WAG: Ensuring everyone has a home that is both in good condition & affordable is a fundamental part of a fair & supportive society. This was the message from the Minister for Housing Regeneration & Heritage, Huw Lewis, as he officially launched his Housing White Paper (Consultation closes 17 August 2012).).
The White Paper sets out a ‘programme of legislative & non-legislative action to tackle homelessness, to improve conditions in the private rented sector and to deliver more homes, as well as proposals for tenancy reform, which will benefit tenants and landlords alike. It also sets out how the Welsh Government aims to end family homelessness in Wales by 2019, ensuring better help is available for those who become homeless.
WO: Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan has published a Green Paper on future electoral arrangements for the National Assembly for Wales. Currently the constituencies used to elect Assembly Members are the same as those used to elect Members of Parliament.
However the move to a smaller House of Commons with more equally sized constituencies breaks that link, and, subject to Parliamentary approval, there will be a reduction in the number of Parliamentary constituencies in Wales from 40 to 30. Consultation closes on 13 August 2012..
HO: As part of the red tape challenge, members of the public, businesses & industry experts were invited by the Home Secretary to scrutinise the Equality Act. They put forward recommendations for regulations which could be simplified, scrapped or clarified.
The measures announced include:
*Repealing third party harassment law, which will ensure employers are no longer liable for the harassment of an employee by a third party (for example, a customer). Consultation on this change closes 7 August 2012.
* Reviewing the public Sector equality duty
* Repealing the socio-economic duty
* The government also unveiled reforms to the EHRC
* Repealing employment tribunals’ ‘wider recommendations’ powers. Consultation closes 7 August 2012.
* Scrapping bureaucratic information-gathering procedures (Consultation Tribunals’ document)
ScotGov: Providing more help & support for victims & witnesses whilst making offenders more accountable for their crimes is key to building a better criminal justice system. Ahead of the Bill to support victims & witnesses, the Scottish Government has published a consultation (closes on 20 July 2012) to hear views on what measures would have the most impact.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently updating its 2004 NHS guidance on the assessment & treatment of couples with fertility problems and has issued a draft version of the updated guideline for public consultation (closes on 3 July 2012).).
HEFCE: The Higher Education Funding Council England invites responses to a consultation about philanthropic support & fundraising in UK higher education. The consultation (closes on 7 June 2012) forms part of a wider review of philanthropy & fundraising in UK higher education, designed to assess the current state of practice in this area.
DH: For the first time, patients will now have more choice about where, when & how they receive some of the most common medical tests. New proposals outline how patients will be able to choose where they receive essential tests, including blood tests and heart scans.
From April 2013, patients will be able to pick somewhere closer to home or near where they work, instead of having to go to the nearest available option. The new plans are outlined in Liberating the NHS: No decisions about me, without me, which details how more choice is being made available to patients throughout the health service over the next few years (Consultation closes on 20 July 2012).
HMT: New tighter rules governing ‘off payroll’ appointments in central government will be brought in this year. The Government has also published a consultation (closes on 16 August 2012) on the Budget proposal that all ‘controlling persons’ must by law be on the payroll of the engaging organisation – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.