General Reports and Other Publications
Newswire – CCC: The Committee on Climate Change said recently, that ‘renewable energy should make a major contribution to decarbonising the UK economy over the next decades’. The conclusions are set out in the Committee’s Renewable Energy Review which was requested under the Coalition Agreement.
The review concludes that a renewable energy share of around 30% by 2030 would be appropriate, with scope for a higher share (e.g. up to 45%) depending on the extent to which renewable technology costs fall and possible constraints on deployment of low-carbon alternatives.
DWP: The Department for Work and Pensions has published the findings from the evaluation of a small-scale Jobcentre Plus trial aimed at customers suffering from drug & alcohol addiction. The Intensive Activity trial took place between May & July 2010 and offered an enhanced service to claimants with dependency issues including the regular presence of a treatment provider in Jobcentres.
The trial was designed to help understand some of the issues that affect claimants’ propensity to disclose their addiction, to improve partnership working between treatment providers & Jobcentres and to increase the level of voluntarily referrals to treatment.
Press release ~ Evaluation of the Jobcentre Plus Intensive Activity trial for substance misusing customers
TWF: George Osborne’s ‘March of the Makers’ may have been leading the UK revival, however a report published recently by The Work Foundation argues that ‘any strategy for growth must also harness the power of the business services sector, which has now replaced manufacturing as the mainstay of the UK economy’.
By itself, manufacturing is no longer big enough to sustain the recovery. With the business services sector now twice the size of manufacturing, it is integral to the country’s prosperity over the coming decade. The report also outlines the actions that must be prioritised if the UK is to maximise the economic benefits of business services.
Press release ~ Britain’s quiet success story: business services in the knowledge economy ~ More than making things: A new future for manufacturing in a service economy ~ Report’s full policy recommendations ~ Knowledge Economy research programme
Newswire – LGA: Responding to the Competition Commission's interim findings on opening up the bus market, Cllr Peter Box, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Economy and Transport Board, said: … “We need to break up the markets and introduce more competition in the bus industry to stop a small number of multi-national companies dominating our towns, cities and villages. This report recognises that councils are best placed to commission services, which would increase competition locally and deliver better value for money for passengers and taxpayers. …………….”
Demos: As thousands of disabled people prepared to march on central London to protest the cuts last week, a new Demos report funded by Scope reveals a startling gap between rhetoric & reality when it comes to the Government’s pledge to protect the sick, elderly and vulnerable.
Destination Unknown: Spring 2011, claims to show that far from being protected, disabled people and their families as a whole find themselves hundreds of millions worse off in 2011. The tracker study gives ‘concrete evidence’ to the concerns which drove thousands of people to protest at a march to Westminster on Wednesday 11 May to demonstrate against the impact of cuts.
It follows the first Destination Unknown report which forecast that disabled people faced a drop in their income of over £9bn during this Parliament. The report follows 5 typical disabled households and ‘lays bare the financial impact of the Coalition’s spending cuts and benefits reforms’.
CSJ: The Government’s record on supporting marriage & the family has come under fire from think-tank Centre for Social Justice in a report published to coincide with the first anniversary of the formation of the Coalition. The report gives Ministers just 2/10 for their efforts to reverse high & damaging levels of family breakdown.
Pre-election promises by David Cameron to reinstate a tax break for marriage have ‘moved off radar’ as a result of the deals done with Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats, the report says. Although marriage is no magic bullet, the evidence shows that children born outside wedlock are far more likely to grow up in poverty and experience poorer life chances.
Press release & links ~ More information ~ Full Report: Building a Social Recovery? A first year report card on the Coalition Government ~ Mental Health: Poverty, Ethnicity and Family Breakdown Interim Policy Briefing ~ Breakthrough: Ending the Costs of Social Breakdown ~ Family breakdown is not about divorce ~ Iain Duncan Smith on Labour's record on the Family
PwC: The offshore wind power industry has some way to go to prove it can take its place as a sustainable part of the energy mix, according to Offshore Proof, a survey commissioned by PwC of major players in the industry including developers, manufacturers and utilities firms.
Cost & technological track record remain major challenges for offshore wind power according to the report. For example, despite support for major expansion in Europe’s North Sea, government bodies are split between positive & negative sentiment about offshore wind power.
Press release ~ Offshore Proof: Turning Windpower Promise into Performance (Click on pdf link)
PC&PE: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will not be back at the centre of Government and able to lead UK foreign policy, in line with William Hague’s ambitions, unless it can provide deep foreign policy expertise & judgement to underpin & implement Government decision-making, says the Foreign Affairs Committee in a new report.
The FCO must have the resources & skills required to fulfil this role, especially specialist geographical expertise and knowledge of foreign languages. The report states that the FCO has a vital role to play for the Government, namely the timely provision of world-class foreign policy information, analysis, judgement and execution.
Socitm: Outgoing Socitm President, Jos Creese, launched the Strategy for local public services reform at the Socitm Spring conference in London on 11 May 2011. The Strategy, prepared by Socitm for the Local CIO Council, envisages a future in which there will be unprecedented levels of collaboration between local authorities, emergency services, health, education & civil society organisations, leading to radical re-design of local public service delivery.
The focus of the Strategy is much less about technology than it is about the 'what and how' of organisational change. Where it does focus on technology, this is around how to extract value from ICT and banish unhelpful, technology-led cultures & practices that all too frequently have accompanied ICT procurement, deployment and management in parts of the public sector.
Most crucially, it offers a local dimension to the recently published which should help with its successful implementation.
Press release ~
Planting the Flag - Executive summary (Full version available on Socitm website in week beginning 16 May) ~ National Government ICT Strategy ~ ICO: A new statutory code of practice designed to help businesses & public sector bodies share people’s personal information – See ‘In the News Section’ for more information.
IISS: The latest Strategic Comment from the International Institute for Strategic Studies examines how the huge earthquake off the Japanese coast on 11 March 2011continues to send ripples across the globe, especially in the nuclear industry.
PC&PE: The Commons Welsh Affairs Committee says in their report that the Government must ensure the operational & financial independence of S4C (the Welsh language broadcaster) under the proposed deepened partnership with the BBC.
UKBA: The UK Border Agency needs to ensure that its arrest teams are fully compliant with the Agency’s policy & guidance, said John Vine CBE QPM, the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, publishing his short-notice inspection report of the Croydon arrest team.
UKBA: The UK Border Agency needs to focus on the outcome of intelligence and assess how often allegations lead to the prevention or detection of immigration & customs offences, said John Vine CBE QPM, the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, publishing his thematic inspection report on how the UK Border Agency receives and uses intelligence.
Press release ~ Preventing and detecting immigration and customs offences: A thematic inspection of how the UK Border Agency receives and uses intelligence
PC&PE: More can & should be done to ensure UK transport networks continue to operate in severe winter weather, say MPs on the Commons Transport Committee in a report examining how snow chaos last December closed Heathrow, disabled parts of the rail network and disrupted many roads. The welfare of air & rail passenger must be taken more seriously and better real time information must be provided to road users.
Ofsted: The latest report from the Children’s Rights Director, Dr Roger Morgan, reveals that 43% of the children in care consulted believe they would not have needed to come into the system had they received more support. However, 36% of those who responded to the survey reported that even with additional support for them & their families, they would still have needed to enter into care.
Children on the edge of care gives direct accounts of children’s own experience and their views about coming into care and returning home. The survey consulted 122 children across the country on what could be done to help them and the support needed to face these circumstances.
PC&PE: MPs have expressed concern that only $700m of a $2bn appeal has been delivered on the ground to help those in need. MPs on the Committee have branded this unacceptable given that there are millions of people still in need of humanitarian assistance and living in camps.
The report also calls on the Department for International Development and the wider international community to pay greater attention to disaster preparedness & risk reduction as climate change is likely to increase the frequency & severity of natural disasters. Densely populated urban areas are at greatest risk in terms of loss of life & livelihoods.
CH: The relationships between Yemen and its Gulf neighbours are coming under increased pressures as the Arab Spring sweeps the region. A new Chatham House briefing paper - Yemen and the Gulf States: Elite Politics, Street Protests and Regional Diplomacy - examines how these changes will impact on the entrenched elite structures which have defined regional diplomacy for so long and analyses the critical role of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in addressing the security risks posed by the situation in Yemen.
Ofsted: An Ofsted report looking at best practice in English teaching in schools, says that ‘teaching held in check by an inappropriate or dull curriculum will not inspire pupils or generate high standards’. Each one of 12 outstanding schools inspected for the survey was found to provide an innovative or creative curriculum for English explicitly and successfully designed around the particular needs of their pupils.
Excellent team work, collaboration and sharing of best practice generated a consistency of approach especially in the crucial area of the quality of teaching. All the schools featured in the report, ‘Excellence in English. What we can learn from 12 outstanding schools’, face challenging conditions, but all have enabled pupils to make very good progress in English.