DECC: The negative impact that spikes in global oil, gas & coal prices have on the UK could be reduced by over 50% in 2050 as a result of climate change policies, Edward Davey said recently.
The analysis shows how the UK’s sensitivity to oil & gas price shocks could be reduced by using low-carbon forms of electricity generation including renewables, new nuclear and through increasing energy efficiency.
IfL: The Institute for Learning and the 157 Group have published a report of the Leading learning seminar they jointly hosted in 29 February 2012. The report was launched on 18 May 2012 at a follow-up event, Great teaching and learning in FE, where teachers, learners, senior leaders & managers gathered to share their views about what works in further education and how the future FE learning experience can be improved.
NAO: The National Audit Office has recently reported on ‘the creation of Northern Rock plc, its financial performance while in public ownership, whether the sale of Northern Rock plc was the best available option and whether its sale was well handled’.
NLGN: The government’s radical public health reforms could stall unless new Health & Wellbeing Boards are given greater legislative clout, localism think tank NLGN warned recently. To succeed, the new boards need to be able to influence everything from social care & planning to school immunisations & housing.
But NLGN’s new report finds scepticism among councils about whether the boards can survive on ‘soft power’ alone, combined with concerns about a potential lack of public engagement in the work of the new institutions. The report also calls for much greater joint working in two tier areas, where district councils control many of the services that the county’s health and wellbeing board needs to influence.
ESRC: Modern day soldiers who mutilate enemy corpses or take body-parts as trophies are usually thought to be suffering from the extreme stresses of battle. But, research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council shows that this sort of misconduct has most often been carried out by fighters who viewed the enemy as racially different from themselves and used images of the hunt to describe their actions.
PC&PE: Government plans to 'rationalise' the UK's environmental regulations must not be a smokescreen for relaxing rules protecting our health, countryside or wildlife in a short-term pursuit of growth, the Environmental Audit Committee has cautioned.
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published its 83rd Report of Session 2010-12, Child Maintenance & Enforcement Commission: Cost Reductions. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, said: "The Commission has made real progress in recent years, but the challenges it faces in supporting separated families and securing maintenance payments for children are serious.
In 2012, some half of all children in the UK from separated families are being brought up in poverty. It is essential that parents with responsibilities for care receive the full child maintenance owed to them to support their children. I am concerned that the Commission's cost reduction plans seem to rely heavily on charging parents to use its services. The Commission must ensure that the introduction of fees does not end up making child poverty worse”.
PC&PE: MPs on the International Development Committee are urging the UK to increase funding to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB & Malaria - the international financing mechanism set up 10 years ago by donor countries, which has helped save millions of lives in developing countries.
Ministers had committed over a year ago to increase funds to the Global Fund but this money has not yet been delivered nor the amount of the increase confirmed. The Committee is concerned by the delay in delivering funds and is calling for the UK to increase its contribution to the Global Fund significantly - over & above the current £384m pledge for 2012 to 2015 - subject to reform.
TWF: Ahead of the latest government NEET figures, a report published by The Work Foundation and Private Equity Foundation reveals that the past decade has seen a major rise in young people aged 16 – 24 who are either unable, or taking longer, to make the first move from education into work.
The report argues that long-term changes in the skills required for first jobs have made it harder for many young people to get a foothold in the jobs market. The long-term shift from a production to service-driven economy has made soft skills increasingly important for young people seeking their first job. However, the education & training system has not adapted to reflect these changes, while employers often expect employees to be job-ready from day one.
FDA: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should have gone further in its report, HM Revenue and Customs: Compliance and Enforcement Programme, and highlighted the need to invest in HMRC in order to collect more tax, ARC (Association of Revenue & Customs & part of the FDA) has claimed.
NO: There were serious failures in Wolverhampton City Council’s handling of a town centre regeneration scheme, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin. In her report, she says the Council failed to adequately project manage the purchase of the properties at the centre of the complaint.