EHRC: The Commission has published a landmark review of how well public authorities deliver human rights protection and promotion in England & Wales. It is the second report in the 'How Fair is Britain?' series.
The review concludes that people in England & Wales have their human rights upheld in many ways. But more could be done to improve human rights protections for some – including people using care services and victims of crime. It says that the core principles of human rights – dignity, equality and respect for everyone – should get more emphasis.
CBI: Further improvements need to be made to major infrastructure planning in the UK to help accelerate investment & speed up decision-making, the CBI said recently. It is calling on the Government to demonstrate its commitment to attracting the £200bn of investment needed in our infrastructure by 2015, by making the major infrastructure planning system as effective as possible.
In a new report, Minor measures, major results – Fine-tuning the major infrastructure planning system, the CBI urges the Government to reduce uncertainty at the pre-application stage, simplify the non-planning consent landscape, and introduce more flexibility and a sense of urgency into the system.
ESRC: Teenagers who turn their backs on a healthy lifestyle and turn to drink, cigarettes & junk food are significantly unhappier than their healthier peers. New research also shows that 12-13 is a catalyst age when young people turn away from the healthy habits of their younger years and start to get involved in risky behaviours.
TfL: A report on air quality by Transport for London, using modelling by King's College, indicates that there should be a small overall improvement in the Capital's air quality resulting from the traffic management arrangements for the London 2012 Games.
ESRC: Do your parents know where you are at night? According to 36% of 15 year old boys and nearly a quarter of 15 year old girls the answer to that question, at least once a month, is ‘no’.
This is the finding from Understanding Society, an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) fundedlong term study of 40,000 UK households, which asked more than 2,000 10-15 year olds how frequently they stayed out past 9.00pm without their parents knowing where they were.
CLG: Local Government Minister, Grant Shapps, has welcomed the announcement by the Audit Commission that hard-pressed councils and other local bodies should see big fee reductions following the successful outsourcing of the Commission's centralised audit practice.
PC&PE: The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has published its fifteenth report of this Session which looks at Stamp Prices, focussing on the impact proposed increases in the price of stamps might have on consumers - not least vulnerable customers and SMEs - and on Royal Mail itself.
TUC: Stronger wage growth & incentives to unlock the £724bn 'cash pile' currently held by UK companies - equivalent to around half the size of the economy - offer the only hopes of a sustainable economic recovery, according to a new TUC report.
IISS: The latest Strategic Comment from the International Institute for Strategic Studies says that ‘Nearly a year into its uprising, Syria's descent into civil war seems unstoppable’.
PX: The government has been urged not to back down from pursuing its digital agenda. A new report by think tank Policy Exchange says that all non-personal data held by the public sector should be made available to the public for free.
The report – A Right to Data – says that ending the practice of reselling key datasets like maps & postcodes would cost the government around £50m a year in lost fees & charges. The overall benefits of opening up all publicly held data would far outweigh this, with some estimates suggesting that the upside for the economy could run into the £bns.
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published its report on the BBC's efficiency programme.
ESRC: The downturn in the housing market in the last 3 years has left the UK a nation of frustrated, unfulfilled house-movers, according to the latest data from Understanding Society, a study of 40,000 UK households funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
It found that between 2009 and 2010 only 10 – 14% of people who wished to move actually achieved their desire and overall only 6.4% of people moved home during that period.
PC&PE: The Treasury Committee's report considers HMRC's past work in ensuring tax compliance and concludes that while progress has been made, there is still work to be done. The Sub-Committee Chair, Mr George Mudie MP, said: "HMRC has done some good work in ensuring tax compliance but there is still a long way to go if the tax gap is to be significantly reduced”
HPA: A team of leading Health Protection Agency (HPA) experts have contributed to a World Health Organization (WHO) publication entitled ‘The evolving threat of Antimicrobial Resistance: Options for Action’ which was published recently
NO: Council officers wrongly granted planning permission 3 times for cattle-rearing buildings in a village, causing years of noise & smell nuisance to residents. Residents lost the peaceful enjoyment of their homes because of incompetence & neglect, says Local Government Ombudsman, Anne Seex, in her report issued last week.
She says that Durham County Council should commission an independent assessment to help it consider whether to remove or amend the planning permissions for all three buildings.
PC&PE: More stringent limits are essential to cut sulphur emissions from ships, but the UK government must negotiate to ensure the EU Directive goes no further than the revised MARPOL Annex VI agreed in 2008, say MPs on the Transport Committee in a report examining a draft EU directive aimed at curbing this significant source of air pollution.
DfE: A new generation of teachers will be trained in managing disruptive behaviour under new proposals set out recently by Charlie Taylor, the Government’s Expert Adviser on behaviour. From September 2012, new trainee teachers will be allowed to do some of their teacher training in Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), where children excluded from mainstream education are taught. They will be able to develop key skills in managing disruptive behaviour.
Publishing his independent review into alternative provision, Charlie Taylor also calls for outstanding PRUs to take advantage of academy freedoms so they can help drive up quality of provision and develop closer relationships with schools in their area.
IFS: As background to the Chancellor's Budget on 21 March 2012, the Institute for Fiscal Studies last week published a summary of recent analysis looking at the likely evolution of household incomes over the next few years and, in particular, how they are likely to be affected by tax & benefit changes that are currently planned for 2012-13.
NHS Confed: The head of the NHS Confederation has warned that plans to improve the nation's mental health are at risk as the basic building blocks are not yet in place to make them a success. Mike Farrar, the Confederation's chief executive, was speaking one year on from the publication of the mental health strategy "No Health Without Mental Health".