helping 1 million older workers into employment, and
· Helping over 300,000 lone parents into work
Press release ~ Green paper - A new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work ~ Income Support ~ Disability Alliance - Personal Capability Assessment ~ Guide to GPs for PCA ~ Jobcentre Plus ~ Work Focused Interviews ~ Local Housing Allowance (LHA) ~ Statutory Sick Pay ~ Return to Work Credit (scroll down to item 6)
DTI: Will & how will we travel in 2056? - An end to unwanted commuting routines, a world where all vehicles are part of the transport infrastructure and a time when the "information age" has transformed into the "intelligence age" are all ideas that could be part of our future, according to a new report published by the Government's science think tank, Foresight.
Intelligent Infrastructure Futures looks 50 years ahead to see how science & technology could deliver transport solutions in a safe and sustainable way. In this future world our choices would be supported by infrastructure and our decisions would be economically and environmentally sustainable.
The report examines the current state of science and technology, taking into account economic, social and psychological factors, to produce four potential scenarios to help understand the risks and opportunities. By looking at alternative scenarios, it raises key issues, obstacles and opportunities, to help government, public policy officials and relevant stakeholders start planning now.
Press release ~ Intelligent Infrastructure Futures ~ DTI – Sustainable development & environment website ~ White Paper – Future of Transport ~ Foresight Vehicle knowledge transfer network ~ Future Transport fuels ~ Future development of air transport in UK ~ DPTAC - What is the future transport system expected to be like? ~ Transport innovation fund ~ See also Transport Trends 2005 in ‘Annual Reports’ section.
Industry News: Less ‘Cash’ about, but increasing ‘Bash’ - Representatives from the GMB Union and the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) have met with Home Office Minister Hazel Blears to discuss the measures that are needed to combat the scourge of attacks on 'Cash in Transit' handling systems and the resulting injury to staff, which is running as high as one in five of the 2,295 attacks in the last 3 years.
Security crew are shot, attacked with iron bars, machetes, stabbed, pistol whipped and suffer severe beatings and other traumatic assaults, often leading to long term physical and mental injury.
As the banks have increased their internal security to protect their customers and staff, the problem has been pushed out "onto the pavement" and cash in transit vans and couriers are increasingly under attack as they make cash deliveries.
GMB and BSIA are seeking action from the Home Office Minister on the following measures:
· Increased police resources dedicated to this type of crime - in particular intelligence to target the organized criminal gangs behind most of the robberies
· A stricter sentencing policy for attacks, particularly armed robbery
· Removal of parking restrictions banning CIT vans from town centres
· Safer areas and procedures for transfer of cash in banks and retail outlets
· Changes to planning laws to "engineer in" safe cash handling methods in shopping centres, banks and multiple retail outlets
· Fast track routes and arrangements within banks and shopping centres for couriers
· Greater use of CCTV in areas with high risk of attacks
Full article ~ GMB Union ~ British Security Industry Association (BSIA) ~ GMB Guide to Health & Safety for Security Workers ~ GMB - Tackling Violence at Work ~ BSIA lodges Ofcom complaint about Channel 4 “Heist” ~ Skills for Security ~ West Yorkshire Police (Tackling Cash in Transit Robbery) ~ Banknote watch ~ Thames Valley - Banking procedures and cash in transit ~ British Crime Survey (BCS)
Forthcoming event: Situation normal – coping with the ever-changing challenges of the NHS - The NHS is never short of challenges and HR in the NHS 2006: Workforce at the heart of change (
Redesign of the workforce, modernisation of staff contracts, increased plurality of provision and changes in the labour market are just some of the major issues NHS HR professionals currently face. HR in the NHS 2006 will explore the workforce issues and opportunities at the centre of change management, as well as exploring how HR can help achieve key NHS targets.
The event is structured around 4 main strands:
· Securing the workforce of the future – Including integrating with social care and handling the impact of changing demographics & training considerations.
· Workforce and the new providers - Including workforce implications arising from increased plurality of provision in the NHS
· The importance of leadership – including how to build leadership capacity & capability to secure continuous service improvement
· Working smarter – Including make the best use of all available resources to enable staff to work smarter and not just harder, combined with making the most of cost efficiency & quality improvements.Full details ~ NHS Employers ~ DH – Improving staff morale ~ Health Commission – Staff surveys ~ DH – Human resources & training ~ DH - Agenda for change ~ Kings Fund workforce website ~ Health Select Committee: Changes to Primary Care Trusts (Caution 4Mb - 255pages) ~ Report – Financial turnaround in the NHS ~ CPHVA - Commissioning a Patient-led NHS ~ General News
MCGA: A revised version of the 'Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas' has just been published, which is intended to replace the now outdated 1990 hard-copy sensitivity maps of the UK coastline. It maps out a comprehensive range of coastal & marine resources as a sub-topic of MAGIC, a web-based interactive map designed by a partnership of eight government organisations.
The atlas has been updated using a list of priority datasets describing important coastal & marine habitats and species, as well as physical geography and relevant infrastructure. This key information will meet the needs of operational staff involved in national contingency planning, pollution incident response & clean up. The atlas will also act as a resource for a wider audience of environmental professionals and researchers.
TDA: According to research by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), one in 10 new teachers who have switched into the profession want to be a head or deputy head within five years, with all of those looking for headship stating that they would relish the challenge of running a school.
The study of newly qualified teachers shows that 22% gave up a management or senior role to teach the next generation, with a further 16% having left a middle-ranking role.
Anyone interested in becoming a teacher is advised to
attend a Train to teach event. One in
OPDM: New pilot projects intended to improve & speed up the planning process for large & complex developments have been launched by Housing and Planning Minister Yvette Cooper.
The Planning Delivery Agreement pilots are intended to give greater certainty to developers over the handling of their applications, provide a project management framework for local authorities and ensure that local communities are properly consulted early on in the process
Under the pilots, developers, local planning authorities and other stakeholders are supposed to work together with a commitment to an agreed project plan, which will:
· set out a defined timeframe for a decision
· highlight the resources and community engagement required, and
· ensure that sustainability and design standards are properly considered
Also just published is Planning Delivery Agreements, a report by ATLAS, which contains
good practice examples of successful approaches to handling large applications
by Ashford Borough Council, Birmingham City Council and
Press release ~ ATLAS - Planning Delivery Agreements report 2006 (and click on ‘Research’) ~ 2001 Planning Green Paper Planning: Delivering a Fundamental Change ~ British Property Federation ~ Planning Advisory Service (PAS) ~ Advisory Team for Large Applications (ATLAS)
Defra: Over 35
projects from voluntary groups across
Grants range from £25,000 to £250,000 per year but groups must find eligible matching funding and ensure that the projects have well defined objectives, measurable outcomes and clear timescales.
Press release ~ Environmental Action Fund ~ Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) ~ BabyGROE ~ The Association of Charity Shop's pilot campaign 'Choose2Reuse' ~ The Bioregional Development Group's One Planet Products project ~ Sponge Sustainability Network ~ Green Blue ~ Tidelines leaflet
Minister, Jane Kennedy has announced a new health research strategy
aimed at giving patients better access to ground-breaking new medicines and
treatments and supporting researchers carrying out health & social care
The strategy, Best Research for Best Health, is designed to make it easier &
quicker to get research started and improve its quality & relevance to
patients. As part of the new
strategy every patient in
Press release ~ Strategy: Best Research for Best Health ~ National Programme for IT/Connecting for Health ~ Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) ~ Best research for best health: Responses to the consultation on a new National Health Research Strategy
DTI: A new public-private body - the Energy Research Partnership (ERP) - brings together top energy industry executives, Whitehall officials and senior academics in a Treasury-inspired initiative designed to give strategic direction to UK energy research, development, demonstration and deployment.
The Partnership will
initially focus on Identifying approaches & technologies to accelerate
carbon reduction & maintain security of supply, at an affordable price and
establishing strategic objectives & priorities for energy research in the
The Partnership will seek to promote a coherent approach to addressing energy research activity and assist the Government & industry in addressing issues & barriers to the deployment of new energy technologies.
ODPM: 'One-stop shops' for older people, based on the Sure Start family services model, are to be introduced by the Government under a £10 million programme intended to help deliver key services to disadvantaged people aged 50 plus, as part of a 30-point cross-government action plan published in a report - A Sure Start to Later Life: Ending Inequalities for Older People - from the Social Exclusion Unit in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, Link-Age Plus aims to provide a single gateway to services provided in the community - ranging from housing matters, social care & financial benefits to transport, health and volunteering opportunities. The report includes case study examples of successful schemes for older people.
Press release ~ A Sure Start to Later Life: Ending Inequalities for Older People ~ Summary of report ~ Link-Age Plus ~ DWP: Opportunity Age – Opportunity and security throughout life ~ Help the Aged ~ Transport Access People (TAP), Cornwall ~ English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
Cabinet Office: Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, Sir Gus O'Donnell has announced the start of a consultation on a new Civil Service Code (closes 21 April 2006) with the message that ‘Traditional values must be fused with dynamic 21st century skills to deliver better advice to Ministers and services to the public’.
He reaffirmed his personal commitment to the historic values of integrity, honesty, objectivity & impartiality. The new Code, he said, reaffirmed these values as well as making clear that they are about an outward facing Civil Service that meets the needs of the public who fund & use its services.
He emphasised the need for these traditional values to be the driving force towards improving departments' capabilities and announced the first three 'Capability Reviews' to kick start that process in the Department for Constitutional Affairs, Home Office and Department for Work and Pensions (followed by the rest over the next 18 months). Capabilities in three key areas are being assessed – leadership, strategy and delivery
government is holding a consultation (closes
'cut and cover' tunnel past
· Changes to the Countess Roundabout, closure of the A344/A303 junction and construction of the Winterbourne Stoke Bypass.
This will lead to the production of a report to Ministers by early summer 2006 setting out the results of the consultation exercise and the detailed assessment of shortlisted options. The cost estimate of £510million for the planned scheme assumes a construction start date of 2008.
As part of the consultation, public
exhibitions will be held in both
DTI: The debate on future energy policy for the
Announcing the start of the consultation (closes 14 April 2006), Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, said: “We need to look at the risks to security of supply, our climate change commitments and, to the long term, to make sure we take the necessary action. There is not a do nothing option…….. These are big investment decisions so the Government needs to provide a clear framework”.
Press release ~ Consultation
document ~ Defra – Energy efficiency ~ Sustainable energy policy network ~ Science museum – Fuelling
the future ~ Powerswitch ~
government is consulting (closes
Press release ~ Consultation: Strengthen and streamline consumer advocacy ~ Consumer Strategy - Extending Competitive Markets: Empowered Consumers, Successful Business ~ Fair Deal for All - Extending Competitive Market: Empowered Consumers, Successful Business ~ Consumer Direct
Defra: Environment Minister, Elliot Morley, has urged businesses to report on their environmental impacts, especially as new Defra guidelines will make it easier than ever to do so. The message comes on the back of recent coverage on the removal of the Operating and Finance Review (OFR), which suggested that environmental reporting was no longer necessary.
However, Mr Morley said this was 'simply not the case': "All quoted and large private companies preparing the new Business Review will need to report significant environmental issues.
The new generation of guidelines outline how
environmental impacts can be measured through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
and how to report them easily. 80%
Press release ~ Environmental Key Performance Indicators: Reporting Guidelines for UK Businesses – Defra Business and Environment website ~Trucost plc ~ Operating and Finance Review (OFR) ~ DTI OFR website
HSE: Over 1,000 construction workers fracture a bone or dislocate a bone every year. So, this February, as part of an initiative to reduce the number of slips and trips on construction sites, Health and Safety Executive inspectors will be carrying out a nationwide 'Watch Your Step' inspection programme.
During a similar inspection initiative in October 2005, HSE inspectors took enforcement action at around 11% of sites they visited, in respect of good order issues.
To support the initiative, organisations such as UCATT, TGWU, NASC, NCF and CECA will be distributing a FREE good order 'toolbox talk' packs to their members.
Defra: New and higher recovery & recycling targets to be met by 2008 were set in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive 2004/12/EC. The packaging Regulations have succeeded so far in raising packaging waste recycling from around 27% in 1997 to just below 50% at the end of 2004.
To help organisations understand the regulations, Defra has launched a booklet summarising the changes.
Press release ~ Booklet:
The Producer Responsibility
Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2005 - Is your business
DfT: The Department for Transport has published the eighth edition of Transport Trends, which provides
readers with an introduction to the major trends in transport and travel in
Topics covered include:
· Roads, vehicles &congestion
· Personal travel by mode
· Public transport
· Variation in personal travel &access to services
· Freight &logistics
· Ports and airports
· Health &the environment
FSA: The Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) Financial Risk Outlook 2006 is intended to encourage banks to further engage consumers in their fight to combat the rise in online banking fraud. It highlights the risks the FSA believes will be important in the next 18 months, and how these may affect the regulator's ability to meet its statutory objectives and strategic aims.
In a chapter on financial crime, the FSA outlines the key findings of consumer research undertaken to gauge confidence in internet banking.
DH: A new report published by Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt reveals that teams of financial specialists are to be sent into 18 NHS organisations facing the greatest financial risks
The NHS budget has doubled since 1997 and will have almost trebled by 2008. Spending in the NHS increased this year by almost £7 billion from £69.7 billion to £76.4 billion. By 2007/08, the NHS budget will be £92.6 billion.
There will be a second report on turnaround support later in the year.
Home Office: Home Secretary Charles Clarke has announced a package of measures intended to ‘build safer, stronger communities and instil a culture of respect in society’ claiming that the newly published Police and Justice Bill will:
· drive up standards across the police service
· empower communities to take an active role in tackling anti-social behaviour and
· further strengthen the capabilities of the police & their partners to bear down on those who cause misery in communities
Key measures in the Bill to boost effective policing include the establishment of a National Police Improvement Agency , standardisation of Community Support Officer (CSO) powers and the aligning Basic Command Unit (BCU) and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) boundaries with local authorities, so that they can work together more effectively to reduce crime
A single Criminal Justice Inspectorate for Justice, Community Safety and Custody (with one Chief Inspector) will replace the five existing inspectorates:
The Association of Police Authorities (APA) supports some measures, but claims that ‘the Bill will reduce the local accountability of the police, not strengthen it, as the Government claims’ ….. the Bill represents a fundamental shift of control over policing from local people to the Home Secretary.
Home Office Press release ~ APA Press release ~ Police and Justice Bill (and click on ‘P’) ~ National Policing Improvement Agency ~ Basic Command Unit (BCU) ~ Crime
and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) ~ Respect Action Plan ~ Parenting Contracts ~ Parenting Orders ~ Independent Police
Complaints Commission ~ Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) ~
Seafish Authority: The Seafish Authority has published a whole series of useful links to EU & Westminster documents, proposals, alerts & legislation concerning the fishing industry.
HMRC: The Government has submitted an application to the European Commission for a derogation from the provisions of the EC Sixth VAT Directive to enable it to introduce a reverse charge procedure for transactions between VAT registered businesses in certain goods. The measures will be targeted at goods used for missing trader intra-Community (MTIC) fraud, for example mobile telephones, computer chips and some other similar electronic items.
For the derogation to come into effect, the Commission has to make a proposal which has to be approved by all EU Member States. The Government will bring forward domestic legislation to ensure that they are able to implement the change as soon as possible.
Homeless Link: The charity Homeless Link has welcomed the Social Exclusion Unit’s latest report, A sure start to later life – ending inequalities for older people, which highlights the plight of homeless & vulnerably housed older people. Its coalition on older homelessness has been working to raise this issue and contributed to the discussions that led up to the publication.
Jenny Edwards Chief Executive of Homeless Link said: “We welcome this recognition by Government that a fresh and specific approach to older homelessness as ‘the most extreme manifestation of housing problems’ is required.
In particular it is good to see a commitment to action to:
· promote guidelines on the admission & discharge of older homeless people from hospitals and
· provide specialist intermediate care services for homeless people.
We would press the Government to turn the recognition within the report of the need for suitable long-term accommodation for the older homeless people into a commitment to ensure that this is delivered.
Press release ~ A sure start to later life – ending inequalities for older people ~ Coalition on older homelessness’s submission ~ Homeless Link ~ See also ODPM item in ‘Policy, Statements & initiatives’ section above
OFT: The Office of Fair Trading has launched a
review of the undertakings given by clearing banks relating to the supply of
banking services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the
The undertakings were given following a 2002 report by the Competition Commission (CC) and were designed to:
· remedy excessive profits and prices by requiring the main four clearing banks to offer free banking services or to pay interest on business current accounts (transitional undertaking)
· encourage price competition by reducing barriers to entry and expansion in the market; improve information provided to business customers; and encourage switching by SME customers (behavioural undertakings).
FSA: The Financial Services Authority has confirmed in a Policy Statement that it will press ahead with streamlining its anti-money laundering requirements for firms as part of its drive to simplify the FSA Handbook and remove rules & guidance that are no longer needed.
The FSA will remove the existing detailed rules on anti-money laundering controls in their entirety, replacing them with high-level requirements for firms to have their own risk-based controls on money laundering. This should encourage firms to target resources on activities which are most likely to result in deterring & detecting money laundering.
Existing government regulations will remain in place, supplemented by industry guidance which is currently being reviewed. The changes will come into effect at the beginning of March, but firms will have a transitional period until August 2006 to become fully compliant with the new rules.
Press release ~ Policy Statement 06/1 Reviewing Money Laundering regime: Feedback on Chapter 2 and made text ~ Consultation paper 05/10 Reviewing the Handbook ~ Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) website ~ Money Laundering Regulations 2003 ~ HM Treasury ~ Anti-Money Laundering Links Page ~ HMRC ~ Alert service
Date: 23 - 25 May 2006 (Conference) and 24 - 25 May 2006 (Exhibition)
Organiser: ACPO/APA - ACPO-APA Summer Conference and International Policing Exhibition
This event is the annual forum
for all senior level professionals working in the policing, security and
public safety sector.
Taking place in
The ACPO-APA Summer Conference brings the most senior ranking police officers of all forces, the police authorities and national police agencies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland together once a year, to discuss & review all aspects of policing policies, strategies & methods.
The ACPO-APA International Policing Exhibition is free to attend and focuses on 2 days of intense business, networking & knowledge-building for all senior ranking officers and professionals.
A comprehensive programme of free to attend training seminars and discussion forums for all attendees will complement topics from the ACPO-APA Conference. The seminars will take place in presentation theatres within the exhibition hall and offer in-depth sessions on themes including:
· homeland security
· communications & interoperability
· leadership skills and
· professional development.
For information other events please click HERE
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