In the News

Bountiful fiscal future or ‘fairy gold’ – An independent Scotland would require a significant cut in spending or increase in taxes, over & above that already announced by the UK government, in order to put their long-term public finances onto a sustainable footing.  The scale of this fiscal tightening is likely to be greater than that required for the UK as a whole. These are the main findings of new Institute for Fiscal Studies research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
 
The research uses a model of the UK’s & Scotland’s long-run public finances to project levels of public revenues & spending over the next 50 years.  Even under the most optimistic scenario the IFS consider, the long-run ‘fiscal gap’ in Scotland would be 1.9% of national income compared to 0.8% of national income for the UK as a whole.
IFS - Independent Scotland would face tougher long-run fiscal challenge than the UK as a whole ~ Swinney responds to IFS ~ £4.1bn funding disparity across devolved nations ~ Independence to transform Scotland’s economy ~ Opportunities for an independent Scotland ~ UK economic policies hold Scotland back ~ Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change ~ New country & regional public spending data published ~ Scotland Analysis ~ Lords Economic Affairs Committee releases report ~ PC&PE:  Still many questions to be answered before voters can make an informed choice, rather than emotional choice (4th item) ~ PC&PE:  As the song goes: ‘Why are we waiting’ (4th item) ~ New financial powers for Wales
 
‘Plan B’ for the navy’s nuclear submarine base Faslane – With the publication of the Scottish Government’s White Paper this week in mind, our Editor wonders whether the rUK politicians are beginning to consider how to cope with the problem of an ‘independent’ Scotland’s demands for the Navy to move its nuclear submarines out of the Faslane base in Scotland a.s.a.p. following a ‘Yes’ vote.
 
While it has been generally surmised that the ‘promised’ contract to build the navy’s new Type 26 Frigates would not be placed with a shipyard outside the rUK, or could be ‘won’ by the Clyde shipyards without an open competition within the EU, a recent session of the HOC – Scottish Affairs Committee caught our Editor’s attention.
 
If you listen to the segment indicated, it appears that rUK could (under a derogation using article 346), possibly assign the contract to the Clyde shipyards as part of a deal with an independent Scotland for the right to keep using the base for its nuclear submarines ‘in order to maintain our defence & security’. As our nuclear submarines are such a key part of our defence forces and any immediate need to move their base would (even if it was possible) cause massive disruption, a derogation on this basis seems plausible.
 
From a negotiating point of view, the situation would see a return of the Cold War MAD (Mutually Assured Desturuction) policy – failure to agree would see ‘destruction’ of rUK’s nuclear force and of the Clyde’s ship-building industry.
Parliament TV: HOC Scottish Affairs Cttee 12/11/13 (Move time slide to listen between 20:29 - 29:00 minutes of the recording) ~ BBC News - Independence row over Scots work on Type 26 vessels ~ Type 26 - Royal Navy
 
Will it be enough to really change the culture of NHS management? - Plans have been announced to make the NHS more open, more accountable and more focused on safety & compassion. The government has published a full response to the 290 recommendations made by Robert Francis, following the public inquiry in to the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
 
This follows the government’s initial response in February 2013, which included the introduction of a new hospital inspection regime and legislation for a duty of candour on NHS organisations so they have to be open with families & patients when things go wrong.
Francis report on Mid Staffs: government accepts recommendations ~ NHS Confed: Government response to Francis report expected ~ NICE to produce guidance on safe NHS staffing levels ~ NHS Confederation - Could your trust be a pilot site for our patient feedback project? ~ NHS Wales Chief Executive publishes his new Annual Report – NHS increasing its focus on quality & safety ~ NHS Wales Chief Executive’s Annual Report ~ Future of the NHS rests on wholesale shift to an open culture warn MPs ~ The Patients Association Backs Calls for Openness about Staffing Levels ~ Global expert publishes world-leading safety plan for NHS ~ TKF - Our response to Sir Bruce Keogh's review of hospitals with high mortality rates ~ Keogh Review: 'ostrich approach' not an option, says NHS Confederation ~ Jeremy Hunt sets out plans to tackle mediocrity & inadequate leadership in the NHS ~ Hospitals must tackle service failure and build trust by dealing with complaints properly, says Ombudsman ~ NHS ‘gagging case’ reinforces ‘stronger whistleblowing’ call ~ NO Francis Report statement ~ Call for ‘patient safety officers’ to stamp out Mid Staffs-style abuses ~ We've been Listening, Have you Been Learning? ~ DH:  Hands up those of you that remember State Enrolled Nurses (SENs), who could progress to become SRNs!
 
No chance of gaining qualifications if they are not physically in school - Too many children, often the most vulnerable, are either missing out on F/T education or not getting the P/T education they are entitled to, according to an Ofsted report. Many LAs do not know how much education some pupils, such as excluded children and those with mental & physical health needs who do not attend school in the usual way, receive.
 
The report finds that some local authorities are failing to properly arrange and monitor the effectiveness of education for children directly in their care.  Only a third of the local authorities visited for the survey keep a close enough eye on these children and gather information & analyse it centrally.
Local authorities are failing in their duties to children who are missing education ~ Persistent pupil absence falls by a third ~ Young carers to receive more support than ever before ~ Lack of affordable transport limits young people’s access to employment, education and training ~ Children missing from education ~ Families & Schools Together ~ £100m to support the education of children in care ~ Tackling educational disadvantage for children in care ~ Help for children in care to achieve better school results ~ Technology use in the classroom helps autistic children communicate
 
A year of bringing hope or at least closure - The UK Missing Persons Bureau website, the first of its kind in the UK, is dedicated to uncovering the mystery behind the unidentified persons found across the country.  By publishing detail of cases the site aims to provide peace & resolution to the family & friends of missing persons.
 
Contained within the database of approximately 1,000 cases, some of which have remained unsolved for up to 70 years, are details including distinguishing features, clothing, jewellery & photographs (where appropriate).  The hope is that someone out there will recognise who they belong to and finally provide an identity for the individual.
First anniversary of Missing Persons Website ~ More help for families of missing people ~ HM's Chief Inspector calls for action on missing children ~ New law for missing persons ~ Justice Committee publishes report on presumption of death ~ New suite of resources to support missing children & families ~ First anniversary of government's missing people strategy ~ A child goes missing in the UK every 3 minutes... ~ TCS:  Is it possible to provide a ‘place of safety’ without also providing a legal way to ‘ground’ children in care? (3rd item) ~ All Party Parliamentary inquiry report into children missing from care – Government response
 
Army have a NEET way of solving even civilian problems - A pioneering project in which the Army helps long-term jobseekers become more employable began last week. Midlands SPEAR (Supporting People into Employment with the Army Reserve) is a pilot scheme, which has caught the attention of government ministers and, if successful, could be rolled out across the UK. The 4-week course is designed to boost the skills & confidence of unemployed people aged 18 to 30 and involves team-building & motivation, health & safety and plant/power tools safe operation, and workplace first aid.
Army helps jobseekers towards employment
 
Thinking about doing a degree? - In April-June 2013, people with a degree in medicine or dentistry had the highest employment rate of all graduates, at 95%, followed by those with media & information studies degrees (93%), a report from ONS shows.  The graduate employment rate was lowest for those with humanities degrees (84%), followed by arts (85%), languages (87%), education (88%) and social sciences & law (89%). The report also shows an upward trend in the proportion of recent graduates who are working in what can be classified as non-graduate jobs.
Second highest work rate but lowest pay for media studies graduates
 
SMEs targeted - The NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit are aware of a mass email spamming event that is ongoing, where people are receiving emails that appear to be from banks and other financial institutions. The emails may be sent out to tens of millions of UK customers, but appear to be targeting SMEs in particular. This spamming event is assessed as a significant risk.
ALERT - Mass ‘ransomware’ spamming event targeting UK computer users
 
Bid for healthier students - FE & sixth form colleges across England are invited to bid for a share of £5.8m of National Lottery investment from Sport England’s Further Education Activation Fund. This fund aims to boost the number of students taking part in sport by supporting colleges to design & develop projects tailored to the sporting needs of their students. Applications will close on 20 January 2014.
£5.8m to boost college sport
 
Many would, but will all merit the appointments? - Companies listed on stock exchanges in the EU will have to bring in transparent recruitment procedures so that by 2020, at least 40% of their non-executive directors are women, under a draft EU directive voted by Parliament last week.  MEPs propose that companies which fail to introduce such procedures should face penalties
40% of seats on company boards for women ~ Cranfield Management School:  Old Boys Club or family responsibilities to blame?
 
Added to which, lack of experience could make mistakes more likely - The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is warning employers about the importance of making sure temporary staff – who regularly handle personal information - receive adequate data protection training. The problem has been highlighted following 4 data breaches at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust - 3 of the incidents related to the work of temporary staff.
Temporary workers still require adequate data protection training, warns ICO ~ GOSH for Children NHS Foundation Trust undertaking ~ ICO:  Fining an organisation gets their attention, but a personal fine for the ‘responsible officer’ as well might ensure they became compliant (3rd item)

PSN Standard Compliance: Plugging the Security Gaps - The Public Sector Network(PSN) is the infrastructure that will to enable widespread sharing of local public services as well as collaboration between different authorities working across local areas.

Using the PSN will not only bring cost savings to the public purse, but will also enable better ways of sharing information, a matter of particular importance for the care of vulnerable people by local agencies.
 

However, under Cabinet Office rules, no organisation will be allowed to transition to PSN without a valid certificate of compliance, covering a wide range of security and other risks specified under the PSN programme.
 

This latest paper details how to:

  • Meet the requirements of both the Patching and Malware standards of the PSN.
  • Address known security gaps within either standard cost-effectively and immediately.
  • Consolidate core security processes on the end point to enable significant operational benefits.

Click here to find out more and download the paper.

Download this insightful inforgraphic now...