In the News
HMT: To be asked to ‘pay more for less’ is always upsetting, especially when the extra payments seem un-necessary to fund the pension - The Cabinet Office, Department for Education and the NHS have published consultations on pension contribution increases for civil servants, teachers and NHS staff for the financial year 2012/13.
The proposed increases will deliver over £1bn of the £1.2bn savings in 2012/13, as set out in the Spending Review 2010. The proposals represent 40% of the average 3.2 percentage point increase in public service pension contributions which the Government announced it would phase in from next year.
The consultations apply to the Civil Service in England, Scotland & Wales; the NHS in England & Wales and teachers in England & Wales and will affect approximately 2.5m public service workers. Scheme specific talks will make proposals by the end of October 2011 on how savings of £2.3bn in 2013/14 and £2.8bn in 2014/15 are achieved.
Technology Innovation for Energy Intensive Industry in the United Kingdom - prepared for the two organisations by the Centre for Low Carbon Futures - says that these energy intensive companies must innovate to survive, and calls on the government to make sure there is a place for them in its plans for the low carbon economy of the future.
These industries directly employ some 125,000 people in 2,800 individual businesses around the UK, and many more employees are to be found within their supply chains. The annual turnover of the UK's energy intensive sector is approximately £23bn, which contributes around £5bn to the UK economy.
According to the report, much of the energy intensive sectors require 'transformative technologies' to cut their emissions significantly. Key priorities include carbon capture & storage for industries like steel & chemicals, process changes, and switching to biomass as an energy supply.
PC&PE: It is harder to name one government ICT success than 10 expensive failures - The Government's over-reliance on large contractors for its IT needs combined with a lack of in-house skills is a ‘recipe for rip-offs’ according to a report by the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC). The committee found that, as a result, IT procurement too often resulted in late, over budget IT systems that are not fit for purpose.
The report argues that the Government needs to do 4 things to break out of this relationship:
* Improve the information it holds on IT expenditure to help secure the best possible price for goods & services
* Publish more information about IT projects.
* Widen the supplier base by reducing the size of its contracts & greatly simplifying the procurement process to engage with innovative SMEs.
* Work in a more ‘agile’ manner.
A team from WorldSkills London, WorldSkills International, the Skills Funding Agency, National Apprenticeship Service working with agencies Band & Brown and Praise will operate a media centre, with audio-visual support from leading IT, film and photographic providers.
Organisers are looking for 100 media centre volunteers to work with them in w/c 3 October 2011 and to help to co-ordinate media attendance at the event, manage interview schedules for nations & competitors as well as be on hand to help any journalists. Volunteers with a combination of PR & language skills will be especially welcome.
Full training will be given by the media centre team and volunteers will receive an official uniform, food & drinks while on duty, a Travelcard zones 1-4, valuable event training and a certificate as a memento of their WorldSkills London 2011 experience.
DH: The difference between a fulfilled life in the community and institutional care - Plans to make it easier for people with disabilities to employ Personal Assistants to help them to live as full a life as possible have been revealed by Care Services Minister Paul Burstow.
A Framework for Personal Assistants helps offer universal support for people with care needs as well as the PAs they employ. It maintains the flexibility of the role, which makes them so vital in helping people with disabilities to live their lives & aims to increase the number of PAs available.
The publication is part of the personalisation agenda at the heart of the Government’s Vision for Adult Social Care to deliver services chosen by people to meet their individual needs. By 2013, everyone eligible should be offered a personal budget to spend on the best care package for them.
It is estimated that by 2025 this could create nearly 1.2m Personal Assistant jobs - there are currently less than 200,000 people working as Personal Assistants in England.
MoD: For some the journey in the opposite direction will only be the start of a long ‘battle’ to attain a ‘normal’ life again - A team of military medical personnel have completed a 3,580 miles run & cycle - the equivalent distance from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK, to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan - raising money for charity.
The 20-strong elite team hope to raise at least £3,580, to be split between the military patients' fund within the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity, SSAFA Norton House, Troop Aid, and the Mickey Vaggs Trust at the Army Benevolent Fund.
People who would like to donate money to the challenge can do so through http://www.justgiving.com/bastion2brum. You can also sponsor the team using your mobile phone, or alternatively, you can send a cheque (see press release for details).
UNICEF: Yet again the familiar haunting pictures fill our TV screens - In response to the UN declaration of famine in 2 regions of southern Somalia, UNICEF are calling for more funds to scale up their critical work in the region and encouraging the UK public to support them urgently to help save children’s lives.
Famine is declared when acute malnutrition rates among children exceed 30%; more than 2 people per 10,000 die per day; and people are not able to access food and other basic necessities. In some regions of Somalia acute malnutrition is now exceeding 50% and UNICEF is recording at least 6 per 10,000 children dying daily. To donate to UNICEF’s East Africa Appeal please go to www.unicef.org.uk, call 0800 037 9797, or text FAMINE to 70099 to make a £10 donation.
White Paper: G-Cloud – Securing the New Frontier - The Government Cloud (G-Cloud) is at the very heart of the Cabinet Office’s drive to implement, design and develop innovative systems for better and more efficient use of information, communication and digital technologies.
But government organisations must also consider the impact of software security, as the complexity of software applications means the process of securing them is not as mature as with network and hardware infrastructure.
A newly produced White Paper explores how government organisations can release the inherent power that the G-Cloud offers, whilst giving due consideration to software security. ‘Securing the New Frontier’ addresses the key issues and how to ensure the cloud readiness of your critical applications and infrastructure.
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