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In the News

Ofsted: Good in parts but could & must do better - In a new report from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) inspectors found that most local authorities are making a good contribution towards delivering better outcomes for the majority of children and young people.

However, Narrowing the gap: the inspection of children’s services also finds that for a significant minority provision is not good enough and authorities need to do more to redress this inequity.

However, the biggest challenge continues to be narrowing the gap in opportunities, provision & outcomes between the majority of children & young people and those that are vulnerable or underachieving.

A second significant theme is that strong partnerships between local authorities and other providers are of pivotal importance in order to secure the level of support & style of service delivery that will improve the achievements of children and young people.

Many schools are adopting the National Healthy Schools Programme, with an increasing number of schools achieving the National Healthy Schools standard. However, a common area of weakness is the poor monitoring & assessment of the physical and mental health needs of vulnerable groups, in particular looked-after children and children with disabilities.
Press release ~ Narrowing the gap: The inspection of children’s services ~ Healthy SchoolsWired for Health - National Healthy School Programme ~ National Healthy Schools standard ~ DfES: Children and Families ~ DH - Children’s Services ~ Children's Workforce Strategy Update - Spring 2007 ~ Optio ns for Excellence review ~ Framework for Multi-Agency Environments (FAME) ~ DirectgovKids ~ Tackling Youth Homelessness - Policy Briefing 18 ~ Information about the review into services for children in hospital ~ Building on the best: overview of local authority youth services 2005-06 ~ Looked After Children and Young People: We Can and Must Do Better ~ NAO report on Sure Start Children’s centres ~ Let s talk about it - A review of healthcare in the community for young people who offend ~

~ are ission for Rural Communities have y are they ng that works when dealing with the latest CLG: Isolating the problem is cheaper and more successful - Local communities who are plagued by significant anti-social behaviour from a small number of the country's most badly behaved families have been given a helping hand with the establishment of a network of 53 Family Intervention Projects (FIPs) that will troubleshoot around 1,500 families a year across England.

Currently, problem families can disrupt the quality of life of whole communities and make the lives of residents around them miserable, but they also:

  • put themselves at risk of losing their home
  • their children at risk of being taken into care if it's in their best interest or
  • having enforcement action such as anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) taken against them

These families create multiple problems and the way public services intervene currently is not always the most effective. Yet it costs the taxpayer between £250k and £350k per family per year for a range of interventions by public services including social, children's & housing services, policing, court services, criminal justice agencies and others.

Family Intervention Projects provide a single key worker to 'grip' the family and challenge the root causes of their behaviour by giving intensive support, but also apply sanctions if rules are broken. Average project costs range from around £8k per family for those receiving outreach help in their homes or living in managed properties, to around £15k for services providing more intensive services (in a residential core unit).

A review found that, for more than 85% of families, complaints about anti-social behaviour ceased or reduced and in 92% of cases the risk to local communities was assessed as having either reduced or ceased completely by the time the families completed the programmes.
Press release ~ 230: Anti-social Behaviour Intensive Family Support Projects: An Evaluation of Six Pioneering Projects - Communities and Local Government ~ Anti-social Behaviour Intensive Family Support Projects - Communities and Local Government ~ Respect ~ NCH ~ Evaluation of the Impact and Implementation of Community Wardens ~ DCLG - Anti-social behaviour and Housing ~ Community Impact Statements ~ Community justice courts ~ Respect Standard for housing management ~ Respect and Housing Management – Using Good Neighbour Agreements ~ Family Intervention Projects - CLG

LLUK: Mapping out directions for Lifelong Learning - Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) has published a ‘roadmap’ of activity to help the education sector prepare for the implementation of new teaching qualifications and the introduction of ‘Qualified Teaching Learning & Skills’ (QTLS) status in September 2007.

From that date, all new entrants to post-16 teaching in the sector will be expected to achieve the ‘Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector’ (PTLLS) initial award. Those in a full teaching role will need to achieve Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status within five years.

The roadmap outlines what will happen and includes anticipated dates for the publication of specific & technical guidance ahead of the reform’s introduction. It is designed to ensure employers, providers & learners within the FE sector are fully aware of the implications of the reform and the preparations they need to make in advance of it.

It has also been designed to act as portal to existing support materials on the implementation of the reforms, which will impact on all teachers, tutors & trainers entering the FE sector, including: further education colleges; work-based learning; adult community learning; offender learning; and those involved in FE teacher training at HE institutions.
Press release ~ Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) ~ Roadmap and key milestones ~ Teacher Education Reform: FAQs ~ ‘Qualified Teaching Learning & Skills’ (QTLS) ~ Evaluation of the tests and trials of the initial award: 'Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector' ~ National Reference Point for Skills for Life professional development

DH: All trained and nowhere to work - A detailed action plan, which the government hopes will help to increase job opportunities for newly qualified healthcare professionals, has been published.

The plan, which has been put together jointly by the NHS trade unions, the DH and NHS Employers through the Social Partnership Forum, makes a series of practical suggestions as to what NHS, social care, local government, independent & voluntary sector employers and higher education institutions can do together to identify employment opportunities for newly qualified healthcare professionals, including the following:

  • The creation of talent pools of all new qualifiers seeking their first post through the use of NHS Jobs
  • A feasibility study in the East of England which will consider an employment guarantee scheme
  • Employers & SHAs to indicate the expected number of new qualifiers that will need to be employed
  • HE career advisors to offer each qualifying healthcare professional support in their career planning
  • NHS trusts to advertise ‘entry posts’ rather than stipulating set amounts of experience
  • NHS Careers to produce information targeted at new qualifiers seeking wor
  • Employers to provide opportunities for work shadowing for newly qualified healthcare professionals

Press release ~ Action Plan ~ DH: Modernising workforce planning ~NHS Modernisation Agency - Changing Workforce Programme ~ Primary care workforce planning framework ~ NHS Jobs ~ Keep Our NHS Public ~ Modernising Medical Careers website ~ Sir Liam Donaldson's Unfinished Business report - 2002 ~ Modernising Medical Careers Specialist Training Programme ~ Medical Training and Application Service (MTAS) ~ Supporting unemployed graduates - The CSP ~ NHS Careers

For the latest Industry News please click HERE

General News

DH:  The Department of Health has announced £45m in funding for 29 important & substantial research programmes as part of the National Institute for Health Research into areas such as mental health, medicines for children, diabetes, stroke and dementias, neurodegenerative diseases & neurology.

The programmes of research aim to increase understanding of how to manage & treat these types of diseases more effectively, develop new treatments and help prevent ill health developing in the first place.
Press release ~ Best Research for Best Health: A new national health research strategy ~ National Institute for Health Research  ~ Programme Grants for Applied Research ~ DH – Research & Development ~ Cooksey Review

DH:  Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has pre-announced a package of measures to help patients in a few of the most disadvantaged communities make choices about their healthcare and empower them to shape services around their needs and experience.

Patient choice will be accessible for all through a range of initiatives:

  • Launch of a new flagship super website NHS Choices (this summer) designed by Dr Foster Intelligence
  • Choice Library pilots
  • From July a 'free' choice of any hospital provider in the country for patients needing orthopaedic and hip replacement treatments

From April 2007, patients or any member of the public in ten areas across the country will be able to go to their local library and have trained librarians support them as they choose & book hospital appointments on-line offering new convenience and flexibility.
Press release ~ Dr Foster Intelligence ~ Partnership for Patients ~ Health Link ~ London Libraries Development Agency ~ Patient choice - DH ~ Choose and Book ~ Extended choice network ~ Choosing your hospital ~ T aking Soundings: Patient and Public Involvement in the London Patient Choice Project Testing the views of patients including ‘hard to reach’ groups (July 2004)

LSC:  The winners of the prestigious Green Gown Awards, which recognise & celebrate the progress of universities and colleges in promoting sustainable development, have been revealed.  The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) sponsors the awards as part of its work to meet the needs of learners, employers and the environment, both now and in the future.

Over the next 10 years, the LSC’s vision is that the learning and skills sector will proactively commit & contribute to sustainable development through its management of resources, the learning opportunities it delivers and its engagement with employers & communities.
Press release ~ Learning and Skills Council ~ LSC sustainable development strategy ‘From Here to Sustainability’ ~ Higher Education Environmental Performance Improvement - HEEPI ~ HEFCE ~ Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) ~ Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC)  ~ ‘Building for Skills: A prospectus for the Learning and Skills Council’s capital programme’ ~
Susta inable Development and Education Liaison Group (SDELG) ~ Sustainable Development Education website

Policy Statements and Initiatives

 ~  are ission for Rural Communities have y are they ng that works when dealing with  the latest FCO: The FCO has commented on the publication of a UN report on climate change.  The , together with the German G8 Presidency, is pressing to secure an agreement among G8 partners and the major emerging economies on the key components of a post-2012 international climate change initiative at the Heiligendamm G8 Summit.

This will be an essential condition for progress at the next UK Climate Change conference in Bali in the Autumn.
Press release ~ Summary version for policy makers ~ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ~ Defra - Environmental Protection - Climate Change

CLG:  The Commission on Local Councillors is examining the incentives & barriers to a wider range of people standing as candidates for council elections and wants the public's help through a new call for evidence, which will include a monthly discussion forum as part of its evidence gathering. 

It will examine what motivates people to become councillors, the support councillors need to enable them to carry out the role effectively, and what can be done to attract more interested & able people into the role.  It will also look at the issues that might discourage people from becoming councillors.  The Commission will make recommendations by November 2007
Press release ~ Commission on Local Councillors ~ IDEA: 'Community Call for Action' ~ Local government white paper


Comp. Commission:  The Competition Commission (CC) has published an issues statement as part of its investigation into the market for the supply of payment protection insurance (PPI) in the UK, which identifies the specific questions & areas the CC believes are relevant in deciding whether any feature of the market(s) for PPI products restricts, distorts or prevents competition.

It will be used as the basis to guide collection of evidence including the first round of hearings with interested parties during the period May to July 2007.  The CC would like to hear views on the issues statement from all interested parties, in writing, by Friday 11 May 2007.
Press release  ~ Statement ~ CC Inquiry website ~ OFT's reasons for making the reference ~ Financial Services Authority (FSA)

CRC:  The Commission for Rural Communities have extended the deadline for submissions to its Call for Evidence on 'Strengthening the role of rural councillors' until 8 June 2007.

They are keen to hear from rural councillors & parish clerks, community groups, local partnerships, council officials, business associations and everyone with ideas and experience they want to share.
Press release ~ Call for evidence ~ Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill ~ LGA – Local Government White Paper ~ Rural Development Programme in England

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

UK-IPO:  The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) has published - ', an Enforcement Roadmap' – which offers guidance to the Chinese Intellectual Property protection & enforcement system.

Aimed at businesses currently or intending to operate in , the guide offers practical & effective help on how to protect and enforce intellectual property rights, using the current Chinese system.
Press release ~ UK-IPO ~ 'China, an Enforcement Roadmap' ~ UK Trade & Investment: International Business, Exporting from the UK, Investing in the UK ~ Patent Office sites around the world ~ Patent Laws Around the World

DH:  A new web based system to enhance monitoring of Clostridium difficile (C difficile) is being introduced this month, with the intention of enabling trusts and PCTs to monitor progress on local C. difficile targets and to identify & focus on 'infection hotspots' in the future.

Accurate surveillance is essential in any strategy to reduce infections and the new system, modelled on the MRSA data collection system, is intended to provide an improved national picture on the incidence of C. difficile associated diarrhoea by collecting data on nearly all cases, rather than just those aged over 65.
Press release ~ Changes to the mandatory healthcare associated infection surveillance system for Clostridium difficile associated diarrhoea from April 2007 ~ NHS operating framework for 2007/08 ~ MRSA data collection system ~ Review of Central Returns (ROCR) ~ Healthcare Associated infections ~ NHS Infection Control Training Programme ~ HPA:  Mandatory Surveillance of Healthcare Associated Infection Report, 2006 ~ Investigation into outbreaks of Clostridium difficile at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust ~ Cleanyourhands ~ RCN:  Good practice in infection prevention and control Guidance for nursing staff

Annual Reports

DH:  A progress report published by the National Institute for Mental Health in England shows that good progress is being made towards meeting the Government target to reduce suicide by 20% by 2010, but more can be done to bring down the suicide rate further.

 ~  are ission for Rural Communities have y are they ng that works when dealing with  the latest

The report says that more needs to be done to reduce the number of people in contact with mental health services who take their own lives.  The Avoidable Deaths report published last year estimated that 56 mental health patients discharged from hospital die every year following non-compliance with medication or loss of contact with services.

The government claims that Supervised Community Treatment (SCT), a measure to improve clinical risk management that the Government is introducing in its Mental Health Bill, has the potential to help prevent those deaths.
Press release ~ National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England Annual report on progress 2006 (scroll down) ~ National Institute for Mental Health in England ~ Avoidable Deaths: Five year report of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness ~ National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England ~ Mental Health Bill ~ Supervised Community Treatment (SCT) ~ CSIP Development centres ~ Help is at Hand ~ Samaritans

Legislation / Legal

IPO:  New powers to help Trading Standards officers tackle the ’s fight against counterfeiting & piracy crime came into force last week under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.  They give Trading Standards officers the power to make test purchases, enter premises and inspect & seize goods and documents.

The IP Crime Group's Strategy, spearheaded by the newly renamed UK Intellectual Property Office (previously – The Patent Office) is enabling co-ordinated action from customs, benefit fraud teams, police, trading standards and industry investigators to tackle these criminal activities.
Press release ~ IP Crime Group ~ IP Crime Strategy ~ LACORS ~ Trading Standards ~ Andrew Gowers’ Review of Intellectual Property

Business and Other Briefings

FSA:  The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has announced that the second stage of its review of the effectiveness of its mortgage regime will focus on areas where the risk of consumer detriment may be higher, such as sub-prime and lifetime mortgages. 

It will also look at whether consumers are taking out suitable and good value home loans and whether customers are treated fairly over the life of their mortgage, including if they go into arrears.
Press release ~ Outco me of Stage one press release ~ FSA - Mortgage advisers

FSA:  The Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service yesterday published a Feedback Statement describing responses to the discussion initiated last year about how the costs of funding the ombudsman service’s compulsory jurisdiction (CJ) could be shared among firms in future.

The responses have indicated that there is broad support for increasing the importance of the case fee - as opposed to the levy - in financing the Financial Ombudsman Service.  At the same time, there was support for increasing the number of cases (currently two) which can be considered by the ombudsman service before a firm starts paying case fees.
Press release ~ Feedback Statement 07/2 Financial Ombudsman Service Compulsory Jurisdiction Funding Review ~ Discussion paper 06/2 Financial Ombudsman Service compulsory jurisdiction: funding review ~ Financial Ombudsman Service

HMRC: How HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is working to improve its relationship with the tax profession is one of the subjects covered in the department's new podcasting service, which launched last week.  The podcasts are between three and four minutes' duration, offering advice, support & helpful hints in a conversational style.

 ~  are ission for Rural Communities have y are they ng that works when dealing with  the latest

Another podcast offers help & advice to employers in completing their Employers' Annual Return.
Press release ~ HMRC podcasts

HMRC:  Revenue & Customs Brief 36/07

This Brief gives details of an article concerning: VAT Input Tax deduction without a valid VAT invoice: Revised Statement of Practice.

HMRC:  Revenue & Customs Brief 35/07

This Brief gives details of an article concerning: Tax Credit Relief - Sharjah - Petroloeum Revenue Tax.

HMRC:  Revenue & Customs Brief 34/07

This Brief gives details of an article concerning: The Income Tax Act 2007.


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