The WGPlus team welcomes back readers returning from their summer break and would like to point out that this week’s newsletter includes items that were issued by departments & organisations during our recess, rather than just for the previous week.
LSC: Unqualified applicants get binned - New research from the Learning and Skills Council reveals that 22% of employers say they would not recruit job-seekers with less than five good GCSEs (or the vocational equivalent) – and 15% completely ignore CVs if the job applicant does not have these essential qualifications.
Following the CBI report which revealed that too many teenagers are leaving school barely able to write or add up – LSC research shows that for those that don’t stay on in learning and are lucky enough to find a job, the prospects are bleak.
Of the 74% of employers who would recruit someone with less than five good GCSEs, 47% would only offer unskilled positions with low pay and limited prospects.
On average, employers said they would pay someone a starting salary £1,700 higher if they had five A*-C GCSEs compared to someone without these qualifications plus experience. This backs up official statistics which state that over a lifetime someone with the minimum set of qualifications will earn £4,000 more per year compared to someone without.
HC: NHS fails to meet statutory requirements on racism - The Healthcare Commission has warned that it suspects the NHS of widespread non-compliance with legislation on race relations designed to promote equality. It has released results of an audit suggesting most trusts have not met responsibilities to publish information under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.
Inspectors scanned each website of all 570 NHS trusts, looking for information that legislation has required public bodies to publish since May 2002 and they could only find this information the websites of seven NHS trusts (around 1% of the total).
As part of a duty to promote race equality, all NHS trusts should publish:
· a race equality scheme and action plan setting out how the organisation will make race equality central to all its functions (reviewed every three years)
· annual employment monitoring statistics showing the ethnic profile of the workforce, including access to training & promotion, as well as numbers of job applicants and short-listed candidates
· the outcome of race equality impact assessments demonstrating what action has been taken to address any adverse impact of an organisation’s policies.
The Commission stresses that the audit is not a definitive test of compliance, but says the findings do suggest a significant problem with the number of trusts meeting statutory codes of practice.
Press release ~ Race Equality Audit ~ Healthcare Commission – equality, diversity and human rights ~ Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 ~ Commission for Racial Equality ~ NHS – Equality & diversity ~ DH – Equality & diversity ~ DH policy & guidance ~ CRE – Race equality and NHS Trusts ~ CRE – Race equality guide for SHAs ~ CRE - Primary health care code of practice ~ Race for Health
Ofsted: Ofsted declares childcare is generally ‘safe’ - Early Years: Safe and Sound, a new report published by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), reveals that the majority of registered childcare providers ensure that the children placed in their care are kept safe and well cared for. The report is intended to be used as a tool by childcare providers to further improve their practice with children.
Inspectors found that 97% of the 25,000 childcare providers inspected between April 2005 and March 2006 were satisfactory or better in keeping children in their care safe from harm. Very few (3%) were deemed inadequate. In the same period, 98% of providers were satisfactory or better at helping children to be healthy. Very few (2%) were inadequate.
A clear indication of improved childcare is that the percentage of inspections where it was necessary for Ofsted to set actions for improvement has reduced. Ofsted set actions for 22% of all providers inspected during the last inspection cycle (April 2003 to March 2005), because they were not meeting one or more of the National Standards. However, this year it was necessary to set actions for only 4% of providers inspected.
The Safe & Sound mini-website features the Safe and Sound report and other materials including:
· a poster
· PowerPoint presentation and
· short article for providers’ associations and local authorities to use at meetings with providers & their staff
HC: What happens when you combine poor management and staff shortages?- The Healthcare Commission has published an investigation report into the deaths of ten women who gave birth at Northwick Park Hospital, West London. The report describes what happened to each of the ten women, all of whom died during pregnancy or within 42 days of giving birth between April 2002 and April 2005. The death rate per 100,000 maternities was nearly seven times higher than the national average at
This report, which aimed to identify if there were common factors between the deaths, paints a stark picture of what can happen when a maternity unit has inadequate systems to protect the women it cares for.
Common factors included:
· insufficient input from a consultant or a senior midwife (in five cases), with difficult decisions often left to junior staff
· failure to recognise & respond quickly where a woman’s condition changed unexpectedly
· inadequate resources to deal with high-risk cases:
· a working culture that led to poor working practices and resulted in poor quality of care
· failure to learn lessons on the unit
· failure by the Trust’s board to appreciate the seriousness of the situation
Last year, Commission Chairman Sir Ian Kennedy called on NHS trusts to raise standards in their maternity services to those of the best. He drew on the similarities between
DCLG: Will ‘six of the best’ curb anti-social behaviour? -The importance of strong housing management in tackling anti-social behaviour and creating a community culture of respect is claimed to be at the centre of a new Government 'Standard' aimed at council and housing association landlords.
The Respect Standard for Housing Management standard outlines the six core components essential to delivering an effective response to anti-social behaviour and building stronger communities:
· Accountability, leadership, and commitment
· Empowering and reassuring residents
· Prevention and early intervention
· Tailored services for residents and provision of support for victims and witnesses
· Protecting Communities through swift enforcement
· Support to tackle the causes of anti-social behaviour
The Government will be encouraging residents to get engaged and hold their landlord to account.
The Audit Commission, who carry out inspections of landlords, are also looking to strengthen their guidelines to landlords on what they expect a good landlord to be achieving in tackling anti-social behaviour and have launched a consultation exercise on changes to the way it inspects tenancy and estate management services in housing organisations (closes on 29 September 2006).
Forthcoming Event: IQ Boot Camp – essential skills for e-government
Forthcoming Event: IQ Boot Camp – essential skills for e-government
, OCTOBER 17-19
**15% Discount for WGPlus subscribers**
Learn the essential skills you need to improve your website and serve your citizens better at iQ Boot Camp. The 3-day conference for web, information and IT professionals features:
Previous attendees said:
“Very high quality. Intelligent training and very strong back up with resources and examples” - Dept for Education & Skills
“Very useful templates. Excellent examples and good humour” – The Cabinet Office
"Excellent training course - well worth the money and time invested in it." – The Highways Agency
Other attendees include: Dept for Work and Pensions, Dept for International Development, Information Commissioner, Legal Services Commission, Manchester City Council, The Local Government Association and The National Library of Scotland.
For more information, and to register, visit http://www.iqcontent.com/events/bootcamp/ To receive your 15% discount, simply enter ‘WGPLUS’ as your coupon code, when registering online.
Further information ~ DRC report: The Web: Access and Inclusion for Disabled People ~ Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 78 ~ RNIB web access centre ~ The Business Case for Web Accessibility ~ Essential Components of Web Accessibility ~ Internet Plain English Crystal Mark ~ How to write an effective web design brief (presentation) ~ LSE - Writing for the web ~ Internet Search basics ~ Google Analytics
For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
For the latest Industry News please click HERE
CSPL: The Committee on Standards in Public Life has welcomed the recommendation from the Public Administration Select Committee that an independent investigatory mechanism should be introduced for alleged breaches of the Ministerial Code.
The recommendation is contained in the PASC report - The Ministerial Code: the case for independent investigation.
Press release ~ Committee on Standards in Public Life ~ Committee on Standards in Public Life’s Ninth Report ~ Public Administration Select Committee ~ The Ministerial Code: the case for independent investigation ~ Cabinet Office – Ministerial Code ~ Ministerial Code note
Cabinet Office: The Cabinet Office has launched the first Technology in Business Fast Stream for the Civil Service, which will provide an entry route for talented graduates interested in delivering technology-enabled change within the public sector.
They will be selected for their potential to become future Chief Information Officers or leaders of large scale, IT-enabled business change. Successful candidates will be placed in a leading central government department and will be provided with foundation and ongoing training & development.
They will have a formal mentor to support their career development and
will have the opportunity to meet & work with key technology leaders across
the wider public sector. Full
information about the Technology in Business Fast Stream will be available on
the IT Profession website in September. Applicants should apply online between 18th September
Scottish Executive: The Scottish Schools Digital Network National Intranet (SSDN) has been re-branded as 'Glow'. The new name was chosen because on many levels it is believed it matches the objectives & aspirations of the national intranet, which will ultimately digitally link
Glow is intended to be ‘fun, bright and hopeful - yet it is simple and accessible to all’. The idea is that pupils will find Glow easy to spell & remember while teachers are intended to see it as a pool of resources that can help to make lessons more interesting & interactive.
Visitors to the Scottish Learning Festival (20 - 21 September) will be able to get their first look at an early version of Glow as well as the opportunity to attend seminars to find out more. Developing, testing and piloting of Glow is currently underway, with initial roll out to schools planned to start in mid 2007.
OGC Buying Solutions: St. Mary’s NHS Trust in Paddington has become the first in a consortium of 17 NHS Trusts to connect to its suppliers via the Zanzibar Managed Service and to realise the benefits of ‘OGCbuying.solutions’ online procurement marketplace, including generating estimated savings of over £4 million pounds over the next five years.
The Zanzibar Managed Service is a web-enabled Purchase to Pay system and eMarketplace available to all public
sector organisations in
This system enables public sector buyers and their suppliers to link up over the internet and transact end-to-end requisitions, orders and invoices.
DWP: Following extensive negotiations that began back in 2002, the text of a Human Rights Convention for disabled people has been agreed at the United Nations. The purpose of the UN Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full & equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their dignity.
It is intended to promote the participation of and respect for disabled people in a wide range of areas of society, and covers aspects such as:
· Living independently and being included in the community
· Equality & non-discrimination
· The position of disabled women & children
· Access to justice
· Work & employment
· Participation in political and public life
· Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure & sport
· International cooperation
Press release ~ BBC - At-a-glance: UN disability treaty ~ Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities
DH: New arrangements for the supply and delivery of healthcare related products to the NHS will ‘save £1bn which can be reinvested in frontline patient services’, Health Minister Andy Burnham has claimed.
The outsourcing covers NHS
Logistics and parts of the NHS
Purchasing and Supply Agency (NHS PASA) and the business operations,
including 1,650 staff, will transfer to DHL on
The outsourcing means that DHL will be the agent on behalf of the NHS and the new service will be known as NHS Supply Chain and remain part of the NHS 'family', being managed on behalf of the NHS by the NHS Business Services Authority. The blue and white NHS emblem will appear on uniforms, at distribution centres and on all vehicles.
It sets out
the 5 "D"s that the international community should pursue in order to counter
from resorting to terrorism or supporting it ·
the means to carry out attacks ·
from supporting terrorist groups ·
capacity to prevent terrorism ·
It sets out the 5 "D"s that the international community should pursue in order to counter terrorism:
· Dissuading people from resorting to terrorism or supporting it
· Denying terrorists the means to carry out attacks
· Deterring States from supporting terrorist groups
· Developing State capacity to prevent terrorism
· Defending human rights
Home Office: A new campaign aimed at giving prostitutes a confidential route to report sexual and violent crimes to the police has been launched.
The Crimestoppers ‘STOP’ campaign, funded by the Home Office and supported by the police and the specialist projects working with women & men involved in prostitution, aims to encourage those in the sex industry to report crimes to Crimestoppers. This information can then be passed to the police and also shared with others at risk in the area.
This campaign is based on the successful ‘ugly mugs’ scheme, where those involved in prostitution share information about violent men through local specialist support services. Leaflets & posters highlighting Crimestoppers’ anonymous helpline and the importance of sharing information will be distributed to specialist support services in England and Wales.
DH: Figures published by the Department of Health show that nearly a third of men will be obese by 2010, along with more than 12 million adults overall and one million children, if we don't start to make changes as a nation to our lifestyles.
Other findings showed that:
· Nearly 20% of girls aged 2-10 are expected to be obese in 2010
· Nearly a third of men will be obese by 2010
· In households with two obese parents, 1 child in 4 is obese, compared to 1 child in 8 in households where one parents is obese and 1 in 20 where no parents are obese
Press release ~ 'Forecasting Obesity to 2010' ~ Choosing Health White Paper ~ 'Small Change Big Difference' ~ Teachernet – Physical Education ~ Obesity Care Pathway and Your Weight, Your Health ~ DH Obesity website ~ Measuring childhood obesity: Guidance to PCTs on data handling ~ Local Exercise Action Pilots (LEAPs)
DfES: Education Secretary Alan Johnson has
named the first schools working towards acquiring a Trust and also announced
the appointment of the Schools Commissioner. Trust schools are maintained (state funded) schools supported by a
charitable Trust, which are similar to Voluntary Aided (VA) and foundation
schools that are supported by a charitable foundation - the Trust holds the
school's assets on trust for the school, the governing body employs staff
and sets admissions arrangements (in accordance with the Schools Admissions
Code). Legislation to establish Trust schools (the Education and Inspections
Bill) is currently passing through Parliament. Royal Assent is expected in November 2006, with regulations
made in early
summer 2007. Sir Bruce Liddington has been appointed as the Schools Commissioner and
his role will be to: ·
oversee the delivery of Trust
help to match the right schools with the
right partners and ·
offer advice and support throughout the
process Press release
~ DfES - Trust Schools website ~
GovernorNet – Trust Schools ~ Teachernet – Trust
Schools ~ Comment from NUT ~ Education and Inspections Bill (click on ‘E’ and
scroll down) ~ Timesonline article – Absence of Trust ~ Trust Schools and Governance DfES: The
Education and Skills Secretary Alan Johnson claims that the government is going
to initiate the ‘biggest improvement in
support for teachers since introduction of Literacy Hour which will mean
children master the basics faster’. Teachers will be given new guidance & additional training to make
phonics their prime approach to early reading and children will learn their
times tables a year earlier as part of a comprehensive package of measures to
promote even faster progress in English and maths. The revised Primary Framework for
Literacy and Mathematics will be available to teachers and practitioners before half
DfES: Education Secretary Alan Johnson has named the first schools working towards acquiring a Trust and also announced the appointment of the Schools Commissioner.
Trust schools are maintained (state funded) schools supported by a charitable Trust, which are similar to Voluntary Aided (VA) and foundation schools that are supported by a charitable foundation - the Trust holds the school's assets on trust for the school, the governing body employs staff and sets admissions arrangements (in accordance with the Schools Admissions Code).
Legislation to establish Trust schools (the Education and Inspections Bill) is currently passing through Parliament. Royal Assent is expected in November 2006, with regulations made in early summer 2007.
Sir Bruce Liddington has been appointed as the Schools Commissioner and his role will be to:
· oversee the delivery of Trust schools
· help to match the right schools with the right partners and
· offer advice and support throughout the process
Press release ~ DfES - Trust Schools website ~ GovernorNet – Trust Schools ~ Teachernet – Trust Schools ~ Comment from NUT ~ Education and Inspections Bill (click on ‘E’ and scroll down) ~ Timesonline article – Absence of Trust ~ Trust Schools and Governance
DfES: The Education and Skills Secretary Alan Johnson claims that the government is going to initiate the ‘biggest improvement in support for teachers since introduction of Literacy Hour which will mean children master the basics faster’.
Teachers will be given new guidance & additional training to make phonics their prime approach to early reading and children will learn their times tables a year earlier as part of a comprehensive package of measures to promote even faster progress in English and maths.
The revised Primary Framework for Literacy and Mathematics will be available to teachers and practitioners before half term.
DfES: The DfES is consulting (closes
The Education and Inspections Bill, currently before Parliament, will place a statutory duty on school admissions authorities, local authorities, admission forums, school governing bodies, admission appeal panels and adjudicators ‘to act in accordance with’ the new Code.
This means that they must comply with its mandatory provisions and closes a legal loophole that allowed schools to circumvent the Code - up until now they have only had to ‘have regard to it’. The Bill will also outlaw interviewing as part of a school's admissions arrangements, although parents are still encouraged to visit prospective schools and to meet the head teacher.
Defra: A draft report - Trends in Primary Nitrogen Dioxide in the UK - investigating unexpected trends in roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations and possible links with changes in vehicle technologies has been published for consultation (closes 7 November 2006) by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG).
The report was commissioned by Defra in January 2006 to consider why, despite significant falls in annual mean concentrations of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in urban areas over recent years, concentrations of NO2 (a component of NOx) at roadsides have not declined as expected.
Press release ~ Consultation documents - Trends in Primary Nitrogen Dioxide in the UK ~ Nitrogen Dioxide in the United Kingdom ~ Air Quality Expert Group ~ Defra Air quality website ~ Air Quality Archive
Proposals to introduce a new electronic online data system for the
packaging industry have been issued for consultation by Defra, the Welsh
Assembly Government and the Scottish Executive (closes
The packaging Regulations have increased packaging waste recycling from around 27% in 1997 to more than 54% in 2005 (almost 6.2 million tonnes last year) significantly reducing the amount of packaging waste going to landfill.
People should be better able to prevent the damage caused by
People are being asked for their views (by
· Allowing smaller calibre rifles to be used to shoot the smaller species of deer
· Allowing any reasonable & humane means of destroying deer that are suffering due to injuries or disease, and for dependent young to be humanely killed if their mother has died or been killed
· Reducing the close season by two weeks;
CC: The Competition Commission has published
for consultation (closes
In its provisional findings report published in April, the CC concluded that the lack of competition in the home credit market means that customers face paying higher prices and it outlined a number of possible remedies to increase competition in the market.
The proposed remedies have been published so that interested parties have a further opportunity to comment before the CC publishes its report (currently planned for October), which will include the decision on the remedy measures to be introduced.
Press release ~ Proposed remedies document ~ Competition Commission ~ CAB ~ Community Legal Services Direct – Dealing with debt ~ DTI – Over-indebtedness ~ OFT – Be choosy about credit ~ What’s the best way to borrow? ~ JRF - Affordable credit: The way forward ~ Social Fund
BSA: In accordance with the Welsh Language Act 1993, the Basic Skills Agency (BSA) has prepared a draft Welsh Language Scheme which sets out how it proposes to deliver services to the public in Welsh under Section 13 of the Act.
The BSA has a duty to issue the draft Scheme for public consultation (closes
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has recently issued a consultation paper (there are 2 closure dates – see document) outlining a new proposal to merge the customer functions in the approved persons regime in response to feedback from the industry. This feedback from retail and wholesale firms follows the publication of a consultation paper in July 2005 detailing a series of proposals to streamline and simplify the Handbook.
The consultation paper also sets out the implications of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive for the approved persons regime; reminds firms that it is their responsibility to carry out appropriate checks on their employees, and clarifies aspects of the FSA's approval process.
English Nature: A new guide to help road designers
ensure their work helps the survival of
· shows engineers how to approach road design from an ecological point of view and
· suggests how special features such as habitat design & planting can be incorporated into road schemes to protect and attract butterflies
Press release ~ Butterfly Handbook (VLF 1.7Mb) ~ Highways Agency – Protecting the Environment ~ English Nature ~ Butterfly Conservation charity ~ UK Biodiversity Action Plan ~ British Butterflies – photographic guide ~ Natural History Museum
DH: A government drive has been launched to improve the physical fitness of people with mental illness as people with severe mental illness have much worse levels of physical health, being almost twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease as the general population and 4 times more likely to die from respiratory disease
Guidance has been published to help local commissioners design services that improve the physical wellbeing of MH patients and £7 million has been provided for the 88 spearhead PCTs to employ 'well-being nurses'.
Press release ~ 2004 White Paper Choosing Health ~ From Values to Action: The Chief Nursing Officer's review of mental health nursing ~ Mentality ~ DH Mental Health website ~ Self-assessment toolkit - From values to action: The Chief Nursing Officer’s review ~ DH Obesity website
Home Office: New guidance from the Home Office sets out good practice advice for organisers of carnivals, charity & small-scale sporting events. It has been designed to ensure that such events are as safe as possible for the public and participants.
The Good Practice Safety Guide shows professional & amateur organisers of smaller scale events how to set up events, carry out a risk assessment and ensure that fire & safety requirements are met. It also advises on local authority requirements, the use of stewards and when to involve the police.
Press release ~ The Good Practice Safety Guide for small events and sporting events on highways, roads, and in public places ~ Warrington event safety guide ~ Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002
HSE: ‘Don't take a gamble with your life’ is the message to maintenance workers from Steve Coldrick, Director of the Health and Safety Executive's Disease Reduction Programme.
These workers, including plumbers, carpenters and builders, account for more than one quarter of the 35,000 asbestos-related cancer deaths each year and to raise their awareness of the dangers of working with asbestos, the HSE has launched its "Don't take the gamble" campaign.
More than half a million non-domestic premises and houses still contain some form of the material, posing a real threat to unwary maintenance workers and the campaign also reminds dutyholders of their obligations under asbestos law.
Dutyholders are those responsible for the maintenance and repair of non-domestic buildings, either through a contract or tenancy agreement, or because they own the building. Under Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations, dutyholders have to manage the risk from asbestos in their buildings.
Press release ~ HSE Asbestos website ~ Don't take the gamble ~ Mesothelioma – Estimating the future burden ~ Mesothelioma Occupation Statistics: Male and Female Deaths aged 16 - 74 in Great Britain 1980 - 2000 (excluding 1981) ~ Mesothelioma Cancer ~ Disease Reduction Programme ~ Chartered Institute of Environmental Health ~ Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering ~ Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations
DTI: The third cross-government Over-Indebtedness Annual Report outlines actions for the Government, the credit industry and consumer groups to help people struggling with debts.
Claimed progress made as a result of the cross-Government action plan to tackle over-indebtedness, includes:
· introduction of Consumer Credit Act 2006 with new laws to improve responsible lending & borrowing
· the success of the loan shark investigation teams in removing illegal money lenders from the streets
· the launch of Debt Test, an online self-assessment tool to improve financial capability, and
· new measures to provide breathing space for those who want to repay their debts proposed in the draft Tribunals, Courts, and Enforcement Bill
Press release ~
report ~ DTI Over-indebtedness website ~ DTI's Over-indebtedness Action Plan ~ <
FONT color=#0000ff size=2>Consumer Credit Act 2006 ~
Dealing with Loan Sharks ~
FSA - Money Doctors ~ Tribunals, Courts, and Enforcement Bill ~
Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has published the annual fatal injury
statistics showing the lowest fatal injury number on record. In 2005/2006 212 people were fatally
injured, a reduction from 223 in 2004/2005 giving a rate of 0.71 fatalities per
100,000 workers. The figures also
contain a comparison across
The reporting of health and safety incidents at work is a statutory requirement, set out under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).
Falls from height remain the most common cause of fatal injury and two industries, construction and agriculture account for just under half of all fatal injuries.
HSE press release ~ DWP press release ~ Statistics of fatal injuries 2005/06 ~ Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) ~ HSE - RIDDOR explained ~ Falls from Height
DH: Health Minister Andy Burnham has praised the progress of over 60% of hospitals that had a patient environment rated as 'Good' or 'Excellent' in 2006 in inspections carried out by Patient Environment Action Teams (PEAT), while acknowledging that there is still work to be done.
HC: The Healthcare Commission has called for further improvement in NHS diagnostic services following a national review, which found improvements in many areas of diagnostic services, but it also found wide variations in performance including unacceptable waits for scans at some hospitals.
The Commission warns that delays in diagnostic services such as x-rays and scans could hinder some trusts in meeting the Government’s target of a maximum of 18-weeks wait from referral to treatment.
The review looked at three types of diagnostic services: imaging (x-rays and scans), endoscopy (examinations of the bowel and stomach) and pathology (tests on blood and tissue samples)
Key findings include:
· Waiting times for imaging services are improving but there are wide variations in performance across the country.
· Wide variations in trusts’ waiting times for endoscopies
· Variation in how imaging exams are reported
· Improvement needed in recording of success rates for colonoscopies
· Variation in speed of urgent pathology tests
· Endoscopy units need to do more to ensure that their services are focused on the patient
Healthcare Commission is publishing findings of a review of 157 hospitals
The review looks at areas where trusts should have already made improvements:
· treatment of children in child specific and child friendly environments
· provision of services for children as locally as possible
· appropriate cover from a range of staff trained in the needs of children
· training of staff in essential skills
· maintaining of staff skills through sufficient contact with child cases
Only 25% of trusts assessed received a rating of “excellent” or “good” and Trusts in these categories are making good progress on improving their services for children. The majority (70%) of trusts reviewed are only rated as fair.
Defra: A government investigation into allegations against parts of the paper packaging waste industry has uncovered 'inappropriate practices' by a number of exporters.
No evidence of fraud was identified, but according to investigators they found numerous examples of incorrect administrative practices, which tended to suggest that the tonnages of packaging waste reported to have been exported in recent years were higher than they perhaps should have been.
Access to and the use of finance in the
Only 15% of businesses are women-owned and the 26% share of
self-employed women has not changed in 15 years. This modest record contrasts sharply with other countries,
The research suggested that lending decisions by individual bank loan officers can reflect biased gender perceptions & opinions. It also found that bias is just as likely among male and female officers.
Press release ~ ‘Securing a Business Loan: How Important is Gender? ~ Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) ~ Women’s Business Network (North West) ~ Women doing Business ~ Women’s Business development agency ~ Women into the network ~ Onewomanbusiness ~ Everywoman ~ Female FTSE Index ~ Diversity Best Practice in the corporate world: A guide to business (VLF 5.3Mb v slow to load)
ESRC: Being a father has little effect on men’s working patterns, in spite of the fact that they cut back their working hours for a short time after a new child is born, according to Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded research at the University of Bristol.
The findings suggest that current policies to encourage work-life balance don’t take account of how fathers want to adapt their routines to fit in with family life. What they want is not to work fewer hours, but rather have the ability to control their working hours so that they can leave early to go to school functions or parents’ meetings.
Further findings suggest that the focus on fatherhood as an influence of men’s employment has been overplayed; fathers do not have shorter working hours than non-fathers, nor do they see this as a problem.
Press release ~ The Effect of Fatherhood on Men’s Patterns of Employment ~ Economic and Social Research Council ~ DTI - Work and Families Act 2006 ~ Working Families ~ Business Link ~ Acas Flexible working ~ Results of the Second Flexible Working Employee Survey 2005
King’s Fund: The national strategy for cancer services should be revised to take account of technology developments and the ageing population, according to a recent report - Future Trends and Challenges for Cancer Services in England - published by the King’s Fund.
The report - which is a review of literature & policy as well as a set of interviews - points to evidence showing that demographical, technological and policy changes are having significant effects on cancer services and will lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating cancer.
The proportion of over 65s in the population will grow from 16% in 2004 to 23% by 2031, increasing the number of people who develop cancer in older age. New treatments, better screening and earlier diagnosis will result in more people living as cancer survivors and the Cancer Plan must evolve to reflect these facts, the report says.
Press release ~ Future Trends and Challenges for Cancer Services in England: A review of literature and policy ~ The NHS cancer plan and the new NHS: Providing a patient-centred service ~ Cancer 2020 campaign ~ Cancer Research UK ~ DH Cancer website
Teenagers from deprived communities across the
The DWP has also published two reports which highlight a number of strands within the New Deal for Lone Parents programmes such as the In Work Benefit Calculations (IWBC) and Work Focused Interviews (WFIs).
Press release ~ New Deal for Lone Parents ~ Lone Parents Work Focused Interviews/New Deal for Lone Parents: Combined Evaluation and Further Net Impacts (VVLF 3.7Mb) ~ Lone parents: In work benefit calculations - work and benefit outcomes
A new report Natural
Foundations, published jointly by English Nature, the Countryside Agency and Rural
Development Service, celebrates
Geodiversity (rocks, fossils, minerals, landforms, landscapes, geological processes and soils) is a fundamental environmental asset but it is one of the least recognised and valued.
CICFA: The Concerted Inter-Agency Criminal Finances Action Group has published: Proceeds of Crime Update - Issue No 73
Home Office: The possession of violent and extreme pornographic material will become a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison under proposed new laws announced by Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker.
The Government will legislate to make it an offence to possess pornographic images depicting scenes of extreme sexual violence and other obscene material. This will include, for example, the sort of material featuring violence that is, or appears to be, life threatening or is likely to result in serious and disabling injury.
The Government is also proposing that the maximum penalty for the offences of publication, distribution and possession for gain committed under the Obscene Publications Acts will be increased from three years to five years' imprisonment.
Press release ~ Consultation paper On the possession of extreme pornographic material - summary of responses and next steps ~ Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre ~ Home Office – Sexual Offences website
Defra: Following consultation with the horse industry about a proposed EU Regulation on the identification of equidae (horses, donkeys, etc), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is putting its comments to the European Commission, including that the implementation date for the Regulation coming into force (which is currently 1 January 2007) should be put back to 1 January 2010
The draft Regulation consolidates the existing legislation on the
identification of equidae, but includes an additional requirement for all foals
to be identified by a microchip.
The current requirements for
CC: The Independent Complaints Reviewer for the Charity Commission has published her report into the complaints against the Commission she reviewed in 2005-06 and the Charity Commission has responded.
CC: The Charity Commission has announced a formal inquiry has been launched into the charity Crescent Relief and its bank accounts frozen, following recent allegations of links between Crescent Relief and terrorist abuse of charitable funds.
The inquiry will focus on whether or not the charity's funds, or funds raised on its behalf, were used unlawfully. It will also consider the financial policies and practices of the charity.
CC: The Charity Commission and The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) have formally announced they were joining together as the new joint SORP-making body for charities in the UK.
The Charities SORP - Accounting and Reporting by Charities is a Statement
of Recommended Practice providing accounting & reporting recommendations
for charities throughout the
It provides an authoritative interpretation of the application of accounting standards for charities and sets specific recommendations on how to account for sector specific transactions.
Recruitment packs for those interested in joining the SORP Committee can be downloaded from the Charity Commission's and OSCR's websites.
Local Government Minister Phil Woolas has confirmed that he has laid the Non-Domestic Rating (Small Business Rate
Relief) (Amendment) (
Under the revised small business rate relief scheme, ratepayers eligible for the relief will be required to apply for the financial year 2007/08 and will not be required to apply again until the next revaluation (financial year 2010/11) provided their circumstances have not changed in that period. Where circumstances have changed, the ratepayer will be required to notify the relevant local billing authority of the change.
The scheme gives 50% rate relief for properties with rateable values up to £5,000, tapering off for properties with higher rateable values, with no relief for properties above £10,000 rateable value.
Pension provisions, forming part of the Government's new
age-discrimination legislation, will not now come into force until
It will also allow a short informal consultation period to assess whether any amendments are required to provide greater clarity for schemes and employers.
Pensions Regulator: Two new modules aimed at trustees of defined benefit schemes are now available online as part of the Pensions Regulator's free e-learning programme for pension trustees:
· In 'How a DB scheme works' trustees learn how benefits accrue, how they are calculated and what trustees should consider if a scheme is in deficit.
· The 'Funding your scheme' module covers the implications of the requirement to meet the statutory funding objective, different ways to measure liabilities and the funding position of the scheme.
Pensions Regulator: The Pensions Regulator has published guidance on member-nominated trustees and directors arrangements to accompany the code of practice recently laid before Parliament.
Under the Pensions Act 2004 trustees are required to ensure that arrangements are in place, and implemented, for at least one third of trustees to be member-nominated; or at least one third of directors of the trustee company to be member-nominated.
The arrangements must include a nomination process, a selection process and other statutory requirements and the guidance sets out which requirements may apply to certain schemes, the commencement date of these requirements, and transitional arrangements for schemes which had arrangements under the Pensions Act 1995.
Pensions Regulator: The Pensions Regulator has published an in-depth survey (Report on Governance Survey) into the way UK pension schemes are run, which found that while many schemes are well-governed, a 'significant minority' revealed shortcomings in important areas of good practice, including:
· 70% of defined benefit schemes have no specific policy to manage conflicts of interest
· 37% of defined benefit schemes do not review sponsoring employers' credit rating
20% of all schemes with a main provider of
administrative services have no
rates of interest on direct and indirect taxes and national insurance
contributions paid late and overpaid have been announced. These new rates of interest, which took
· Income tax, national insurance contributions, capital gains tax, stamp duties etc.
· Petroleum revenue tax, advance corporation tax etc.
· Inheritance tax etc.
· Corporation tax
· rates of default interest
HMRC: VAT Business Brief 12/06
· VAT: Partial Exemption - VAT deduction by theatres on production costs
· VAT: Position following the Court of Appeal judgment in Compass Contract Services Limited
HMRC: VAT Business Brief 13/06
· VAT: 3-Year Cap on making claims - Court of Appeal Judgment in Michael Fleming t/a Bodycraft
· VAT: 3-Year Cap on making claims - Court of Appeal Judgment in Conde Nast Publications Ltd
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