DWP: The government are consulting (closes 29 February 2008) on the fact that existing restrictions preventing SIPPs from holding protected rights are now considered unnecessary - particularly in the light of recent changes which mean SIPPs are regulated by the FSA.
The effect of the current legislation is that a SIPP scheme cannot obtain a contracting-out certificate and cannot therefore hold protected rights. Protected rights are contracted out rights held in a defined contribution pension scheme. The draft regulations also include a minor amendment to the detailed rules on annuities to bring DWP legislation into line with tax law.
HM Treasury: The Treasury and Cabinet Office have published Limiting pre-release access to statistics: a consultation document. This follows the Government's commitment to Parliament to consult publicly on the rules & principles for pre-release access to official statistics in their final form.
The consultation document (closes 3 March 2008) sets out how, as a part of the Governance of Britain programme of constitutional renewal, the Government is proposing to tighten the rules & principles under which pre-release access can be granted.
Press release ~ Limiting pre-release access to statistics: a consultation document ~ Governance of Britain programme
Defra: Options for sharing responsibility & costs on animal health and welfare policy have been set out in a consultation by Defra (closes 15 April 2008), which seeks views on how the farming industry could be further involved in the decision-making process for animal health and welfare, such as during disease outbreaks, and whether this should be done through existing structures and organisations or new organisational structures.
The consultation also looks at the principles of how the funding for animal health and welfare can be shared between Government and the industry in the future.
Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ WAG: Responsibility and Cost Sharing ~ UK Responsibility and Cost Sharing Consultative Forum
MoJ: Who should be able to ask the courts to take action to stop a forced marriage? A new consultation exercise (closes on 14 March 2008) is trying to find the answer. The Government's new Forced Marriage Act was brought in to protect those forced into marriage, whether children, teenagers or adults - and irrespective of background, gender, race or religion.
The new consultation paper is the first step to implementing fully the range of protections afforded by the legislation. It asks what types of people or organisations should be able to apply direct to the courts for the safeguards to be applied in individual cases.
Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ Joint Home Office and Foreign Office's Forced Marriage Unit ~ Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 ~ Dealing with cases of forced marriage – Practice Guidance for Health Professionals ~ Other guidance for professionals (scroll down) ~ Forced Marriage consultation: A Wrong, not a Right ~ Information for victims ~ NHS: Forced Marriage Awareness ~ Islam online ~ Other material on Forced Marriage ~ ScotGov – Forced marriages ~ Karma Nirvana Refuge (and Survivors Network) – Tel: 01332 604098 (Mon-Fri 9.30am - 5.00pm) - Out of Hours emergency number: 07952 856869
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has launched a consultation of its draft appraisals methods guide. The Institute’s ‘Guide to the methods of technology appraisal’ document provides an overview of the principles & methods used by NICE to assess health technologies (drugs & other treatments).
Stakeholders, healthcare professionals and members of the public now have the opportunity to comment on the draft technology appraisal methods guide until 29 February 2008.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently appraising Lucentis (ranibizumab) and Macugen (pegaptanib) for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is consulting (closes 14 January 2008) on draft recommendations for a dose-capping proposal to make Lucentis available on the NHS for people with wet AMD. NICE has not yet issued final guidance to the NHS on these drugs.
Responses to earlier consultation made clear that many people felt it was unacceptable for NICE to recommend treating only the second affected eye. NICE has taken these concerns on board, and now recommends treating the first eye to come to clinical attention.
CLG: Local Government Minister John Healey has published new plans for consultation (closes on 8 February, 2008), which he claims will give local people the opportunity to give their views on their priority concerns for their local councils and agencies to tackle.
Under the new Place Survey, councils will ask local residents their views on a wide variety of issues, ranging from their use of local services to their general health & well-being, from support for older people to tackling crime, as well as information on levels of participation in the local community.
The results of the Place Survey will be used to assess how local areas are performing against 20 Citizen Perception Indicators, included in the new National Indicator Set.
Press release ~ New Place Survey Consultation ~ National Indicator Set ~ Best Value User Satisfaction Survey 2006-07
DSR: A consultation (closes on 15 February 2008) into how personal information is used & shared in the public & private sectors has been launched as part of the independent Data Sharing Review into the use & sharing of personal information announced by the Prime Minister on 25 October – See ‘In the News’ above.
Cabinet Office: Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, and Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the Charity Commission, have jointly published, for consultation (closes on 31 March 2008), a package of proposals to increase various financial thresholds for charities – See ‘Charity and Voluntary Sector’ below.
Defra: Options for improving energy efficiency across the public sector have been set out in a consultation (closes 6 March 2008) document published by Minister for the Environment Phil Woolas – See ‘In the News’ above.