DCA: Should politicians get their hands on even more of your money? - Sir Hayden Phillips has launched an online forum as part of the review of the funding of political parties, which will give members of the public a chance to discuss the key issues, including:
· whether there should be a cap on donations
· any changes to state funding or
· further restrictions on the amount parties can spend
The first forum theme is ‘caps on donations’ and Professor Justin Fisher, of
Sir Hayden plans, at this stage, to keep the online forum running until the end of September 2006 and to aim to produce recommendations which are as much as possible agreed between the political parties with a view to legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows.
Press release ~ Party funding review website ~ The Government's proposals for legislation in response to the Fifth Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (1999) ~ Electoral Commission - Loans ~ Hansard – Principles of party funding ~ Official Labour Party press release ~ Conservative Party Document ~ Liberal Democrats ~ Electoral Commission – Quarterly donations ~ EC paper from 2004 ~ Elections and Referendums Act 2000 ~ House of Commons Research paper ~ SOSIG – other links
Defra: What’s that glow at the bottom of the garden? - The Government and the devolved administrations have ‘welcomed’ the report by the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management making recommendations for the long-term management of the UK's 470,000 cubic metres of higher activity radioactive wastes.
Mr Miliband said that a full response would be made to respective Parliaments and the National Assembly for
The report recommends:
· geological disposal as the best option for long-term management of
· a continued commitment to the safe & secure interim storage of the waste during the period it will take to plan & construct the geological disposal facility
· that Government should look to develop partnership arrangements, linked to appropriate involvement & benefit packages with local authorities/ communities as a means of securing facility siting
Mr Miliband stressed that the Government is committed to develop a strong voluntary partnership with local communities and will aspire to a policy of voluntarism in identifying a site for geological disposal. He said that: "We have no intention of forcing nuclear waste on any community."
Defra Radioactivity website ~ Nirex’s views ~ Nirex – What is radioactive waste? ~ Public participation in locating sites ~ Royal Society ~ DTI nuclear website ~ Scottish Executive ~ Environment Agency ~ British Energy ~ BBC news item on Sweden’s problems ~ FoE website ~ Greenpeace website
DTI: Every bird counts - An aerial study into waterbird populations in key offshore wind farm development sectors has confirmed their large number & high diversity in areas that had previously been poorly understood. This new information will inform offshore wind farm site applications so that they minimise the impact on the local environment and also help government in meeting its EU obligation to monitor and protect seabirds.
The research carried out by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) has greatly increased understanding of waterbird populations in the three areas (the Thames Estuary, the Greater Wash and off the coast of North
Press release ~ Aerial Surveys of Waterbirds in Strategic Wind Farm Areas ~ DTI – Offshore renewables ~ 'Future Offshore' ~ Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) report ~ Research Advisory Group (RAG) ~ EU birds directive ~ Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) ~ British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) ~ COWRIE website
WAG: Future care in the valleys - A draft new strategy for social services in Wales which will expect consistently higher quality services for those in need and greater links with the community to promote independence & well being has been launched for consultation by the Welsh Health and Social Services Minister Dr Brian Gibbons, who said that the proposals in Fulfilled Lives, Supportive Communities promote social inclusion and the rights of the individual.
The changes in social services is intended to complement the 10-year health strategy Designed for Life, which the Minister launched last year and respond to the challenges set out in the Beecham Report and ‘move us towards a world-class health and social services in
It sets out five key issues:
· Social services should have a much higher profile, working across local government to champion the needs of families and vulnerable people
· Adults and children’s social services should ensure that individuals & families are properly supported by coherent services that offer continuity of care for those with enduring needs
· Services should put the citizen at the centre of what they do and focus on earlier prevention rather than concentrating with those with the most intense needs
· Local authorities should remain both commissioners & providers of services, but take a more active role in shaping the mixed market of private, public and voluntary care
· The strategy proposes a more diverse model for using the skills of a better qualified workforce.
One of the key elements will be the development of a national workforce action plan which will define roles & responsibilities as well as developing new workforce planning tools. The final strategy will be published in the New Year.
Press release ~ Fulfilled Lives, Supportive Communities ~ Designed for Life ~ Beecham Report ~ Linc-Cymru’s extracare services ~ Welsh Assembly Government Telemedicine & Telecare Programme Deliverable 09: Benefits Realisation ~ Welsh Telemedicine & Telecare website ~ SSI for Wales: Guidelines to assist Local Authorities and Health Boards to develop Local Telecare Strategies ~ Achieving Success in the Development of Extra Care Schemes for Older People ~ Telecare: Using Information and Communication Technology to Support Independent Living by Older, Disabled and Vulnerable People ~ Telecare Collaborative ~
National Archives: Old Book gets new cover – The Domesday Book - the oldest public record held at The National Archives – is now available to the public through Domesday Online, the organisation’s latest digitisation project. The original was commissioned in 1085 by William I who conquered
Through this venture, The National Archives hopes people will take the opportunity to examine the book from the comfort of their own homes and learn more about this iconic document, by searching for a specific town, city or village.
For a small fee (£3.50) it is also possible to purchase a copy of the original page featuring the place name and a translation of the entry into modern English, or you can play a quiz and game for free.
The website, provided by The National Archives' DocumentsOnline service, also contains useful information about the history of this 920-year-old document. In 2005 it was voted the nation's finest treasure, yet a recent survey conducted in conjunction with today’s launch revealed that less than 1% of the population have actually been to see the original in The National Archives' museum.
NICE: NICE gives a hand with the children - New guidance from NICE and SCIE will help parents & carers by setting out the type of training & educational programmes that can help parents improve relationships with their children and so help improve the child's behaviour.
Conduct disorders are more serious than ordinary childhood mischief or teenage rebelliousness and need to be diagnosed by a specialist. Children with conduct disorders exhibit persistent & repetitive antisocial, aggressive and defiant behaviour, which may include destroying property, theft, deceitfulness or serious rule breaking.
Children with conduct disorders are more likely to experience a range of related health and social problems in adulthood, with around half being diagnosed with antisocial personality disorders as adults, and others will receive diagnoses including substance misuse, schizophrenia and depressive disorders. They are also at a high risk of experiencing future disadvantage through poor school achievement and long term unemployment.
NICE claims that If this guidance is put in place as recommended, then after 10 years of operation, an estimated £14m will be saved each year across the health, social care and education public services. Effectively addressing conduct disorders in childhood benefits not only the families involved, but also has a positive impact on the public sector and wider society.
Press release ~ Parent-training/education programmes in the management of children with conduct disorders ~ Welcome to the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) ~ Mental Health and Growing Up, Third Edition
Behavioural problems and conduct disorder
Industry News: Go West for integrated child care
Through shared services, it will ensure consistency of approach across the region, whilst also enabling the local authorities involved to purchase the necessary information technology solution in the most cost-effective manner.
Due to go live at the end of this year, the new systems will provide care professionals with fully electronic social care records a single point of access for information, enabling them to deliver improved services to vulnerable children & adults in a speedier, more accurate & effective manner.
Allowing appropriate information sharing across the whole of
Full article ~ Northgate Information Solutions ~ CareWorks RAISE ~ Every Child Matters - ICS systems ~ Dorset Childcare information & services ~ Green paper, Children Act 2004 and other associated documents ~ The Integrated Children's System and the Electronic Social Care Record: A briefing for Responsible Officers ~ Local Authority Circular LAC (2005)3: Integrated Children's System: A Statement of Business Requirements
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Legal Services Complaints Commissioner and the Law Society have announced
agreement of a plan & targets regarding securing improvements to its
complaints handling services for
In May, the Legal Services Complaints Commissioner, Zahida Manzoor CBE, announced that she would be levying a penalty of £250,000 on the Law Society.
The Commissioner has also announced her decision on the Law
Society's performance against its Plan for
help local authorities towards achieving tough Welsh Assembly Government
recycling and composting targets, local authorities in
Since 2001, the Welsh Assembly Government has supported local authorities in their efforts to reduce their reliance on landfill sites with a sustainable waste management grant, which grant funds a variety of initiatives, from encouraging the reuse of furniture, recycling of various materials and composting of biodegradable wastes, all of which reduce the dependence on landfill.
2004-05 data showed that local authorities in
Press release ~
Welsh Assembly Re-use & recycling
targets ~ Welsh Waste Charging Scheme ~ Letsrecycle.com website ~
Cabinet Office: Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell has announced a further 5 departments undertaking 'Capability Reviews': DCMS, MOD, Defra, FCO and DFID. The reviews aim to ‘improve the capability of the Civil Service to meet today's delivery challenges and to be ready for tomorrows’ and will aim to consider departmental capability in three key areas: leadership, strategy and delivery.
Each review aims to identify where departments need to improve and will include key actions which will address these areas. The programme will be rolled out across 17 departments by the summer 2007 with the findings of the Capability Reviews for these five departments being published in spring 2007.
DH: In June 2006 the Minister for care services, Ivan Lewis, launched an online survey to hear directly from the public about their experiences of dignity in care services, or about care they have seen provided to others.
The top three priorities for Government action highlighted in the responses were:
· making it easier to complain
· improving inspection & regulation of service, and
· generally raising awareness & understanding of dignity in care including the training & education of staff
Press release ~
Social care ~ Dignity in
~ A Mature Policy on Choice ~ Patients Forum – White Paper: Choosing health ~ <
SPAN style="COLOR: purple">RCN – Real choice in health
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published a consultation paper on implementing the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) for FSA-regulated firms and markets.
MiFID is designed to foster competition and a level-playing field
The consultation paper is in three parts as follows:
· Part I explains the proposed changes to FSA rules, guidance or procedures
· Part II sets out the FSA's proposals for implementing the MiFID requirements on client assets
· Part III explains how the FSA intends to implement MiFID’s provisions
Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has launched a consultation (closes
The proposed amendments apply only to people working in the sector and do not affect sport or leisure climbing or caving.
Press release ~ Proposal for Work at Height (Amendment) Regulations Consultation ~ HSE - The Work at Height Regulations and Adventure Activities Sector website ~ HSE Falls from Height main website ~ HSE brief guide: Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR)
HSE: The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has published a consultation document (closes 27 September 2006) which invites comments on proposals to introduce new & revised Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) following the adoption of the 2nd Directive on Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELVs) (2006/15/EC), adopted in February by the European Commission.
The directive lists 33 substances with exposure limits, for which Member
States must introduce a domestic occupational exposure limit by September
2007. The Consultation
document proposes to introduce
It is proposed that the new & revised
Scottish Executive: A consultation (closes November 1, 2006) on plans to get more young Scottish people involved in activities and youth organisations has been launched by Deputy Education Minister Robert Brown, who said:
are capable of so much. Their
talent, creativity and enthusiasm is one of
We know that getting involved boosts confidence, builds life experience and leadership abilities, and equips them with important skills that will stay with them for life. That is why we want to hear from them, youth workers and anyone else with an interest on how we can build on the opportunities that already exist and get more young people more involved."
Press release ~
Consultation paper, response booklet and
questionnaire for young people ~
The Department of Health has launched a consultation (closes
The consultation calls for comment on a set of general principles to guide all NHS organisations in developing their ability to respond to an emergency where the number of patients substantially exceeds normal critical care capacity within the context of the NHS Emergency Planning Guidance 2005.
This is an underpinning section of the NHS Emergency Planning Guidance 2005 and must be used in conjunction with this and other relevant underpinning sections. The DH would welcome your views on this guidance and its usefulness to NHS organisations in fulfilling their statutory requirements.
Department of Health and the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory
Agency (MHRA) have published proposals for consultation (closes
This could mean that optometrists will be able to treat patients with eye infections without them needing to visit their GP solely for a prescription or even, if necessary refer them to a local hospital eye service.
There are five options which have been proposed for consultation
· Option 1: No Change
· Option 2: Prescribing medicines for certain eye conditions from a limited formulary
· Option 3: Prescribing for any eye condition from a limited formulary
· Option 4: Prescribing any licensed medicine for certain eye conditions
· Option 5: Prescribing any licensed medicine for any ocular condition
Children's Minister Beverley Hughes has launched a consultation
The consultation - Modernising the Regulatory Framework for Children's Social Services - proposes that:
All providers should be inspected at least
once every three years, but that Children's Homes and
· Providers should produce an annual quality assurance self-assessment to ensure that CSCI is in receipt of regular updates of services
· Those providers that need to perform better will be required to produce an improvement plan if requested to do so by CSCI
In future, subject to the Education and Inspections Bill completing its passage through
Parliament, all children's social services functions currently carried out
by CSCI will be undertaken by the enlarged Ofsted from
This consultation forms the first part of a two-part review into the National Minimum Standards. The second part will look at the detail of the Standards themselves and will take place later in the year.
Press release ~ < FONT color=#800080>Modernising the Regulatory Framework for Children's Social Services ~ Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) ~ National Minimum Standards (NMS) for children's social services (scroll down) ~ Education and Inspections Bill
Gambling Commission: The need for organisers of prize competitions and free draws, such as those featured on some TV programmes, to stay within the law is the subject of a new discussion document issued by the Gambling Commission.
The Commission is inviting comments (by
A key element to the distinction between a skill competition and a lottery, as set out in the new Act, is that, in a properly run competition, the skill element must either deter a significant proportion from entering or eliminate a significant proportion of those who do.
Defra is consulting (closes
The regulations would grant the power to enter any premises where zoonotic infection is suspected and to take samples to help trace its spread. It is expected that they will become law late in 2006.
Comments are specifically invited on the rationale for Government intervention, the application & scope of the regulations, how to implement them, the potential cost to food producers and other businesses and the cost to Government.
Press release ~ < FONT color=#800080 size=2>Consultation documents ~ Exotic Animal Disease Generic Contingency Plan ~ UK Influenza Pandemic Contingency plan ~ Health Protection Agency – Avian Flu ~ DH Bird Flu website ~ State Veterinary Service ~ Veterinary Instructions, Procedures and Emergency Routines (VIPER) ~ "Exercise Hornbeam" - SAC review ~ Section 18 of the Animal Health Act (AHA) 2002 (and scroll down)
Defra: Defra claims to have translated complicated licence application guidelines into plain English (laid-out in a quick-reference format) in order to make the process of applying easier for fishermen.
The Department, working with the Devolved Administrations of Scotland,
DCLG: Planning Minister, Yvette Cooper, has urged local authorities to make better use of "section 106" agreements to deliver more affordable housing & infrastructure. The call to action came as the Government published new guidance for local authorities & developers on how better to use planning obligations.
The guide offers practical advice on how to improve the development, negotiation & implementation of section 106 agreements. It also provides real life examples of how to make the process quicker, whilst providing more certainty, and includes a model legal agreement prepared by the Law Society.
The Government has also consulted on proposals for a Planning-gain Supplement (PGS), to capture a modest portion of the land value increase resulting from planning permission and it will make further announcements on PGS by the end of 2006.
Press release ~ Planning Obligations: Practice Guidance and Model Agreement ~ Circular 05/05: Planning Obligations ~ Valuing Planning Obligations in England ~ Previous consultation on Planning Gain Supplement ~ Section 106 agreements
Home Office: Reckless drivers of mini-motos who disrupt and damage communities could receive points on their licence (even if they haven't yet got one), face a driving ban, a fine or even have their vehicles crushed under new guidance published by the Respect Task Force.
It is illegal to ride unregistered mini-motos and similar off-roading vehicles on pavements, in parks and on public highways.
The Home Secretary has made it clear that those misusing mini-motos could have them seized & crushed by the police and, in order to help police carry out enforcement, the Respect Task Force is giving £200,000 to 28 areas who are stepping up enforcement activity over the summer.
OGC – BS: OGCbuying.solutions has launched its new Interim Management Framework Agreement, which is intended to give public sector customers access to sector specific Interim Managers from middle-management through to Board-level appointments in 5 specialist areas:
· Board/Executive Committee Level
· Local Authorities &Education
· Central Civil Government and Other Public Sector Bodies
OGCbuying.solutions Chief Executive, Hugh Barrett, said:
"Demand for interim mangers has increased significantly over the last few years and we are pleased to offer public sector customers a framework agreement which continues the supply of this category of temporary staff."
Press release ~ OGCbuying.solutions ~ Interim Management Framework Agreement (click on required specialist area) ~ Catalist Interim Management FAQs ~ OGC Consultancy and Interim Management Support (CIMS) ~ Institute of Interim Management ~ < FONT color=#800080 size=2>CIPD Factsheet
Scottish Executive: A new Scottish Executive planning policy is intended
to promote a wider social and economic role for
Although shops give a key focus, recreation & leisure activities need to be planned to make town centres vital hubs for the communities that live, work and play there. Town centres should be the first choice for shopping and related developments, while out of centre and out of town sites should only be acceptable if central options are unsuitable.
Press release ~ Scottish Planning Policy 8: Town Centres and Retailing (SPP8) ~ 2005 closed consultation ~ Responses to consultation ~ Report of Findings: Research Study on the Effectiveness of NPPG 8 Town Centres and Retailing ~ Retail Development Survey 5-Year Trend Analysis (1998-2002)
Defra: The free pocket-sized 2006 edition of a booklet which provides an overview of the country's progress in tackling key economic, social and environmental issues has been published. The 68 indicators it contains cover a wide range of topics of everyday concern such as health, housing, jobs, crime, education and our environment, which all affect whether we can live more sustainably in the future.
Collectively they can provide an overview of progress, overall and for four priority areas as set out in the UK Government's Sustainable Development Strategy, Securing the Future:
· Sustainable consumption and production
· Climate change and energy
· Natural resource protection and environmental enhancement
· Creating sustainable communities
Compared with the position in 1999, 53 measures show improvement (representing over half of those for which it is possible to make an assessment), and 17 show a deterioration.
Pensions Regulator: The Pensions Regulator (PR) has published its first annual report and accounts for the financial year 2005/2006.
Notable achievements during the year include:
· publishing a medium term strategy which establishes the PR's active, risk-based approach to regulation
· setting up a clearance process for businesses involved in corporate transactions
· publishing guidance and codes of practice, and
· launching a free online trustee training toolkit
CRE: The CRE published its annual reports for 2005 and its highlights include:
The CRE's investigation into the Police
· The launch of the Statutory Code of Practice on Racial Equality in Employment, giving best practice guidance to employers on promoting race equality in the workplace, and A Guide to Good Race Relations which gives authorities advice on how to promote good race relations.
· Hosting a seminar on the underachievement of black boys in education
· The campaign, 'Countdown to May 31', which reminded public authorities that they had to revise how they promote race equality under amendments to the Race Relations Act
Press release ~ Annual reports 2005/06 ~ Police Investigation (scroll down) ~ Countdown to May 31 ~ Statutory Code of Practice on Racial Equality in Employment ~ A Guide to Good Race Relations ~ Black Boys in Education
Defra: Defra claims that some of the best examples of imaginative & innovative ways to improve services in rural areas are highlighted in its Rural Services Review. The Review gives real life examples of how communities, businesses and local government are working in partnership to bring benefits to young people, public services, housing and older people.
Defra: Ben Bradshaw, Minister for Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has announced the publication of an independent review of livestock movement rules which was undertaken by Bill Madders.
Press release ~ Review and related documents ~ Livestock Identification and Tracing ~ British Cattle Movement Service ~ Scottish Livestock Movement record books ~ Characteristics of cattle movements in Britain – an analysis of records from the Cattle Tracing System
DWP: The Department for Work and Pensions has published the findings of research exploring employer attitudes to automatic enrolment into personal accounts.
The main findings include:
· Strong support for automatic enrolment across all types of employers
· Employers supported the idea of a portable pension account which employees would take with them when they moved employers
· There was general consensus that the proposed 4% post-tax employee contribution, 3% from the employer, and 1% from the state as tax relief was acceptable.
· Small employers also supported the idea that the scheme should be phased in by employer size with them being the last to comply
Press release ~ DWP research report no. 371: Employer attitudes to personal accounts: Report of a qualitative study ~ Summary Version ~ Consultation ~ White Paper on Pension Reform - Security in Retirement: towards a new pensions system ~ Public attitudes to personal accounts: Report of a qualitative study ~ Summary version ~ Pensions Commission ~ Pensions Advisory Service
Board of Inquiry (BOI) report into the death of Sergeant Steve Roberts in Az
A BOI was convened to establish the circumstances that led to Sgt Roberts' death and identify lessons that should be learned to prevent a similar tragedy in the future. This process is now complete and six recommendations have been made. Where improvements have not already been made in line with these recommendations, the MoD is taking steps to address them.
CSCI: Children and young people say that boarding school placements can be good for them if they need to live away from home, in a report published by the Office of the Children’s Rights Director. The report focuses primarily on the views of children and young people who live in boarding schools because they need to live away from home for a variety of reasons.
Placements at boarding schools can help with problems experienced at home and the report highlights both the advantages & disadvantages of boarding.
Press release ~ Boarding School Placement ~ Being a boarder: A Survey of Boarders’ and Parents’ Views on Boarding Schools ~ Rights4me website ~ Office of the Children’s Rights Director ~ Boarding Schools: National Minimum Standards Inspection Regulations ~ Boarding Schools Association ~ State Boarding Schools Association ~ Parents Guide to Maintained Boarding Schools
Department for Transport has published the findings of a research project aimed
at assessing how well the
The study, carried out on behalf of the Department by the Transport Research Laboratory, shows that:
· the industry needs further encouragement to follow those parts of the Code that are already covered by Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act
· there should be increased training for travel & booking agency and airline staff
· procedures to increase pre-booking assistance and provision of information in alternative formats, need to be promoted further
· consistent policies need to be developed on the carriage of disabled people and on seating allocation; airlines and their handling agent staff should have the knowledge to assess suitable seating allocation for particular needs
Press release ~ Access to Air Travel for Disabled People: 2005 - Monitoring study ~ Code of Practice Access to Air Travel for Disabled People ~ Disability Rights Task Force (DRTF) - From Exclusion to Inclusion ~ The Council adopts rules strengthening the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility travelling by air ~ DfT – Access for Disabled People website
Home Office: From this week, the threshold for seizing suspect sums of money under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) has been lowered from £5,000 to £1,000.
The lower threshold gives the police the opportunity to tackle those at the lower end of organised criminal networks, often operating within local neighbourhoods. It will also help prevent criminals from carrying smaller amounts of cash in order to evade the previous, higher threshold.
The new legislation comes into force as the United Kingdom Threat Assessment (UKTA) published by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) describes as "high" the threat of organised crime in the
The Government has announced that it will be consulting prosecution & law enforcement agencies on doubling the current criminal asset recovery target to a minimum £250 million a year by 2010.
Press release ~ Chapter 3 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) ~ United Kingdom Threat Assessment (UKTA) ~ Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) ~ 'New Powers for Organised and Financial Crime' ~ Home Office's Review of the Criminal Justice system ~ Organised crime mini website
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